Friday, June 10, 2005

Marlen Garcia=Bob Woodward Wannabe

Last week's revelation that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat" throughout the Watergate saga apparently has infected the brain of the Chicago Tribune's Marlen Garcia. Garcia apparently has Bob Woodward syndrome. For those not in the know, Woodward is the famous Washington Post reporter whose reporting, with the help of an extremely high-placed confidential source known as "Deep Throat," helped bring down the Nixon presidency. Garcia is the Chicago Tribune reporter whose beat includes Illinois basketball.

The positive of Watergate is that it exposed corruption in the government. The negative is that every reporter wants to be the next Bob Woodward, and in doing so many times go overboard. Sports reporting is not immune.

I understand good, strong, in-depth reporting and giving readers all sides of the story but sensationalizing the relationship between a college student and his basketball coach is over the line.

This story from yesterday's Tribune started it. (Actually it started with some stories earlier in the season but none were as blatant as this.)

Then Dee broke his foot and Garcia filed this story that ran in today's (Thursday) Tribune.

Granted, Dee Brown's comments merit reporting. However, Dee Brown is a young man who just happens to be a dynamite basketball player with a future that is not totally certain. His coach also happens to be honest to a fault. The combination makes for some interesting chemistry.

However, I think Garcia would have been better off reporting the way ESPN's Andy Katz did. Yesterday he had a story on ESPN's website that downplayed the "rift," much like he does in this story he filed today.

Bottom line: Dee Brown is a great basketball player. Bruce Weber is a great coach. Both are outstanding individuals. Watergate this isn't (unless Bruce Pearl was the subject of the story of course). Garcia needs to cool it.

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