The rumor maven Eklund has published a column highlighting the fact that he doesn't delve into rumors about players personal lives just their professional ones. Eklund tries to drive a wedge between personal rumors and player transaction rumors:
In my stories on Hockeybuzz.com you will NEVER find any gossip about players in regards to their life away from the rinks or their personal lives...
There is a huge difference, and I take that difference very seriously.
There is a huge difference, and everyone I have ever hired to work here at hockeybuzz has heard me tell them the one basic rule: You can write anything at all about your opinion about a player's performance on the ice, but NEVER, even if you see it yourself, report on a player's personal life.
Eklund goes on to throw the Montreal papers under the bus for reporting that the police are investigating the relationship between three players and an individual named Pasquale Mangiola. After excoriating the papers for reporting something that is...wait for it...factual, Eklund throws open his heart :
I feel for these kids right now. They are Russian kids facing a firestorm that they can't possibly understand fully. Maybe they were taken advantage of here. Maybe they weren't. Until we know more we really know nothing...And in the end this may be an embarrassment only to the team. These players have their lives to live, and doing so as professional hockey players in the hockey fishbowl that is Montreal is hard enough.
After reading that here's my question--where is Eklund's heart for all those wives and children of NHL players who have their stress level kicked up by all of his "rumors" on a regular basis? Eklund makes his money, feeds his own children, and puts a roof over their house by trafficking in anonymous emails and chatter about other people.
What about the wife of Player X after Eklund publishes "Player X is almost certain to be dealt in the next 24 hours"? Or what about the children of Player Y who are asked by another school child "Eklund says your dad is going to be traded to Vancouver?" Don't they suffer in a similar fashion as Eklund collects his hits and turns those website hits into cash?
So according to the Eklund Standard of Internet Morality it is more appropriate to scoop up chatter from message boards and anonymous tipsters and post that online--causing grief for players and their families--than it is for a newspaper to print the fact that the police want to interview someone. Pardon me?
I welcome a reasoned discussion about journalistic ethics in the digital media world, but I refuse to accept self serving blather from someone who exploits rumor and innuendo and then criticizes others for reporting facts.