Saturday, December 5, 2009

Journalist lack of Jeter disclosure disturbing

Fox & Friends scored a nice one-on-one interview with Derek Jeter after he won the SI Sportsman of the Year award. The interview was noteworthy in the media for Jeter's admission that he's not perfect. Among other fascinating insights: Jeter does not make his bed in the morning.

Host Gretchen Carlson conducted the interview, giggling and tossing softball questions at the Yankee Captain. A journalist fawning over Jeter isn't really news. What was disturbing about the interview was Carlson's failure to disclose a critical potential conflict of interest: that she is married to sports agent Casey Close, Jeter's long-time agent.

As a journalist, I have to take serious issue with Carlson's failure to disclose the relationship. It raises serious questions. Did Carlson's prior acquaintance with Jeter help her score the interview? Did she agree not to ask Jeter certain questions ahead of time?

She did ask the famously-private Jeter about his relationship with actress Minka Kelly, but in a way that allowed Jeter to easily deflect the question. Her focus was getting Jeter to talk about the way he felt about the loss of his privacy, particularly the recent New York Post cover story about his vacation with Kelly.

But she didn't ask him tough questions about becoming a free agent next year, with her husband set to play a key role in Jeter's contract negotiations. For example, she didn't ask Jeter whether he would be willing to move to another team if the Yankees failed to give him the amount of money or contract years he will ask for, something Close will help shape Jeter's opinion on.

Disclosing such conflicts of interest is Journalism 101. Carlson has been around for too long. She should know better.

Thanks to the Air Force Space Command via Wikipedia for the photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment