First, let me emphasize that I don’t believe or even suspect the 800m freestyle Olympic gold medal winner Kathie Ledecky is doping. Yes, she came from nowhere (ranked #55 in 2011) and had a huge one-year improvement (4.2%), but these aren’t unheard of for teenagers. For example, the 2004 200m backstroke gold medal winner, Zimbabwean Kristy Coventry had the similar trajectory (ranked #19 in 2003 and one-year time improvement was also 4.2%). Compare to Ye who was fairly well known prior to the Games, they truly came from nowhere and had much larger one-year improvement (Ye’s one-year improvement was 1.9%.).
While on the topic of suspicion of doping, I am having a hard time to believe Carmelita Jeter is clean. Jeter’s personal best of 100 meter dash was at age 26 11.48”, at age 27 11.02”, and she has managed to improve to 10.64” at age 32.
The purpose of this post is examining the coverage of Ye and Ledecky by a couple of major Western media outlets, and scoring them in terms of being fair and balanced.
BBC – A
It aired the viewpoint of John Leonard; it also aired the rebuttals by Ye, her team and her Australian coach.
Its guest commentator Ian Thorpe offered his defense of Ye.
At the end, with all information available so far, it has done a couple of fine pieces of summary reports (report A, report B). Also the pictures of Ye Shiwen aren’t the unflattering ones, certainly not PS’d.
New York Times – F
What an embarrassment of horrendous journalistic integrity! I know New York Times has sunk into hell, but I simply can’t imagine it can sink this low.
Like everybody else, it provided a stage for John Leonard’s viewpoint. It made no mention of the rebuttals, but had no problem of summarizing the reactions by the Chinese media and the public — in its twisted way I might add. It didn’t report the WADA test result, or Moynihan’s defense, or Ian Thorpe’s defense, or Michael Phelps’ defense of Ye. It also didn’t report the doping questions being raised on Ledecky because of her improvement being far better than Ye’s.