Friday, July 24, 2009

Privacy Tips Lead News on Andrews Video Scandal: Sports Writers Feud Amid Blame-Game Sweepstakes; Will Female Sideline Reporters Get New Respect?

The Erin Andrews privacy story is wrapping up for the week with this piece from ABC News, "Tech Tips for Outsmarting Peeping Toms: Counter-Surveillance Technology Detects Some Hidden Cameras." (Here's a tip: "The SpyFinder Camera Detector, for example, is a pocket-sized, battery-operated device that sells for $99.50 on")

Along the same lines is the Hartford Courant, "Media Decisions, Privacy Law In Spotlight After Internet Video Wildfire":

The secretly taped video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in her hotel room is an example of media at its most viral — although online for months, it didn't catch fire until last week when it became Google's most-searched subject and put the Bristol-based sports network at the center of the story.

Also, check the Courant's graphic, "How Video Became a Hot Topic." And recall yesterday's report, "Erin Andrews Video Peep Pictures: Will the Search Ever End?"

...the Erin Andrews peephole video controversy is a huge, huge, story. It speaks to many issues, including the role the Internet plays in perpetuating prurient new stories, the emergence of female sports reporters, sexism in pro sports, voyeurism, betrayal, publicity, the public's fascination with celebrities, etc.
More, "Erin Andrews Peephole Tape Continues to Stir the Web." And, "Erin Andrews Story Dominates Web. Why? Need You Ask?."
Actually, the story has peaked by now, although "Erin Andrews" continues to be a hot search item on Google Trends (but some residual fascination in seen in the release of an Erin Andrews doll, according to New York Daily News, "Erin Andrews is About to Become a Real Doll").

Of course, sports journalism industry has been churning in angst amid this week's rocketing attention to the Erin Andrews peephole case. The media controversy early yesterday focused on the nasty spat between ESPN and the New York Post. See, MediaBistro, "ESPN & Post Face Off Over Andrews Scandal."

But ESPN has also come under fire for its blackout of reporting on its own internal stories. See, "
Erin Andrews tape, Roethlisberger Story Puts ESPN in Spotlight":
Over the years, the biggest criticism of ESPN, the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports," has been that it engages in shameless self-promotion that often makes it seem as if the network is bigger than the stories it covers. But in a strange twist, two stories have developed in recent days that have thrust ESPN into the national spotlight and made the network the story. Here's a look at those two stories one that made the network the focus through no fault of ESPN's and one that did through ESPN's doing and how they have been viewed.
See also, The InquistR, "On Defence, ESPN is Dodging Some Big Sport Stories." And out today, at the Boston Globe, "ESPN Taking Cover of Late."
Of course, I've covered the Andrews story exhaustively, but the link between the peephole crime and the Roethlisberger allegations is potentially expostive for the network. See, Maurice Everything, "ESPN / ABC / Ben Roethlisberger Conspiracy Theory!":


1. Shaquille O'Neal has a new show on ABC called Shaq Vs.

2. The premise is that Shaq (pictured here with a panda bear) challenges professional athletes from different sports and tries to beat them at their own game.

3. The show's first episode airs August 8 and filming began today in Pittsburgh with Shaq competing against none other than BEN ROETHLISBERGER.

4. ESPN is owned by ABC.

5. In an attempt to not ruin the premier episode of Shaq Vs., ESPN has downplayed the Roethlisberger story because, hey, who wants to watch Shaq play football against a rapist?*

There you have it. Corporate ownership, kids.

You're still my boy, Big Ben.
See also Joe Santoro, "ESPN is Everthing That is Wrong With Sports Journalisim Today."

Also raging Thursday was sports journalism's battle with Jason Whitlock and his scathing piece, "
Erin Andrews Nude Video Scandal: Whose Fault?" I cited the essay in my previous report. I didn't, however, notice the the Fox Sports homepage had pumped up the Whitlock piece with the Photoshop above. The picture, splashed across the front of Fox Sports Online, served as a banner headline for Whitlock's essay. Readers can make inferences. The racial implications alone are revolting (of a black man stalking a beautiful white woman through a peephole). But the reactions go both ways, from outrage at the insanity to back-slapping humor.

Here's the logical inference for a quick look at the graphic, from Mr. Irrelevant, "
Breaking: Fox Sports Outs Jason Whitlock as Erin Andrews’ Peeper." And also, David Martin, "Jason Whitlock Sees You!":
Adverb-addicted Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock has weighed in (har, har) on the secret videotaping of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews. The piece is less about the wrong done Andrews than the grievances Whitlock has accumulated in the course of becoming a high-profile commentator.

Editors at outdid themselves with the presentation of J-Dub's column. For users too obtuse to catch the pun in the Web headline ("The 'Hole Story"), Whitlock's head shot is pasted behind an oversized keyhole; in the foreground, Andrews models evening wear, a peeping victim once more!
But see, the Mouthpiece, "Fox Sports Graphics Monkey Either Brilliant or Insane":
Yes, that is Erin Andrews, superimposed over a keyhole graphic, through which stares … Jason Whitlock! Ahhh! And that is not a kind, knowing, forgiving Jason Whitlock. That is a creepy peephole Jason Whitlock. That is the last photo of Jason Whitlock you see before you die.

As for his column itself, it’s just insane. In sum: Racism, Deadspin, Daulerio Leitch Leitch Daulerio, White Woman, Racism, Real Talk. I just saved you three minutes. You’re welcome.
Plus, here's the first commenter from Deadspin's piece, "It Was A Rough Week For ESPN":
The Whitlock/keyhole pic deserves its own post. First, it's Whitlock, the crown prince of judging women by their asses. Second, "black man peering through a keyhole at a white woman" apparently doesn't register on anyone's race panic radar. Third, is he drunk in that photo?
Also, from FanIQ, "Jason Whitlock Gets on His High Horse and Blames Sports Blogs For the Erin Andrews Incident." But the Arrowhead Addict didn't seem to mind, "Hilarious Erin Andrews/Jason Whitlock FOX Sports Image." Added: "When is a Graphic Too Graphic?"

And that leads us to the future of women in sports broadcasting? Are we in a new place in the sociology of gender in the wake of the peephole controversy? Here's Marc at Feministing laying down the ideology, "
Professional Sports, Masculinity and Erin Andrews":
Where do these identities of masculinity come from, though? If we're going to blame sports for misogyny and sexism, then we might as well start at its lowest level - on the baseball diamonds of Little League and school playgrounds, where little boys are told to be tough, in control of their emotions, and not to cry. Guilt is found in every coach who's ever told little boys that they throw "like a girl," and every parent who's told their child that boys do not cry, lest they want to look like little girls.

But the biggest blame here lies in the millions of men who have, since the assault of Erin Andrews, chosen to support her exploitation by searching for the video. That they might or might not have masturbated to orgasm watching this video is immaterial. What matters is that they knowingly supported the violation of Erin Andrews - and even worst, sought to derive satisfaction, whether emotionally, sexually or otherwise, through her assault.

Just admitting guilt, however, isn't enough. Guilt, after all, never helped free women of other oppressions, and it certainly didn't help them attain the freedoms they've gotten to this point. What we need, then, is action. We need to speak up. We need to call others out for their sexist actions and statement - but to do that, we must call ourselves out. The journey to ending sexism toward Erin Andrews and all women, those in our lives and those we do not know, starts with an admission of guilt. We are all guilty.
Also, at VolNation (an ESPN comment board), "Erin Andrews, Women and Sports":
The Erin Andrews affair tells lots of us that we should do better. We should not joke in ways that degrade innocence. We can call a whore a whore but we should not project lust and evil on someone who is innocent. Beautiful women are one of the great gifts God has given the world, and in the South, and at football schools, you can see lots of beauty on display. It is fine to respect and admire that without being trashy or dirty. Whether it is signature pictures of models put up by old men who are lonely, or comments about how someone has a busted nose by guys who are fat and have enough back hair to knit a sweater, our sports boards do not need it.
Now, let's hear it from the feminists (women, I think). From BrokeHarvardGrad, "Female Sports Report Recorded Through Peephole." That piece links to an earlier article from the Washington Post, "For TV's Female Reporters, It's Strictly a Sideline Job: From NFL to NBA Telecasts, the Booth Still a Glass Ceiling." Plus, at the Bleacher Report, "Are Sideline Reporters Necessary Or Just a Distraction."

And Vivian Bernstein has a brief but potent essay, "
Erin Andrews and the Ugliness of Judging Beauty." But see Jessica Quiroli, at High Heels on the Field, "Erin Andrews Doesn't Deserve Your Lousy Behavior":
Women in the sports journalism business have busted down clubhouse doors to gain respect.

Being a pretty blonde who appears to some to be too friendly, is not an affront to the women who fought so hard. What is an affront to all women and all those trailblazers, is the attitude that a woman who's considered attractive, should be treated like a whore.

Tell me, friends, did it make you smirk when ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was violated in her hotel room by a peeping tom? Did you immediately jump to her defense? Would you have if it was, say, Christine Brennan treated in this manner?

If you didn't defend her, you are beneath the dirt of a baseball field. You're not even fit to be the spit on a spit ball.

A friend in the business has a great response to men who mistreat her in any clubhouse. "If I were your wife, or sister, or daughter, and some guy were treating her the way you're treating me, how would you feel?"

What if, a girl you're close to or related to, was filmed naked against her will? I don't believe you'd take the attitude that she deserves it.

News flash to all: being friendly and pretty, doesn't constitute being mean you have a right to treat a woman any way you please. It's not an invite. You may not agree with how friendly Erin Andrews has been seen to be, but that's her personality. Her body and her hotel room are not your right for that reason.

News flash to women in the business: We are in this together. We are outnumbered. There is strength in our numbers if we support each other. Let us not be weakened or our bond be damaged. We've come too far. It's too important. It's a piece of feminist history. Never, NEVER forget that. Lipstick and a sundress don't make me less of a feminist or baseball writer. That's male designed thinking. Don't join them. WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT.
Also, "WSU's Brunson Feels for ESPN Colleague Andrews." And, "A Perspective on the Erin Andrews Incident from the Other Side of the Blogger’s Fence."

So, where are we, after a week of the Erin Andrews nude video scandal?

Well, maybe back where we began. Check out this piece, out today. It's basicallly comparative sensationalism, "Tale of The Tapes: The Erin Andrews Peephole vs. The LeBron James Dunk":
Over the past week or so, we have been blessed with the unveiling of not one, but two tapes that will forever be entrenched in the history of the sports blogosphere.

It all started last Friday when we were treated to the creepy (yet incredibly hot) peephole video of ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews as she curled her hair, ironed, and got a squat or two in there as well. It has since received an enormous amount of attention. Even Bill O'Reilly and the people at FOX News couldn't resist the temptation of showing viewers a sample clip.
And here's this one, from the New Orleans Conservative Examiner, "Erin Andrews Peeping Tom Drama is a HOAX."

Actually, no. It's not a hoax, not at all. We don't know everything about this story yet, but we know that Erin Andrews was manipulated and brutally victimized. There's a lot of greed and sexism stewing in America today, and much of it is getting swept under the rug by our fears - all kinds of fears, and especially the fear of looking inside of ourselves and acknowledging our fallen state. I'll have some more thought on this in my Erin Andrews traffic report tomorrow. The results - and my conclusions - might surprise you.


UPDATE: Here's the latest for
Erin Andrews on Google Trends (10:00am PST):

Jul 24, 2009 - change date
Updated 1 minute ago

1. cash for clunkers st...
2. erin andrews peephol...
3. not your daughters j...
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Showing 1 - 20


erin andrews peephole tape video
Hotness: Volcanic
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Also, at Hollywood Gossip, "Great Moments in Erin Andrews Peephole Coverage." And, at The Frisky, "Holy Exploitative: An Erin Andrews Action Figure."

Some people will stop at nothing to make a profit and is no exception. This site specializes in making action figures of newsworthy folks like Sarah Palin, Jon Gosselin, and George Bush. But now that ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews has been catapulted into fame because some creep decided to film her naked in her hotel room, the site is going to immortalize her forever in colored plastic.

She’s going to be made into two dolls, one will look all professional and the other is going to be rockin’ a red sundress. A red sundress? Ugh, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a special-edition nude one, too. The dolls usually cost around $40 and look way more muscular than the people they’re supposed to represent, but as long as the site makes money who cares, right?

And Sports Illustrated has a new piece on Leslie Visser, "With Smarts, Grace, This Female Sportscaster Broke Down Barriers":
Back in the day, the righteous fight was for respectability. Women weren't objects. Or playthings. Or idiots. Every time a female reporter entered a clubhouse, or asked a thought-provoking question to a chauvinistic jock, or wrote a breathtaking lede, the slow-moving world of sports took another small step toward enlightenment. That was one of Visser's aspirations then -- not to be seen as some sort of trailblazer (which, without question, she is), but as a professional. As an equal. Now, however, thanks to this odd physical obsession over all things Erin Andrews, as well as to the ritualistic hiring of women reporters based first and foremost on looks, we are back in the dark ages.
Also, I missed this one earlier, but check out Kashmir Hill, "The Erin Andrews Tape: ‘Privacy is the New Nudity’."


UPDATE II: From the Hartford Courant, "Erin Andrews Video an Inside Job? Theory Gains Strength":

The theory that ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was the victim of someone who knew her, possibly a fellow ESPN employee, continued to gain more credence on Friday.

A number of websites, as well as a report by CBS News, used sources to conclude that the infamous video was shot by someone who knew where she was.

"I would say it would probably have to be somebody who's close to her, just to get in the area of her," Patrick Malkmes told CBS News. Malkmes was identified in the report as a private investigator and CBS consultant.

The website, using sources, said the shooter of the video was "probably a fellow ESPN employee, since it's the network that books the hotels for employees traveling on assignment."

The same source told that ESPN is "freaking out" as the investigation continues into how this happened.

The video, lasting several minutes, was shot through a peephole and showed a nude Andrews inside her hotel room.

Meanwhile the New York Post furthered the story on Friday's editions by reporting that the website where the videos first appeared, Dailymotion, has not been contacted by police.

"We have not been contacted by authorities or heard from investigators," a spokesman for Dailymotion told The Post.
More at the link.

The Post's story is here, "
Questions About Erin Andrews Peephole Video Investigation":

The Web site where voyeur videos of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews first appeared has yet to be called by police -- raising doubts about how aggressively the case is being pursued.

"We have not been contacted by authorities or heard from investigators," a spokesman for Dailymotion told The Post yesterday.

Computer-security experts said cops could quickly find the peeping Tom's identity by subpoenaing the site's records.

Andrews' lawyer, Marshall Grossman, refused to say which authorities had been contacted about the case and why no law enforcement had yet reached out to the site.

"For any investigation to have the maximum chance of success, it is wise not to publicly comment on it," Grossman said.

A person using the online handle "Goblazers1" in February posted a half-dozen video clips showing Andrews, 31, nude in a hotel room, brushing her hair.

The videos were shot though a peephole, with the striking blond sports journalist unaware of the voyeur.

The posting by "Goblazers1" did not identify Andrews by name.

The city where the video was shot has not been identified, and no law-enforcement agency has said it is investigating. The FBI has said it is not involved.

Andrews notified ESPN of the videos on July 16 and asked for help taking them down, a network spokesman said.

ESPN's general counsel then sent out a letter demanding they be removed, without mentioning Andrews by name.

That letter sparked speculation among site operators that the woman was Andrews. Shortly afterward, her lawyer confirmed it was her and threatened legal action against people displaying the images.
Meanwhile, here's this from TMZ, "Erin Andrews Calls 911 on 'Suspicious Person'":

TMZ has learned ESPN reporter Erin Andrews made a call to 911 Wednesday claiming a suspicious person was outside of her Georgia home.

Just days after her peeping Tom incident became national news, Andrews made a call to Dunwoody police around 2:10 PM, claiming someone was knocking on her door and wouldn't leave.

When cops arrived on scene, they discovered the person was a member of the news media looking for an interview with Erin, and eventually allowed the reporter to leave without incident.
Also, from RadarOnline, "EXCLUSIVE: Erin Andrews Still “Shaken” and “Paranoid” After Peeping Tom Incident":
Things are still amiss for EPSN correspondent Erin Andrews. In the wake of the release of footage videotaping her naked in a hotel room without her consent, Andrews is currently taking any means to put her life together. A source tells exclusively that the TV personality is trying to put on a brave face, but is privately struggling and has problems sleeping and feeling comfortable alone.

“She’s shaken and kind of paranoid,” the source said. “Everyone is very nurturing to her- which she appreciates- but you can tell the whole thing has devastated her. It’s all so reprehensible.”

Since the incident, security now does multiple sweeps of her rooms before entering and after leaving. She also fears being alone and has talked to a therapist.