On the Pat Burns debacle: look before you tweet

On the Pat Burns debacle: look before you tweet
September 17, 2010, 6:05 pm
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By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Twitter: What are you doing to my sports news?
Timeliness is one of the cornerstones of journalism and your application has basically injected crystal meth into the eyeball of the information transfer process. And it's the speed and ease at which you can relay news to large quantities of people that's made reporters obsessed with The Scoop.

The best reporter no longer is the one who can hunt out stories on unexplored avenues, inform and entertain; it's now the person with the most dexterous thumbs, the one who can type and send a 140-character info-tase to the masses faster than the schmuck next to him.

And I'm cool with that. I use and like Twitter. What I don't like is when a person is more focused on doing a post-scoop fist pump than on checking the facts.

This week's sports Twe-bacle involves the death of NHL coach Pat Burns. Big news, right? His passing is certainly something that deserves attention and respect.

But let's do that when it actually happens.

Yes -- of any story to have spread virally, exponentially, across the millions of users on Twitter, it was the life-or-death one that got botched. Pat Burns is still alive. So that CTV-Ottawa report that spawned mourning and sympathy among the masses? All for naught. Hard to attach "just kidding" to what is literally the most definitive report you can file.

Especially when Burns isn't laughing.

"I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I'm dead. I'm not dead, far f------ from it. They've had me dead since June,'' he told TSN's Bob McKenzie.

I can't imagine what the fallout will be for Captain Lightning Thumbs at CTV-Ottawa. Ideally, Pat Burns will bring the hammer down by personally zipping the Tweeter up into Dan Carcillo's rancid, NHL hockey bag after a game. But such justice is rarely ever served.

So let's just get the facts straight from now on.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti