By Al Diamon
Created Dec 27 2007 - 3:27pm
It was breaking news, the kind - according to its promos - Portland's WGME-TV thrives on.
Late in the afternoon of Dec. 26, the National Football League announced it would allow that week's game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants to be shown on free TV. Until the league relented, the much-hyped Saturday event, in which the Pats would be striving to become the first 16-0 regular season team in history, would only have been available on the NFL Network, which isn't offered by most cable systems in Maine. Those football fans without a satellite dish would have been out of luck.
Channel 13 deemed the story so important, it used it to lead off its 5 o'clock newscast. But the station apparently decided its viewers didn't need to be told the whole truth.
Sports reporter Evans Boston announced the NFL had agreed to allow CBS, WGME's network affiliate, to carry the game. What Boston didn't mention is that rival network NBC would also be carrying the broadcast. This omission made it appear as if the station was editing the news in an ill-advised attempt to increase its ratings.
And reduce its credibility.
Other broadcast outlets took a more comprehensive - and ethical - approach. Both NBC Nightly News and ESPN's SportsCenter gave prominent mention to the competition in their reports.
Next time news breaks, WGME should try picking up all the pieces.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.