People really hate on sports journalism sometimes. Derogatory names like the Toy Department are often given out by other journalists who are probably upset that they have to cover murders every day of their boring lives. These people couldn't cut it in the sports world, and I have no doubt they hate on us sports people for that.
Any whom, I found this article to be very enlightening, and a little long. Whiteside, Yu, and Hardin do a good job in their research to show that journalistic integrity exists in sports journalism. It also shows that things have come a long way since 1998. Ever since Barry Bonds was implicated, the media has shifted from trying to protect players, to trying to oust players.
A good example would be Melky Cabrera this year in San Francisco. He tested positive for a banned substance, and immediately was punished. I think one of the reasons things have changed so much is that the rules of sports have changed too.
Steroids weren't a serious offense in 1998. MLB handed out a memo that said steroids were against the rules, but did absolutely nothing to punish offenders and didn't really test people either. It was okay in 1998, which was shown by the writers' willingness to turn a blind eye. Now that it's illegal, writers are hell bent on ousting the abusers.
I don't think you can judge a whole section of journalism based on whether or not the articles people are writing are "neutral" or as I like to say: Swiss (Roger Federer's Nationality!). In fact, I believe writers have gone a little overboard on their writing just to be shock jocks. The crazier something you say is, the more people will listen. You hear me Rush Limbaugh.
Still, the stigmatism of the toy department will stick with sports writers for ever, and to be honest, that's okay. The toy department is the best department in every store ever. That's why F.A.O. Schwartz and Toys 'R Us exist. I like to embrace the toy department because people need us. People live off of analysis of their teams. Believe me, I certainly do.