April 18, 2014

David Stern to Jim Rome: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

Twitter figuratively exploded this afternoon when Jim Rome had NBA commissioner David Stern on. Rome asked the commissioner if the NBA lottery was fixed. Stern tried to make Rome feel shameful for even asking, but Jim Rome defended his question. Then Stern unleashed the question that would set the world abuzz.

“Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

Admittedly the reference was lost on me. I immediately went to Google to try and figure out if I had missed out on some incident where Jim Rome had gotten in trouble for domestic abuse. Finally, I figured it out. What the commissioner was trying to say was that it was unfair to ask such a loaded question. In this case, the commissioner obviously felt the question had an unjustified assumption of guilt built right into it.

The “beat your wife” thing is a standard example of the definition of a loaded question. From Wikipedia,

The traditional example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.

Many will still accuse the commissioner of stepping over a line. If nothing else, he will have caused a lot of confusion as many seem to assume he was personally attacking Jim Rome. It doesn’t appear that is the case, but perception, as they say, is reality.

[Related: An NBA title: What does Cleveland have to do?]

  • Ritz

    Believe it or not, the average IQ has now risen consistently with each generation.

  • ClevelandFrowns

    LOL. I am very much looking forward to this. When’s the next afternoon Tribe game? An executive session at the Rockside Wink looks to be in order

  • Ritz

    Yea but…

    Why then confuse more people with the headline? So it would show up in a google search? That’s not how headlines should be created.

  • mgbode

    I insist you include all things “WOW”

    J & Sham definitely included

  • Harv 21

    Rome’s birth certificate looks kind of suspicious to me. You may be on to something.

  • mgbode

    pretty easily explained in that we have more standardized testing earlier and more people at least go to HS with each generation.

    that does not mean we are not regressing as a society though :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SOT35RGCQDJI7M6KJKBTWVTNQM John

    Well I am not a SK scholar but I liked his points of view on the validity of subjective views, and can somewhat identify with his feelings of being misunderstood. 

    Anyway, my view on the labeling is that Rome if preemptively labeled by his long ago rep as a “shockcaster” or by Stern’s following “career of cheap thrills”  comments, he is assumed insincere. In this case I cannot make that assumption. I heard Rome’s response as measured and fairly well spoken, and
    disagree with Harv’s premise in his view that Rome’s intent was obvious,
    and the idea that (perceived) disrespect “deserves” disrespect.

    As for the NBA lottery I have zero opinion, so that was not what I was referring to. Maybe unexplained unexplained, the “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” refers to Rome (or any reporter) sincerely asking a potentially tough question and conversely describes the answer to the infamous loaded question.

  • porckchopexpress

    Rome asked a “tough” question, but not one that is fair.  To digress for a minute 2 MIss USA contestants have recently come out and said the publicly that the contest is rigged.  To date in 25 years of NBA lottery’s no one, out of the hundreds of people both in the NBA and independent observers to the process have ever made a claim that they felt it was rigged. 
    Therefore Rome’s question is based on speculation.  The fact that Rome view’s fan speculation as a grounds for asking such a question shows what a poor journalist he is. Would he ask Lebron in an inteview if Delonte ever slept with his mom?  Would he ask Ray Lewis why he won’t divulge the name of the killer?  Based on the softballs he pitches many guests I can say no. 
    A credible journalist would only ask questions that have some basis in fact.  Rome’s question is based on nothing more than speculation, and as Stern said BEFORE his “beating” remark; It doesn’t matter what he answers because people believe what they want.  Had Charlotte won the lottery people would have thought it was rigged because Jordan is close with the Comish.  Had NJ won it people would have thought it was rigged because the team moved to Brooklyn.
    The fact is Rome asked the question because he relies on the lowest common denominator in sports to keep his show going and those are the only people speculating on the riggedness of the lottery.  He was pandering to his audience and Stern absolutley and justifiably called him on it.  Rome is pathetic because he both wants to be Howard Stern and Walter Cronkite.  He spends most of his life sucking up to stars (typical Rome inteview question session:  Rome:  Floyd Money Maywhether, whats it like knowing you are so awesome that everyone is jealous of you? …  Rome: Now I know this is controversial but how do you keep yourself from getting complacent knowing you are the most awesome fighter in the world?) or trying to stir up controversy where their should  be none.  Then he gets upset when he makes a flailing attept at credibility.