This just in: Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is in talks to play next season’s home games at Tottenham Hotspur‘s new stadium, according to multiple news stories all citing … aw man, the Daily Mail? Repeating claims from a single unsourced story is never good journalism, but doing so when the original story is in a paper actually banned by Wikipedia as unreliable is even worse.
And even worse than that, the original Daily Mail story actually does provide a source, but it’s an extremely problematic one:
NFL commentator and writer Ray Glazer revealed: ‘London is now an option for the Raiders. It is being discussed for them to play there next year. They are still trying to figure it out. The Raiders are discussing it. Do they play four home games, four away games, and back and forth again?
That’s actually Jay Glazer, who said that in on-air commentary on Fox Sports over a week ago, and provided no sources himself beyond just throwing London out as “a possibility as of now.” Then he signed off “Cheerio!” because that’s how you indicate to Americans that you are talking about England, or that you are Bertie Wooster.
This is a pretty alarming example of journalistic reification, wherein something gets reported once in the press (or in a British tabloid that is sort of shaped like the press) and then can freely be reported by headlines around the world because it was reported in the press, man. Not that the Raiders definitely won’t move to London — it’s a possibility, just like pretty much every other place on the planet — but it’s not a particularly new one or an exceptionally likely one. I mean, I could write that the Oakland Raiders could play next season at the Stade Olympique in Montreal, and it would be just as accurate and just as sourced. In fact, I just wrote it, and I’d put this site’s accuracy up against the Daily Mail’s any day. San Jose Mercury News, your task is clear.
UPDATE: OH GOD NOW IT’S BEEN UPGRADED TO A “REPORT”!