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TFD: ESPN's Jeremy Lin controversy gets reflective review by ESPN Poynter Review Project

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports Updated: February 21, 2012 - 5:47 PM

ESPN is in the midst of its "Poynter Review Project," which is described on its web site as an independent examination and analysis of ESPN's media outlets. With an 18-month term, the Poynter Review team expands the role of ESPN ombudsman, held previously by Don Ohlmeyer, Le Anne Schreiber and George Solomon.

The latest self-examination? The now-infamous ESPN-Jeremy Lin situation. From the review:

The rise of Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks’ Asian-American star, has been one of 2012’s feel-good sports stories. But it’s come with an unwelcome undercurrent: racial references by fans, columnists and TV personalities that have ranged from innocent-but-cringe-worthy to openly offensive. Last week, ESPN went from the sidelines of this spectacle to center stage, issuing three apologies within 24 hours for “offensive and inappropriate comments” that led to one employee’s dismissal and another’s suspension for 30 days.

The first incident to garner widespread attention involved a headline on ESPN’s mobile website early Saturday morning. As ESPN dealt with the fallout from that mistake, its attention was drawn to another incident, on ESPNEWS on Wednesday night, then to a third on ESPN Radio on Friday night. After looking into the incidents, The Poynter Review Project sees one as a lapse in judgment by an editor working without a net and the other two as terribly timed slips of the tongue. One of the punishments imposed strikes us as too severe. And we note that the phrase that got ESPN in so much trouble is awfully shopworn and lazy. Whether they can be misinterpreted or not, clichés are signs of a writer or speaker on cruise control – which increases the chance of a crash.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, please have a look at the rest of it and let us know, in the comments, if you agree with the general sentiments.

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