This happened yesterday afternoon but the audio wasn’t posted by 97.5 the Fanatic until a little bit later.
Philly Voice Sports Editor Evan Macy went on the Mike Missanelli show to discuss the Joe Santoliquito article published Monday, titled, Exclusive: Sources inside Eagles paint Carson Wentz as ‘selfish,’ ‘uncompromising’ and ‘playing favorites.’
I think Evan has been with Voice since early 2018, but I could be wrong. I worked under a different editor when I was there, so if you care about disclosure, there’s your disclosure.
Mike opened the discussion by explaining that he wasn’t going to chastise Voice for publishing the article, but that he was more interested in an explanation of the process that led to the decision to green light Joe’s piece.
“Around the time of the Cowboys loss, which I believe was week 13 or 14, Joe Santoliquito, who covers the Eagles for us, he’s in the locker room a few times a week, he wanted to write a story about Mike Groh. He wanted to write a story that looked into why the offense had been worse since Mike Groh was here. I said ‘okay, go ahead.’ So he was talking to players in the Eagles’ locker room and he came back to me and said that some of the players he talked to said that Groh wasn’t the problem, but that #11 was the problem. I said, ‘that’s really interesting, what do you have on it?‘ He showed it to me, he played it for me, and I said ‘great, will anybody go on the record?’ Obviously nobody wanted to. So I said let’s put it in the back pocket, keep talking about it, and let me know what you hear. As the season went along he kept looking into it and we added to our list of sources and eventually he created a body of work towards the end of the season that was very, very interesting and it was something I thought made a really good story, but we didn’t have anybody on the record and it was tough to get anybody on the record.”
Macy says Joe eventually came to him with an 8th source, a “home run” that corroborated everything they had heard previously. They moved forward from there.
Mike alleged that the story was written to discredit Wentz as the Eagles quarterback, which Macy disagreed with. He doubled down on the fact that the article was not about portraying Wentz as a bad person, but more to highlight the fact that there were players inside the locker room who felt like the issues with the offensive side of the ball could be traced back to Carson specifically, and not the offensive coordinator.
Macy also said that Santoliquito identified his sources to him via text messages, recordings, and other evidence.
That led to this part of the discussion, after the jump:
They continued by talking about Santoliquito’s role with Voice, which is a freelance contributing writer. Macy described Joe as a guy with numerous sources who knows a lot of people and has delivered in the past, sharing a story about how he watched Carter Hart’s Flyers’ debut with the goaltenders parents.
Mike asked about prior tweets from Santoliquito, tweets that were critical of Wentz, to which Macy replied:
“That took me by surprise in that, whenever something like this breaks, people are going to look at every tweet you’ve ever made in the history of your career. Obviously they did that with Joe. The article I saw people complaining about was not written for us, and I’m aware of it, something criticizing Carson Wentz I think he said something in 2016 like ‘the Eagles are going to be the Cleveland Browns.‘ I honestly, I didn’t look back at stories he wrote three years ago for other publications, maybe I should have. If that’s something I screwed up, I’ll own up to it.”
Another audio clip to follow that up:
“I know a lot of writers who can separate their opinions from what they write on the page, and it doesn’t make them any less talented or reliable,” Macy continued.
It’s a different era of writing and journalism, for sure, which Missanelli agreed to.
Macy also pointed out that a lot of people just looked at the headline without reading the story:
“Even Lane Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins said on the record, they talked to John Clark at the Pro Bowl, both of them said that they hadn’t read the piece. And yet they’re reacting and going on the record and giving their thoughts. That’s fine, and I support that they’re able to give their thoughts and supporting their quarterback as they should, but the fact that people who are on the team who are asked about this don’t know what’s in the story, that makes me think that a lot of this reaction, people don’t know what they’re talking about. We got a lot of reaction where people were actually breaking down what we said, and I appreciate that, and that’s legitimate, and I will engage in conversation about that, but I really think that the headline that we put out there made people freak out a lot.”
Listen to the full audio if you have 20 minutes, because it’s an interesting discussion in how a story is presented, put together, and ultimately received.
It has come to my attention that Philly Voice Eagles writer Jimmy Kempski addressed the story in his Thursday afternoon mailbag. His response is worth reading, therefore I have pasted part of it here and you should go click on the above link to read the rest of it:
OK, before we get started on this chat, in the interest of cutting through the bullshit, I’ll just go ahead and save everyone the effort of asking me about the Carson Wentz story, and how I view it from the unique perspective of working for the company that published it.
First, my involvement in the story:
When the story was initially published, the author, Joe Santoloquito, tweeted the following:
“Blessed to work with a great team @matt_mullin @evan_macy @JimmyKempski that helped produce this:” (And then of course the link to his story followed thereafter).
Later he corrected that tweet, stating:
“Just to clarify, @JimmyKempski was not involved with any reporting or writing of this story.”
(I left out the caps and exclamation points).
I indeed did not contribute any writing or reporting to the story in any way, as Joe clarified. I read an early version it, and recommended that some things come out, which they did. Beyond that, I had no involvement at all, and did not (and do not) want my name associated with the story, or any story that I did not produce, for that matter, that is well-received or not.
So you don’t stand behind the story, Jimmy?
It’s not my place to stand behind it, beside it, or in front of it. What I will say is this. Joe is not making up a story. Notable players said the things Joe said they said in his story. A common criticism of Joe that I’ve seen is that he’s not a regular Eagles beat reporter, and thus doesn’t have the contacts that a regular beat writer would.
That is simply wrong. Joe’s biggest strength, in my opinion, is building relationships with athletes. He watched Carter Hart’s first game in goal for the Flyers with Hart’s parents. He went to Muhammad Ali’s funeral with Bernard Hopkins. Jon Dorenbos talks about Joe in his magic act. I could go on, but the bottom line here is that I trust Joe’s sourcing on this story, based on his proven track record of forming trusted relationships with other athletes.
That said, we all have different styles. If you know my work, you know that I have strong opinions on topics related to the team, and I’m not afraid to voice them. However, when I break news, I don’t like to make it into a column. I like to just say what I have heard, and maybe add some analysis, if warranted or necessary. I try not to editorialize on those types of stories. Joe went another direction on that, obviously. I’m not saying he’s necessarily wrong for that. It’s just not how I would write that kind of story….”