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Biggest corruption of all overlooked in cheating scandals

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Click-hungry reporters too quick to push out latest scandals without checking the facts.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Fans want to believe the denials.

It seems every week there is a new accusation, usually followed by adamant rejection. A star athlete cheated. It's as common as the latest study telling you what you eat will kill you, followed by a follow up saying, "Well, no it won't."

It's a never-ending cycle.

That has forced sports fans to become numb. It's not really news that athletes will do whatever it takes to gain an advantage, and then lie about it when they're caught.

That's not the issue. That's not the story. That's not the problem.

What is a problem is now every media outlet is looking for the latest "gotcha" moment. Some reporters want the story that will blow up their outlet and bring down the latest big name celebrity. It's not just sports, but every walk of life. Politics. Entertainment. City government. College campuses. If there is a chance you have THAT story, you run with it - facts be damned.

You put in the work to get the story but you don't put in the work to prove it and go over every detail with, pardon the cliche, a fine tooth comb. You don't answer every possible question, twice, even as minute as spelling names.

All that matters anymore is the headline. Whether it's for clicks and links, or just to spread a name to get more Twitter followers, there is no longer honor in much of journalism. There is no longer pride in the work created.

People in the media wonder why no one trusts them? Here's clue No. 1.

As a former member of the media, it makes me sick. It should make current journalists ill, too. They should shun the media bottom feeders who take part in this. So should readers.

There is a common line I learned as a young journalism student in college, perhaps you've heard it: "If your mom tells you she loves you, check it out."

People of all walks of life now believe whatever they're told is fact. "It was on Facebook, it has to be true."

The other major issue is the rush to get the story out before anyone else gets it. Facts, again, be damned.

Instead of doing it right the first time, in the name of clicks and links to get the "scoop," outlets sacrifice credibility. When you're in journalism, that's all you have. When you lose that, you might as well find a new profession or close up shop.

Without credibility, it doesn't matter what you create going forward. You might as well be branded with a Scarlet Letter.

Now that's an idea. That's what should happen when a journalist or outlet rushes a story out without checking facts - they get a Scarlet Letter. The blue check mark on Twitter gets replaced with a Y inside a circle. The "Y" stands for Yellow, as in Yellow Journalism. "Read at your own risk. This journalist and/or outlet doesn't care about the simple rules of journalism. They took the easy way out."

It's hard to work in the media. Always has been. It's harder now than ever.

With so many ways to get news, and with so much apathy in the world, credibility plays second fiddle to being first. People no longer want to pay to get a subscription to the local newspaper because they find all they need on YouTube or other social media outlets.

That means companies don't have the money to pay people to do quality work. With it the quality of their product drops, and that makes it even less desirable to the paying public.

That brings us to today.

The role of the media has always been to educate and inform the public. To take people to places they cannot go.

For those who love history, this is Yellow Journalism all over again.

Believe what you want to believe when it comes to denials and deniers. We all see the world through a different lens. We have our biases and prejudices.

Do not believe every story you read that levels a new accusation.

Remain skeptical until it's proven with solid facts. Don't be quick to lend your trust; you deserve the truth.

Take this journalist credo to how you read stories: "If your mom tells you she loves you, check it out."