MLB Commissioner Meets The Streisand Effect After Ousting Ken Rosenthal From The MLB Network

from the swing-and-a-miss dept

We've talked a great deal about Major League Baseball here at Techdirt. Notably, for a long time those discussions have positive in nature, whether it was MLB's interesting pivots once COVID-19 went global or the expansion of its excellent streaming services. Now, while the league has also had issues playing IP enforcer in the past, or the more recent self-own the league conducted in response to its players lockout, the fact is that commissioner Rob Manfred has generally been a fresh voice of modernity and technological progress for the league.

That makes it all the more perplexing that Manfred is currently being introduced to the concept of the Streisand Effect. At issue is the ousting of famed MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal is, perhaps, one of the most respected baseball reporters in the industry, and was apparently fired from the MLB Network as a result of a scathing piece he did on Manfred's handling of baseball's 2020 season as it relates to working something out with the Players' Union for handling COVID protocols. Rosenthal was quietly suspended from MLBN airtime for three months over that article. Now, he's out entirely.

MLB Network has cut ties with insider Ken Rosenthal in what is believed to be the end result of acrimony that peaked in the summer of 2020 after Rosenthal criticized commissioner Rob Manfred, The Post has learned.

Rosenthal, 59, remains at Fox Sports, where he is a fixture on its weekly coverage and is a dugout reporter for its top games, including the World Series. He also will continue at The Athletic.

What is interesting is that at least one of Rosenthal's colleagues at The Athletic has been making the rounds on local sports talk radio pointing out that the piece critical of Manfred had barely any legs at all. It survived something like a day or two in a busy news cycle and very few people paid it much attention. Aside from Manfred, of course, who, those same colleagues at The Athletic are also insisting, did all of this to Rosenthal personally due to skin so thin it's nearly translucent.

In June 2020, Rosenthal’s analysis of Manfred for The Athletic featured some light criticism, but it didn’t appear to delve into anything personal. In one piece, Rosenthal wrote, “As if the perception that Manfred is beholden to owners and out of touch with players was not bad enough, he was trending on Twitter on Monday after performing a massive flip-flop.”

Since then, Rosenthal’s role was slightly diminished at the network. Now, he’s out entirely.

And now that story is getting far more burn than it did initially. Streisand Effect. Also, Rosenthal has plenty of outlets to continue to criticize Manfred and MLB, whether it's at The Athletic or on Fox Sports.

And the MLB Network has lost at least some of its credibility. For years, it has worked to build itself up as a credible news venture -- even as it was owned by the league -- and seemed to try to bend over backwards to demonstrate the independence of its reporting from the league's own direct interests. But now all of that is shot. This is playing the short game rather than the long game, opting to punish someone critical without understanding that having critics on staff gave MLB Network far more credibility than it has now.

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Filed Under: baseball, journalism, ken rosenthal, reporting, rob manfred, streisand effect
Companies: mlb network

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Jan 2022 @ 8:49pm

    tosses you a been to add to this
    discussions have positive in nature

    I wonder if someone running the graphics at Fox Sports can put that players silhouette over his face while hes reporting.

    Rob knew he had the power to do this, but not the wisdom to not do it.
    Whats next?
    Is he going to troll Facebook comments & eject fans from games who say mean things about him?
    Wait till someone holds up a sign, will he dispatch the MLB enforcers to tackle and remove the fan from the stands?

    If reporting that was really fscking mild (Hi I'm from the internet, it wasn't even a blip on the radar) pisses him off to hold a grudge this long & then strike... I can't wait until he loses his shit in a major way in the head of the moment.

    Picture it... World Series 2022... hes about to hand out the trophy & someone in the stands calls him a mean name. He snaps, smashes the trophy to the ground, disqualifying the team that one because the asshat in the stands was wearing the winning teams jersey when he insulted his better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 8 Jan 2022 @ 11:33am

    "... a scathing piece..."

    What I could read wasn't that scathing. The rest of the article is behind a paywall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2022 @ 7:05pm

    But what to name it...?

    If only there was some name or term, some sort of label for the cause and effect that is trying to bury someone/something that you don't like only to end up drawing vastly more attention to it that might have allowed him to avoid such an incredible blunder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2022 @ 2:20am

    But now all of that is shot.

    Lol ridiculous hyperbole as always.

    If Mike makes one bad management decision and fires a blogger who didn't deserve it that would negate all of what TechDirt has ever done? Of course not, that's absurd.

    I know you love playing video games from terrible greedy anti-modding companies (Bethesda) while bashing other developers for doing the same thing. So which greedy sports league that would do the same thing do you give your money to?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 9 Jan 2022 @ 6:00am

      Did you buy those strawman-arguments on a fire-sale or did you make them up yourself? Anyway, they are moronic and can safely be discarded in the "butthurt troll" pile.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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