Monday, August 11, 2014

COMMENTARY: Tragedy Highlights Media At Its Worst

The tragic accident that claimed the life of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. at New York’s Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night showcased the absolute worst that human nature and an out-of-control media have to offer.

Ward and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart tangled during the running of an Empire Super Sprints event, with Ward’s car hitting the Turn Two wall. The 20-year old driver climbed from his damaged racer and attempted to confront Stewart as the field circulated under caution. One car successfully swerved to avoid Ward, but the 20-year old driver was struck by the right-rear tire of Stewart’s car at an estimated speed of 40-45 mph. Despite the best efforts of emergency medical personnel, Ward was pronounced dead on arrival at F.F. Thompson Hospital later that evening.

The accident touched off an immediate firestorm of inaccurate internet speculation and nut-job commentary. Self-appointed online “experts” – both at the speedway and elsewhere -- reported Ward’s passing long before his death was confirmed by authorities. In a headlong rush to be first with the gruesome news, some even Tweeted about his death as he lay on the racing surface being treated for his injuries.

It was inaccurate, irresponsible and disrespectful to the Ward family, but it was nothing compared to the local and national media feeding frenzy that followed.

Within minutes of the accident, speculation surfaced that Stewart had accelerated and swerved toward Ward in an intentional attempt to intimidate him. At least two local television stations conducted telephone interviews with fans at the speedway, probing for all the juicy details -- accurate or not – and posting video of the fatal crash for all to see. One fan offered his opinion of what had transpired, despite having to rely on his wife’s description of the accident, since he was “looking the other way” at the time.

None of that seemed to matter to the news hounds.

The following day, CBS News posted an article entitled, Questions Of Tony Stewart's Intent Arise In Probe Into Crash That Killed Kevin Ward Jr.,” despite repeated assertions by Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero that investigators had no evidence to support allegations of criminal intent. The CBS report portrayed auto racing as “a sport steeped with bravado” and called Stewart “NASCAR's noted swashbuckler.” It quoted observers at the speedway saying Stewart’s car “seemed to fishtail from the rear and hit (Ward),” whose body “was sucked underneath the car and hurtled through the air before landing on his back as fans looked on in horror.”

The story called confrontations between drivers, “just a part of racing” and “part of the sport's allure,” saying “drivers from mild-mannered Jeff Gordon to ladylike Danica Patrick have erupted in anger on the track at another driver. Stewart, who has a reputation for being a hothead nicknamed `Smoke,’ once wound up like a pitcher and tossed his helmet… at Matt Kenseth's windshield. Fans love it and cheer wildly from the stands.”

A Tampa CBS affiliate stooped even lower, using a two-year old Stewart quote – horribly out of context – to suggest he had intentionally struck Ward, saying that after a wreck at Bristol Motor Speedway two years ago, Stewart had “threatened to run (Matt Kenseth) over.”

It was Yellow Journalism at its worst, and sadly, CBS was not the worst of the offenders. That dubious honor went to ESPN, which was even more callous and reckless in their exploitation of the incident.

Just one week prior to the Stewart/Ward incident, the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader In Sports” correctly declined to air graphic footage of Indiana Pacers star Paul George breaking his leg in a Team USA practice game. Saturday night, however, ESPN inexplicably chose to broadcast the grisly, unedited video of Ward’s death over and over again on its flagship SportsCenter broadcasts, re-racking the footage dozens (if not hundreds) of times over the next 24 hours.

Immediately after broadcasting Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race from Watkins Glen International, ESPN aired a long-form report on the incident, featuring additional airings of the accident video, stand-ups from a clearly uncomfortable Mike Massaro at the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and “analysis” from legal expert Roger Cossack.

Despite billing it as a “Developing Story,” ESPN reported nothing newer than Stewart’s decision to sit-out Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen; a decision that had been announced nearly eight hours earlier.

In fairness to ESPN, not all of the network’s coverage was slanted toward the sensational. Analysts Ricky Craven and Marty Smith provided a much-needed dose of restraint and fairness in their assessments of the accident, while NASCAR Countdown’s Nicole Briscoe, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty offered valuable insight and analysis, without the breathless hype and senseless hyperbole of their SportsCenter brethren. In addition, the NASCAR On ESPN broadcast team of Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree offered their usual solid points of view, without the TMZ-style exploitation.

The men and women who comprise ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team acquitted themselves admirably Sunday. Unfortunately, their superiors in Bristol, Conn., fell shockingly short.

86 comments:

  1. Well written.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please don't EVER stop being "the voice of reason," Dave! Well said, but more importantly--accurate!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous12:21 PM

    well thought out too

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well spoken Dave
    RIP KEVIN WARD JR

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous12:35 PM

    RITE ON MONEY DAVE

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dwayne in Memphis12:38 PM

    So to summarize: People that know racing talked about the incident intelligently ,while people that know nothing about racing suddenly became experts and exploited the tragedy for all they could. Does this really surprise anyone? It was disgusting and distasteful...they continually took what should have been a honorable tribute to a racer tragically killed and turned it into (even today) headlines of "Tony Stewart kills driver". As a type this, there's a headline on si.com declaring "Stewart faces several possible legal consequences", and while the story unequivocally states that there is nothing to suggest he'll be charged, the bright red large font blurb in the middle of the article screams "Report: Police say no sign of criminal intent; charges still possible". Disgusting and appalling, but I won't say it's surprising.

    It's shameful and disrespectful to the family of Kevin Ward, Jr who tragically lost his life and to Tony Stewart who will forever have to live with the knowledge that it was HIS car that hit him.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amen Dave, I had responded to tweets and stories that if Tony Stewart was not involved in this incident it would not have even been covered by ESPN or any of the major networks, at best it would be a 10 second comment on the local news or 4 lines in the local paper. They have taken this horrible situation and stooped as low as they could go for ratings and ratings alone. The folks you mentioned as doing a credible job, like you, always do a credible job. A young man died, it is very tragic, the vide clearly shows that Stewart did not do anything to try and intentionally harm him. I see a new rule being invoked stating that the drivers better keep their butts in their cars unless there is a fire, and any attempt at on track confrontation like this will have sever penalties. Unfortunately, Mr Ward suffered the ultimate penalty.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dave this is a great piece, well reasoned and explained. When God handed out intelligence to racing analyst You and Ricky Craven must have gotten the bulk it.

    I watched Craven's analysis live. I sure hope he lands on NBC Sports next year. He has the most interesting opinions of any analyst in racing. He can cover the technical and human elements of racing better than anyone on TV.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent story Dave. In our racing you are NOT allowed to confront the cars on the track in person Nascar should clamp down on this at their races as the drivers are in real danger

    ReplyDelete
  10. I dearly wish the news directors at these stations would read this and have a "come to Edward R. Murrow" moment, but given CNN was speculating if flight MH-17 had been sucked up by a Black Hole, I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well said Dave!! Some of the articles and comments I have read are absolutely appalling.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you Dave and all the other media who are keeping this story about the facts. In our area the video footage was shown up to the point of impact. The news anchor then said it was too graphic to show but then went on to inaccurately describe the footage they were not going to show being Tony Stewart using his car to chase down and run over Kevin Ward, Jr. I knew that could not be true but those who don't follow racing I am sure would believe it. I feel sad for the Kevin Ward, Jr's family and Tony Stewart. Neither deserve this type of sensational journalism. My thoughts and prayers for all involved. All I ask is everyone please stick to the facts and let's move forward and find someway to not have something like this happen again.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous1:08 PM

    All racing organizations should impose stiff penalties for exiting a car on the track. Unless the driver's life is in danger. This accident never should have happened.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You expected any less from TMZ Sports, aka ESPN? The network who has select athletes who get breaking news headlines everytime they have a snack outside of a regular meal?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Donna1:14 PM

    We made the mistake of watching ESPN after the NASCAR race broadcast and were not surprised to hear them covering the story. I noticed they were showing the video recorded by a fan and thought that they would, at the very least, blur out the accident in the interest of potential younger people in the viewing audience such as my five-year-old daughter. I was mortified, shocked, and thoroughly disappointed that they did not. Thank you, Mr. Moody, for expressing what many of us are feeling - sympathy for those who are affected by this tragedy and anger at certain media outlets for their lack of restraint and respect.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous1:17 PM

    You tell 'em Mr moody

    ReplyDelete
  17. Carol Weary1:25 PM

    Sadly, Good Morning America also had coverage, stopped the video short of
    showing the young man on the ground, but continued to show things Tony did
    many years ago. If this were any other two competitors, we would have never heard about it at all. No racer, of any type, would purposely hit another racer. I believe Tony never even saw him until the last minute, dark track, black firesuit, just a tragedy all the way around.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well written and I agree with your analysis. I would question if this was done for ratings (the race was up 19% in viewership over last year - Pete Pistone). For me the worst was when Cossack stated that Stewart will be charged with manslaughter in the next few days because of public pressure on the Ontario County DA and called for the maximum sentence of 15 years. I was also disgusted by the people on social media who have become experts from watching a cell-phone video of the accident.

    I look forward to your discussion of this topic on Speedway today. Hopefully your callers will be as respectful and concise as you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well said Dave! You are a Great Reporter whom I along with many others know you have common sense. My late uncle was Lewis Compton ( The Mouth Of The South ) who covered racing for many years and I know he would agree with your accessmet and I appreciate your comments which are spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Truer words were never spoken... and ESPN "Numbers Never Lie" was the worst offender... in my opinion

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Excellent point...i salute you...thanks

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Thank you Dave. To bad the non-race fan world wont hear this. There had been more coverage of this story about racing than when the races are at NHMS. when the races are at the track, the sports casts show at most 15 seconds of a report. Yesterday and today we are seeing minutes after minutes of winged sprint cars. (And the Sports Caster don't even know what kind of car they are)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sandy Cooke1:55 PM

    If it was not Tony that hit Mr. Ward, do you think the story would have made the news. Your point was well made Moody. I didn,t watch the video but my first reaction to hearing the story was he never should have gotten out of the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous6:12 AM

      I agree with you if it had been anyone but Tony probably wouldnt have heard so much about it and a driver should never get out of his car unless his or her life is in threat because of fire


      Delete
  24. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Bravo, Thank You for speaking up Dave. I watched 99% of the race Sunday with my TV muted. 1% I did listen to because I wanted to hear AJ celebrate, which was cut short!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jeff Thingstad2:16 PM

    I am appalled that this is happening by member's of thr media that should know better. Our local TV station reported last night that Tony Stewart killed another race car driver. I am sure this reporter dosen't even have a clue who Tony Stewart is, but probably his editor told him to read it. They didn't even report who won the cup race. Sad, but I guess that's the way today's world is. God bless their familes.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That's why we love you Dave you're the best

    ReplyDelete
  27. Dave, well said. If it was not Tony or someone famous, the backlash would not be so verbal and bitterly cruel. Yes, I agree it was horrible what they did to the family of Kevin Ward. Speculation -so wrong. Tony will have to live with this regardless of what happened. He will not fluff it off, it will eat at him - he is human too. Forgiveness, non-judgment - all those things that people think is 'their' responsibility - ugh. Love you Moody.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Well said Dave!!!

    I just had to try to inform a misinformed person who said dirt tracks were designed for kids. I told her a 900 hp, $80,000 sprint car isn't designed for kids. And when she knows the difference between a Sprint Cup Car and a Sprint Car, I MIGHT listen to her argument.

    T-30 minutes to Moody and Angie time!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous2:33 PM

    I won’t comment on the actions of Tony Stewart on the track. At this time only he knows what actions were occurring and not occurring within his vehicle while under his control struck Mr. Ward and caused his death. More information may come to light when the accident reconstruction report of the crash becomes public. However, to act shock and outraged at the coverage of a media (which you are a part of) that is driven by ratings, and how many clicks they get is calling the kettle black. Is it your opinion that the press has been biased towards one of your “friends”? Is it that NASCAR got a painted in a broad negative brush along with Tony Stewart in this situation as they pulled tape after tape of Sprint Cup drivers hopping out of their rides and going after the other driver they felt wronged them on the track? Was it a combination of all of it that has caused your "outrage"? What did you expect the your profession to do? Sit and twiddle their thumbs when a multiple Sprint Cup Champion caused the death of another individual in a race? To quote Van Halen “Come on, Dave, give me a break”.

    In a society that is driven by instant gratification the coverage was about what you’d expect. Want some examples? Oh, we have to fire Kurt Busch because he was mean to a reporter. Wasn’t that the lean on that story? They did and it has taken him several years to climb back up from where he was cast. All the speculation about AJ’s drug test and his actions costing him his ride. How about how the press covered Tony Stewarts' crash a year ago and all the "insight" the press and the fans gave on that situation? Didn't those recent stories give you any clue what would happen in a more serious situation? It should have.

    Lastly, the comment that I have heard several times from Sheriff Philip C. Povero of Ontario County, New York is, “There are no criminal charges pending at this time.” That doesn’t say Tony Stewart will or will not be charged. Sheriff Povero left any and all options on the table open in his statement. That is the fairest view you can take from his statement.

    MB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You assume a great deal about me, "MB," almost all of it wrong. FYI, I don't make a single dime off this website, and could care less whether you read my articles or not. I certainly did not expect the media to "twiddle their thumbs," as you say. What I expected was that major international news organizations would take the time to report the facts accurately, instead of just quickly. I think the painting of motorsports (not just NASCAR) with your "broad brush" is unfortunate, since it portrays us all as hotheaded, irresponsible and bloodthirsty. Society may indeed be driven by a desire for instant gratification, and if so, that's sad. Unfortunately, instant news stories are rarely accurate, as was proven in the last few days. While I may not have been completely surprised by the level of sensationalism, I can still be disappointed by it. And I was.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3:06 PM

      Dave, you might want to re-read my post. I never imply your blog is a way for you to make money or as you put it "a dime". Never stated nor implied. You do make a dime from your radio show on NASCAR radio which makes you a member of the press. Please note that I don't care if you care is I listen to that show. However, I do as I find it entertaining.

      Your expectations of the press reporting facts accurately are far different than mine. In my experience the press generally has an agenda in their reporting. The reporting of what occurred in NY pretty much ring true with what I have seen from your profession in the last 20 years. The lean has been to sensationalize events to get more viewers, to sell more ad time/space, get more clicks, and make more money. That's just a practical view of how the press has changed during that time period. Nothing more and nothing less.

      I have that view from watching how members of the 4th Estate have handled countless incidents involving the general public and law enforcement. Yes, I am a member of law enforcement. Most of the time the early reports are just wrong. Kind of like the reporting done over the weekend.

      MB

      Delete
    3. Anonymous5:02 PM

      MB have you ever been behind the wheel of any kind of race care ? Well I have and the one that Kevin and Tony were driving Sat. night has limited visibility along with the dark fire suit Kevin was wearing and poor lighting makes for a bad situation . The first car just did miss him . I know in my heart that Tony did not have enough time to react to get his car turned all the way down in time. Yes some of the media has blown this all out of per portion like they do a lot of things . I agree with others if this had of happened to one of the lesser known drivers it would not be blowing up the press. My PRAYERS are with the Ward family for their loss. People need to know the real facts before they pass judgement.

      Delete
  30. Randy Herring2:38 PM

    Thanks Dave, for keeping it real, a driver died and a driver has to live with it. PEACE to all involved.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I agree 100%.Let the investigators go thru the facts then report them fairly.

    ReplyDelete
  32. A kid lost his life in a racing incident. To me how it happened is as important as what happened. Can this be prevented from happening again is also critical.

    I have never been a fan of drivers throwing things at, or lunging toward a car they feel wronged them. Kevin Harvick made me cringe when he took a swipe at Kyle Busch on pit road. That incident could easily have gone worse.

    NASCAR needs to create a rule- effective immediately- that makes the drivers stay in the car after a wreck. They need a rule that says unless your car is about to explode, you must remain seated until a track marshal is at your car. No more pulling your arm away from track marshals to get closer to the offending car, to get your point across. No nonsense. Massive points penalties, and monetary fines should be the deterrent.

    Kevin Ward Jr.'s death should be a catalyst to make needed changes. Kenny Irwin died, and nothing changed. Adam Petty died, and nothing changed. Tony Roper, John Nemecheck... Nothing. Dale Earnhardt was the catalyst for change. Since then, much has improved. We don't need a repeat of what happened to Ward Jr. involving a big name to see this doesn't need to happen.

    His life was as valuable, and important as anyone else. Don't let it be lost in vein.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If NASCAR had ever taken ten seconds to think about the fact that John Nemechek and Butch Lindley died exactly the same way, which meant it wasn't a fluke, we would have had HANS devices before Dale Earnhardt died.

      Delete
  33. Dave... I do Kevin Ward Jr.'s website and some PR stuff for them. From 3am Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon, ABC's Good Morning America Show contacted me at least 20 times. First they wanted pictures from Kevin's career which I was happy to help them with. They called back 5 minutes later wanting his parents phone number...obviously i refused.., and then they just kept calling and calling. They were relentless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds pretty disappointing and yet, not completely surprising Craig. I am sorry for your loss.

      Delete
  34. That CBS report you cite was an AP story written by at least one noted NASCAR journalist, Jenna Fryer.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous3:04 PM

    The news networks, they spew what's best for their corporate masters whie what drips in blood leads the news. They long ago stopped serving the public.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great commentary Dave! I, too, sat in astonishment as news broke about the incident. Sensationalism at it's best or worst depending on how you view it.

    Truly pitiful how some outlets reacted and "reported", reminds me of the song "Dirty Laundry" from Don Henley.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dave,

    Thank you for this. It is a sad state of affairs that networks dig for "news" and updates and wear out a video, all for the sensationalism of getting that news bite out first.

    A common associate between us, rest his soul, David Poole, once told me it's better journalism to get it right than to be the first to report it. He was so right and his words always echo in my head. Today's media is shameful and desperate at best, as they do their "TMZ thing."

    -Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Well said...to many time rust to jugmeant. Bad new rushed is bad news at it worst..

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dave: I was just contacted by a local TV station up here in Rochester to be interviewed for a story involving the Canandaigua Speedway to help with a story they want to air about the tragedy, focusing the angle on what could be done to improve the Speedway in light of what happened. They contacted me a second time to see if I'd be willing to talk about the lighting there...in both cases, I refused! I understand their diligence in researching a so-called news story but decided against swimming in shark infested waters...I refuse to be part of an indictment of a racing facility!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Very well written...thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous4:56 PM

    MB, you must be very biased. If Mr. Ward walked into the path of Tony Stewart's car in a fit of anger then his death was not caused by Mr. Stewart but instead by Mr. Ward. However, it is not for you nor me to decide.
    NASCAR fan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous7:03 PM

      NASCAR FAN

      Not biased at all. I'm looking at the situation from a reconstructionist point-of-view.

      The facts are that a vehicle Mr. Stewart was in control of struck and killed a pedestrian. It doesn't matter that the pedestrian was on a race track nor would it matter in everyday life if it happened on a road, a path, a freeway, whatever. Little lost on how that is biased.

      If you read what I wrote I never implied that Mr. Stewart did or didn't do x, y, and/or z to effect the situation's outcome. I also did not imply that Mr. Ward did or didn't do x, y, and/or z to effect the situation's outcome. Just like you I have no idea. I do think the reconstruction report would be a very interesting read.

      MB

      Delete
  42. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Shame on ESPN for showing the video over and over. They are pure trash. Will never watch ESPN again.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anonymous5:34 PM

    I listen to Nascar Radio on my Sirius radio in my car. I think that everyone there gives a very unbiased accurate report on the happenings in Nascar. It is too bad that you guys had to report on such a tragedy but I want to give you guys some respect for being very accurate and not sensationalizing the whole incident like other media outlets. Love your shows and keep up the good work on reporting the truth and being fair and honest.

    Thank you, Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous5:40 PM

    It isn't just ESPN, It's Huffington, Motor Authority, Hot Rod Magazine, Car Craft,Car & Driver all of them who NEVER EVER cover NASCAR decided this story was worth flogging. Shame on them all.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I turned off ESPN in disgust over the bright red "Developing Story" sign they kept on-screen declaring Tony killed another driver, then turned to one of the network evening news broadcasts in all honesty to catch up on the situation in the Middle East, and couldn't believe they lead with this story.

    They immediately cut to a "I'm here with the sheriff..." perky bimbo (not a term I normally use to describe another female, but in this case it fit) all but getting on her knees begging the sheriff to say something implying criminal intent, all while remaining cheerful and, yes, perky. In spite of the Sheriff insisting there were no plans to file criminal charges they went back to the anchor and replayed the same old clips of pushing, helmet-throwing and of course the arrest in Australia which was thrown out of court. There were also clips of Harvick/Gordon shoving each other, and the now-famous comical clip of Boyer running through the pits to remind non-racing folk what a testosterone-fueled bunch of good ole boys Nascar is, but the agenda of the coverage was obvious - show instances of Stewart’s temper in the past to imply guilt.

    We know the public has a short attention span. Before the Ward family even has time to bury their son another scandal will come along to feed the beast, but the damage to Nascar and Tony Stewart’s character has been done.

    Thank you for writing another thought-provoking commentary. Keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks for being the voice of reason, it seems that much of the media has the motto "Screw the facts, let's be first and make it as sensational as we can", all while replaying the young man's death over and over with no thought of his family.
    I wasnt a fan of yours before, but I am now! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Anonymous8:19 PM

    It is a shame that this has happened - thoughts and prayers to the Ward Family and Tony Stewart. I agree all this media hype is so uncalled for - use some common sense people and some human compassion.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Amen Mr Moody. Reaction to this horrific accident sure did expose a very scary world in which we live. These were my thoughts written yesterday....
    Seems like the thing to do is weigh in on the tragedy that happened in the racing world last night. Father Jim told me this morning to share my peace so....

    First thing we should all realize is that last night's events were written long before our time. Unfortunately Kevin's parents were destined to lose their son before they were even born, and so were mine. Who would have known? So what is the point of assigning blame or judgment? What good purpose will it serve? We should focus on the lessons to be learned from all perspectives.

    The second thing that people will realize in the coming days, months and years is how much love and compassion exists in the racing community. Whether it be a love for the sport, the adrenaline, for a particular driver, a favorite racing venue or just a respect for every single person that puts effort into what it takes to get a car through a race and a track raceable.
    Hundreds of people I had never met stood in a freezing cold rain for hours on the 5th day of January because a member of the racing family was lost. Many of those people had never met my brother who tragically left us but they were part of the racing community and they had love and compassion to share. I know there will be the same pouring out for the Ward family.

    We must keep that love and compassion in the forefront for everyone involved last night. Share nothing but love and compassion for Kevin's family whose life will never be the same. Their lives were just turned upside down. Respect their hearts and personal lives. May the Lord give them strength.

    Don't forget about every single race fan who was in attendance last night that witnessed something horrific. I pray they do not lose their love for the sport and continue to go to races and support that oh so special racing family and Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a place many of us can call home.

    Now we also must not show anything but love and compassion for Tony Stewart. I've learned that most "hot heads", as I have seen him labeled, are only hot on the surface. They too long for love and compassion like the rest of us. Ending a life does not sit well inside anyone and it will take major healing for him to overcome this as well. I will be praying for you Tony.

    Now I'm at a loss for words, maybe I got it all out. Normally I go to the track if I'm home on the weekend but yesterday the Lord did not place any desire in my heart to be there. Now I know why, watching the world beat this up on the internet is bad enough. God is good, even in the most terrifying ways.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous9:13 PM

    100% agree, I am sick listening to the speculation from non racing reporters. They have the facts wrong, Fox News even had Kevin Ward as Mr. Wall. And Cnn called him Kurt. Bunch of money hungry BS. Thanks for the TRUE details Dave!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Dave, All I can say is thank you! All these so called reporters doing what they have done and all of these prior attorneys now turned news anchors (such as Nancy Grace, most of the CNN staff and a lot of others) is just down right wrong. If you don't know the sport you are referring to leave it alone and wait on the facts. Just an example of people in today's society, I was on twitter Saturday night and what pops up an email to Marty Smith of ESPN from what I guess was an attendee of the race sending him a video (the one all over ESPN) of what had happened. Was this video verified before they even aired it, NO it was not.

    This is a terrible tragedy all the way around and instead of viciously spreading innuendo let's all wait on the facts and just send prayers to Mr. Ward's family and to Tony and his family.

    L. Rodriguez

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thank you, Dave, for remaining level-headed and keeping your mind on the important things at a time like this. ESPN could use you and at least a half-dozen more like you.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anonymous10:50 PM

    Spot on Dave

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You said it all. And said it well. Add to this the fact that there is an ignorance epidemic rampantly running through the media where motorsports is concerned. This afternoon a local sportscaster (CBS, by the way), actually connected the Stewart/Ward incident to NASCAR. Just one example of far too many.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anonymous11:45 PM

    The Duke men's Lacrosse members that were falsely accused of rape comes to mind here. That ended very poorly for the DA, who was quick to judge and decide guilt before the facts were in. I'm truly disgusted with the press and others, especially many in the general public who have no clue about racing, yet have already determined that Tony gunned his engine while aiming his car toward Kevin Ward Jr. I'm surprised I haven't heard them go as far as saying Tony backed up and went forward several times for good measure.

    It's pathetic how facts just get made up to fit the situation, yet real facts like Kevin getting out of his car and putting himself in a highly dangerous situation get left out and barely mentioned. A lot of people in this world simply justify in their minds what fits their opinions and convince themselves it's cold hard facts.

    I've lost respect for ESPN and many other media outlets over this tragedy, and my opinion has been forever changed for the worst toward a lot of things and people. This kind of thing is why people don't get involved in situations where they would normally help years ago. You aren't safe in the general public any more, without being a potential defendant in a lawsuit, etc.

    This world has truly gone to shat. Those of you who favor the ill thinking and reasoning we've all seen over this situation, as well as other similar ones, will get a huge taste of karma when you end up on the losing end, wishing life as you knew it wasn't ruined because of people exactly like yourselves.

    Enjoy it while you can, until you do something you feel was harmless and suddenly IT SUCKS TO BE YOU!

    Good luck with it.

    God Bless Kevin & Tony, you were doing something you both loved, and it ended worse than it should have, thanks to all the pathetic leaches out there.

    To the good people, I say pay it forward and reap the much deserved reward.

    PEACE!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Bryan Gideon12:30 AM

    Agreed Moody. You knocked the ball outta the park on this...

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous3:05 AM

    Well doesn't this happen in Nascar all the time? "Experts and "non experts' give their opinion void of fact, based on whether they like the driver or not. I don't understand the Tony Stewart following (yes I respect his driving), but his whole persona is a total bore with endless ramblings and temper tantrums. I dare say if this was a Busch brother in this position the pitchforks would be at the ready. Rarely does anybody publish facts anymore, its all a popularity contest. I love how all the non Nascar "fans" with their righteous attitudes threatened to boycott sponsors on a funny night in Richmond not to long ago. BZF caved like a cheap suit, pandering to those who don't know or care about Nascar. By the time BZF made his sweeping pontification about change, the social media pitchfork crowd moved on to the next "cause". My sympathies are solely with the Ward family.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Gee, welcome to the 21st century. Where accuracy takes a back seat to ratings.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Anonymous6:52 AM

    absolutely agree.... I was appalled at what was being said and speculated on , without any basis in real facts, I just stopped watching... unfortuneatly those who dont know the sport will not have any idea of what is real and what is just trash journalism for ratings and viewers

    ReplyDelete
  59. Nobody could say it any better, well done Mr Moody.

    ReplyDelete
  60. We're all missing the point. Nascar has glorified this behavior by allowing drivers to do this time and again. These young drivers see there heroes acting like idiots, running across the track, calling people out and acting like bully's (kevin harvick and tony stewart the worst) and think it's okay. The sensationalism is what Nascar wants. It calls for the need of anger management. Look at the self inflicted wounds of some of the greats like the
    Busch's. How else is this message going to be received and bring about change without the media? Tony Stewart made his reputation and now he's got to live with it. Could you see this happening in Golf? BTW, Watkins Glen winner made 253,000 dollars, PGA winner made almost two million?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Hey race fans - welcome to the new world of news. The old rules don't apply. Today, anyone with access to the internet considers themselves a journalist. 24/7 cable news is a beast that has to be constantly fed. just look at the coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean - we had speculation about speculation. Unfortunately the incident this weekend was "news." In fact it was big news. Young man killed on a dirt track by another driver while looking for a confrontation by another driver and caught on video would have been a story any way you slice it. Couple it with Tony Stewart's colorful past and you have a better story with loads of angles to go with it like the quote by Zippy "it's business as usual for this team." Now that was callous and where's the outrage on that? Whether it is an airplane crash, terrorism, sports or politics, news is covered by reporters who know nothing about the subject all the time. And yes they are sloppy and rushed. Don't expect them to be the voice of reason or not report on this story because they don't know the paint scheme of every car racing this weekend in Michigan. I'm not a journalist but I deal with reporters and producers everyday. I tell my clients when they are the subject of a news story not to take it personal. Yes, the barbarians have invaded our nice little NASCAR family where we spend days discussing obscure news like speculation about a crew chief's future or what our favorite driver has for breakfast. The media will continue to work this story whenever they can: Is Tony racing this weekend? When will the investigation be released? What rule changes will the motorsport's organizations make to prevent this? Is Ward's family going to sue?

    Be prepared for plenty more stories that will frustrate you.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Thank you dave for taking thetime to accuratly report the true facts I am an avid listener to your show and main reason being Iis your honesty and integrity

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous9:23 AM

    The saddest part of all is that if Tony Stewart hadn't been involved, it would have been a non story. Other than the local media, no one else would have ever reported it. Speaking as a parent who has lost a child, the last thing you want to see is your child's face all over the news. My heart goes out to the Ward family.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Our views are "colored" by our experiences and positions in life. From Tony Stewart fans on one end of the spectrum to people on the other end of it. My thought is you should reverse the circumstance -- Ward Kills Stewart -- and then evaluate if you feel the same way about what happened.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Anonymous9:46 AM

    What frosts me about the coverage was the immediate mention of "criminal intent" by a bunch of broadcasters who have zero knowledge of racing. Tony may or may not have done something he shouldn't have but "criminal intent" surely was not a part of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not only do they have zero knowledge of racing, but they have zero amount of knowledge of the law. The use of that term, and that whole discussion about criminal intent is offensive to my sensibility, especially after viewing an interview with an attorney not connected to the case who was speculating and predicting what would be the final outcome BEFORE the investigation was complete. That to me is not just irresponsible, but unethical.

      Delete
  66. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Breaking news journalists everywhere can learn from this by listening to how Craven handled a situation he didn't want to be in. He was insightful and honest. Poole was right too. Too many journalists today (I am one, too, but old school) operate under the philosophy of it's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission. There is a mindset of just get it on the air, if it's wrong, it's corrected, clarified or retracted. Poole was absolutely right. If you get beat, you get beat. You can't do anything about that but YOU CAN GET IT RIGHT. Good read, Dave. Thanks for having the guts to say what needed to be said.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Excellent piece, Dave....you and Monte Dutton have both written something sensible.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Anonymous1:08 PM

    NEVER LET THE FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD STORY!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Thank you Mr. Moody for stating what I was feeling as I watched and listened to the Media convict Tony Stewart of murder while driving his race car and striking another race car driver that was standing in the racing track. I too was shocked to see the video aired on the various news broadcasts, knowing how horrifying it must have been for all of those in attendance of the race. The video should not have been shown out of respect to the Ward family. The problem in the world today is that so many people do not know how to show respect towards others. Respect is not a value that is taught or passed on to the young. Respect has been thrown out the door with "In God we Trust". This has led to the harsh and uncaring society that we live in today; as clearly shown in how the Media handled this news story. To clearify who I am; I am a long time race fan who respects Tony's talent as a professional race car driver. However, I am not a fan of his. What I saw happen, from the video that was shown, there was a young race car driver who was unable to control his temper and placed himself in harm's way. It was unfortunate for the driver who came along and unintentionally hit him. Had the young race car driver had control over his emotions, we would be talking about A.J.Allmindinger's first Nascar win at Watkins Glen. May all involved find comfort in reaching out to GOD.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Spot on DM. The laziness of the media & inaccuracies being reported as "news" is embarrassing.

    Mn Joe from the Sirius sports nation 127 early days of the show. Yes I'm still alive & catch the show once in awhile yet.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Excellent point...i salute you

    ReplyDelete
  72. Casey Dunn9:18 PM

    About time someone calls it right. It was an accident plain and simple. Just think of how Tony feels! Every driver that has ever raced a car has made mistakes. It was just a bad accident, and it is as simple as that!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Anonymous12:33 AM

    It seems that Tony's tough guy past has come back to haunt him. Many people are suspicious that his notable anger issue surfaced when the unfortunate Ward did his thing. The apologists for Stewart are an affront to the tragedy of Wards' death. It didn't have to happen AND MANSLAUGHTER IS A VIABLE POSSIBILITY.

    ReplyDelete
  74. AMEN DAVE AMEN !! I heard your show Monday afternoon and me and my wife were talking about how they showed this video on espn and my wife said that poor kids family and friends may have been exposed to that and we put your show on and you really hit it out of the park telling us true fans what we knew in Pgh most of the local news stations reported Nascar driver run over I wanted to jump through the TV and anymore these so called reporters Butcher NEWS on a nightly basis keep up the great work and GOD BLESS Kevin and his family and lets keep Tony in our thoughts and prayers . Again Thank you Dave

    ReplyDelete
  75. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Adult female point of view. My father gave me the love "for better or worse" of a car going around in an oval along side other cars that love going around in an oval. I actually cut my Nascar viewing down the year after Danica started racing in it. In my younger years I have driven a race car "Late model" small track. NEVER with other cars on the track. Why because I did not have the aggression it takes to drive that fast with other cars on the track. IT'S UNSAFE! When ever a driver gets on a race track in or out of the car their life is at risk. There is safety equipment in the car. Common sense would tell you to stay in the car. Which brings me to my point about all the reporting that has been going on. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE DOLLAR. The only control we have is our pocket books, remotes and where we post these days. I stopped watching NASCAR on Fox (I believe) because I couldn't stand the way Daryl Waltrip talked about Danica. I was so excited to have a women driver again in Nascar, I hoped she could handle the car as a race car driver. They turned her into a way to get ratings. "GO DADDY" commercials, constant chatter about nothing. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I agree this wouldn't be as large as it is if Tony wasn't driving.
    I hope everyone looks at this situation in a new light. Take a look at our society and how people outside of the racing community are "QUICK TO JUDGE" and the people inside the NASCAR only community who are surprised by it. They believe if you turned a female race car driver into a sex object and/or a larger than needed driver their ratings will go up. Are they wrong? I don't know. This is the society we live in.
    May God bless and look over all involved. Always remember to use common sense in all of your decision making.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Anonymous1:40 PM

    "Within minutes of the accident, speculation surfaced that Stewart had accelerated and swerved toward Ward in an intentional attempt to intimidate him." This quote from your article is what the problem is, only Tony Stewart knows what was in his mind at that moment, you do not. So you cannot, unequivocally say Tony Stewart is not partially to blame. It will probably take a jury to go through all of the facts to decide if there is any intent there. If this was a local racer that did it to another racer would we be having this conversation? Probably on the local level and yes there would still be a investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  77. "The tragic accident that claimed the life of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. at New York’s Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night showcased the absolute worst that human nature and an out-of-control media have to offer."

    Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.... Everyone is wrong but you....smh

    ReplyDelete