Gregg Doyel of cbssports.com has no fear of sparking controversy. Last night, though, he set off a Twitter war with Husker fans when he commented on an oversummarized CBS report on Pelini's health scare on Saturday. The report left out key details of why team doctors sent Pelini to the hospital, and went straight to the final diagnosis. And Doyel started firing.
Seriously? RT @greggdoyelcbs: How can Bo Pelini demand toughness of his players? He had a tummy ache AND LEFT A GAME IN AN AMBULANCE— Erin Sorensen (@helloerinmarie) September 17, 2012
Both? RT @greggdoyelcbs: I mean, that "upset stomach" thing is from Pelini himself. So he's either a wimp ... or a liar. Your choice.— Chad Dinkins (@dinkdumpdish) September 17, 2012
Once Doyel started feeling the backlash, he went back and read up on the situation. Apparently, he didn't know that severe heartburn and nausea are also symptoms of a heart attack...until last night. And he quickly fell on his sword.Doyel quickly deleted the offending tweets and then spent much of the next hour performing mea culpa after mea culpa. The original tweets live on as retweets from others, though. (Hence, we have to use other's to recap just what was originally said to provoke this onslaught.)
Honestly didn't know that. I do now. RT @tb0213: severe gastro attacks can mimic/feel like a heart attack— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) September 17, 2012
Wasn't thinking. Literally, not thinking. Can't be too cautious with health. Just wasn't thinking there. Shaddup, me.— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) September 17, 2012
Nebraska people, and Bo Pelini: I have seen the idiot, and he is me.— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) September 18, 2012
Say one thing about Doyel; he's not afraid of swallowing his pride when he's wrong.
But it does raise one concern about news breaking in the Twitter world. Sometimes in the rush to be first, being correct becomes an afterthought. We saw it in the Joe Paterno situation when bad information flooded the internet and wasn't confirmed. In this case, Doyel read only the super-brief story on the Pelini situation that omitted much of the detail. He went off half-cocked, and got smoked in the process. The blame really goes on the CBS editor who edited out the details about the symptoms that doctors wanted checked out at a hospital. Those are the types of errors that give people false perceptions and perpetuate misinformation and malformed opinions.
Husker fans quickly clarified the situation in this case. But how often do we rely on these same national sources on other programs...and how often do they get the facts wrong (or omit key details) in their reports?