Taken out behind the woodshed today? Phil Mushnick of the New York Post. Our man Phil has been writing a column for the New York Post since the flood. He supposedly prides himself on accuracy and often in his column takes sportscasters to task who are inaccurate . Take for example Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. A few years ago Joe was telling a story during a baseball broadcast about the Philadelphia Phillies late season collapse in 1964. Joe, who never will be confused with Vin Scully or Bob Murphy, got a few things mixed up. Morgan's mistake? He said that 1964 was his rookie year and he had an RBI single which extended the Phils losing streak to nine. Joe was wrong, as our buddy Phil gleefully pointed out. Joe was a rookie in 1963. Furthermore his then team, the Houston Astros didn't play the Phillies during their famous losing streak in 1964. Phil took Joe to task for this inaccuracy. Ok, fair enough, if you're putting yourself forward as an expert on baseball on a national broadcast you should have your facts right. So Phil's crusade for accuracy in the media is a good thing.
But if you're going to promote yourself as a champion of media accuracy, you damn well better be accurate as well. Phil pulled his own Joe Morgan a few days ago. In his March 1 column, Phil cherry-picked inaccurate stories from the good old Star Ledger and referenced "taxpayer funded, under-the-table deals on behalf of Rutgers football and coach Greg Schiano." Phil, here's a tip old buddy that someone who has 35 years experience in the media should know. If you're going to accuse somebody of something, do your own research and make sure it's right. "Taxpayer funded?" Wrong, the deal was for part of Schiano's salary to be paid by a sports marketing company that sells Rutgers' advertising. This is "private funding." Says who? Says the Star Ledger Phil. the newspaper you cited for "revealing this" in 2008. When did the Star Ledger call it private funding? In a December 6, 2006 article by Matthew Futterman of, you guessed it, the Star Ledger. So if you'd bothered to check your facts Phil, you'd have found out that the Star Ledger in the summer of 2008 "revealed" an "under-the-table" agreement with Schiano that had been made public knowledge and commented on, favorably in fact, by the Star Ledger in 2006. Phil then takes this great Star Ledger find and uses it to support his statement the Rutgers got "caught being dishonest or flat-out lying."
Phil then continued his regurgitation of Star Ledger fabrications by calling the new Rutgers AD, Tim Pernetti, a "Schiano shill," which is basically what the Star Ledger said in an editorial last week. Phil has some experience in this area. Because by parrotting the Star Ledger's factually untrue pablum, he's made himself into a shill for the Star Ledger.
Now Phil has the reputation as a champion of accuracy in the media. So a few Rutgers fans e-mailed him about his error. Here is his response to one of them:
RB - some folks prefer to root for clean programs, others don't care - unless the team loses. McCormick brings in the head coach's head cheerleader to oversee and reform the situation? You support that? Fine. - mushnick (I don't let the Ledger do my thinking, not for the 35 years I've been covering sports. RU never refuted the paper's findings; it admitted to them. So why your problem with the truth? Because it;s good ol' RU?)
Wow Phil, just wow! Rather than dealing with the SL's inaccurate reporting upon which he relied, Phil just gets nastier and infers that Rutgers is a dirty program. Why? Because "RU never refuted the paper's findings." Uh Phil, were you aware that then Rutgers AD, Bob Mulcahy wrote to the Star Ledger refuting this and they refused to print the letter? Yeah, I thought not. So I guess the theory is if a paper prints lies, unless you can convince them to print your rebuttal, the lies become the truth? Interesting take I must admit.
Phil, if you are a true champion of an accurate media, do your own research on this issue. I'd be happy to help you out with it for free if you'd like. Until then I'd avoid the subject if I were you. Because you don't know what you're talking about.