Monday, 25 January 2010

Sport and the Media............

Am I alone in becoming deeply frustrated by the media's coverage of sport, particularly football? Never a day goes by without another sensational story, 'Gary Neville launches attack on Tevez', 'Ruud van Nistelrooy is definite for Spurs, 'Hiddink on the move to Liverpool'. Let's look at the reality of those: Neville was asked by The Times of Malta whether he thought Ferguson should have ensured that Tevez stayed at Man Utd - was Neville really going to say "The gaffer screwed up'? Of course not, but boost it up, omit the fact that his comment was in answer to a specific question and 'Bingo!', big story. Except that it was a story manufactured by the for Ruud, he was so definite for Spurs that he's signed for Hamburg. Hiddink? His agent says there have been no talks with Liverpool, in fact with anyone, as Hiddink is determined to stay with Russia until after the World Cup.

An unfortunate effect of the media fanning the Tevez/Neville flames is that GMP are now anticipating major trouble, at Wednesday's Carling Cup match between Man Utd and Man City, so are hugely increasing the number of officers covering the match. Which will, in itself, encourage certain mindless morons to see it as a challenge. A few short years ago, Neville wouldn't have been in contact with The Times of Malta and we wouldn't have had a clue what Tevez had said to some radio station in Brazil, even assuming that he would have been interviewed by them about events in the English league.

As for the totally untrue stories, do the papers publish apologies when it's clear that they were wrong? Of course not, they're too busy writing the next speculative story. In some cases, the original (and wrong) story has been deleted from their website, leaving you to wonder if you imagined it.

So has the era of the web encouraged irresponsible journalism? Has the pressure to supply endless copy 24 hours a day, to keep ahead of the specialist sports websites and bloggers, caused the escalation of disposable, and quickly disposed of, stories?


  1. I think that there is a pressure to have the *exclusive* story to build traffic and advertising revenue. I'm not sure that the process of manufacturing stories is all that new it's just that more people can see it happening and share their opinions of it across the internet.

    Sadly there is a great deal of *hot right now* mentality across many sectors of our lives - books, films, video games, news - and there has been for a while. I don't think the web has caused it but it has probably amplified the effect.

  2. Learned a long while ago that most of what you read in the papers - on almost everything - is borderline (if not actual) fiction. The best way to find this out is when your face pops up on the feed for the 10pm News! And there's no way to unpick this as the press are never listening to what their chosen baddie (aka victim) has to say.

    Persoanlly I balme it all on Paxman :)

  3. You raise some very good points, Pam. Shame the newspaper editors can't be billed for the additional costs to the taxpayer of the extra policing required at OT tomorrow.

  4. Could not agree more Pam. I wrote with similar feeling a few months back when the Terry affair was at its height, as was the Michael Clarke story in Australia. It is sad, but unfortunately the way things are. You might like to read

  5. Really interesting blog. I am now following so please could you follow mine as well. Cheers :)