If there is any journalistic tic more routinely annoying that appending the suffix "gate" to every non-scandal (well, OK, some deserve it), it's the loose comparisons of any half-decent reporting to Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate coverage. Today's laughable example comes from San Francisco Magazine, which plants a long wet one on the SF Chronicle for its coverage of the BALCO steroids case.

Forever changing the national conversation on steroids does not compare to exposing an illegal cover-up directed by the president. But to anyone who cares about sports, these two reporters became the Woodward and Bernstein of our times. "Their reporting has rivaled the Washington Post on Watergate," says Peter Gammons of ESPN. […]

"Whoever the source is, he is on the ground floor, like Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal," says Moynihan of ESPN.

Gag me with a high hard one. The Chron's BALCO coverage has indeed clubbed their competition like a Kirk Rueter fastball, but Woodstein used persistent digging to uncover government malfeasance, while Mr. Sharon Stone's minions used Grand Jury leaks to abet the state running wild. Difference, that.