It was bad when Cam Newton’s character was assaulted. It was bad when Auburn’s national championship was called into question based on nothing.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
But what happened Monday was worse.
Brooks Melchior, the real name behind the vitriol on the SportsByBrooks web site, breathlessly exposed that some Auburn Tigerettes had been paid in the past two years. A real reporter, of course, would have done some minimal research and discovered that they were not paid for their work as Tigerettes but for various budgeted student jobs.
But to call Melchior a reporter is like calling me skinny. You can say it, but it doesn’t make it so.
Instead, Melchior wrote a long piece about some Auburn Tigerettes getting paid and that some of them became Facebook friends with a former recruit after he enrolled in school. He dug out some old quotes and pretended he had a scoop.
Melchior, no doubt, would say that he wrote nothing in the piece that wasn’t true. But he did exactly what set out to do. He gave the impression that the Tigerettes had done something wrong.
He didn’t have to say it. The comments on the story said it for him. That’s the way he works.
Innuendo is Melchior’s stock in trade. Truth? Accuracy? Context? Not so much.
It’s bad when the target is a big-time college quarterback, but big-time college quarterbacks are accustomed to being on the big stage, even accustomed to being criticized.
It’s bad when it’s a coach, but coaches are paid well enough to take it.
But when Melchior takes off after female college students about whom he knows nothing, resulting in faceless, gutless message board posters calling them prostitutes and worse, that’s a new low.
All of us have, at one time or another, written stories that hurt people. Some of us have empathy for those who are hurt.
And then there are those who just don’t care.