A Problem with Internet Blogs and Powerlifting

A Problem with Internet Blogs and Powerlifting

May 20, 2014

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^^An actual photo of the author (foreground) and Corey Miceli, another real powerlifter

I was drawn in to read an article on powerlifting because a fellow powerlifter had posted it (I assume before he finished reading it) and it was published through what I thought was a reputable online magazine.  The opening image was of a geared squatter moving some serious weight with a few positive bylines.  The impression given was that the lifter in the image was the author of the article.

I was very, very wrong….

As I continued to read I began to doubt the author’s actual experience and credentials in the sport of powerlifting – a few red flags had me Google the author’s name.  In one of the most passive-aggressive articles I have read in any forum, the author fed into every possible negative stereotype of the sport.  He must have done some research on the discussions going on within the sport by those who actually participate as he drew upon the equipped versus raw, multi-federation and drug issues.  He even went on to give his ‘experienced’ reasoning why powerlifting has not become an Olympic sport and took shots at some of the top lifters in the industry.

Of course, all of this was done while touting his extensive experience (we could find no evidence of any – other than on his own very limited website) in a variety of sports.

What I did pick up on, as an actual UAW Local 1981 (Writers Union) journalist and well-published author (especially peer-reviewed technical articles) and publisher, are some very key points. First, I have to question how the well known online magazine vets and selects its authors.  In the future, I will have to question the validity of blogs or electronic articles and information published on that venue.  I am proud of my association with IronAuthority.com specifically because of the several months of vetting that Brady put me through while deciding whether or not to take me on  as a writer, including having to present my background (resume) not just from the sport.  That makes me comfortable with my co-authors in this eZine.

I will not mention the article, magazine or author, in question, not because of potential reprisals, but specifically because I will NOT provide positive or negative promotion of the blog and its contents.

Reviewing the author’s other articles, it became obvious that he fancies himself an expert in virtually everything.  When pictures and his website were found it became readily apparent that he is not what he claimed.

While there are topics within the uninformed article that bear discussion and attention, there are few facts.  The author clearly viewed some video, read a few rants written by experienced lifters, and then presented them in a light that was disparaging and inaccurate in relation to the sport and its dedicated participants.  It appeared he mixed up sports in a few cases.

Through the time I have been back in the sport I have reviewed the arguments, did some background research and read opinions by other lifters.  I do participate in the debates and may, in the future, present some history or a case/position on the topics.  However, it will be an opinion presented by someone within the sport.  I am no superstar, but I do believe in presenting information in such a way that the reader can form their own opinion – and I definitely do not wish to scare people on the fence about entering the sport from a positive decision!

In this case, however, my issue has more to do with the internet warrior.  The individual, or group, that has learned they have a mouthpiece no matter how little experience or facts they have.  This is seen in a lot of areas from technical to political editorial, blogs, websites and newsletters that often have heavily skewed, and even fabricated, information while misrepresenting themselves as something else.

This presents an ethical question in relation to the author and publisher and, sorry to say, the intelligence or experience of the reader.  Unfortunately, there are folks that will follow something because: ‘if it is in writing, it must be true.’  The person following ends up confusing editorial (opinion articles) as fact, which can be dangerous in many ways including, especially in powerlifting, to their health and well-being.

At a time when powerlifting is evolving and the brother/sister-hood of iron is welcoming newcomers into a sport rife with positive feelings and personal/team accomplishments, we cannot allow such negative attacks to persist.  It’s not like there is a lot of money in the sport, people come into it and stay for its POSITIVE values.

There are ways of handling this type of situation.  As powerlifters we are conditioned to handle things head-on and rarely hold back our opinions.  However, in cases such as the one that I have mentioned, if you respond to such an individual directly you ‘lift them up,’ making them more than they are.  When catching such an issue, one approach is to contact the magazine/blog directly with your concerns.  The other is to actively avoid using the resource.   Not much of a loss if their information is this inaccurate.  Hopefully, when contacted, they address the problem such as misleading pictures and misrepresentations.

Perhaps the eZine in question, and others, will read this and take heed?  We shall see!

If you enjoyed this editorial, please feel free to comment below!

 

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3 comments

  1. Big B /

    Way to go Howard! You knocked it out of the park! I think my view on this subject lost sight of the fact that the moron you’re talking about actually targeted beginning lifters! Those of us who have been in the game for an extended period of time can see through the article’s bullshit from a mile away! However, the newcomer may actually take it to heart, which makes it all the worse…

  2. Jerome Tank Cook /

    Thank you sir. This was to the point. As a sport we need unification. A seperatist attitude by someone unqualified is not what we need.

  3. Good, Howard! But there’s nothing we can do about the new trends in author legitimacy the internet brought to the publishing context. I guess all we can do about the promising newcomers to powerlifting is to provide clues as to where to find reliable information and opinion, and how to spot a self-marketing AH. 🙂

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