Buzz kill on good journalism

KMSP’s recent investigative report puts the “yellow” back into yellow journalism.

Newsflash: “Underage” college students drink – some even have fake IDs. As is evident from their recent “investigative” report – if that’s what you can call it – FOX 9 would have you believe this is actually news. On its Web site, FOX 9 states the opportunity that this “story” brings is the chance for a “conversation” regarding the harmful effects of “underage” drinking and further accountability for athletics (“student-athletes don’t get a free pass”).

While many conversations have risen from this story, they have more to do with the integrity of the news organization than underage drinking and student athletics. Where FOX 9 fails in this story is in its attack of a demographic instead of the issue. “Underage” drinking is a supposed problem for Universities across the country, not just hockey players. Drinking also points to the larger question of adulthood. In the United States, people who are 18 to 20 can die for their country and represent their nation in world championships, but they cannot have a sip of beer. If the concern is binge drinking, perhaps parents and policymakers should think about taking away the novelty of alcohol rather than enforcing an ineffective consumption law.

Astute Daily readers have pointed out that this story comes on the heels of sweeps week and Channel 5’s successful coverage of the Vikings sex scandal. FOX 9’s thinly veiled attempt to “muckrake” up some ratings only succeeds in putting the University and the hockey team in a precarious situation. The University may feel obligated to enforce suspension on the alleged underagers; underagers who are about to be drafted into their professional careers; professional careers that are contingent on National Collegiate Athletic Association play. Imagine what would happen if every professional future was decided upon underage alcohol consumption. If any consequence is to come from this story, it should fall on the owners of establishments that are breaking the underage drinking laws, idiotic as those laws may be. P.S. FOX 9, here’s a lead: We think we saw Laurence Maroney driving his mo-ped while not wearing protective eyewear.