Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rick Cleveland slams Manning "story"

Many of you are no doubt familiar with a website called The Onion, which produces satirical, often hilarious, “news” stories. I have no problem with The Onion. It sometimes makes me laugh.

Our problem these days is differentiating between The Onion and the countless news outlets, which are serving up ever-increasing volumes of blather and babble that sometimes read like satire but are not.

Exhibit A: An Al Jazeera report last weekend that purported Peyton Manning used HGH, a hormone banned by the NFL, to recover from a career threatening neck injury in 2011.

The Al Jazeera report read just like something from The Onion.

The report was named, get this: The Dark Side. It is based on information from a source named, and I kid you not, Charlie Sly. Sly is introduced by Al Jazeera as a pharmacist but apparently is not. He worked for three months as an unpaid intern at something called the The Guyer Institute in 2013, two years after Manning was treated there.

Never mind that Sly has since recanted. The story is out there. It is being regurgitated, at least in part, by other news sources, which don't always include Sly's recanting.

And so it goes.

And people believe what they want to believe, and if you don't believe that, just read the comments sections at the bottoms of the stories. People accept the report as fact. They comment further and then people comment on their comments and on and on it goes, getting further from fact with each regurgitation.

In other words, the damage is done.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning, furiously denies the report as garbage. And other publications analyze his denial, while regurgitating some of the Al Jazeera report.

Any person with a cellphone can comment anonymously. Talk shows will have a field day when anybody with a cellphone can call in and opine.

Welcome to the news cycle 2015.

What we need most with today's 24-hour news cycle bombarding us from every direction, every angle — and from every form of media — is a reliable filter.

We need something we can apply like sunscreen to keep out the false, the unsubstantiated and the biased and let in only the information that is well-sourced and documented.

Such filters once existed and still do in reduced numbers. They are called editors. They are out-numbered. They are a finger in a dyke.

There was a time not so long ago when most news was delivered by (mostly) reputable newspapers and networks, which employed editors who corrected mistakes and demanded accuracy and fairness from reporters.

That is not the case all too often now when the ultimate goal is not veracity but page views.

So, to sum up, this is what we have as of early Monday morning when this is written: We have a report that is based on the testimony of an unpaid intern, who has since recanted his story. He says he made it all up.

And here's what should have happened when the reporter came back to the news agency with that report. An editor should have told the reporter: “Go back. Dig deeper. You need more sources. This won't stand up. You've got one source and he's recanted. You've got nothing. We can't go with this.”

Instead, they went with it.



Rick Cleveland ( is executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.


Anonymous said...

Did you even see the 49 minute documentary by Al-Jazeera Rick Cleveland where the reference to Peyton Manning was made by Mr. Sly? If you did you would know that the documentary wasn't about Peyton Manning. The reference to him and his wife was made toward the end of the piece. It was about athletes (in general) doping and the methods they use in order to hide it. Despite your love for P. Manning, he isn't above lying. Don't forget he settled a lawsuit along with the Univ of Tenn before he left college regarding an incident with a female trainer in the UT locker room and then LIED about it in a subsequent book he wrote. Don't shoot the messenger of this story because if you watch the documentary, there are athletes in the piece who had used PEDs, had gotten caught and explained how they got away with it as long as they did. Additionally, if Mr. Sly is such a liar then why are you believing his story that he made it up? Al Jazeera posted the video of their call to the clinic where he worked during the time the alleged encounters with P. Manning took place when they VERIFIED Mr. Sly's employment. As a reporter, YOU should be remove your love for Peyton and stick to the FACTS!

Anonymous said...

I hope he owns Al Jazeera before it's all over. Maybe he can turn it into the all-Manning-all-the-time network to help raise money for Batson.

Straight Pipe said...

It is a double-edged sword Rick. Who was best served by the way you used to do journalism? The public or the sacred cows?

Kingfish has exposed more public corruption here since 2007 than your former employer exposed in nearly two decades.

The implication in your column that there is bias now but there wasn't back in the good old days is wholly laughable.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this is journalism today. I was a reporter/editor for many years and cringe when I see what passes for balanced reporting today. And the grammar is atrocious. Every reporter needs an editor, but they have been dumped and reporters post online immediately whith no checks. Wet-behind-the-ears interns think they are Bob Woodward and get diarrhea of the keyboard and there are no grizzled editors to say "whoa." It's the internet age, baby!

Anonymous said...

The irony of a former clarion ledger employee reminiscing about the good Ol' days when only his newspaper spouted lies and no one could respond like they can now.

Anonymous said...


Peyton is not the one raising money for Batson. It is Eli that is doing it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the insight Mohamed. now back to the sand box.

Anonymous said...

@at 11:01

reporters post online immediately whith no checks..."whith"?

Yup, I sea what you mean.

Anonymous said...

So Rick Cleveland used a newspaper to support his own personal agenda and platform, and now he is mad because someone else has used the media to do the same. Pot meets kettle.

Anonymous said...

Rick Cleveland's article is ridiculous. I've watched the documentary, and it was great. Of course Charlie Sly recanted. He was violating HIPAA by making those statements to the reporter, and would be criminally liable for assisting in supplying the drugs. I hope Peyton Manning sues. Manning won't be able to hide behind the "my wife's medical history is private" excuse in court.

Anonymous said...

The Clarion Ledger has done the same sort of things for years. They pick out some facts that support their narrative while ignoring others that do not. David Hampton was the worst. He writes an article about civility ( pointed towards Republicans and the "conservative" press) and then in a week or so, applauds a columnist for calling President Bush a "shrub".

Anonymous said...

We can thank Al Gore for bringing that pro Islamic network to America.

I Smell A Whore... said...

Rick needs to go back to lobbying full time for Pete Rose's H.O.F. induction. Of course P. Manning is not above doping to keep himself relevant for a couple of more years. And Rick knows that. He just enjoys staying in Archie's good graces. Archie picks up Rick's tabs at oyster bars and always has.

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS