ESPN's Erin Andrews at the ESPY awards. (AP file photo)
Erin Andrews has been wronged. Recent news about her being surreptitiously videotaped naked while in her hotel room, has warranted plenty of sympathy.
But not from the New York Post.
We see this thing happen pretty often, especially to celebrities. I wouldn’t call Andrews a celebrity (or any other journalist for that matter), but she’s known as a “pretty face” for the World Wide Leader. But that doesn’t take away from further sensationalizing the story, which is what the Post is accused of. The Post published three photos from the video, after it appeared on the internet in many places.
“While we understand the Post’s decision to cover this as a news story, their running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism,” ESPN senior vice president of communications Chris LaPlaca said in a statement Wednesday night.
In response, ESPN has banned all Post writers from appearing on its network. Ouch.
Talk about bringing the hammer. Not sure how much this hurts because the WWL doesn’t share what kind of contracts it has with writers of news organizations. Are they paid like Mike Wilbon, or are they doing it out of a means to promote themselves and their newspaper’s brand? We really don’t know.
On the other end, ESPN has been taking hits this last week because they would not even mention the Ben Roethlisberger case, in which he’s been accused of raping a hotel employee in Harrah’s. (The thing is, the accuser waited a whole year to just file a civil lawsuit — that’s right, no criminal complaint — against Big Ben, Harrah’s Casino and some of its employees. This was the main cause for ESPN to hesitate.)
While the accusations looked flawed with the absence of a criminal complaint, most observers have noted that it is still newsworthy.
The Associated Press had reported on the issue when it arose, getting a quote from NFL commissioner Roger Gooddell and Roethlisberger’s lawyer. So it was very weird to not see ESPN even mention it.
Talk about burying the news. Would Michael Vick, Pacman Jones or Terrell Owens have received such restraint from the WWL? I don’t think so.
So on two different, totally separate fronts, ESPN is caught in these awkward positions to 1) do their journalistic duty as the WWL and 2) protect their own and uphold journalistic integrity.
Batting 1-for-2 when it comes to ethics, isn’t exactly admirable.
Here’s another good read on Erin Andrews being “pretty” from Viv Bernstein.