I didn't write a word about Addison Russell this past weekend because Addison Russell wasn't with the Cubs at all this weekend. That's not some spin -- that's just my explanation. Thought I would offer you that transparency. And it's no smoking gun. I didn't see the ESPN broadcast Sunday night -- for obvious reasons -- and I wasn't a part of any conversations they had planning their topics. I do know that if Russell was there at Wrigley for the game or for the series it would have been a major topic, because it would have been impossible to avoid. It's at this point in time that I would like to point out that you are mixing many things together, and I don't blame you, but I think splicing the different media is important -- more important than ever -- and this offers a chance to do that.
This is no smoking gun on that story.
First, ESPN is a rights holder. ESPN pays for the right to broadcast the game, and as such is joining MLB in the promotion of the game for mutual benefit. There are benefits to being a rights holder. The walk-and-talks and access to the manager and in-game interviews, and all of it for the good of the broadcast. That's not uncommon. That wasn't the media that was being talked about in the story you reference. Second, beat writers and and newspaper reporters are not rights holders. They have credentials from MLB, but MLB has no say on the content of the coverage. There is no prior restraint. There is no trading of promotion. Credentials don't work that way. I read something recently that referred to beat writers as "access journalism." That's redundant. Journalism is reporting. Reporting is access. Otherwise it's guessing. The notion of access as a form of currency is fine as a analogy is incomplete. If access is taken away one place out of spite, it can be found another place, and the information still acquired. OK, so the report/tweet was that the Cubs were applying pressure on the second group there. There wasn't much coverage from that group, and that should tell you something. It hadn't happened to them is what it tells me. Or they had shrugged if off as nonsense. And Theo Epstein came out hard against the notion:
“However you guys want to cover the story,” Epstein told reporters, per The Chicago Tribune. “If you want to write critical articles about Addison or the club’s handling, you’re more than welcome to. We believe in the freedom of the press. This is certainly an issue where we expect there to be strong opinions, and people have the right to have those opinions and express them however they want. We support that. We would never try to stifle freedom of the press or that type of free expression. I saw that story out there. I’m not calling it into question other than to say the threat of reprisal to a media member about any topic, but especially one of this nature, is not acceptable. I’d be really surprised if that happened at the Cubs, and if it did I’d want to know who it was because they wouldn’t work for the Cubs much longer. That’s a fireable offense to try to threaten a media member because of unfavorable coverage, especially on a topic of this nature.”
Smoking gun? Hardly. Not even the smoke for a fire. But I'm glad you brought this up because it does seem like you are describing all the media in one pot of soup. Not so. It's more of a salad. Actually, it's more like different courses of the same meal. I guess print is the veggies.