Many moons ago, I was working on a show about celebrity couples and their dumbass relationships. It sucked to put it mildly. In order to research for this show that 1,000s of teen- boppers and desperate housewives were watching, I had to read a bunch of US Weekly and OK magazines. Yeah, my cube area became something like a hair salon with magazines everywhere and just constant gossip between co-workers on the show.
Like, oh, MY GOD!! Justin Timberlake was banging Britney Spears even though she was supposed to be celibate until marriage. Britney was having an affair with Justin’s backup dancer. Justin was hooking up with Cameron Diaz. Both are into getting tied up and watching Hotel Erotica on Skinamax. Both like strawberries when they are drinking beer under an umbrella naked.
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Most of this stuff wasn’t even true since the sources were people like the waitress at Britney’s favorite coffee spot or Justin’s paperboy. It was totally fake but everyone “in the know” would declare it to be fact. It is one thing to give a rat’s ass about their love lives, but to be fixated by a bunch of rumors that had zero truth to them? Made zero sense to me. Yet people loved the gossip. They love the entertainment. It is fun to imagine it being true no matter how insanely silly it is.
Why am I talking about this? Because I feel this is why some hockey fans are obsessed with NHL rumor sites. It is a combination of entertainment, some stupidity, and tons of love for their respective teams.
Every year there seems to be a new site that pops up that gets about 30,000 followers on Twitter. Most mainstream hockey reporters and smarter fans will denounce it and call the writers hacks. All that accomplishes is getting these fake reporters more followers and more attention.
The problem from a mainstream reporter’s point-of-view seems to involve a few things:
1) They hate being bothered when someone asks them about a rumor involving Jagr or Kane for Miller. I guess it has to do with them having to call their sources and ask if they have heard any of this. I remember that when I bombed out on my Buddy Nix retirement story last year, a few MSM folks messaged me that they checked with their sources and there was no truth to it. Obviously, they were right and I got bad info. However, I at least had kind of a history of getting stuff right. If I kept banging out false stories, what would be the point of a MSM person checking in with their sources? They know it is crap.
(But is it really that hard to text your source to ask about this rumor? It is 30 secs, yes or no? That’s it. Today, there was a rumor from a Czech paper about Jagr and the Sabres and guess what? The Keith Jones look-alike, Dave Davis, reached out to Jagr’s agent and he said there was nothing to the report. Outside of paying for the phone charges, was it really that difficult for him? Not to be flippant, but you can eat your pressbox hotdog by the time you get a response.)
2) Obviously, we know that jealousy with a mix of competition and insecurity runs rampant in the media/blogger world. State-run radio vs. lamestream media vs. The Basement Brigade. Everyone pretty much hates each other and wants to be #1 in this town. I think folks get jealous whenever a hot Twitter handle gets more followers than they do. I can understand that when the handle is making crap up and their non-work is getting rewarded, but reporters are getting paid…these fools aren’t. In other words, a reporter is getting something out of it while the fakers aren’t. Why stress over it? Why make a stink over it? If you can break your own news then you shouldn’t be so pissed off at a bunch of rumormongers.
Now are there folks who actually believe some of the rumors? Of course. But I’m sure that Buffalo fan is probably still reading the hot takes from WGR or TBN or Buffalo Wins. So, why get all flustered? Are you really losing out to them? There’s more than enough readers on the web to share the wealth.
In the end, I think folks like rumors because we are a culture that needs an abundance of hockey topics to talk about. Throw it out there and someone will grab on. People also like to fantasize about some of these moves and need something to talk about on Twitter besides prospects camp. God knows the lies are more entertaining than the real life moves Darcy Regier or celebrity couples end up making.