As always, the press corps ignores it: On Thursday, we noted a striking fact:
As with most of our consensus scandals, the scandal our press corps has dubbed “Deflategate” began with some false information.
More accurately, it began with a lot of false information. And uh-oh!
At ESPN and at NBC Sports, major journalists attributed this false information to unnamed “NFL sources.” Apparently, the bad information was being dispensed by people within the league.
For our background report, click here.
Almost all our consensus scandals start with bad information. Given the caliber of our “press corps,” things typically snowball from there.
Something else happened on Thursday. The New England Patriots released a lengthy rebuttal to the NFL report which accused the team, even including its handsome star quarterback, of serious wrongdoing.
In their rebuttal, the Patriots made some remarkable claims about the false information which launched this latest ship.
In its typical way, the press corps is ignoring the Patriots' claims about that false information—false information which came from “NFL sources.” We don’t know if their claims are true, but we thought you ought to see them.
Several parts of the Patriots rebuttal report are striking. Below, you see the part which discusses the bad information which triggered this latest state fair:
PATRIOTS REBUTTAL REPORT (5/14/15): Since the Patriots were the target of this investigation and since information coming directly from game officials and League officials was crucial—and it was the League that also employed the investigators—Patriots’ counsel requested to be present during interviews of such League personnel. That request was rejected. Patriots’ counsel also requested from the outset that he be provided with the actual halftime psi measurements. That information was not provided until March 23, over two months into the investigation. It was provided then only on the condition that it not be disclosed and, particularly, that it not be disclosed to the media until the final report was issued. This condition was imposed in the face of the extensively reported misinformation about halftime football psi that the League had refused to correct. One can only speculate why it was so important for the League that the accurate halftime information be withheld from the public until it was ultimately part of a report that downplayed the science and instead relied on selective texts.The claims made in that highlighted passage are truly remarkable. Also remarkable? The way the “press” has ignored these claims in the past two days.
Let’s be clear. There is no doubt that false information was quickly leaked to the press about those air pressure readings.
At ESPN and at NBC News, this extensive false information was attributed to “NFL sources.” That is a matter of record, not an allegation.
In their rebuttal report, the Patriots have made some allegations about the way this matter played out:
They have said that the NFL refused to show them the actual air pressure readings for the first two months of this auto-da-fe.
They also claim that the NFL finally showed them the accurate data on the condition that it mustn’t be shared with the public or the press!
If true, that’s simply astounding.
Obviously, the NFL knew that initial press reports presented false information. They also knew that this false information was sourced to the NFL.
The NFL failed to correct this false information; that is a matter of record. But according to the Patriots, the NFL’s behavior was worse than that.
According to the Patriots, the NFL refused to let the Patriots see the accurate information. And when they finally let them see it, they insisted that the accurate information couldn’t be shared with the press!
That’s an astonishing pair of claims, except to the silly life forms found in our national press.
In a rational world, the national press would be upset by the fact that they were given false information in the first few days of this mess.
Beyond that, you’d think they’d be troubled by the claim that the NFL insisted, for the past four months, that this false information mustn’t be corrected.
That’s the way things would work in even a slightly rational world. But as we’ve told you for eighteen years, we live in a different type of world.
We live in the world which rejected Katharine Boo’s warning about “Creeping Dowdism.” We live in a world which is all about the love of consensus scandal.
Katharine Boo’s prescient warning was completely ignored. Beyond that, we’ve told you about this gong-show culture for the past eighteen years. That work has been ignored too!
In this case, as in so many others, a familiar pattern obtained. False information quickly appeared; it drove the shape of the new consensus. And once a consensus forms within the hive we call our “press corps,” nothing can ever disrupt it.
In the past two days, we’ve seen virtually no one discuss the false information which was attributed to “NFL sources.” We’ve seen no one discuss the Patriots’ claim about the NFL’s refusal to share the accurate information.
In a rational world, the Patriots have made some remarkable claims. Unfortunately, we live in the low-IQ world which rejected Boo. It's a world which adores its Salem Village decor and its clownish consensus scandals.
We’ll discuss this topic all next week. In the global perspective, nothing much turns on this latest consensus scandal, but it offers a stunning example of the way our “discourse” works.