Refusal to credit Christian Fauria for Zdeno Chara news is institutional arrogance in its worst form

Alex Reimer
June 05, 2019 - 10:10 am
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Christian Fauria was the first person to report Tuesday that Zdeno Chara had broken his jaw. Fauria shared the news before 2:30 p.m. on OMF, but it took at least three hours for other outlets to pick up the story. That’s because the snobby hockey press refused to run with Fauria’s report, instead waiting for one of their own to add his or her confirmation. 

It is institutional arrogance in its purest form.

The trepidation to run with Fauria’s report isn’t solely rooted in his lack of hockey journalistic credentials. Sure, that may be the case nationally and north of the border, but Fauria is well-known in this city. He played five years for the Patriots –– winning two Super Bowls ––and has worked in media for the better part of the last decade. In addition to Fauria’s work with WEEI, he’s been a staple on CBS Sports Network’s college football coverage and previously served as a college football analyst for ESPN. 

If Fauria still solely worked for those outlets, it’s likely one of our local aggregators, such as NESN.com, would’ve posted the item immediately. But he’s a talk radio host now, and as a result, must be looked down upon. Thus, it was imperative to wait for a “capital-J journalist,” such as Athletic Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford, to confirm the story before publishing. 

The apprehension is understandable to an extent. After all, talk show hosts spend most of their time on the air acting as obnoxiously as possible, and aren’t always held accountable for missed stories. If Chara did not have a broken jaw, for example, Fauria’s credibility as a talk show host wouldn’t suffer. At their cores, talk show hosts are entertainers, not journalists. 

But that doesn’t mean talk show hosts can’t practice journalism, as Kirk Minihane showed last year with his Kevin Cullen takedown. In this case, Fauria was citing a source. He wasn’t bloviating. 

Still, the story sat out there in the ether for nearly three hours. And then, when websites such as NBC Sports Boston did write about Chara’s reported injury, their writers didn’t credit Fauria. Instead, Bruins beat guy Joe Haggerty attributed the news to Rutherford. 

How petty. Many of these beat writers would give their right arms for a July 4 fill-in shift –– we will talk Red Sox bullpen and fake laugh at each other’s terrible jokes about the hot dog eating contest. It will be great. –– but yet can’t bring themselves to credit a talk show host for breaking a story. 

But it’s OK. Real newsmen like Fauria understand journalism is a thankless job. Onto the next scoop. 

Related: Fauria: Source says Zdeno Chara has broken jaw, likely done for series