You may have noticed some comments, links, fanshots, etc recently concerning Chance Ruffin and the Doug Fister trade. I, and others, have addressed some of these head on while others have simply been hidden because I grew weary of repeating myself a dozen times in one day in the same place. In lieu of continually suffering repeated exposure and in the hope that this will do some long term good, I present the internet with my umbrage on this matter.
As best as I can find, every single one of these stories, links, statements, etc are originating from one place. A tweet sent yesterday by Jason Churchill that reads as follows
Hearing the M's PTBNL in the deal for Fister-Pauley with Detroit is RHP Chance Ruffin.
That tweet, that lone tweet*, has led to at least three internet posts, a fanshot here and dozens of comments across the web all regurgitating the same sensationalized headline that essentially drops the -- very important -- first word of Churchill's tweet. Dropping one word may not initially seem like a big deal, but it can and does vastly change the meaning and interpretation of a sentence. "Hearing" implies uncertainty. Removing that word makes the tweet a declarative statement about a future event instead of a qualified one.
*It's not the only tweet Churchill, or others, has made about the PTBNL. Consider this one from two days prior. How come there wasn't a slew of Smyly is the PTBNL stories? Or this one from four hours after the quoted one above making it clear that Churchill isn't certain it's Ruffin.
Let me absolutely clear on this matter, if you take Churchill's tweet that he's hearing the PTBNL is Ruffin and turn around and write that the PTBNL is Ruffin then you are engaging in a horribly misleading form of reporting and you should be ashamed. No matter if you are a blog author, a commenter, a tweeter, or telling a person next to you at the bar, when you engage in the act of communicating information to other people you should strive to do so accurately and faithfully to your sources.
To get out in front of what I view being a likely counter, not an iota of his has actually anything to do with whether or not Chance Ruffin is eventually named the PTBNL. If in two weeks the name is Ruffin, it will not vindicate anyone who wrote a premature and incorrect headline. There is no wait and see here. You weren't making a prediction that the player would be Chance Ruffin. You wrote a headline that directly implied that Chance Ruffin was already selected and your source for that information directly did not support your choice of language. You are wrong. You are wrong now and nothing about what happens with the PTBNL changes that.
I hope that some take this as a lesson not to blindly trust headlines and to follow through to the original source material where they can then judge the editorialized opinions for him or herself. Others I hope take this as a reminder to work harder to present accurate information when they write. And for the ones that don't, I hope that this helps add to the light that eventually convinces enough people to stop reading material suffering from lackluster fact checking.