Ya. That all makes sense to me. I went to college for TV production stuff. Mostly what they wanted to teach me was this news-type style reporting, which i abhor. I ended up spending most of my time alone in the editing bays, cutting up football clips. It's the sensationalized nature of spinning non-reality into bite sized pieces of information so as to become a digestible piece of media that can be branded, marketed and sold. I just don't enjoy the news and media very much.
In seriousness though, its a super big loophole in modern reporting. Source confidentiality. Let's concoct the scenario. Let's say someone in the Raiders organization actually told the guy from ESPN this. So, this is true for the example. If Len P comes out and says "insert name here of Raiders employee" said this about Barkley vs Wilson, that guy would prolly be fired. So, to not get fired, he trusts Len to keep his mouth shut. And, Len can legally do that, before a Grand Jury, and never reveal his sources because it would be professionally or personally harmful to him. This makes it entirely possible to completely make up stories, as i am sure happens at an alarming rate. Ever hear of Stephen Glass? Invented all sorts of stories for years before he was caught.
There was a reporter who was actually arrested, and put in jail for years for not revealing a source homeland security deemed "a national threat". There was a pretty big uproar about it back in 2004 or so.
So ya, stuff gets made up, unless they change that rule it will continue to be made up. And, inbetween that is the real gems that are actually true.
Former ESPN Senior Writer Len Pasquarelli (and a Steelers fan and noted Raiders hater) is the one who recently brought up this old rumor about the Raiders wanting Barkley over Wilson. Unfortunately, Pasquarelli never provided a source for his information or any context including how badly or not the Raiders wanted Barkley. Since then, sports journalist after journalist has been writing about this, never bothering to provide a source other than Pasquarelli, who never provided a source or context himself. This type of National Enquirer gossip is too often what journalism has descended to today. In his June 30th article discussing many football stories, Pasquarelli devoted just two sentences to this and since then there's been article after article about it from other reporters: "By the way, the Oakland Raiders were of such a mind, and planned to jump on Barkley with their fourth round pick, before Philly took him with the first selection in the stanza. The Raiders then opted for a fallback, Tyler Wilson of Arkansas."