9News Hypes Javon Walker Non-Story

The idea of a tease in TV news is to offer just enough of a report to convince viewers they should stick around through a commercial break and watch the full piece. But such snippets aren't supposed to be misleading -- and the one sports anchor Rod Mackey employed during 9News' 10 p.m. newscast on July 29 most certainly was.

In teasing the evening's sports segment, Mackey (pictured here) screened footage of star Denver Broncos receiver Javon Walker flat on his back as he talked about Walker going down on the first day of the team's 2007 training camp. A quick flip to Channel 4, where anchor Vic Lombardi offered a training camp tease that made no mention of Walker, suggested that something was hinky, and that turned out to be the case. Upon his return, Mackey said Walker merely had the wind knocked out of him, and then transitioned into a predictable first-day-of-camp package.

Yes, Walker went down, but considering that he plays tackle football, that's not exactly a news flash. Simply put, 9News spun a video clip in a highly dubious way to hang onto viewers -- a ploy that's as sad as it is cynical. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts