Imagine the news cycle this morning was about to be punctured with the story that Magic Johnson would be telling the world about his HIV diagnosis.With all that’s known now about AIDS works, the survival rates and the stigmas still attached to it, through which media platform might you expect to process this information first?1, A tweet by TMZ, based on a leak?2. A well-crafted posting on ThePlayersTribune.com that appeared to come straight from Johnson? • RELATED: Magic’s announcment 25 years ago, was a game-changer for societyIn the hours leading up to that Nov. 7 afternoon in 1991, three days into a Lakers’ season where their 32-year-old superstar had been isolated with some uncertain illness, there was mounting obfuscation by the team, Johnson’s handlers and, eventually, the league as they tried to process. Misinformation was all over the place.By the time ESPN anchor Dan Patrick made the announcement at 3:05 p.m. that the network would be breaking into its regularly scheduled program “to bring you perhaps the biggest sports-related story of our time,” the fear factor had heightened through more incomplete intel.If we were to accurately fast forward to how today’s media might handle all this, we’ve gotta be honest with ourselves.“If Magic gave the same announcement today under the same conditions as was before — while still playing as an elite in the league — you know there would be massive trending on Twitter, much of it likely to be sadly unsavory and unfair,” said Dr. Daniel Durbin, the director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society.“Also given that TMZ would immediately publish the story if there was a hint of a possibility that it might be true, Magic’s people would need to make sure they got his version of the story out as quickly as possible to beat Harvey Levin’s minions.“Even then, he could expect anyone within a thousand mile radius of his circle to be hit on for rumors, gossip and innuendo. He could expect to have various versions of his story repeated as the lead of TMZ broadcasts for the entertainment of the TMZ audience. And, of course, he should expect these rumors to be bandied about by various talk radio characters — again, for the entertainment, not enlightenment, of their audiences.”For context, note how the HIV announcement of actor Charlie Sheen went after he confirmed it in November 2015 even though he said he was diagnosed four years earlier. Will Leitch, the 41-year-old founding editor of Deadspin.com who has crafted his own media “experience” through books, SportsOnEarth.com posts, podcasts and New York magazine, had no doubt how a Magic-related story would magically appear these days.“I don’t see any way this isn’t a story that TMZ breaks — they break everything,” he said. “There would have been a nurse’s aide or an orderly somewhere who would have spilled. Absolutely no question.”That would also start the process of disruptive discourse and dissemination because “there would be less respectful distance now” in how the news was pushed through the cycles.“The story would build on itself and build on itself and eventually, probably within one afternoon, get far out of his control,” he added, noting that the somewhat vague details Johnson offered about his pre-HIV diagnosis wouldn’t fly now.“I think, in fact, that you can make an argument that we would get more details in the first week after the announcement that we have gotten in the last 25 years. Now, amid the facts, there would be a ton of things wrong and a ton of misinformation. But out of misinformation, ultimately, comes truth.”Truth, and accuracy, the two things that often suffer the most collateral damage.To be truthful, we’re not sure how TMZ, which launched in 2005, might have dealt with this. An interview request to TMZ Sports executive producer Evan Rosenblum, a current member of the Southern California News Group’s Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports, was declined by TMZ officials.“I think we’d have better compassion and understanding of the disease and the people it affects,” Leitch added.“But just think, if it were to happen today, right before a Presidential election, it would still be a nightmare … and hearing Skip Bayless talk about it would make me want to die.”More media notes at www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarthMEASURING MEDIA MAYHEMWHAT SMOKES• The U.S. Justice Department’s decision to now blast AT&T/DirecTV for collusion related to negotiations to distribute the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA has many layers of interpretation beyond the immediate gasp last Wednesday that a lawsuit had indeed been filed. After a three-season stall, AT&T/DirecTV gets more than a gentle nudge by the feds to behave on the playground as it tries to do another media mega-merger with Time Warner Inc. (a different company than TWC). It’s too little too late for those who missed Vin Scully’s going-away party. But there’s another curious aspect to this: How would the DOJ know so much behind-the-scenes information about the way DirecTV supposedly was the “ringleader” with three other cable companies to push away Time Warner Cable? One of those companies named in the suit, but not charged with collusion, is Charter Communications – which got the government to approve its takeover of Time Warner Cable in 2015, then pick up SportsNet LA. With this new Charter/TWC merger now called Spectrum, there is plenty of incentive for it to help the DOJ know all about how DirecTV traded information with it to block TWC. It could also have given Cox Communications a pass as well for ratting out DirecTV, now owned by AT&T, the third company named in this complicated brand-blaming suit. “The goal was to make Time Warner the bad guy in all this (by DirecTV, Cox, Charter and AT&T), which they quite successfully did, and to avoid getting involved in costly programming that might lose their customers,” said Dr. Daniel Durbin, the director of USC’s Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society. “The DOJ may well have a good case that could cause trouble for them. My gut tells me it’s pretty unlikely this gets to the point of serious penalties.” Ultimately, this has to go beyond public shaming. Commerce’s checks and balances of what constitutes a fair price for a Regional Sports Network couldn’t even come into play as long as DirecTV played hardball against TWC and dragged the others with it. Now, we see how bedfellows can turn on one another when they’re on the other side of the financial fence. It’s just how people do business, apparently. Again, leaving the fans holding the check.WHAT CHOKES• The fact that L.A. radio listeners had to scramble to find out-of-market stations just to listen to Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night would seem to be quite embarrassing to the industry if it didn’t already have enough poor customer service to deal with. The two affiliates that could have provided ESPN Radio coverage – KSPN-AM (710) and KLAA-AM (830) – had commitments to flagship partners (Lakers and Ducks, respectively), which also happened during Tuesday’s Game 6, the previous Friday’s Game 4 and the Oct. 25 Game 2. And last Sunday’s Game 5 took KSPN out of the mix as well. The game was made for radio, and it’s more than a shame that the call by Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone was best accessible (to those without Sirius XM satellite radio) by angling the car on the freeway just right to pick up San Diego’s 690-AM or 1090-AM. As a last resort, the ESPN Radio phone app did work, but the experience was taken away. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error 3. Johnson’s own hacked Instagram account?4. KCBS-Channel 2 sports anchor Jim Hill interrupting a Caitlyn Jenner interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show?”Monday, we hit the 25-year marker on the day a press conference was quickly arranged before live TV news cameras at the Forum Club in Inglewood. It’s human nature to want to go back to that day and reassess how the news gathering came about, and then compare it to modern technologies that would certainly guarantee that everything be delivered much more clean and accurate through reporting and analysis.You’d still be overlooking the human element that’s potentially as toxic now as it was naïve back then.‘Unsavory and unfair’ reaction?