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The Power of the Media and Why Peyton Manning is Unscathed

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I'm going to let you in on a little secret: coming up with topics to write about is pretty simple.

I write about what I want to know about, and I share the findings of my research. Some weeks I want to know if rookie defensive tackle Malcom Brown has the potential to be a star (yes), others I want to know if cornerback Logan Ryan is the real deal (he's a good #2). I evaluate, I write, you read.

My writing can go beyond some statistical oddities, or film reviews because there are some pretty easy topics that are worth reading about. What is the Patriots playoff seed? Which teams will they face next season? Why the heck is Jonathan Freeny playing over Jerod Mayo?

These are topics that people will seek out because the topics are in their face. The Patriots lost, the Broncos won, what does it mean? The Texans won, so will they visit or host New England next season? And seriously, why is Freeny seeing time over Mayo?

There are some other topics that aren't self-evident and they don't pervade every news medium around the world. Research that covers gay athletes, domestic violence, and player health gains legs because attention is drawn to the discussion, but even that microscope disappears once interest waned.

The feedback loop of the news cycle is strong. The population becomes interested, the outlets cover the subject, the population digests and moves on, and the subject fades away.

But what happens when the outlets actively ignore important subjects?

If you watched the pregame shows on Sunday, you might not have known that Peyton Manning has been connected to a drug scandal. The news agency Al Jazeera connected the Broncos quarterback to a facility that sent Human Growth Hormone (HGH, and a drug banned by the NFL) directly to his house.

You might not have heard that Al Jazeera doubled down by saying they possessed a second source for the story that happened to be "absolutely impeccably placed, knowledgeable, and credible."

What you probably heard was the Al Jazeera reporter saying that the report wasn't an allegation against Manning.

In other words, the report alleges HGH being sent to Manning's house, not that Peyton was the end user.

The pregame show didn't have a mention about this story and it was intentional. The New York Daily News transcribed a key quote from an interview with CBS's Jim Nantz:

[WFAN's Mike Francesa] asked Nantz if he and Phil Simms would discuss Al Jazeera's allegations during CBS' Chargers-Broncos telecast? "No, why would we? If we talk about it we would only continue to breathe life into a story that on all levels is a non-story," Nantz said. "Why add another layer to it?"

Declaring this a "non-story" is an active decision to avoid this topic in its entirety. Burying the story with the second-coming of Peyton Manning happened to be a different approach.

CBS's pregame covered Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler as all involved fawned over Peyton Manning's influence on the young quarterback.

"Peyton is the ultimate teammate," Osweiler said. "He's the ultimate person."

And once the game started, and Osweiler was benched, the two announcers were quick to pick up the torch for Peyton Manning.

"You talk about a spark?," Jim Nantz said about Manning after the Broncos picked up 27 yards on a C.J. Anderson rush. "They've gotten one here."

"I don't think they have great faith that they can stop Peyton Manning," Phil Simms said as the Chargers lined up to attempt a 4th down conversion.

We've already covered the hypocrisy in how all of the outlets have covered the allegations against Manning when compared to how they lambasted the New England Patriots and Tom Brady over DeflateGate.

In fact, Phil Simms, who actively made a point not to discuss the link between Manning and HGH, was extremely willing to talk about Brady and DeflateGate prior to the Super Bowl.

"Look, if you are a quarterback in the NFL, you can tell the difference between 9.9 and 10 [psi]," Phil Simms told Monday Morning Quarterback in January 2015, prior to the Super Bowl. "It is in your hand. That is your life, that football."

Simms also spoke to the same exact WFAN radio station and said, "this story, you know I'm interested in this, I don't think it's going to die because everybody is going to keep digging until somebody gets the truth...sooner or later the truth is going to come out because we know that somebody did something to the footballs."

With the movie Concussion in theaters, and player health being of paramount importance, a direct connection between an All Time Great and drug use isn't even a far leap for the national discussion. Heck, Simms was talking about player safety all game with outlandish ideas like preventing ball carriers from hurdling defenders, or forcing running backs out a couple games every year for their own preservation.

To discuss player safety and ignore the Al Jazeera report is to fail as a media and news entity.

The truth with DeflateGate is out there, but the cycle has passed and no one wants to hear about Brady's innocence. The truth about Peyton is out there as well, but it seems that every single outlet is willing to offer him the same benefit of the doubt that they refused to Brady earlier this year.

Everybody is going to keep digging until somebody gets the truth, unless those that are in charge of the news actively hide that there's anything worth digging for.