Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stutz's Shoddy LVJR Reporting Slammed by Wicked Chops

An interesting twist on the "crap poker writing" theme has emerged in recent days courtesy of old standby blog Wicked Chops Poker, which has accused prominent Las Vegas Review-Journal gaming reporter Howard Stutz of doing a shoddy job of reporting on the recent WSOP press conference in connection with the launch of the new WSOP.com online poker site.

As excrutiatingly detailed in the Chops report, Stutz essentially made up quotes out of thin air and destroyed the meaning and content of others in doing a writeup on the WSOP presser.  Here's one example, first with the real quote, as recorded and later transcribed by Chops, who also attended the virtual press conference:

“We expect to be competitive because we know what players want,” Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber said during a media conference call Monday. “We’ve been talking with players and we listened to what they said that they want to see in the online game.”

And as reported by Stutz:

“We’re not out to talk about our competitors, but we’ve certainly watched the offering. We expect to be at least as competitive and we understand what players want. We’ve been listening to players. When we went about signing up players at the WSOP at the Rio, and as Geoff Stewart mentioned we signed up 12,000 players, that’s 12,000 people that told us what they were waiting for, what they were expecting, what they didn’t like, what they did like.” 

That's goddamn awful, and it's one of several gross examples cited in the WCP piece.  This is a strong indicator of two things: (1) that Stutz had already decided what the story was and decided to change a few quotes around to fit that slant; and (2) that Stutz was writing to a predetermined story length or a pre-set number of column inches and decided that... ahem... such liberal reinterpretation of such quotes was okay.

In case you're wondering about the WCP fire toward Stutz and the LVRJ, there's some history there as well.  It was the LVRJ who contracted with Las Vegas attorney Steve Gibson and Gibson's made-up copyright-protection firm, Righthaven, to file more than 200 bogus plagiarism lawsuits against mostly small bloggers... one of whom was Wicked Chops Poker.

Righthaven and the LVJR got sand pounded up their asses in court, and Gibson and Righthaven slimed their way back under the desert rocks, leaving hundreds of thousands in unpaid court fees at last report.  So for any LVJR writer, including Stutz, thinking that they're not going to be put under fire for their own shitty writing practices would be a pipe dream.  Ain't gonna happen.

Then again, plagiarism and bad reporting remain the twin literary evils of the poker world.  It's unusual in this case only because it was a prominent news outlet, instead of the usual bottom feeders such as online-casinos.com or PokerUpdate.com, where plagiarism and content theft have been an endemic practice for years.  This LVJR piece represents the other end of extreme, showing that they as a news outlet -- and Stutz in particular -- really need to clean up their acts.  Instead they'll probably complain about the logo above being used in connection with this report, when it's a crystal-clear example of "fair use" in an editorial piece, to visually identify them and their bad practices as the focus of the story.  See how that's done?

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