Thomas Roberts and Mediaite’s Noah C. Rothman are having a Twitter spat…
And it’s basically over this article Rothman wrote…
The problem he had with the post was evidently the word “regular” to describe the appearance of the hosts of The Cycle on his program. At first, I will admit that I dismissed his argument because, as a regular viewer, I was fairly certain that it was no stretch to describe The Cycle hosts’ appearances as “regular.” But Roberts continued to protest:
I’m not going to get into a debate about what constitutes “regular”. It’s really pointless. Whether there is or isn’t a Cycle tease on Roberts show or not comes in a very distant second to why was the story written? Just because Toure wasn’t there? I don’t think so. If Toure hadn’t had his incident on Thursday would we be seeing Rothman write up a headline about Toure not appearing for a tease segment the next day? Of course not. Rothman might have made a mental note about Toure’s non-appearance but that’s as far as it would have gone.
Here’s the central point in this bruhaha…
Thus, Mediaite published my piece noting that Touré was conspicuously absent from Roberts’ program without engaging in any speculation as to why that would be.
Hogwash. That piece doesn’t get written had Toure not caused a stir the day before. This is why despite Rothman’s protestations to the contrary that article had everything to do with engaging in speculation about why Toure’s not there without actually engaging in speculation. The engaging was inferred because the article doesn’t get written and posted if nothing had happened the day before. There’s a direct link between the two events. If you run it up the flagpole to see who salutes, you’re engaging in speculation.
It’s a risky move being that provocative, one which I have made myself many times. If it pans out that Toure’s non-appearance was a signal that he wasn’t going to appear on The Cycle or that he was otherwise restrained from appearing on Roberts show, Rothman winds up looking very prescient. But if it doesn’t pan out…well…we’re witnessing right now what happens if it doesn’t pan out.
But was it as misleading as Roberts says it was? Probably not. Regardless of whether it constituted being “regular” or not, a pattern had been established of Roberts show being used to feature Cycle talent. It may or may not have been co-incidental but it’s still a pattern in my book. If I had been in Rothman’s shoes, and had the information at my disposal Rothman did, I would have written a similar blog entry, though I would have framed it a bit differently to mitigate some of the risk that comes with going out on a speculative limb like that. Or, I would have checked with MSNBC and see what they say before “going there”.
But once Roberts comes out with an explanation and says that the speculation is wrong, if Rothman has no evidence to the contrary that Roberts explanation doesn’t hold up, in my view he’s obligated to stand down pending any new information that might come forward to alter the storyline. Simply digging in and doubling down isn’t a strategy that will work in Rothman’s favor.