More Olympics Reporting Fails: Petition against Daily Beast, Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte, Swimmer 'Died like a Pig,' Volleyball Star 'Looking for a Boyfriend' - iMediaEthics

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While the Olympics continue in Rio de Janeiro, so do the issues in media ethics reporting.

The most high-profile media fail has been the Daily Beast‘s article by London editor Nico Hines who reported on the Olympics athletes he found on apps like Tinder and the gay app Grindr. The article was removed, as iMediaEthics previously reported, and may have outed some athletes.

There are a couple of updates in the Daily Beast case. Now there’s a petition calling for the International Olympic Committee to revoke the Daily Beast‘s press pass to the Olympics. “We call for the revoking of its IOC press pass immediately,” the petition by Josh Price in California says. “Outing gay Olympians from Countries where they can suffer physical injuries, abuse, jail, and  even death for being gay is not journalism.” As of Saturday night, the petition had about 7,500 signatures. iMediaEthics has asked the Daily Beast if it has any response to the petition.

Tongan athlete Amini Fonua, who noted he is an “out gay athlete from a country that is still very homophobic,” slammed the Daily Beast Aug. 11 for the article, news site Mic noted. Tweeting from Rio de Janeiro, Fonua said the Daily Beast “ought to be ashamed” and called it “clickbait journalism.”


The Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee chair Andrew Seaman blogged about the Daily Beast‘s story Aug. 11 writing that “there are several major ethical issues with the story, including the fact that this type of reporting is dangerous and can cause needless harm.”

He noted that just because the athletes were on the dating apps “does not equal the ethical justification to publish or broadcast” and reminded that many athletes’ home countries have anti-gay laws. “Additionally, the pseudo-surreptitious reporting methods used by Hines were completely unnecessary and unjustified,” he wrote, and noted that they weren’t in the public interest.

“The Daily Beast‘s story is a failure that should prompt a review of editorial practices and oversight within the organization,” Seaman wrote. “The athletes adversely affected by the story also deserve an apology. Such a story has no place in a modern media organization.”


More Olympics Fails

In addition to the Daily Beast‘s messup, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. broadcaster Elliotte Friedman wrongly announced Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the 200 individual medley, PennLive reported. Phelps actually won.

CBC also apologized when commentator Byron MacDonald said Chinese swimmer Ai Yanhan “dropped the ball, baby. Too excited, went out like stink, died like a pig.” According to the Guardian, MacDonald “thought his microphone was off.”

The CBC’s spokesperson Chuck Thompson sent iMediaEthics the CBC’s Aug. 11 statement about MacDonald’s comments:

“We sincerely regret that these statements were made, and that they were allowed to go to air.  We moved quickly last night to apologize to our viewers on-air and to our followers on Social media.

“To be clear, Byron’s comments were related to the swimmer’s performance, not to her as an individual. That said, they were inappropriate and an unfortunate choice of words and Byron is very sorry for what he said.”

The San Jose Mercury News also apologized for its headline and tweet simply calling Simone Manuel “African American” and not using her name, as we previously reported. The paper apologized for its inappropriate headline and told iMediaEthics “we failed to do a good job of editing in a deadline situation.”

But, others messed up with their comments on athletes’ spouses or lack thereof:

The Chicago Tribune came under fire for its tweet and headline calling Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein “wife of a [Chicago] Bears lineman.” The Tribune also apologized, saying “we focused too hard on trying to emphasize the local connection Cogdell-Unrein has to Chicago.”

But, the Chicago Tribune wasn’t the only one to focus on the spouse of an Olympian. NBC broadcaster Dan Hicks said Hungary’s gold medal swimming winner Katinka Hosszu’s husband Shane Tusup was “the guy responsible,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Los Angeles Times also noted that China’s Han Qiaosheng commented he wanted swimmer Fu Yanhui to “find her other half in the future,” and the Korea Times‘s Park Si-soo reported, “Boyfriend a tall order for 192 cm South Korean volleyball star,” Kim Yeon Koung. The Times also said she was “looking for a boyfriend.”

Read some more examples at the Los Angeles Times.

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More Olympics Reporting Fails: Petition against Daily Beast, Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte, Swimmer ‘Died like a Pig,’ Volleyball Star ‘Looking for a Boyfriend’

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