The Boston Herald repudiated its story which alleged the New England Patriots taped the walkthrough of Super Bowl XXXVI competitor Los Angeles Rams.
On Feb. 2, 2008, the Boston Herald reported that a member of the New England Patriotsâ€™ video staff taped the St. Louis Ramsâ€™ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI. While the Boston Herald based its Feb. 2, 2008, report on sources that it believed to be credible, we now know that this report was false, and that no tape of the walkthrough ever existed.
Prior to the publication of its Feb. 2, 2008, article, the Boston Herald neither possessed nor viewed a tape of the Ramsâ€™ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI, nor did we speak to anyone who had. We should not have published the allegation in the absence of firmer verification.
The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation, and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriotsâ€™ owners, players, employees and fans for our error.
The Herald believes it needed firmer verification.
ProFootballTalk.com has a very interesting theory on the entire matter. First, it believes the Herald used Matt Walsh as its source.
But the more interesting element is how the Herald changed its mind on the verification needed.
Though plenty of Pats fans will (continue to) call for Tomase to be fired, the real culprit here, in our view, is the person who (as we believe the facts to be) previously told Tomase that the story couldnâ€™t run with Walsh as an unnamed source, and who then changed his/her mind dramatically once it appeared that the New York Times and ESPN.com were close to getting Walsh to crack.
The pressure of getting scooped has media organizations lowering their own standards. And youâ€™ve got mainstream media jerks who complain about what blogs do to reporting. Clean up your own house and then we can talk about blogs.
One bit of overreaching was included by ProFootballTalk.com in their essay. PFT said the Patriots could sue for defamation.
I suppose they could. But simple negligence isnâ€™t going to win the case. You must show malice since the Patriots are obviously a public figure. So, that means the Patriots would have to show a reckless disregard for the truth.
Thereâ€™s no way you could show that.
The Herald had a source (someone it believed to be reliable) who provided the information. Now the Herald might have been negligent in not getting additional verification; however, thatâ€™s not enough to win a big verdict.
Regardless, another day and another black eye for the mainstream media.