DeadSpin, Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger: Is Real Journalism Dead?

It’s hard to know where to begin to criticize deadspin.com’s slanted, gossipy, uncorroborated reporting of Brett Favre’s alleged messages to Jenn Sterger. Let’s just get this out of the way right now: However distasteful it may be to see one of the most well-known athletes in all of sports at the center of a sex scandal, there are plenty of indications that that’s the case. But the story hardly ends there. Deadspin asks the reader at the start of its first post to “please suspend your disbelief for a moment”**, and apparently you’re never supposed to take it back.

If you, the reader, take two things away from this note, I would like them to be the following:

1) The knowledge that nothing has been proven against Favre to this point, that there is no conclusive evidence that Favre was the man in the voicemails, and none of the parties involved–Favre, Sterger, the Jets, the Vikings, anyone–have provided any supporting evidence for this conjecture, or even acknowledged it.

2) Full and complete understanding that whatever Deadspin’s pretensions in their various posts, they are nothing more than a sketchy, low-end, openly biased media outlet who broke a story and are now trying to milk it for everything they possibly can.

This is a cash cow story.

Let’s deal with the first point first. The Jets have told deadspin the following: “The Jets are working closely with the NFL on investigating this matter”* and Greg Aiello of the NFL has said only “We are reviewing the matter”^. And Favre said “I’m not getting into that. I’ve got my hands full with the Jets and am trying to get some timing down with our guys, so that’s all I’m going to discuss.”* And according to that last link, Jenn Sterger’s manager said “Jenn did not provide Deadspin with any information”. The messages, voicemails and pictures all came from an unnamed third party, not Sterger herself. So there’s little in the way of corroboration to be found here.

Now, Deadspin has two posts that contain most of the relevant facts, which are Links D and E down at the bottom. The first deals with the Myspace messages that Deadspin paid the third party for. Here are the three images from that post.