Ken Rosenthal's exit from MLB network is worrying

Mitchell Layton and Patrick Smith / Getty Images Ken rosenthal separates from MLB Network. But if the reasoning behind Rosenthal’s e...


Ken Rosenthal leaves MLB Network after criticizing Rob Manfred

Mitchell Layton and Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Ken rosenthal separates from MLB Network. But if the reasoning behind Rosenthal’s exit is correct, it sets a dangerous precedent that squeezes current network journalists between a rock and a hard place.

According to André Marchand from New York Post, Rosenthal’s contract with MLB Network expired at the end of 2021. If Rosenthal’s departure was just the end result of botched contract negotiation, then that’s okay, it happens all the time.

But Marchand additional reports Rosenthal’s exit “would be the end result of the acrimony that peaked in the summer of 2020 after Rosenthal criticized the commissioner Rob manfred. “

To exacerbate the offense, Rosenthal’s reviews that allegedly angered Manfred were not made on MLB Network or any MLB affiliate platform – they were written by Rosenthal for athleticism. MLB not only controls editorial content on its own platforms, it now manipulates reporting on other outlets.

Fortunately, Rosenthal will continue to cover MLB for Fox Sports and athleticism and he will be able to do so without forced prejudices.

MLB and Rosenthal have not confirmed the departure resulting from his slight criticism of Manfred in 2020. But if this damning accusation is even only partially true, then every reporter who stays with MLB Network should be outraged and every baseball fan. just needs to query the source of their information.

“Can confirm MLB Network has decided not to bring me back”, Rosenthal wrote on Twitter after the announcement of his departure. “I am grateful for the over 12 years I have spent there and my lasting friendships with on-air personalities, producers and staff. I have always strived to maintain my journalistic integrity, and my work reflects that.

If Rosenthal’s journalistic integrity has forced him to quit MLB Network, what does that mean for the journalists who are still there? How can fans believe that MLB will not similarly monitor the work of its other reporters who report for multiple media?

It’s not a hit on Joel sherman, Jon Heyman, Tom verducci and others that report for MLB Network. It’s a blow to the cloud of doubt the MLB has just placed on the journalists it employs and the decision the league will now force some of its best journalists to make: Quit MLB Network, or relinquish journalistic credibility.

Speaking specifically to Rosenthal, baseball fans should take comfort in his departure, knowing that Manfred and the MLB cannot censor one of the best insiders in the sport. But in terms of all the other journalists who work for MLB Network, how much of their journalism is filtered by Manfred? Especially since the league faces its players in a lockdown and the MLB is desperate to save face as billionaires hungry for nickel and dimes with gifted millionaires.

According to New York Post, Rosenthal’s harshest criticism of Manfred came in June 2020 for athleticism at the height of negotiations to start matches during the pandemic. “As if the perception that Manfred is beholden to owners and disconnected from players wasn’t bad enough, he was trending on Twitter Monday after performing a massive about-face,” Rosenthal wrote.

Hardly a review worthy of a punishable offense. But it was the criticism that allegedly caused Rosenthal a three-month absence from the MLB network in 2020 and is now said to have left the outlet more than a year later.

Rosenthal even appeared to shield himself from any backlash by commenting on Manfred’s “perception”, rather than the commissioner directly. This being the “perception” of a commissioner who has been almost universally criticized by baseball fans for being at the helm in one of the worst cheating scandals in the history of the sport, calling the World Series trophy a “piece of metal” and admitting that he does not market the game nationally.

MLB odds are skyrocketing, their fan base is aging and Manfred continues to post a lack of varnish and authenticity whenever it brings up any sort of controversy.

Should MLB network journalists be forced to avoid every one of these hot topics Manfred has touched upon during his tenure as commissioner?

Rosenthal’s story demonstrates that MLB Network should be treated like a PR company, not a medium. Journalists who work for league networks may report favorable news for the sport they cover, but anything slightly negative should be avoided.

What does this mean for reporters who still work for league networks in addition to unaffiliated outlets like Rosenthal did with Fox and athleticism? If the MLB is to monitor these independent publications, it puts reporters at multiple outlets in a gray area.

Perhaps the answer is that it is impossible for league networks to employ impartial journalists. If so, it should be placed in their signatures for MLB Network and any other outlet where the league reviews their work. Put your prejudices on the table – or better yet – eliminate them like Rosenthal just did.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Ken Rosenthal's exit from MLB network is worrying
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