Monday 23 March 2009

The lowest common denominator

The way the media selectively report the facts is hardly isolated to football, if any of you have an interest in science then Ben Goldacre at the Guardian is always excellent at pointing out lazy and irresponsible journalism. At least when it relates to football no one dies because of the media's sloppy standards, however when news relating to health is reported innaccurately in can quite easily result in people dying unnecessarily a la MMR scare for example.

However this is an Arsenal related site so I'm not going to bore you with talk about your prostates (pardon me if you're female and feel left out as you don't have one). I just happened to notice an interview with Nic Bendtner that was covered by Arsenal Mania at the end of last week, for some strange reason the English press didn't cover his comments at all:

"That is still hard for me to understand, and perhaps because I am young I am still making mistakes with how I speak to the press in England, because they are looking to trick you and cause a problem with your team mates and fans more often than they are trying to report the facts of the sport.

"It is nothing like I have seen before, but perhaps if I was older I would know to stay away from certain newspapers.

"Sweden is like Denmark, probably too polite to make up rubbish about players but in England it is not the same, anyone can print what they want and the truth is not so important. But I am learning this just as I am learning on the field also.

"At the end of the day, people will believe what they want and I try not to be distracted too much by these things, although it is not encouraging when you hear the fans boo you or complain because of a missed pass or shot."

Honest and spot on Mr Bendtner. The behaviour of such journalists is not just unprofessional, it is a downright embarassment. Obviously on the day that the mighty Jade Goody is honoured with a six page special in the brilliant Sun newspaper, it would not be fair to accuse the English media of residing in the gutter and writing any old dishonest drivel to make money, however I am not a fair person and I would like to accuse them of precisely that on this very day.

Call me hypocritical, I can be too quick to criticise sometimes, however what I will never do is deliberately misrepresent the truth to further my own interests. The media's response to Phil Brown's virtual breakdown last week was another good example of the exploitative vultures that they are, never let the facts get in the way of a good story; Myles Palmer summarises events succinctly here and gets across the rather sad human element to the story that the media are so keen to avoid. Do not believe all you read in the press, let the facts do the talking and make your own minds up, the problem these days is that our sad excuse for journalists are making it harder and harder to see the facts beneath an ever expanding sea of dishonest slurry.


Anonymous said...

My dislike for the media is only slightly outstripped by my dislike for lawyers...

Good shout 1979.

1979gooner said...

There are one or two good eggs out there Rhino, although K Man would indeed sell his soul for a good price, please don't sue me K Man I'm only jesting.

Ted said...

1979 - am I missing something, but why the new Bendtner quotes newsworthy?

Even if I was a tabloid hack, I would not run that story. Its totally dull. If a paper did nothing but print bare facts, then it would go out of business very quickly.

Are you really telling us that if you worked at the Sun and you got the chance to bury Ronaldo, based on some crappy Portuguese interview, you would say "no, my job is not to make money from stories that people are interested in, I am solely concerned with giving a 100% impartial view of 100% proven facts". Dream on.

The simple answer is players should not give press interviews and people should not buy newspapers.

Surely Bendtner is only promoting his image in the Danish papers to collect on marketing contracts? He is Denmark's version of Beckham for god's sake. If you dance with the devil then you are in no position to complain.

Anyway, the days of hard copy papers are numbered. The Evening Standard is bust. The Independant is next and several others are in trouble.

1979gooner said...

I'd hardly say Bendtner is dancing with the devil.

He's a young man who's been surprised at the dishonestly and gutter nature of our tabloids.

Maybe there's something wrong with our culture if so many people accept that it's acceptable for people to peddle lies to make a living.

The media is obviously not the only thing deserving blame, it's more of a systemic problem due to various self propagating vicious cycles that have forged the way things are today.

If you have a very educated population and excellent objective media then it will tend to educate people more and generate more intelligent debate, hence a vicious cycle of improvement, as in Scandinavia for example where people are on the whole much better educated and behaved than in the UK.

However combine a less educated population with a media that aims at the lowest common denominator, then you have a vicious cycle going the other way, to the gutter.

Look at the sports press in certain European Countries for example, in France the standard of sports coverage is so much better than anything we have in the UK, even in the best of the broadsheets.

As you say though the printed press is in trouble, while the internet is taking over a lot of functions previously performed there.

The problem is that the Internet also has the potential to popularise rubbish, obviously if the only people who looked at the Interent were well educated and intelligent then the most popular sites would be excellent sites on the whole.

However when the Sun is the most popular newspaper in your country, the Internet has the potential to allow utter dross to prosper.

On the counter argument maybe people can save themselves by picking the quality stuff from the crud, maybe they can, I don't know, I just like ranting.

Ted said...

Interesting comments on the post modernist edu-socio-centric patterns in Western Europe. Well done.

However, the short answer is that anyone who regularly buys the sun as their only source of news is, by definition, a twat.

Anyway, I think we have gone a bit off subject here.

Q: Is Kieran Gibbs the future of Arsenal football club. Please discuss.

K man said...

Yes, along with Rambo, Jack, Carlos and....wait for it...DJOUROU!!!

1979, can we pls ban Rhino for his defamatory comments against lawyers...and to think I was just starting to enjoy his banter.

Truth is I have already sold my soul...oh well.

1979gooner said...

Diaby is the new Flash Gordon. Discuss.

Ted said...

christ. I almost overlooked the fact that you have agreed with Myles Palmer on something.

surely this is one of the first signs of the apocalypse?

If anyone spots 1979 saying "the ref did a good job today", then abandon everything and get to church as fast as possible.

Anonymous said...

Contrite apologies K man. My comment is directed at the masses. I'm sure there are a few decent souls like yourself ;-)

Can I add Coquelin to your list of future Arsenal stars?

I am enjoying 1979 and Ted pontificating on the causes of the degradation of society . Can we have some more of this please? How about a disertation on the role of the music and entertainment industry on the youth? :-D

Ted, isn't Eboue scoring goals also a harbinger of the apocalypse? We could be closer than we think....