Writers dogged: Should writers be held accountable for gossip stories?

02/20/16 by Matthew S. Vandriak



I wrote here a few weeks ago about what would happen if the allegations in an Al Jazeera television report that Peyton Manning used HGH turned out to be true. But like everything else, there are two sides to the story. So what if it turns out that all of these allegations are false?
The report named Manning amongst other NFL players and other professional athletes. Now each of those athletes has the stigma of HGH or other performance enhancing or banned substances associated with their names. Each of these athletes will be under the microscope even if they deny the allegations, which all of those named have done. Even if these allegations are false, each of those named have to defend that they never used any type of banned substances.
So how is it fair that these guys were accused of something they claim not to do and now have to fight the accusations and defend their names, but the reporter gets away with the reporting? If you're a fan of professional sports, you've obviously heard of the allegations. But do you know who the Al Jazeera reporter behind the story is?

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The reporter's name is Deborah Davis. The main source of her information for the report was a former employee of the Indianapolis clinic who has admitted to falsifying information and dropping athletes names to fabricate the story. Two of the athletes named in the report, Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals, have filed a defamation lawsuit against Al Jazeera.
So if the story is proven false, Al Jazeera will take the hit for running the report. They'll be the ones sued and have to pay for the wrong in any of the lawsuits that have been filed or will be filed. Al Jazeera television has also ceased operations in America. But what about Deborah Davis? What about the undercover reporter who secretly recorded Charlie Sly, the informant for the report? That would be Liam Collins, if you're looking for a name.
I understand why Al Jazeera should take the brunt of this. They were the ones who decided to run the story. They'll be the ones named in the lawsuits. They'll be the ones associated with this story and anything that comes out of it. But why aren't the reporters, Davis and Collins, being called out? They shouldn't get a free pass in all of this. It was their story. It was their sources. It was their work.
And that work, if proven to be false, put all of the athletes named in it into the position of having to defend themselves against something they weren't involved in. I think it's only fair that if a reporter is going to accuse someone of something, they should be held accountable for their actions too. If the athletes named in this report have to defend themselves against false allegations, the reporters responsible should held accountable for their reporting. Or lack of responsible reporting. Reporters should be held accountable for their actions when accusations lead to defamation. And if these reports are proven false, not just Al Jazeera, but Deborah Davis and Liam Collins should be held responsible too.

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