Though I’d be more interested in this story if LJ threatened to quit football if Cedric Benson rushed for more yards today, the details proved by the Kansas City Star’s Jeffrey Flanagan will have to suffice.
The next thing you knew, every media outlet in Kansas City was on the story. Why? Because these days, one link to one Web site can put a story œout there, as we say in our biz. That puts pressure on news outlets to react.
True, mainstream news organizations have to be careful. The concern was whether the voice on the song was really Johnson™s. It wasn™t like anyone had a voice-comparison analyzer handy to check Johnson™s voice against the one from the song.
If the voice wasn™t Johnson™s, and you were the news outlet that said it was, hello lawsuit.
That™s pretty much what WHB and Channel 4 faced last Thursday.
The audio from the song first appeared on Kevin Kietzman™s show on WHB late Thursday afternoon, then became the lead story on Channel 4™s nightly newscast.
Johnson first denied it was him on the song when Channel 41 caught up with him at a fundraiser late Thursday night, shortly after Channel 4 broadcast the audio. And Johnson again issued a denial to reporters Friday afternoon.
Was Johnson being truthful to the media? Who knows. But we do know that no one stopped dancing.
Despite all of Johnson™s denials, Kietzman said he stood by his decision to broadcast the rap song.
œWe had about a 90-minute discussion about whether to air it before we did on Thursday, Kietzman said. œMy first reaction was that without any video to confirm it was him that no, we weren™t going to run it. But we had somebody with knowledge that it was him, so we went with it. I definitely stand by that.
Both WHB and Channel 4 said they tried reaching Johnson before airing their stories.
œWe debated whether to go with it, said Channel 4 sports director Frank Boal. œI thought it was him. If he says it™s not him, then it™s not him.
œBut I know we were sure to say that it was purportedly him and allegedly him, all the necessary language.