Crossing Broad Investigates: Thomas Petersen vs. Jeff McLane on the Topic of “Sideline Confrontations”

Photos via Twitter

Fascinating argument on Twitter this morning.

On one side, we had Philadelphia Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane, of the Inquirer. On the other side was Thomas Petersen, the Danish guy who does those good breakdown videos. He’s a relative newcomer to the Eagles media world and has about 17,500 Twitter followers.

The dispute begins with Petersen sharing a snippet of Jeff McLane’s recent reporting, in this tweet here:

Personally, I would say this is a violation. If you’re going to cite somebody’s work, you should include the link to the story in addition to their Twitter handle. As such, we deduct one point from Petersen in our arbitrary scoring system.

But that’s an aside.

What happened next was this:

Alright, now we’re talking. Now we have a discussion worth investigating on Crossing Broad. McLane has every right to jump in and defend himself when people criticize his reporting, which is what Petersen is doing when he says, quote, “I’m starting to take his articles with a grain of salt too.” 

The discussion continues like this:

It would appear as though Petersen was willing to end the conversation right then and there, but that’s not what happened.

McLane continues:

And that appears to be where the conversation ends. McLane replied to another Twitter user, saying that the “initial headline was a mistake and we corrected. Story stands, nonetheless.”

For context, Petersen is right. The story was not corrected. It was published on January 4th and in a quick visit to the Inquirer website, it says this in the headline, as of 11:36 Friday morning:

Therefore, Petersen is awarded +1 point.

For the purpose of understanding how the business works, most newspaper writers do not pen their own headlines. Guys like McLane will typically submit the article, then editors would take it from there. Sometimes that can result in a disconnect between the headline/subheading, and then the body of the article itself. You saw this issue with the debacle over the Inga Saffron Buildings Matter, Too article, featuring a headline she did not write.

Anyway, that’s one part of this conversation. McLane is saying the headline was corrected, which it was not. He also tweeted out the headline when sharing the story last month, so he gets docked for that misstep. We will deduct one point.

The more important thing is trying to determine whether McLane’s reporting is accurate. It usually is. He’s pretty good on the Eagles beat, but no reporter in the history of the world has ever been “100 pct accurate,” as he claims. The closest thing we have to that in this city is probably Jim Salisbury.

In this case, Jason Kelce came out and disputed what Jeff wrote following the Giants scandal, explaining in an Instagram post that:

“At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational. We all knew leading into that game that Sudfeld was told to be ready to play…” 

McLane had written, in part:

“When Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s season finale against Washington, many Eagles players and coaches were shocked and outraged, team sources told The Inquirer.

Some were angry. Two defensive players had to be held back from approaching Pederson. Center Jason Kelce and another offensive starter went to the coach to ask him why he had pulled the starting quarterback with the Eagles trailing by only three.

It needs to be said that the word “confrontation” or “confrontational” does not appear at all in the body of the story. It only appears in the headline. So in McLane’s back-and-forth with Petersen, he’s correct when he states that he “never wrote there was a confrontation.” This results in McLane being awarded a point.

Ultimately, what we have here seems to be a “he said/she said” situation with a bit of misunderstanding sprinkled in. McLane gave his report, Kelce told his side of the story, and then Eagles fans go on to choose whom to believe. Naturally, they’re probably going to gravitate to the Super Bowl-winning, fan-favorite veteran center.

It doesn’t mean Jeff’s reporting is wrong, but in the case of the headline, it was not corrected and remains on the Inquirer website, verbatim, as of publication of this article.

As we tally the final point totals, it looks like this:

  • Thomas Petersen: 0 points
  • Jeff McLane: 0 points

This has concluded our Crossing Broad investigation.

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