The Vendidad has been pretty busy with gainful employment and other projects, and has moved operations almost exclusively to Twitter.
Here’s what happened:
3:30 Sunday: I tweet some random crap about Malzahn.
4:00 Sunday: I get a message from @[nameremoved] saying “vandy got him”
4:05 Sunday: Thinking that message was hilarious, on account of it being from a guy nobody had heard of, claiming no authority on the matter, and just out-and-out stating that Gus Malzahn had taken an offer from Vanderbilt, I retweet it, calling him “THE LEAK.”
4:10 Sunday A Washington Post Maryland community blogger named Matt Bonesteel (AMAZING NAME) puts up a stupid story that says that a slightly MORE legit WaPo reporter named Prisbell had knowledge that Gus Malzahn had accepted an offer to coach at Vandy.
4:15 Sunday: Because this was a hilarious coincidence that my totally unsubstantiated tweet came 5 minutes before the WaPo story, I start claiming to have gotten THE SCOOP. I update my Twitter profile accordingly.
4:20 Sunday: Twitter explodes. Reports surface on 100% of Vanderbilt blogs and several non-Vanderbilt blogs, all citing Prisbell, and not this Bonesteel (AWESOME NAME) chump, as the source.
4:30 Sunday: I do a little bit of digging on this Bonesteel chump, find that there is literally no reason to believe that he would have any access to any sort of breaking story, no matter what it says on his LinkedIn profile.
Rest of Sunday night: bickering, rumors, speculation, just like there had been on Sunday morning.
So the WaPo story presumably (I repeat: presumably) came from someone close to Franklin who heard that James Franklin had been contacted and told he was no longer being considered for the job. That suggests—but does not MEAN—that Malzahn is in. ALSO, we have not confirmed that James Franklin was actually contacted.
So here’s the thing about internet journalism: actual journalists know that, without hard-earned credibility or proof of access, an anonymous source isn’t worth a damned thing. The vast majority of twitter—and these fan communities and blogs—don’t. So when a source as credible as The Washington Post franchises its masthead out to any chump with a laptop and some free time, they not only allow, but further propagate hilariously unreliable information. It happens in areas as arbitrary as sports, and it happens in serious places.
People. Please. The Washington Post on the internet is still The Internet. And The Internet is a slimy bastard that will make something up or pull something from a totally unverified source, hope it’s coincidentally correct, and then claim to have gotten the story first. If you can’t prove it, it’s not a story. If you’re not getting paid to be right, it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong.
I’ll know who our next coach is when I see damned good proof from damned good reporters, or I’ll know when I hear it announced by David Williams or that coach himself.