Journalism and Twitter go hand in hand like Lennon/McCartney. When done correctly, it can efficiently bring people trusted news. Twitter realizes this as well, especially when a fact is semi-incorrect or nonfactual altogether. As a journalist, it is more than vital to report the truth and nothing but truth. This flew out the window on Thursday in the sports world with journalist Bob Nightengale.
High-profiled baseball markets had their eyes on one target in the 2020/2021 offseason: to sign Trevor Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award Winner. For the past few weeks, everyone was chomping at the bit to see where Bauer would sign as a free agent. It soon fell down to two teams: The Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. It seemed at any minute anything could happen. Then the USA Today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale tweeted, “Trevor Bauer and the #Mets have a deal.”
After hearing this, people were wondering what the logistics were and the full details. No other sources were tweeting or posting about this, leading many to believe that there in fact wasn’t a deal. And this was true. On Friday, Trevor Bauer signed a three year, 102 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Naturally, New York Mets fans are furious after the false excitement.
This is not the first time Bob Nightengale wrote a nonfactual article or tweet. Last year, he claimed Outfielder Alex Dickerson tested positive for COVID-19 early on when in reality he had a false positive. Dickerson received plentiful backlash and was alienated due to this article written by Nightengale.
It seems that he jumps the gun ultimately when writing these tweets and articles in order to obtain top attention. Other times, he can be an absolutely solid sports journalist, but these slip-ups have to stop, Bob. This is also not only for your own integrity but also for the integrity of Journalism.
There have been too many times when the news has jumped the gun, leading people to obtain false hope or even sadness. A famous one that comes to mind was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her assassination attempt in 2011. She was shot, and NPR reported her dead soon followed by CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times. Her husband heard this news right before he boarded the plane to see her in the hospital. So, he believed for a three-hour plane ride that his wife was dead due to early reporting. She ended up surviving the gunshot wound to her head. Another perhaps even more famous instance was back in 1948 when the Chicago Daily Tribune incorrectly reported that Thomas E. Dewey defeated Harry S. Truman for the presidency.
No, Bob Nightengale shouldn’t face resignation for his actions. But, he should realize that sports aren’t TMZ. You can project what may happen, but when you’re a trusted source, you must tell the truth especially for the free agent that everyone has their eyes on. It’s all in the choice of words. So with that, Nightengale must realize his actions and apologize to Mets fans. Seriously. They’ve been through a lot.