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The Bernstein Brief: New Bears Media Rules Are A Joke

By Dan Bernstein-- senior columnist

(CBS) The Bears insist their ridiculous, unenforceable new rules for the media's coverage of training camp are just like those of other NFL teams. Even if true, that doesn't make them any less dumb.

The thousands of fans watching practice are free to cover everything: live-tweeting lineups and alignments, posting unlimited videos and endlessly describing the action in real time -- who's getting in a fight perhaps or who's being taken off the field on a cart.

Credentialed reporters, however, have now been told not to report. They can't tell anyone what they see on the field, nor can they approach players or coaches at the conclusion of practice without having submitted a request for approval 24 hours prior.

These laughable guidelines were put in place ostensibly to control information, despite the fact that it clearly does the exact opposite. Instead of allowing those trained and paid to process and disseminate news, the Bears have now ceded that control to anybody with a smartphone.

A Bears spokesperson told the Tribune that the move was to prevent erroneous or out-of-context reporting, apparently not realizing that now the team is inviting more of that by putting the masses in charge.

What of a retweet of something noted or recorded by a fan just on the other side of the yellow rope, inches away? Is that kosher? Can a TV station pick up the video the moment it hits the public domain? Why not?

What's even crazier is that any industrious editor or program director can have a reporter take a "day off" to join fans in the stands. Without the burden of a credential, he or she could actually report.

This doesn't protect the paranoid Bears from any prying eyes working to discover their precious trade secrets (if they think opposing teams don't already have scouts in the stands, they're dreaming). And it doesn't help their fans get reliable news in proper context.

It's a bad, stupid policy that accomplishes nothing of value to anyone involved.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score's "Boers and Bernstein Show" in afternoon drive. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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