How to Con Your Way to a Staff Job at ESPN
"Yes, yes, I've seen the movie Catfish."
In case you missed it, the Twitter machine went berserk last week in the wake of a Deadspin exposé on sports betting columnist and probable Internet scam artist "Sarah Phillips."
Deadspin's investigation covers a series of cons, most of which involve Sarah's falsified association with ESPN.com.
But then the story takes an odd turn, when Sarah becomes... actually employed by ESPN.com.
In other words, ESPN hasn't been this thoroughly grifted since they picked up Keith Olbermann's last limousine tab.
But here's what I find truly amazing: Ignoring all of Sarah's extortion attempts, her ascendency as a journalist was actually fairly legitimate -- albeit absurd.
She begins as a frequent commenter (as in, the comments section of a website) at a sports betting page called Covers.com.
Plucked from the comment threads, she's given a weekly column at Covers.com, and from there she's offered a weekly column at ESPN's Page 2.
So the line between gambling website commenter and David Halberstam has now been officially demolished. Journalism is -- for the record, even at prestigious outlets like ESPN -- now entirely a game of page views.
What a precedent! But maybe fitting for a world in which actual reporting is marginalized, and a few snappy headlines can garner Pulitzer consideration. Or, as Barack Obama recently said to the Huffington Post:
"There’s no one else out there linking to the kinds of hard-hitting journalism that [you're] linking to every single day."