Friday, June 18, 2010

Lou beDeviled by A Rumor

Lou Lamoriello on Fan 590AM
New Jersey Devils G.M with Bob McCown & Bruce Arthur
• Thursday, June 17th, 2010

While the bulk of the interview surrounded the hiring of new coach John McClean, Bob McCown did take a moment to ask Lou about the Marty Broduer trade rumor and his reaction to it. I’ve never heard Lou laugh before. “It’s probably the first time I ever reacted to something that was put on my desk.”

“It’s so far out there that you wonder how they gain any momentum at all.” McCown said. “And this one actually did gain some momentum.” Yes, it did. But it was picked up by more than just the "new media" but also by the main stream media. And then… the proverbial brown stuff hit the spinning blades. Perhaps it was because it was about a future hall-of-fame icon or perhaps because it was just a slow day in the hockey media, but a “rumor” which is there to stir discussion became the discussion itself.

“I guess you’re chagrined that you have to even respond to it, but I guess you do, don’t you?” This was McCown’s way of asking Lou to respond to the rumor, even if he didn’t want to.

“Yes, and I don’t believe in responding to it. I believe that everyone has a job to do and rumors are rumors but when someone puts something on your desk and it says that ‘this came from management’ or ‘not an unknown source’ or ‘it’s close to factual,’ I think that’s crossing the line. And I think that some of these things that transpire, I would hope the individuals – and I wish we can get to this someday – we can tie names to where this comes from. Because more often than not, whether it’s a rumor and they pick up a story and make the end the beginning of the story and they put their own ending in; sooner or later there’s a lot of people involved that it hurts. If it’s true that’s one thing. But if there’s no truth to it whatsoever, it’s a license to do things that are frankly quite disruptive.”

This gave Bob McCown the opportunity to bash new media in a very condescending tone. “Well there used to be a time Lou, when guys like you could point at guys like us and say ‘It came from the media.’ Because 99 times out of 100, that’s where these things are generated from. But with the social media what it is today, you don’t even KNOW where these things are generated from. I mean, some guy in his basement in Tim-Buck-Too puts something in a “blog” (and I can’t even express the distain he expressed when saying that word) or a Twitter or something and the next thing you know, it’s out of control.”

It was “out of control” because other news outlets picked up on it? Wait, if they’re so good at being “media,” shouldn’t they have researched it first without regurgitating it? No, why bother. It’s a hit generator and right now everyone (whether they admit it or not) is in the business of gaining attention. ESPECIALLY main stream media whose audience has been slashed by the number of informational outlets or self-imposed (dumbass) pay-walls (Hello, Newsday?).

But Bob continued as if to send Lou Lamoriello, one of the most successful GMs in all of Hockey, on a quest. “Your search to uncover the source may take an awful long time, Mr. Lamoriello.” Yes, it would if he was looking for the source of the original statement, the one that was uttered PRIOR to it hitting the internet. Look for the person who whispered it in the ear of someone with access to thousands of people.

Lou has been in this boat before, “I can share a story that happened this year. I’m in my office, in the arena, which is right outside the practice rink and I get a call because evidently there were people watching practice and two of our players did not skate. And on the blog that was sent out was that two of them were injured and were out for the next game. They hadn’t been on the ice more than ten minutes and I had more than half a dozen phone calls to know what the injury was.”

“There you go.” Said McCown figuring his point was made for him: The blogosphere is evil and must be stopped.


If not for the conversations that are generated on the internet, what would callers want to know from on-air radio personalities? This is NOT to say that there should be no boundaries for bloggers and new media reporters. We should all police ourselves. After all, just as the “real” media, we are judged on the quality of our work and we can gain or lose respectability with a simple combination of keystrokes. Sometimes those keystrokes create a quiet ripple, this time it created a tsunami.

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