by Irvin Muchnick
An executive at the Bay Area News Group, corporate parent of the San Jose Mercury News, last night told Concussion Inc. he was investigating a smear of this reporter on Twitter by the Mercury News writer I had criticized for the one-sided incompleteness of his story on federal investigations of USA Swimming.
Bert Robinson, the managing editor for content, informed me in an email that he was looking into the matter involving Elliott Almond, who covers Olympic sports for the newspaper. The Mercury News is one of the four media outlets (including this site) that were given advance access to Congressman George Miller’s exchange of letters over the summer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Mercury News account – accepting as fact an unnamed USA Swimming official’s statement, in the second paragraph, that there was and is no FBI investigation – badly fumbled the essence of the story. See “San Jose Murky News: Paper Duped by USA Swimming on Story of Congressman Miller and FBI Investigations of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up,” October 24, https://concussioninc.net/?p=9591.
In response to our criticism, Almond retweeted to his more than 1,500 followers a false Twitter post about me. The author of the source tweet, whose name and location are unknown, has been harassing me on various online platforms for many years, since well before I started covering USA Swimming sexual abuse in the spring of 2012. The root of the unhappiness of this anonymous crackpot seems to be my role in a recently concluded global class action copyright infringement settlement between freelance journalists and the periodicals and electronic database industries – which included the offshoot 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick.
After the harasser made veiled physical threats against my family in one of his hundreds of electronic communications to me, I turned the file over to my local police and FBI office.
There is no good purpose served by quoting the tweet that was irresponsibly recirculated by the Mercury News’ Almond; that would only give illegitimate currency to the anonymous and false content. Once the matter is resolved, I will provide Concussion Inc. readers with the full background.
Almond appears to have taken down his retweet. Among the several open questions are when he did so, and whether he did so on his own or at the direction of his bosses. I am demanding a complete and appropriate resolution statement from Bay Area News Group.
If Almond’s retweet was simply heat-of-the-moment stupidity, he and management can own up to that and we can move on. Of course, moving on includes, from this quarter, continuing to push through the major media self-censorship of the most undercovered scandal in sports.
Muchnick & Joyce podcast on the Miller-FBI documents on USA Swimming: http://youtu.be/M7BhE-i8ygE
Tim Joyce’s article for The Hill: “Congress and the USA Swimming Scandals” http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/221837-congress-and-the-usa-swimming-scandals