Like most in the online poker industry, I read several stories about an unfortunate incident involving Greg Raymer on Friday. First, I could not care less about what he may have done and what the Wake Forest Police Department has accused him of doing. He is a grown man and his personal life is none of my business. I do take exception as to how many in the media went out of their way to make the situation even worse for him.
Several media outlets jumped all over this (non) story. In my opinion, it is certainly not a national story like it was made out to be by the likes of TMZ and many local media outlets.
It seems to me that too many in the media wanted to publicly embarrass Raymer for his alleged actions. Some of these outlets even published the addresses of all of the accused men. I have to wonder how any responsible media member could think that was necessary.
Misreported as Male Prostitute
Just as I do not care about the alleged crime that was committed, I do not care whether the setup involved an imaginary male or female prostitute. I grew up in Georgia though and I can tell you that it does matter to many people in the South, which just happens to be where Raymer and the others picked up in this sting live.
This poor reporting can be especially damaging to people that live in conservative communities. I have to think that many of the people that went out of their way to include the word “male” in their reports knew this would cause additional damage because otherwise, in my opinion, there was no other reason to include this irrelevant information.
A number of other media outlets, both poker related and more mainstream, took what was reported by North Carolina media, rewrote their reports, and made it even more damaging than it should have been just to sensationalize a point that turned out to be false. I doubt too many of these outlets bothered to call the Wake Forest Police Department or find a press release from them before publishing their stories they later had to recant. Now those same media outlets are trying to sweep their mistake under the rug.
If you have never lived in the South then maybe you do not understand why I am making this point and you may think I am making too big of a deal out of it. We are talking about a state that still has sodomy laws on the books, ones that were used in this sting, where voters recently passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage through a statewide referendum by an overwhelming margin. If that vote is any indication, this type of thing certainly matters to a majority of people in North Carolina. I would argue that most people that reported the false information knew that part of the story could be especially damaging to the accused men.
I am not defending these beliefs in any way. My wife and I do not agree with them and they are a contributing factor as to why we no longer live in the South.
Example of Poker Media Completely Out of Line
One poker media site has not even bothered to remove their error or their related insults from their Facebook page. The Pokerupdate.com Facebook page still proclaims:
Greg Raymer Arrested in Male Prostitution Sting….
They do not know the facts, but still go on to say:
I am not sure if Raymer would be the “ideal” male prostitute. Just sayin’.
It is hard for anyone to defend that last comment in any way. Their erroneous reporting was later corrected in a comment in the thread and in their article, but the false information in the original post and other insults still remain.
In my opinion, this shows a tremendous lack of class and professionalism from a poker media and affiliate company whose integrity I have questioned in the past. Pokerupdate.com is owned by the same company that owns Pokervip.com.
Media Should Research Their Facts
I always make sure to research the facts before I report something. I will not jump on the bandwagon of a potentially damaging story without trying to find out the facts myself. That involves reading police reports, calling authorities, reading bills and researching laws. It appears to me that some in the Raleigh, NC media incorrectly reported the facts in this case. I suspect the information was given to them by police and later determined to be false. In my opinion, a media outlet that was given bad information by the police can be forgiven for this, but those that used their bad information without additional research cannot.
I respect the right of every person in the media to report the news as they see fit. Some feel this was news and I disagree, just as I am sure I have published news others would consider not to be newsworthy or opinions that some feel are a complete miss. If you are going to post a story like this then you better make damn sure what you are reporting is true, otherwise you can end up in a situation like this.
In my opinion, every media outlet that rewrote the story and failed to do their own research owes Raymer and anyone else they named a public apology.