The toughest ones have nothing to do with his well-documented background working for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart 25 years ago or Kelly’s alleged pro-choice beliefs.
Hayes last Saturday:
Then there’s the latest controversy that’s lighting up the message boards of what might be the most plugged-in fan base in the nation: Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is said to be pro-choice.
And Keown of ESPN.com today:
Should Kelly’s apparent pro-choice stance remove him from consideration?
“Alleged.” “Said to be.” “Apparent.”
At this moment, those are the only three main media sources reporting about Kelly’s view on abortion. Did anyone actually consider picking up the phone and asking the coach? Or using their handy media credential to query him in person?
I searched online media archives all day today trying to find one reputable media reference to Kelly’s stance on abortion. I found none. That isn’t to say that the coach isn’t pro-choice, but if his view on such a polarizing subject in our society isn’t immediately clear, why is anyone in the main media speculating on the impact it would have on the Notre Dame football coaching job?
Not only is it not clear that Kelly is pro-choice, but there’s no reason to believe that his view on the matter will have any impact on whether he gets hired. Remember, this is the same Notre Dame administration who welcomed pro-choice President Barack Obama to give a speech on the South Bend campus.
What’s really happening here is you have individuals on message boards who either don’t want Kelly as Notre Dame coach, or have a religious agenda that isn’t applicable to the football field. Then the main media picks up the idea without confirmation and gives the issue credibility. (Exactly what old media accuses bloggers doing.)
Next thing you know, the unsubstantiaed rumor is everywhere in the media without anyone ever confirming anything with Kelly.
The fact is that without the main media distributing a rumor to the general public, that rumor will never gain enough traction to have a legitimate impact on a substantive issue. Independent bloggers will never have the power to spread rumors to the extent the main media does.
For once, Charlie was right.