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An Open Letter To Donnie Web and Orange::44 Readers

Editor’s Note: This open letter is in response to this article published on Syracuse.com by Donnie Webb criticizing my article from Friday entitled Coaching Rumor of Interest.

Dear Mr. Webb and loyal readers of Orange::44:

First and foremost, thank you for reading Orange::44. I greatly appreciate you stopping by my corner of the internet. I do not think it necessary to mention, but in the interest of full disclosure I am not a professional journalist, beat writer, media man or anything of the kind. I am simply an alumnus of Syracuse and a third year law student with sports knowledge, an above average writing ability, and an undying love of all things Syracuse. I did not earn a journalism degree of any kind. Rather, I earned a degree in Political Science from an esteemed department in the Maxwell School. Now that that is out of the way, let’s address the current article in question.

Mr. Webb, just because I am not in Syracuse does not mean that Syracuse news I hear is not true. I received a message from an individual with media credentials on campus that was aware Lloyd Carr was on campus. This obviously made me very interested in the situation. I then talked to everyone I knew in a position of authority at Syracuse to either confirm or dispel, which resulted in two other sources who have said that they knew Lloyd Carr was on campus. One of these sources works for the University, close to the Athletic Department, and I consider very credible. It is then I posted my article.

Now, all the present evidence that Lloyd Carr was in fact on campus I felt needed to be reported. Thus I did so. I felt confident that there was enough evidence present, from sources I have traditionally found credible, to post that information. I still feel good about this, and continue to stand by the notion that he was present in Syracuse last weekend. The Athletic Department will most assuredly deny this fact, and that certainly does not prove he was not on campus.

Regardless, that is not the issue here. The real issue is Orange::44 getting called out for contributing to the rumors. This is simply not the case. Nowhere in my article did I make any representations about what Lloyd Carr was doing on campus, or the fact that he was going to replace Greg Robinson, or have any job in any capacity for Syracuse. As a matter of fact, I went out of my way to say more than once that I am making no representation of this at all. I said, “What is he there for? Who knows. My inside source with media credentials at Manley just knows he’s there, but not why or what is going on.” See, that is language where the plain text meaning would be that I am making no representations as to what Lloyd Carr is doing on campus, thus I am not starting or contributing to rumors.

Also, I have a problem with this entire thought process that people are not supposed to talk about if or who a new coach would be anyway. Last I checked there were no Internet Police. Besides, you are much too talented a beat writer and journalist to be caring about what the public is talking about. Just focus on reporting. I, also for the record, did not make any judgment to the truth about the story that Lloyd Carr was on the Quad with Dr. Gross, merely that people were talking about it, specifically on the CBS Message Board.

Either way, you were wrong to use my article to insinuate that I was contributing in any way to the coaching debate. The title of the article simply refers to the fact that Lloyd Carr is a coach, and there is a rumor that he was on campus. This rumor has been proven to my satisfaction, and thus the article was published. The content of the article was backed up by enough independent sources that it satisfied my threshold to publish. Brent Axe, a colleague of yours, also had enough independent sources to broadcast this fact on his radio show on Friday as well. I do not necessarily object to you saying that the rumor mongering needs to stop, but it was completely inappropriate to cite my article as the cause and contributor to such actions. Any plain reading of the article would clearly show that there were no representations made except the fact he was present on campus. While blogs traditionally lack journalistic integrity, at the very least this blog strives for simple integrity and then going above that for journalistic integrity. I believe we meet both on a consistent basis. Threatening that integrity will not come without a response.

Donny, I’m flattered you linked to my article. Although you may not realize it, you basically legitimized my blog by putting it on Syracuse.com. To be fair, I have been linked before, but never by you, and for that I thank you sir. You just should have taken the article for what it was, a simple statement about a presence on campus. Continue your good work, because yes you do good work and I check your column often. Just be sure to criticize things that deserve criticism, like the coaching staff of the football team, and not blogs and bloggers just because that is what they are.

Sincerely and best wishes,

Brian Harrison
Orange::44

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20 Responses to “An Open Letter To Donnie Web and Orange::44 Readers”

  1. # Anonymous Alex O.

    ...and the blogger vs. journalist war rages on.

    Keep on doing what you do, BH. You're my number one source of SU athletics news.  

  2. # Blogger A.E.M.

    Brian,

    I have been reading your blog on a daily basis since I found it.

    I like it and think you do a great job. I too wrote about your "blog" and said what I thought about it.

    In a world where ESPN reported that LSU's coach was heading to Michigan, that main stream media get away with a lot more than the bloggers do in a way, I think that Donnie Webb has a right to his opinion, but, on the other hand (as you stated) there a lot more important issues that seem to get less "publicity" than a blog that talks about someone that might be on campus.

    I find it awesome that people like you and Sean (TNIAAM) that are way away from SU can still do a great job in talking about the college you bleed for.

    Mr. Webb has his opinion, and I have mine, which is "keep up the great work!"

    AEM  

  3. # Anonymous zibby

    Forget about it, Brian. He's just another dead tree media hack who can't deal with the fact that he works for a dying medium.  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Dear Brian,

    I have to disagree with you. Donnie Webb is a poser with marginal journalistic ability. I've got the real inside scoop for you. Bud Poliquin is an incontinant blathering ignoramous who hates snow and the color orange.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen A. Rogers

    Editor and Publisher
    The Post-Standard  

  5. # Blogger Poncho Sinatra

    Rock Out with your Orange Out!!

    Nice work Brother..

    Danny
    TheSporthump.com  

  6. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Thank you everyone for the kind words.

    For the record, on 9/27 at around 11:00pm I submitted a comment to Syracuse.com on the specific article by Donny Webb. The comment simply said I still stand by my original article and it had the link to this open letter. It was then submitted to "the author" for approval.  

  7. # Anonymous Rob

    Listen, I'm not saying I disagree with everything you are saying. In fact, I agree with most of it. But don't insult our intelligence. You may not have made any "representations" about what Carr was on Campus for, but you knew exactly how people were going to receive that information. In fact, the title of the article was "Coaching Rumor of Interest." I don't know what that "Coaching" would refer to except coaching the football team. Also, if you didn't think that this related to coaching the Syracuse football team, then it wouldn't really have been very relevant information, and you probably wouldn't have made such a big deal about confirming it through numerous, independent sources and then posting on it. You can’t just ignore what the obvious practical effects of your post was going to be simply by trying to argue you didn’t make any “representations.”  

  8. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    Rob, what is the solution? Is it to ignore it until someone like Donnie Webb reports it?  

  9. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Rob,
    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Again, all I was reporting was that he was on campus. Anyone can read that. If people wanted to draw their own conclusions and start a discussion, people will do that. This blog, nor any blog or message board, should not be criticized for that action though. Again, my greater point in my open letter, is that there are no Internet Police, nor should there be. Donnie Webb, you, or anybody complaining about anyone talking about any kind of coaching change is simply ridiculous.  

  10. # Blogger Russianator

    People need to settle the hell down. Reporting a rumor Carr was on campus - and calling it a rumor is hardly yelling fire in a crowded theater.

    Good work Brian - it's hardly your fault, or anyone else's, that the only thing compelling to discuss when it comes to SU football is who the next coach will be.

    Maybe Donnie got worked over by a few more hitch hikers in his mini van and is sensitive these days.  

  11. # Blogger Russianator

    Sorry, one more thing real quick in reference to Rob's post - what "practical effects" did the post have? That people began speculating on whether Carr would take over? Who is that hurting?

    Carr currently isn't coaching, so any effects it would have on his current players is nullified, and any rumors about Robinson getting fired aren't exactly new.  

  12. # Anonymous Rob

    As I said in my post...I agree with almost everything you guys are saying. But don't try and claim you weren't adding to a rumor that Carr would take over as the head coach. You were. And you knew when you posted that information that it would lead to speculation about Carr taking over. That was the “practical effect” of your post – to answer Russianator’s question.

    Now, do I have any problem with you doing that? Absolutely not. I love it. It's why I love, and read, blogs. What I'm really saying is - don't back down. You're trying to claim you weren't making any representations about the coaching situation. However, you knew by posting that information that you would fuel speculation that Carr was taking over. But you seem to feel the need to claim you weren’t. That’s what I don’t understand – and that’s why I thought you were insulting ours, and Donnie’s, intelligence. I want you to post stuff like this. I don’t know how you guys are interpreting my comments as saying I wish this wasn’t posted. I just wish you would acknowledge what you were doing and accept it. It’s fine. And it is absolutely the role that blogs should play. Just don’t try and make an argument that ignores reality.

    I love Donnie’s work - but I vehemently disagree with him on this point, as most of you do as well. But don’t respond to him by claiming you weren’t adding to any coaching change speculation when you clearly were. Again – don’t back down.  

  13. # Anonymous Rob

    And it's ridiculous to claim I am against people discussing a coaching change. I'm all for it. I'll talk about who should be the next coach all day. I can't wait until Captain Sunshine is gone. But you seemed to be going out of your way to say that you weren't discussing any coaching change.  

  14. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Rob,
    No Rob, you are just wrong about this. I was only saying he was on campus and I was not secretly hoping it would fuel this massive discussion of wild out of control rumors of the coaching job. That is because if I was, then the post would have no journalistic integrity. It would have been shaded with my opinion. While this blog features an awful lot of my opinion in the majority of the posts, I carefully omitted it from that particular post because it was a breaking news story, or a “scoop” if you will. To protect the integrity of that story I made sure I had multiple sources, as any good journalist would, and then broke the news in a completely unbiased way. This blog is dripping with opinion and observation, but just not in that article, and I will stand by that, because the integrity of the article and the story needs to be maintained. Believe me, you’ll see the opinion a lot in the near future.  

  15. # Anonymous Rob

    Alright - again you're taking what I say and twisting it into another argument entirely. Can we stay on point here?

    At no point, whatsoever, did I say you were injecting your opinion into the story. I don't think you injected any opinion into your article. That thought never even crossed my mind. I have no idea where you got that from. Even if you HAD injected your opinion into it, I wouldn’t have cared. Again – I have no issue with the post at all. It is how your choosing to defend the post which I find puzzling.

    I don't know how much clearer I can make this. You posted a rumor that Lloyd Carr was at the Syracuse athletic department offices. You posted said rumor under the title of "Coaching Rumor of Interest." You KNEW how people were going to receive that news. You cannot, honestly put that out there and then say "Whoa, whoa, whoa! But I don't mean for you to draw any conclusions about the coaching situation! What gave you that idea?!”

    AGAIN, I'm not angry with you posting the rumor. I support your right to do so, am glad that you did, and hope you continue to do so with future information. I am merely responding to your defense. It's comical to put this information out there, and then claim it has nothing to do with a coaching change rumor. I don't understand why you're so unwilling to acknowledge the practical, tangible impact of your post. It sparked a discussion about the current coaching situation, as I’m sure you expected it would. That’s not a bad thing.

    What was the news value of this “scoop,” if not its potential relation to the Syracuse coaching situation?

    Also, you’ve made it clear, on multiple occasions that you are not a journalist, and I agree with that. There’s no need for you to be a journalist. That is not your role. So why are now trying to claim you were trying to act as a journalist? I thought the whole point was that you weren’t a journalist.

    Just to make this point clear - I don't think you inserted your opinion into the story. Nor would I care if you had. I have no idea where you got that from.  

  16. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    While I may not be a journalist sir, the fact of the matter is a legitimate news story like that must be treated as such, and thus it went from a rumor to confirmed information. Donnie Webb’s point was that I was contributing to the rumors, and that I was not because I only stated fact in my post. That is the issue I am talking about. That is why I have issue with what Mr. Webb said. That is the bottom line for me. I do not mind getting called out for something I am wrong about or for something I did, but for Mr. Webb to call me out for that purpose is incorrect and simple MSM v. Blogger fodder which he should not be engaged in.  

  17. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Brian,

    Thanks for your contributions. Whether your scoop was correct or not is irrelevant to me. You thought you knew what was what, and you put it out there for what it was worth. That, at a minimum, causes some discourse.

    That being said, the your open letter to Webb is so pretentious, smug, and magnanimous, that it really loses its effect. Don't be too proud of yourself or your accomplishments. You arent the first law student who thinks he knows something about writing and sports. If i were you, I would focus less on Donnie Webb, and more on mastering the rules of "evidence."

    Good luck with the blog.

    Shrm  

  18. # Blogger John

    Let's not forget that Donnie Webb, a member of the "Main Stream Media," himself is quite a rumor-monger. In this September 15 story, Donnie reminds us that the Lane Kiffin drama bears watching. Well, today, Lane Kiffin was fired by the Oakland Raiders, a story that is featured prominently on syracuse.com and on its Syracuse University Orange Football website.

    Double standards are great, aren't they?  

  19. # Blogger eiremist

    nice to see some folks commenting on the real state of su football, i was banned permenently from the su forum like 3 years ago, just fo well reasoned anti grob comments.. did not use hate words, obcene words, etc.. they put a block on my email address..EIREMIST.. STILL ALIVE OUT HERE!  

  20. # Blogger eiremist

    PS: also.. it became ovious to me several years ago, many of the posters.. on the newpaper forum were related to grob or working for him.. or his boss. and the newspaper reporters like webb, were up til recently, real apologists for the grob junta.. eire mist..  

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