ESPN has a habit of not handing out proper credit for other outlets' reporting. It's happened a lot over the last year or so. But last night, the network went so far as to order SportsCenter to stop giving credit.
At a little after 4 p.m. yesterday, SportsByBrooks tweeted this:
Exclusive: SbB has learned Arkansas is engaged w/ reps of the interests of Les Miles & a $5-yr $27.5M offer is on the table— SPORTSbyBROOKS (@SPORTSbyBROOKS) November 27, 2012
About thirty minutes later, The Times-Picayune picked it up and tacked on its own source confirming the same details, while still giving SportsByBrooks credit for posting the "original report" (they also gave credit, again, in an updated piece).
And when it was time for the 11 p.m. SportsCenter (in the video above), Steve Levy came on and—wow—gave credit to SportsByBrooks. That's who broke the story, and that's who Levy credited, specifically and directly.
Not long after, a message went out on ESPN's internal editorial wire. An ESPN insider was thoughtful enough to send it along:
IMPORTANT: DO NOT CREDIT SPORTS BY BROOKS FOR THE ORIGINAL STORY ABOUT MILES HAVING AN OFFER. CREDIT REPORTS
So by the time the late edition of SportsCenter came around? "Reports" it was!
On the 1 a.m. SportsCenter, the crew pooh-poohed the news item a bit (anchor Jonathan Coachman sniffed, "This next one, we'll have to see to really believe"). So why were they running away from telling viewers where they'd gotten the story from?