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In defense of Tomase - almost

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by TheGodInAGreyHoodie, May 14, 2008.

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  1. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    Many on this board are quick to accuse Tomasse completely made up the story with zero basis and to be vindictive.

    Given the totality of the facts, I doubt that is the case. I tend to think he took the available facts and made a reasonable inference. An inference that was totally unprofessional, worthy of him being fired, but nonetheless reasonable.

    Assume from a reliable source within the Patriots (Drew Bledsoe, maybe) he had the following facts:

    1. Walsh was present at the Rams walk-thru.
    2. Walsh was employed at the time at the time to do taping.
    3. Walsh often did the covert taping of opposing coaches.
    4. The Patriots were aware of at least one of the Rams plays based on observations of the Rams walk-thru.
    5. Walsh claimed to have evidence of spying beyond what was already reported.

    Humm, a reasonable conclusion might be that he taped the walk-thru.

    Reasonable conclusion. But irresponsible journalism, to label the taping as a fact.

    Had he simply reported Walsh was a cameraman who was present at the walk-thru, the entire world would have jumped to the same conclusion. What Tomasse did was jump to the conclusion and then report it as a fact, not as an inference.

    To be clear, I believe Tomasse should be fired, as should the editor who allowed the story to run. But for shoddy journalism, not for an attempt to deceive.

    What the difference you ask. Lack of malice.
  2. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Rookie

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Again no vendictive, just shoddy journalism... But I think its a safe bet he wont be reporting on the pats much longer.
  3. ctpatsfan77

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Whether it's a reasonable conclusion or not doesn't make it a valid inference. Of course, I don't know how that plays into things legally.

    The term "malice" is a bit unfortunate, since the meaning of the term actual malice isn't exactly what you'd think. As far as defamation goes, it means "knowledge that the information was false" or that "the statement must have been published knowing it to be false or with reckless disregard to its truth."

    And, of course, if this rumor has been around for years, as has widely been reported, then there are really only two possibilities: (1) somehow the folks at the Herald were completely oblivious of said rumors until late last year, or (2) the Herald was aware of the rumor, felt it wasn't up to par before, but then changed their minds. If (2) is the case, then the Pats might--with the admitted facts in the "apology"--well have an open-and-shut case for libel.
  4. upstater1

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    From those facts I don't think that's a reasonable conclusion at all.

    I've been sitting here trying to imagine a guy with a camera taping a walkthrough, and I think that conclusion is very very unreasonable. It seems preposterous unless he's using a hi-tech gadget.

    Plus, some of those facts would have to come from Walsh himself, like the report to Daboll. No one who hasn't spoken with Walsh could have come up with that. And the Herald made evident that the source was not someone with access to Walsh.

    So, reasonable conclusion? NO.
  5. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Camcorders the size of a pen have existed for years. Granted back in 2001 they would have cost ten thousand dollars. More expensive than my budget. Petty cash for Kraft.

    But yes, it is obvious that he would have been spotted using a full size TV crew quality camera.

    Drew Bledsoe or Brian Daboll or others associated with the Pats at the time would have had such knowledge.
  6. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    When I used the term malice, I was referring to malice as meaning "desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another."

    However, if he had a source that told him Walsh was at the walk-thru and published a false conclusion he jumped to, than he didn't have actual malice either.
  7. Rob0729

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Although I do believe Tomase deserves criticism and attacks for poor journalism, I think he get a lionshare of the Patriots fans ire where it should be placed elsewhere. Say what you will about Tomase, but I don't think his intentions are to tear down the Patriots. There are plenty of journalists out there waging a war against the Patriots, in particular Belichick, and don't look to have any desire of stopping the witch hunt until Belichick is suspend.
  8. Deus Irae

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    http://www.massbar.org/about-the-mba/press-room/journalists'-handbook/19-libel

    I hope this helps in the discussion.
  9. ctpatsfan77

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Again, you're missing a key point here: these rumors were not new. Before this, no one had deemed them fit to print, but suddenly, they were; in that case, while Tomase might not have demonstrated actual malice, one could argue his editors did.
  10. The_Bloke

    The_Bloke Banned

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    I think that Tomase, as a journalist, was looking for the big story that would give him a name in the industry. And if it were any other team that he were reporting on I think it would have been ok with all of us.

    The problem is that it was the home team, and not one of the other 31 teams, and on top of it all it was the day before the biggest game of all time for the Patriots.

    Being the home team, especially on the verge of a historical moment, he should have taken extra care to ensure what he was reporting on was accurate and he did not and that is what makes the matter as bad as it is.

    I am sure that not one Patriot fan would have been concerned had he reported on the Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, etc.

    Sometimes a little extra discretion and common sense is necessary when reporting anything on one of the home teams, a team that is responsible for much of the writer's bread and butter.
  11. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Yes, the rumors were around.

    My personal speculation is that a day or two before the story ran, Tomasse learned from Drew Bledsoe that Walsh was at the Rams walk-thru. This coupled with the NYT breaking open that Walsh had damaging tapes, led to his false conclusion. This of course is pure speculation.
  12. chris_in_sunnyvale

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    My understanding is that the Walsh walkthrough rumors made the rounds early in the whole cameragate affair and that several reporters were ready with stories. Nobody went to print because rumors weren't enough. Tomasse sat on the story for months, but his editors were well aware that he had the story ready to go.

    My speculation is that the NYT was going to break either the same story or one very similar right around SB42. Tomasse's editors found out and didn't want to get scooped, so they told Tomasse that they were going to go with his story. I even suspect Tomasse initially refused, but then his editors pulled rank and said we're going with it and you either stand behind it or take a hike. Tomasse then made a huge error...he buckled...and the rest is history.

    If my take on the events is correct, I fault Tomasse for not holding his ground; If journalists are willing to go to jail to protect their sources, they should be willing to stand up to their editors when they know a story of theirs isn't fit for print. I fault the editors even more, though, because they knew the story wasn't fit for print yet printed it anyway.

    Regards,
    Chris
  13. ctpatsfan77

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Well, the good news is that now the Pats own all the cards vis-a-vis the Herald. I figure letting them twist in the wind for three months sounds about right. :mad:
  14. JoeSixPat

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    Re: In defense of Tomasse - almost

    Journalists can't make things up or infer.

    They have the opportunity to write columns that present their opinion. Articles need to be factual. There's no way around this for them.

    I still think that they might have been used - that an additional source with a hidden agenda corroborated what might have been an embellishment by Walsh.

    If that's the case the Herald made the decision that they'd look worse being used by those with vested interests than they would running a story that had NO factual content.

    The fact that they would run this story, as they said they did, doesn't seem to have credibility to me.

    No editor should allow such an unconfirmed story to appear even in the offseason - let alone on the eve of the Super Bowl.
  15. Lloyd_Christmas

    Lloyd_Christmas I can delete my own crap! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't understand why you continue to defend Tomase. What you described in the OP is circumstantial evidence. You don't accuse your home team of cheating in a Championship game on the eve of the SB based on circumstantial evidence.

    I'm beginning to think you are Tomase or at least one of his relatives.

    Seriously... he screwed up, there is not whitewashing it.

    I accept the Herald's apology even if it is several months too late and doesn't really make up for the original damage it caused. I lift my reading ban on them and encourage others to as well.

    That being said, someone really ought to lose their job over this (not necessarily Tomase).

    Tomase really needs to personally apologize (I think that is coming Friday). I am doubtful that he can reasonably continue to cover the Pats beat anymore.
    Last edited: May 15, 2008
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