This Week in Bad Twitter

image credit: the Atlantic



by TSM and mike in boston


We preempt our usual coverage to bring you another edition of THIS WEEK IN BAD TWITTER. It's kind of a dead time in sports right now so the media personalities are a little bit desperate for content. When that's the case you end up with weeks like this one. On to the card …


Shoalts v Cox


Leading things off we have Damien Cox calling out Globe & Mail media writer Dave Shoalts for bias. This is nothing new for Constable Cox, who has gone after TSN and others for what he perceives as shilling. Damien's twitter has been on lockdown since he Kypper'ed himself so we have reposted most of exchange below. 


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If you had trouble following along the sequence seems to be:


  • Shoalts writes article about Rogers Sportsnet v TSN and the bad hockey ratings at the former, leading to high profile terminations last month


  • Shoalts writes article about TSN personality Jeff O'Neill 


  • Cox gets upset that Shoalts didn't declare that he works for Bell


  • Shoalts points out that Bell sold stake in Globe a year ago


TSM Takes:


  • I (Jonah) think this was actually pretty interesting banter between two veteran writers in the business.  As I said on Twitter at the time, I don't think anyone was offside per se, nor was this overly personal or inappropriate.  Shoalts is spending more and more of his time on the media beat and that draws the attention of those in the business.  Many choose to reach out privately to those of us who cover the business while others use social media to publicly comment.  There is nothing new to Damien's comment on the lack of disclaimer by Shoalts; we've seen and heard it before.  In fairness to Shoalts he's recently done not one but two exposes on Bob McCown which were more similar to this piece on O'Neil.  The question I would ask is whether or not the article would have changed if any type of disclaimer where given.  Personally, I think not, but that's just one opinion.


  • I (Mike) don't believe for a second that Cox didn't know that Bell is no longer a part owner of the Globe, so that was merely a pretext to take a shot at Shoalts, and indirectly at O'Neill and TSN. For those of you paying attention, this all coincides with Cox being relieved of his duties at HNIC and being shifted over to being Bob McCown's sidekick for 40 weeks a year. In other words, Damian was taking shots at the radio show that is his direct competition (at least until Bob retires). He knows what he's doing. 


  • This marks a return of Cox 1.0 … For a while Damien was playing nice on Twitter and on the radio. Apparently that phase is over. Let's just hope he stays away from lakes in Bancroft.


Barry Davis v Twitter


Barry Davis is a lovable addition to the Jays broadcasts. He does occasional on-field interviews, reports from the stands, and just generally complements the family friendly feel good vibe that characterizes Sportsnet's Jays coverage. So readers were surprised when he weighed in on the Tenors with this take:



At the same time, Hazel Mae (with whom Barry shares a job) was tweeting this:



Lots of others also piled on:



Barry chimed back in to clarify his take:



In case you didn't quite catch the implicature there, Barry is claiming that he had no idea what the Tenors did because he missed the lyric change and All Lives Matter sign. Therefore, he can't be accused of supporting the casual racism of All Lives Matter.


This is a fine attempt at a defense — certainly more credible than claiming he was hacked — but it does lead to the question what exactly he was trying to say in his original tweet. If he missed the original incident what was he "not offended" by? Further, why did he take to Twitter to immediately support something he missed? Seems a little confusing.


TSM Takes:


  • I (Jonah) think this is pretty simple; if you are going to tweet out about something going on without all the information you'd better be prepared for the instant sh!t storm or be prepared to retract or delete the tweet.  I am not going to delve into the issue of the Tenors or the larger one at hand except to say that we live in a very challenging time with regards to hate.  Social media, good or bad, has given everyone a voice and that has forced us all in to a difficult position of having to listen to everyone else's opinion.  This is a significantly charged area so if you are going to wade into it you'd best be prepared for the good and bad that follows.


  • Also, I've written this as recently as last week, I think Barry does a good job and I respect the perspective and tone he brings.  Personally, I think he could have handled his tweets better, but I recognize that sometimes it makes the most sense to just leave things alone.


  • Both John Lott and Richard Griffin took shots at Barry over the course of the last year, essentially accusing him of being a mouthpiece for the organization. I (Mike) thought both attacks were needless, as no one is going to mistake what Barry does for journalism. I hypothesized at the time that maybe there was some personal issues with Barry behind those shots. The bad judgment displayed throughout this incident lends some evidence in that direction. 


  • With Hazel encroaching on Barry's job, this was not a good time for this gaffe. 


Rosie DiManno vs Ladies at the Lake


Nothing is more Canadian than celebrating summer by putting your feet in the water of one of our thousands of gorgeous lakes. While owning a cottage is mostly a privilege of the wealthy, AIrBnB and Craigslist have made it the case that most of us can afford to enjoy to spend some time on the lake with the family. But with so many people out there trying to have a good time, conflict is inevitable. Star columnist Rosie DiManno apparently spent some of her dock time decking another woman:




She is of course innocent until proven guilty. If this goes to trial she will have expensive lawyers who will give her expert counsel. In the meantime, we here at TSM have some legal advice: DON'T TWEET ABOUT YOUR CHARGES



Of course, not saying things that might come back to hurt you has never been one of Rosie's strengths:



TSM Takes:


  • I want to know what respectable publication allows a front page appearing columnist to tweet out what she did to Warmington and keep their job. (Jonah)


  • She lost her cool but gained an assault charge. (Mike)


Miscellaneous Tweets


(Mike) I'm not sure if this is good or bad but it is hilarious. There is no more predictable yet reliably funny tweet than the Bruce Arthur Fuck You tweet ™. Whether it is about terrorism, American politics, Steph Curry, or the Oscars, you can bet Bruce is going to tell someone or something to Fuck Off. Here's a challenge. The next time something of note happens in the world, see if you can beat Bruce to the punch using the hashtag #BruceArthurSaysFuckYou



(Mike) Don Cherry weighed in on the Tenors by saying that "left-wing weirdo's" would be happy about this. I couldn't even begin to try to recreate the train of thought that led to that conclusion. I would say "stick to sports" but Don is pretty irrelevant in that domain as well. The good news is that Rogers signed him up for another two years of being a national joke. Sorry to those who lost their jobs on HNIC.



(Mike) Steve Simmons took a strong stance against media lobbying for Michael Saunders to make the All-Star Game. It was notable that TSN affiliated journalists and radio hosts refrained from tweeting out the Saunders hashtag. I have no problem with cheering in the press box as long as one doesn't try to pretend this won't affect objectivity. The fact that Jamie Campbell interviewed Chris Colabello about his PED suspension one week and wore the Saunders t-shirt another week shows the tension. If you want your journalistic work to be credible you have to forego cheering for players to make the All-Star Game. One or the other. Your call.



Bonus – Jonah's CFL thoughts


The Argos took a bullet from the crowd size, more like lack of it this past week at BMO.  I know we generally tackle just the media side here but allow me to rant a bit.  Look, if you are a die hard CFL fan I am not talking to you.  I have respect for you and your dedication you are not the problem; you also are not the rule but the exception.  So please don't add comments on how great the games are and how much you love them.  The issue is the greater audience at large simply isn't there in the GTA right now.


So, I want to know who the [email protected]#@!# thought that moving to BMO alone would draw the fans out.  Years and years of damage has been done to the CFL brand in Toronto.  Moving to a shiny new stadium isn't enough.  This is akin to turning the Titanic. As a father of two kids, the competition for our entertainment dollar is significant.  I need a compelling reason to go anywhere with my free time and disposable income.  Neither of my kids, both of whom love sports and going to games have any interest in the Argos or the CFL for that matter.  That's not me knocking or bashing the game or the league.  That's a fact of what years of mismanagement on the marketing side have done in this city.  The younger generation don't know and don't care.


I know given the rich tradition this will offend many, but remember my caveat above about this not being directed to die hard fans- the CFL/Argos need to adopt a minor league mentality in the GTA.  Don't worry about the on field product at all right now.  You need dirt cheap FUN games where the on field part is secondary.  4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks and 2 popcorns for $40.  With great entertainment in and around the game. That's how you build the fanbase in this market.  It's the Hanson brothers at the Marlies game mentality you need.  I know, you risk pissing off the die hards but, if you can't survive with the current # of die hards and the odd person showing up out of curiosity then you need to change the model.


The "if you build it they will come" mentality is so misapplied here.  It presumes thousands of people were staying away simply because of the venue.  Sorry folks, I don't buy it.  The Argos don't register on most people's lists of possible things to spend their time or money on in the GTA.  The only way to do that is to make it an event you want to be at all the time.   They need to get on as to remember predictable schedule and then offer over the top bang for the entertainment dollar.  The argument against is that there is more to success than young families.  I hear you and agree.  All I am telling you is that the Argos have lost generations of potential fans that they likely wont be able to re-attract.  It's a far better investment in going after young families and kids then the 18 + market who have already moved on.


I assumed the media especially would be taking a crawl, walk run approach to the Argos and BMO however the piling on this week has suggested otherwise.  If done properly and patiently it can happen.




thanks for reading … 

Jonah & mike



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