The announcement from Stewart-Haas Racing on Thursday, announcing a contract extension with 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick that would keep Harvick behind the wheel of the No. 4 Chevrolet-turned-Ford for the next few years sure left some people looking kind of stupid, and that’s probably putting it mildly.
The aftermath has left fans questioning the media and members of the media questioning each other, and by that I mean questioning whether some folks are really “media.”
Aside from fans determined to believe that Harvick is a “Chevy guy” and there’s no way he’d drive a Ford, the media part of this dust-up seemed to catch fire courtesy of two websites, one a site that falls into a category often referred to as “citizen journalism” and the other a site ran by a fan and few other fellow-fans as sort of a hobby that was able to affiliate itself with a larger group of sites to mask itself as media.
I have respect for at least most of these “citizen journalism” sites, as they’re where several reputable writers are trying to hone their skills with the hopes of breaking into a career as a NASCAR journalist. Others with these sites formerly made their livings as NASCAR journalists and, as a result of the economic down-turn of a few years ago, lost their jobs through layoffs and the like. I have respect for those trying to remain in the sport and those who are trying to make their ways up the ladder and are seriously taking a stab at this. Kudos to you guys.
As for the erroneous reports of Harvick’s supposed move to Hendrick Motorsports to replace Kasey Kahne, most of the reputable media didn’t really report a move. Sure a few of them discussed the rumors floating around but presented them for what they were — unsubstantiated rumors.
As far as the reports claiming to have confirmation from “sources” that Harvick was, indeed, moving to Hendrick? Well, those came primarily from a couple of sites that I alluded to when I started this post. I prefer to take the high road by not naming them, specifically, but judging from posts from other writers and comments from fans on social media, I’ll assume that most of us know which two sites I’m talking about.
As for the “citizen journalist” site, I prefer not to think negatively of all writers on all those sites because of one “bad egg.” As I mentioned before, many of the folks on these sites are earnestly trying their best, because they want to break into the field on a full-time, bill-paying basis.
I have to admit this one “bad egg” did leave somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth with his half-blankety-blank apology. Quite frankly, it came across to me as an excuse-ridden load of crap. But that’s just the way I took it.
I do have a problem with the people claiming that all the media was reporting the supposed Harvick move to Hendrick Motorsports. No we weren’t. I can proudly say that this website never ran a story claiming that Harvick was going to replace Kahne at Hendrick. Actually, we never even gave that specific rumor a mention.
As a matter-of-fact, such a move didn’t really make sense to me. After all, Kahne still has time on his contract with HMS beyond the 2016 season. Sure the “hacks” mentioned that, but they followed it up with some supposed buyout. Yeah, sure.
Then there was Harvick’s staunch denial of the move. Usually, when teams and drivers aren’t ready to discuss such personnel changes, they just refuse to comment or say something like, “I’ll tell you something when I have something to tell you.” They usually aren’t as adamant as Harvick has been the last week or so.
Then, there’s Ford. I’m sure Ford’s paying a pretty penny to bring Stewart-Haas Racing into its fold. I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t be forking over so much dough if they thought there was any inkling of the team’s top driver jumping ship.
Oh, and we can’t forget that argument that Chevrolet wouldn’t just let Harvick get away. Does Chevy have the power to force someone to stay with them when someone else makes a better offer? I’m guessing, no.
And as far as Harvick being a Chevy guy. You know, those folks who pointed out that Harvick’s been in a Chevy his entire NASCAR career? I guess it never occurred to them that his entire Cup career prior to joining Stewart-Haas was with Richard Childress Racing, traditionally a Chevy team. He also started his Busch (now-Xfinity) Series career with RCR. As for the Nationwide (now-Xfinity) and Camping World Truck series entries he fielded under the Kevin Harvick Inc. banner? Well, that was while he was driving a Cup car for Childress, again a Chevy team. Couldn’t you imagine the conflict if he had fielded something other than a Chevy then? Think about it, because of their Sprint Cup manufacturer affiliations, could you imagine Brad Keselowski Racing not fielding Ford trucks and this point in time or Kyle Busch Motorsports running something other than Toyotas?
Anyway, back to my point. No, not all the media was reporting this bogus story, even though I saw an unnamed fan claim we all were in a Facebook comment yesterday.
I think that erroneous perception is the unfortunate result of the ability of any proverbial Tom, Dick or Harry to start website in his/her parents’ basement and post some NASCAR stories on it with the hopes of getting some hits and maybe even some media credentials to their nearest NASCAR-sanctioned track.
These aren’t all bad, but the fact of the matter is, some of the “hacks” that run some of these sites ruin it for everyone else. Some of them, quite frankly, have an attitude that goes something like this: “Oh, this is juicy, and I’ll bet it’ll attract a lot of attention. Truth be damned.”
In all fairness, not all of these sites are created in parents’ basements and they’re not all bad, but they’re not exactly what I’d consider “news sources” or “media.” Problem is, these days, I can see how it would be hard for fans to tell the difference.
There are a couple of tell-tale signs to look for, though. If a writer doesn’t seem to know the name or names of athletes in the sport he/she is covering, chances are, they may not be too sure what they’re talking about. For example, the fan site erroneously spelled Kasey Kahne’s name, “Casey Kahne” in one of its Harvick-Kahne-Hendrick stories. Another one you may see a lot — Jimmie Johnson’s name erroneously spelled “Jimmy Johnson.”
Back to the guy from the “citizen journalist” site and his whining and belly-aching about more reputable reporters criticizing him. Whether you meant to or not, you’re putting their reputations in questions, and I’m talking about the reputations of the good ones who can be trusted. See, some people lump all the media, and for that matter, media-wanna-bes together, and as a result, when one can’t get his facts straight, it winds up an undeserved poor reflection on the others.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Rant over.
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