Mike Wise Has Met the Enemy, and They Are Him

by Aaron Schatz

How could I be so lucky as to have a football-oriented journalism controversy fall into my lap during my short time blogging on The Atlantic's website? As my good friend Mr. Bounce would say, "Hooray!"

MORE ON Ben Roethlisberger:
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Hampton Stevens: Life Lessons for Ben Roethlisberger
Ta-Nehisi Coates: On Roethlisberger

Currently, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is suspended for the first six games of the season due to "conduct detrimental to the league" (i.e. legal trouble). He is meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday and Goodell may or may not reduce the suspension.

This morning, Mike Wise of the Washington Post sent out this tweet: "Roethlisberger will get five games, I'm told."

There's nothing controversial there. Some people expected Goodell to drop the suspension to four games, but five sounds in the ballpark. Other NFL reporters on Twitter re-tweeted Wise's message, or mentioned it on their blogs, and we all went on with our day.

But hours later on his radio show on 106.7 The Fan, Wise announced that the story was completely false. He fabricated the report in order to prove that "anybody will print anything."

Yes, that's right, in order to prove that NFL bloggers will link to anything no matter how unreliable the source, Wise decided to make himself into an unreliable source, thus guaranteeing that NFL bloggers can't trust anything he writes in the future.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, one of the Internet writers Wise was apparently targeting with this nonsense, is not very happy with Wise's journalistic ethics. I don't think the Washington Post should be either.