Deadspin defends Brett Favre naked in crocs story [UPDATED x5]

Brett Favre penis photo revelations: Were they ethical?
Brett Favre penis photo revelations: Were they ethical?

Last week, as Brett Favre was considering whether to return to play for the Vikings this year or retire, sports gossip site dropped a bombshell: Live Nude Favre.

The website, part of Gawker Media, didn't actually publish the croc shots, but reported the existence of the photos. Editor-in-Chief A.J. Daulerio cited as his source Jenn Sterger, who had once described to him photos she said Favre had sent her when he played for the Jets and she was the organization's in-house side-line reporter.

Now media ethicists are crying foul, and Deadspin is having to do some spinning itself.
The first sign that Poynter's Bill Krueger is here to bury Daulerio comes with this revealing disclosure on why the post doesn't name the woman who was the source of the allegations.

Daulerio not only wrote about the allegations in a post last week, he also named the woman who he says confidentially told him about the photos months ago. He acknowledged their conversations were off the record and that he's never seen the photos in question. ... (Poynter has decided not to name the woman because Daulerio appears to have broken their agreement of confidentiality.)

Violating a confidentiality agreement with a source is a major transgression for journalists, and is only done in extreme cases--to save a life, for example, or prevent a crime. As if Krueger's denunciation wasn't cutting enough, he brings in a rival sports blogger to twist the dagger.

Kevin Roberts of Bleacher Report chimed in with this: "This site not only ran a 'story' with little credibility or evidence during a time that was so blatantly obviously taking advantage of Favre (as he was tops in the news), but they also never even received full consent from [the woman] to go ahead with the story."

Deadspin Editor-in-Chief A.J. Daulerio is the one on the left, exposing his butt tattoo
Deadspin Editor-in-Chief A.J. Daulerio is the one on the left, exposing his butt tattoo
via Twitter

Deadspin doesn't have much of a defense: it claims the story was legal, if not ethical. And Daulerio oddly invokes unions to justify his personal decision to put pageviews over ethics.

"We're not in a union, so they can say whatever they want," he told me. "I don't expect them to play by the same exact rules we do. People think I'm giving a bad name to blogs. I don't think that's true at all."

Gawker famously pays bonuses based on pageviews for attention-getting stories, which makes us wonder: How many shekels did Daulerio earn by selling his source down the river?

UPDATES: Deadspin calls me a moron, Daulario calls me a fuckhead, and Brett Favre's second-cousin works for Poynter ... but does that nullify the ethics critiques from an unrelated Poynter author?

UPDATE 1: Deadspin responds petulantly, with made-up quotes:

What Krueger did not reveal, however, is that a colleague of his at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and Wasting Everyone's Damn Time is in fact related to Brett Favre: Gregory E. Favre, Poynter's distinguished fellow in journalism values [ed. note: This is a real title], is Brett's second cousin once removed.

This raises serious issues about Poynter's credibility and creates a potential conflict of interest, according to some experts I talked to through whom I will express an opinion I'm afraid to state plainly.

"This raises serious issues about Poynter's credibility and creates a potential conflict of interest," a serious media person told me via e-mail.

Some other people told me some similarly obvious things.

"For Poynter to criticize a blog's story about an athlete and not disclose that its 'distinguished fellow in journalism values' has close familial ties to that athlete is a very serious oversight," said an editor at some newspaper. "This raises serious issues about Poynter's credibility and creates a potential conflict of interest."

We're awaiting comment from Bill Krueger, mostly so we can be heavily condescending to him on the phone.

Truly a bizarre response. Responding to accusations of journalistic lapses by making up facts and quotes? I hope he ran this one by Nick Denton before publishing.

UPDATE 2: Deadspin responds to my post, calls me a moron:

@panopticon13 Moron responds moronically to Deadspin's response to Poynter ethics piece.less than a minute ago via web


Deadspin is correct that

Brett Favre has a second-cousin who works at Poynter

. Judge for yourself whether that nullifies the critique by an unrelated author.

Yes, Brett Favre, the Green Bay quarterback, is my second cousin once removed (that's the way we talk in Mississippi). When he won the Super Bowl, I was tempted to claim him as a nephew. But you would never know we were kinfolk by the way he pronounces his name. And the way every sportscaster north, south, east, and west of ESPN pronounces it.

UPDATE 4: Poynter Managing Editor Steve Myers responds in Deadspin's comments:

Clever sendup...Indeed, Gregory Favre occasionally teaches in Poynter seminars and has written for the website. We're happy to claim him. His title, "Distinguished Fellow in Journalism Values," conveys the long relationship he's had with Poynter.

However, Gregory has never been involved in editorial decisions on the site. Three people were involved with this story: Kelly McBride, the ethics faculty member who saw the original Deadspin post and edited the first draft of this story, Bill Krueger, a freelancer who contributes to the site, and me, the second editor and publisher of the post.

Frankly, the relationship between Gregory and Brett Favre was so far from my mind, I didn't even consider it when I edited this story. But now that you brought it up, I've heard that Gregory wishes Brett would get people to pronounce their name last correctly: It's "Fahve."

Steve Myers
Managing Editor
Poynter Online

UPDATE 5:  Daulario responds to me with--you guessed it--petulance. He says it's a "joke post," but tell that to the people whose lives he affected.

@panopticon13 fuckhead, it's a joke post. Go back to your hole.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Editor's Note: Unlike Poynter, we decided to publish Jenn Sterger's name because it's easy to find on Google and is in the stories to which we are linking. Cat's out of the bag, so to speak.

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