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March 20, 2008

Mark Cuban's Inconsistency

Panmarkcuban Dallas Mavericks owner, blogger, and frequent Internet critic Mark Cuban raised some eyebrows last week when he banned bloggers from access to the team locker room after games.

It's his team, and as far as I'm concerned he can do what he wants with it. In fact, I haven't even watched basketball since Michael Jordan retired, so my interest in the event has nothing at all to do with basketball and everything to do with Cuban, for whom I have a great deal of respect for his accomplishments and charity, which are well known around here.

The focus of his wrath is Tim MacMahon, a blogger who works for the Dallas Morning News. Cuban's justification for this action is so ridiculous that it defies all reason.

Explaining that he has no way to apply a fair standard, he said, "A blogger is a blogger is a blogger." And he is forced by his conscience to treat all bloggers exactly the same.

I'm a big fan of the maxim articulated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal." But Cuban's nonsensical generalization seems to stretch that maxim past its breaking point.

Does he think that about anything else at all? Let's look at some examples.

  • A doctor is a doctor is a doctor.
  • A player is a player is a player.
  • An NBA team is an NBA team is an NBA team.
  • A referee is a referee is a referee.
  • A writer is a writer is a writer.
  • A commissioner is a commissioner is a commissioner.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Cuban doesn't believe any of the above absolute statements. Why, then, does he apply that "standard," such as it is, to bloggers?

If he's looking for some sort of credential that could be used to justify access, he need look no further than MacMahon's employer, who trusts him to write in their name.

Cuban says that is a sad commentary on the state of journalism, but for what reason he does not explain very well. After all, MacMahon is still accountable to his readers and his employer. If he steps out of line, he can be punished by the marketplace and by his employer, and he can have his credentials revoked.

Should MacMahon be granted access to the team locker room? I haven't taken a personal interest in the NBA for so long, I don't really care.

However, I do care about consistency, and when I see someone of Cuban's stature make such an error in reasoning as it pertains to the space we cover here, I must take notice. - Cam Beck


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Cuban has a very easy solution to his dilemma. Journalists are accredited. All he need to is ask


Sorry for hitting the wrong key. Let's try this again.

Cuban has a very easy solution to his dilemma. Journalists are accredited. All he need to is ask Tim MacMahon to disply hisDallas Morning News ID. Non-traditional media bloggers, whom he can block if he so desires, don't have newspaper accreditation.

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