Curt Schilling’s online presence really caught a lot of Boston sportswriters by surprise. Bill Simmons went from a guy who wrote about sports on his personal web site to an ESPN columnist and Hollywood writer. That probably should have been a wakeup call; the Curt Schilling chats definitely are. When fans can go to fan-run sites and get news before it’s hit the talk shows and newspapers, that’s got to be at least a little disturbing. I tend to think that most smart writers will embrace the new possibilities, but some are going to react poorly.
Today’s Boston Dirt Dogs front page is a figurative war zone. Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant wrote a nasty little column (user/password: laexaminer/laexaminer) in which he guts and fillets a Courant staffer for being a little too verbose in the SoSH Schilling chat. The offense doesn’t warrant the venom.
“Sam,” writes Jacobs, “still needs to learn which master to serve.” Jacobs makes it clear that he thinks Sameer Ohri, the staffer in question, should serve Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln. I’m not qualified to judge whether or not Sameer violated journalistic ethics, but if he did, I’d say those ethics are a more important master than both his paycheck and his Red Sox fandom.
The Dirt Dogs fired back. I’m going to quote extensively, because there are no archives over there:
So the whole time GSG is posting, he’s just shooting the breeze. At the time of those entries… at the time of those entries Jeff… he has NO idea that Schilling is Schilling. You simply cannot go back after learning that it was Schilling and take those casual soundbites out of chat script later. That is unscrupulous. Irresponsible. Unreal. No proof existed at that time that it was Curt Schilling, making the “record” (gee, hope no one gave it to you 7th hand Jeff, all edited up) of GodSamGod’s entire participation in the chat unusable by an accredited newspaper in any way, shape, or form.
Oh, and newsflash Jeffrey, when a chat window closes on SoSH, the text is gone, it’s like an instant message (know what that is wise guy?). So there is no legitimate transcript in existence unless you are the host site for SoSH. The fiction text you’re holding over our heads is worthless. Who handled it? PeskyPolish17? Or was it BenOgilivy99? Or GradysGhost? There’s no legitimate transcript you goof. No one in the media will run anything or they’ll be the laughingstock of the industry. Wait, ooops, you ran comments from your “transcript.” Haaaa. Haaaa. Haaaaartford.
All the hateful, damning fictitious comments you chose to publish this morning, all those comments were irrelevant. You don’t even know who typed them or when, do you Jeff?
Your incredibly poor decision to print the urban myth mystery chat excerpts was really libelous, unnecessary, gratuitous, mean-spirited, hurtful, and damaging to Sam’s colleagues, family, and friends. For that alone, you should be ashamed. If you don’t get fired, you simply must get a serious suspension. Boston Dirt Dogs, an unofficial fan website, has never been that irresponsible for chrissakes.
And we don’t serve any masters.
The Internet can’t “win” this battle. The readership numbers aren’t even remotely comparable. But it says something that Jeff Jacobs takes Sons of Sam Horn seriously enough to write his column in the first place. I’m waiting to see if he fires back at the Dirt Dogs.