Watch Tower: Post-Gazette Got it Right On Roethlisberger Non-Trade

Less than a fortnight ago, Steelers Nation held its collective breath over rumors that Ben Roethlisberger would be traded.

The rumors surfaced when the Steelers traded for Byron Leftwich. The Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported that the Steelers were not actively trying to move their franchise quarterback, he also was clear that the STeeler were refusing to rule out a trade.

That was enough to get the rumor mills started.

Over the next 24 hours, all sorts of stories circulated indicating that the Steelers were trying to move Roethlisberger for a 10th round pick, that a deal with the Oakland Raiders was imminent (not that Al Davis wouldn’t simply fuel those flames for fun.)

The chat interface on PG Plus contained a non-stop stream of fans – most fretting that the Steelers were making a horrible mistake, while others endeared by the prospect that would about to put principle first.

Sound and Fury Signifying….

The Post-Gazette refused to traffic in rumors. Although it would have been nice had they issued some update earlier in the day, the Ed Bouchette’s report at mid-afternoon said it all.

Writing on PG Plus he indicated that he had just arrived at the Steelers headquarters, that the coaches were trickling in, that Kevin Colbert had just arrived, and that Art Rooney II was on his way in.

This of course showed that no trade was in the works.

This also represented a another victory for old fashioned journalism.

Just like they had during the “Bruce Arians Will He Stay or Will He Go” escapade, Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac stuck to the story that they could tell based on verifiable facts. They were not trying to move Roethlisberger, and the few non-Steelers GMs they consulted verified the information emanating from the South Side.

Kudos for them. This was the right thing to do but, given the magnetism that negative stories have in the age of the internet, it would have been easy for the Post Gazette to play up the trade rumors.

….Probably a Message to Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger was reportedly unhappy that the Steelers declined to disavow any trade rumors (gee, life rough Ben).

But as Bouchette indicated both before and after the non-event, Art Rooney II let the rumors hang because wanted to make Ben feel uncomfortable and hopefully to understand that he is not larger than the team.

Thanks for visiting. For more analysis of the press coverage of the Steelers click the Watch Tower tag.

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2 thoughts on “Watch Tower: Post-Gazette Got it Right On Roethlisberger Non-Trade

  1. Nice observation. I agree far too often news groups want to be the first to report something they’re willing to scarfice hard facts for unproven rumors.

  2. Thanks Tim,

    They used to say “nothing sells a paper like a crisis.” Today we can say, “nothing generates web page hits like a negative news.”

    I can vouch for that from personal experience.

    When the Pittsburgh Tribune Review had its link sharing service on “SteelersLive” (where anyone could upload any link) I discovered quite by accident that a negative headline would easily generate two or three times the number of clicks as a positive or neutral one.

    Given the financial stress that media outlets are under today, I can understand why they might given into to this temptation — I myself was tempted to “go negative” at times just for the sake of drawing more visitors — and I had zero monetary incentive.

    So I did want to recognize the PG for doing the right thing, but I also wanted to sort of offer a general reminder that people should consider the source before reacting to rumors as if they were fact.

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