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Untold Media Review : The Telegraph

UNTOLD ARSENAL MEDIA WATCH: THE TELEGRAPH

Telegraph Coverage of Newcastle and Liverpool Matches

Note: Much thanks to bjtgooner for doing research for this article.

In our inaugural Untold Arsenal Media Watch report, I thought that I would begin with the paper whose coverage was the worst (I’m sorry Telegraph). I don’t think that the Telegraph, overall, is as bad as many other newspapers out there. Unfortunately, their Arsenal coverage seems to be handled primarily by just two reporters: Henry Winter and Duncan White. And I believe that Mr. Winter and Mr. White could perhaps use a little bit of editorial supervision where their Arsenal reporting is concerned… Although I suppose it’s possible that they just really, REALLY like Joey Barton.

Newcastle Match

So, getting straight into it, I thought we would take a closer look at the reporting of each of these two men on the most controversial aspect of the Newcastle match: Gervinho’s sending off, and the actions of Alex Song, Gervinho, and Joey Barton.

We’ll begin with Duncan White’s account of the Gervinho sending off in the Telegraph’s match report on the Newcastle-Arsenal match, breaking it down to analyze his take on the actions of each individual player. He begins by stating that:

1)       “Gervinho, the Arsenal debutant, went down after being clipped in the area” and “referee Peter Walton was having none of it.”

So, here, White acknowledges that Gervinho was, in fact, “clipped in the area.” However, he then goes on to state that “referee Peter Walton was having none of it,” which would imply that Gervinho was diving. White never actually claims that Gervinho dived, but then goes on to say that:

2)      “Barton felt so aggrieved by this attempt to cheat that he grabbed the Ivorian by the scruff of the neck.”

The first thing to note here is that White now classifies Gervinho’s actions as an “attempt to cheat,” which is something of a leap from how he initially described them, and despite the fact that he never actually claimed that Gervinho dived. Also, without much explation, he writes off Barton’s aggressive actions as some kind of heartfelt emotional response to a legitimate grievance. Finally, White’s statement that Barton grabbed Gervinho “by the scruff of the neck,” in no manner conveys any kind of image to the reader of what Barton actually did. But he simply moves on, saying:

3)      “Steven Taylor tried to intervene and split them up but Gervinho stupidly reached round and slapped Barton.”

The way White describes this gives the impression that Barton was just standing around innocently doing nothing when “Gervinho stupidly reached round and slapped [him].” White concludes his description of the incident by stating:

4)       That Barton went down as if one of the Klitschkos had hooked him, and that Taylor than claimed Gervinho had elbowed his team-mate was hardly valorous but Gervinho was dumb to lose control.”

It’s interesting that White apparently felt the need to emphasize that he also found Gervinho “dumb,” as well as “stupid.”

Based on the above, we can see certain double standards in the way that White reported this incident. First, when Gervinho “went down after being clipped,” White characterized it as an “attempt to cheat.” However, when Barton “went down as if one of the Klitschkos had hooked him,” it was described as “hardly valorous.”

However, the most significant contradiction is the fact that White was willing to justify Barton’s  own aggression as a genuine emotional response to Gervinho’s “attempt to cheat.” However, Gervinho is given no leeway whatsoever to have any kind of emotional response to being manhandled by Barton, even though he really had more justification for an emotional response than Barton did. Nonetheless, White merely characterizes his response as “stupid” and “dumb,” and moves on.

This is a theme that we’ll see again in Henry Winter’s reporting (below). However, before getting into that, it’s also worth noting the variations in the way that White reported on Newcastle and Arsenal fan responses:

With regard to the Newcastle fans, White stated only that Barton’s “selection was certainly popular with the crowd. They cheered his name loudest when the teams were read out and chanted it before kick off, Barton responding with a salute.” He then continued to say that:

“The Arsenal crowd made their feelings clear, too. Even before the red card, this was a flat performance against a Newcastle side that really struggled to keep sustained possession. With 20 min utes left they chanted for Arsene Wenger to spend some “expletive” money. And kept chanting it.” Before drawing any conclusions, we’ll take a look at Henry Winter’s reporting as well.

Henry Winter covered this incident in the scathingly-titled “Football surrenders moral high ground on day one of new Premier League.” The sub-headline further explains:

“Scarcely had the smoke cleared from the riots, hardly had Gordon Taylor reminded players of their responsibilities in a time of social unrest, then Alex Song, Gervinho and Joey Barton looted the little dignity football has left. In the Premier League’s first televised game of the season. Indefensible.”

So, based on what we’ve been told to expect, the article as a whole should be explaining to us why the author believes that “Alex Song, Gervinho and Joey Barton looted the little dignity football has left.”  Clearly, all three were involved in the incident that the author claims to find so offensive, and from how it’s presented here, it would seem that all three are considered equally culpable. But let’s see what the article says… Winter begins to make his case in the second paragraph:

“Barton was more sinned against than sinning but hardly emerges well from the wearying scenes at St James’ Park. The Newcastle midfielder was stamped on by Song, who should have been dismissed by Peter Walton. Song deserves the FA’s disciplinary department coming through his door early tomorrow morning, brandishing a three-game ban. It was dangerous, cynical and cowardly.”

So, at the outset, Winter states his belief that Barton is less culpable for the incident than Gervinho and Song. For stamping on Barton, Mr. Winter believes that Song should have been dismissed and deserves a 3-match ban from the FA, and further adds for good measure that his stamp was “dangerous, cynical and cowardly.” He then continues to say that “Barton was understandably angered and his fuse began burning in familiar fashion…”

However, at this point, Winter abandons the events of the match, and devotes the next several paragraphs to a lengthy soliloquy on just what makes the man that is Joey Barton. Winter begins by acknowledging that Barton may have some character flaws, but then the train leaves the rails:

“This is a player who cannot visit the United States because of past misdemeanors, who will not be considered for England duty because…of the prickly nature of Barton’s personality. Yet in fairness to Barton he has sought to control his notorious temper, to stop that switch in his head from flicking into mayhem mode. He has had extensive counselling, given up alcohol, and tried to keep the demons in check.”

Ok, I think that’s just about enough to qualify as “fairness to Barton.” But there’s more:

“Once so negative, that energy flow needs an outlet, and Barton…has engaged in jousts with his many followers on Twitter, including a lengthy late-night exchange with this columnist… Barton appears to possess one of those hyperactive personalities, always needing something to occupy him…” (I shortened this, btw)

When the point finally emerges, it’s as follows:

“Honest about his earlier transgressions, Barton now reacts when he feels the victim. Song’s stamp fuelled that grievance. So when Gervinho dived, Barton responded, dragging the Ivorian up, and then squaring up.”

Ok, so let’s break down this argument:  Nowadays, having come clean about his “earlier transgressions,” Barton only becomes violent “when he feels the victim.” Barton felt vicitmized both by Song’s stamp and by Gervinho’s “dive.” His earlier victimization by Song “fuelled that grievance,” so that “when Gervinho dived, Barton responded.”

Basically, according to Winter, Barton wasn’t the aggressor at all, but rather just “responded” to his own victimization by Song and Gervinho. So, I suppose that the referee should just go ahead and assign the cards to them? And I wonder how Winter will feel about Gervinho’s “response” to his victimization by Barton?

“Gervinho slapped Barton…There can be no sympathy for Gervinho, and the inevitable red arrived for raising his hands, but there will also be widespread consternation that Barton received only a yellow… Taylor should have a word with Barton, repeating the sentiments he expressed at the Premier League’s ‘Get on with the Game’ launch.”

So, apparently, these are Winter’s conclusions about the events of the night: Both Gervinho and Song deserved red cards for their actions. Barton, on the other hand, deserved a yellow card, and perhaps a talking to from the referee. Moving on, Winter had this one last thing to say about Barton:

“Sadly, Barton too often gives the impression of having an empty head on young shoulders. After being surrounded by irate Arsenal players, Barton signalled to Robin van Persie his belief that Gervinho had hit him with a punch.” His conclusion? “Barton has some soul-searching to do after this incident.”

I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions about whether you consider the above to be “biased” reporting or not.

Telegraph Coverage of Liverpool Match

Compared to the Newcastle match, the Telegraph’s coverage of the Liverpool match doesn’t offer quite as much to examine. Like many media outlets, the Telegraph played heavily on the rain during the match as an analogy for Arsenal’s failures. However, in the Telegraph, White and Winter  repeatedly used this theme to convey a sense of “gloom and doom” for Arsenal. So, as my analysis of the Liverpool coverage, I thought I’d just take a closer look at some of the highlights of White’s and Winter’s “Arsenal against the elements” campaign.

The Telegraph initially reported Liverpool’s victory in an article by White with the headline:

“IT NEVER RAINS… WENGER FEELS THE STRAIN AS ARSENAL CRASH TO LIVERPOOL”

White also opened the article with this theme, stating:

“And it pours. Arsène Wenger stood at the edge of his technical area, soaked and bedraggled in the August rain, willing his team to score an improbable late equaliser…”

White also made use of the “weather” analogy in his article titled “Arsenal v Liverpool: Arsene Wenger insists he can ride out the storm.”

Subheading: “Never in his 15 years shaping Arsenal’s fortunes has Arsene Wenger faced such a torrent of trouble as this.” (photo caption: “Swimming against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.” ).

“From red tape to red cards, outgoing stars like Cesc Fabregas to incoming missiles like Andy Carroll, Wenger fights a turning tide. ‘We swim a bit against the stream,’ he concedes.

Stream? Nice try, Arsene. This is no gentle dip in some scenic brook. Wenger finds himself in a treacherous river swollen by storms. He can’t even prepare a team without worrying who’s injured, suspended or sold.

He can’t even get a friend to make a phone call without landing in hot water.”

Winter closes by stating:

“Wenger…needs to find some answers to stop the stream becoming an inhospitable flood.”

Also worth mentioning is Winter’s article titled “Arsène Wenger is lost in fog of denial over Arsenal’s weaknesses,” in which he opines that “Nasri’s future remains as darkly clouded as Saturday’s sky over the Emirates.”

(Subheading: “No more excuses. No more blaming Lady Luck or linesmen. Arsène Wenger is trapped in a nightmare substantially of his own making.”)

Further to the above, bjtgooner noted that the Telegraph’s match report “summarised the match, and was reasonably fair but failed to mention that the first goal was offside or the felling of RVP in the Liverpool box by Carragher. The article finished by praising the Liverpool subs.”

Overall, I would say that this represents a fair assessment of the Telegraph’s general coverage of the Liverpool match. Where the facts are concerned, the coverage is generally reasonable. But on the “doom and gloom” factor?  Sopping wet and overly saturated, following the recent downpour.

——————–

With the new players now arriving at a rush Untold will be going through each one in turn in the coming articles.   Our first is already published…

Does he come “Per” plane?

You can keep up to date with the latest publications on Untold on the index page

30 comments to Untold Media Review : The Telegraph

  • jayj

    what did you expect from from the man who ghost-wrote the autobiographies of Liverpool FC players Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes and Steven Gerrard.

    Liverpool loving mofo!

  • Gary

    You probably saw this but on Sunday Winter tweeted to Phil Gartside “Message to @pagartside…if Wenger rings in the morning, tell him it’s £30m for Gary Cahill now”

  • Paul Schoenenberger

    Punishing Arsenal is a habit for English referees; maybe they do not like Wenger; he is French; maybe they do not like French poeple. This is a story which goes back a couple of centuries. Maybe I am wrong. In my opinion the English referees are among the best in Europe. But why always Arsenal?
    By the way I am not French. I watch dozens of English games every year on American soccer channel. But for me the question remains still without a decent explanation.

  • walter

    Yeah that was a nice peace of advice and we apparently bought Mertesacker for 10M 🙂

  • walter

    “piece”….

    Gary, this just shows you that this Winter guy has an agenda and they don’t even want to hide it.

    Their goal is to make Arsenal weaker. Be it by getting Wenger sacked, let us lose players… it’s all the same as long as they can make us weaker.

    But if they do then they should put this above every article they write about Arsenal. And it is this lack of honesty that put reporters in a bad daylight.

  • Norm

    Excellent article. Such a snooty tone in all Winter’s copy. He is one of the more opinionated of all the anti-Arse writers. Anyone who endures Sunday Supplement on Sky will see more brain-cell power on their kitchen table than sat round it, when he’s on. (It’d be great if bjtgooner could review more media/papers ‘experts’.)

  • Stevie E

    Excellent review, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to anti arsenal reporting. Another side is their choice of imagery to go along with these articles, has anyone noticed how the pics of barton showed him with a goofy look on his face? The guys a racist thug but he’s being portrayed as this crazy guy who’s just misunderstood. This media assault goes deeper than football, gallophobia and xenophobia is alive and well in the epl, shameful.

  • jayj

    Is the media racist here? That never crossed my mind!!!

    Been saying for yrs if Wenger was English everybody and anybody of any significance would be sucking le-dick, H.Redknapps little boy would walk tall with his shiny pearl necklace.

  • Paul In Canada.

    Nice piece indeed. I miss all the gutter press from back there. NOT!
    I know that this site gets slated for supporting Arsenal/Arsene but isn’t that what we all are? It’s great to have an opinion on the Club,transfers etc but Arsene is the man at the Helm and it’s up to him to decide who’s good enough, will fit in, is a good buy. what’s the point in payng £24 million for a misfit? (Anelka. Ade, etc) they all went somewhere they thought they wanted to be and someone shelled out a hell of a lot of money for them but they weren’t right for those Clubs. I don’t want Arsene to do the same. I’d rather he carried on the way he has been but obviously get the team back on track. I do think we were spoilt by a few great seasons but there’s nothing to say that it can’t be like that again.
    So we’ve had a bad start to the Season? wouldn’t you rather be eight points behind after three played rather than eight points behind after thirty three played?
    We still have plenty of time to catch up and provided the teams above don’t go the whole Season undefeated? then there’s still time for us to get back up there.
    The new signings will make a difference. The break will help then back to business.
    In Arsene I trust.
    GOONER FOR LIFE!

  • Gooner Gal

    I forget to say on the previous installments that I quite like these articles.

  • jayj

    TalkSport (today or was it yesterday?)

    Ginger tosser was ranting Wenger has lost it, comparable to B.Cloughie the great heights followed by delusional alcoholic failure relegating forest. Spending money on shit like Bendtner, the club will be paying the price for his stubbornness for yrs to come. All this time Houghton (the other guy playing good cop) was sticking up for our manager, “where does Wenger replace the like of Nasri/Cesc”, “please tell me”), some of things Houghton said was not far from the mark.

    This went back on fourth Ginger ranting like the prick he is and then someone asked “should Wenger leave Arsenal would he take the England job?”

    Could this be the reason they want Wenger out, everyone knows the scotts man wont do it.

  • Donnyfan1

    ‘Sane people would be mad to buy the Sun or The Telegraph’ is the best way of looking at this phenomenon. It is just ‘seat of the pants’ or ‘internet’ journalism. There is no investigation and nothing new or scoopy- just re-cycled tat. Papers used to be the Fourth Estate and watchdogs over the health of the nation and the game. Now all you get is spineless Jabba the Hut regurgitation. Bring on more Man City they cry!! Don’t buy it!

  • menace

    This is ‘Racist Britain’ at its best. Blame the black man as does the FA and life goes on. The first incident was when Barton dived and won a free kick. This incident is not mentioned anywhere. The second incident is where Barton kicks Song from behind so viciously that Bartons boot comes off. Song retaliates by stepping on Barton. The Gervinho incident is simply that Barton assaults Gervinho who is on the floor and lifts him off the floor whilst choking him. All the while the referee is unsighted. Taylor intervenes by further assaulting Gervinho and Gervinho tries to defend himself by slapping Barton who still has hold of his collar. This was on the blind side of the referee. The referee not having seen the crutial parts of the incident (including the slap – observe the footage) accepts advice from Newcastle players and shows Gervinho a red card. The radio communication systems were apparently not working so he was not informed by his assistant.

    Racism takes many forms but this incident shows one of the nasty forms, where the black man is accepted as guilty (defending himself) even though the white man committed the assault.

    I may not be politically correct in bringing the racist aspect into this but I have no doubt that the judgements were based on the colour and nationality of the people involved. These are the vile viscious aspects of the beautiful game.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Apparently André Santos’ agent, Carlos Leite, has confirmed that Santos has signed a 4-year deal with Arsenal.

  • bob

    The characterization of Barton as “more sinned against than sinning” also showed up in the Guardian’s slant on Barton/Gervinho. Writing out of the same Him-Book.

  • bob

    Paul Schoenenberger,
    You say that for you the anti-Arsenal bias shall forever remain a mystery. Well, if you mean that literally, then your eyes are wide shut. Surely you can come up with a few type-able ideas besides an Anglo-French feud that goes back for centuries, maybe. Anyway, there’s been tons of stuff about why (mostly) and whether there’s an anti-Arsenal bias on this website and please feel welcome to try to go beyond eternal mysteries, have a think and give us some informed guesses about that zillion dollar question.

  • bob

    menace,
    you are politically insightful, spot on. there was an alleged communications snafu last season when sagna was stomped on three times and there was either no carding or only a yellow for the third. i’ll have to go back and look, unless someone recalls. but it led to sagna’s losing his temper in a near future match and then, of course, he’s called “unprofessional” for losing his cool no matter what the provocation. racism flourishes in these little nooks and crannies where the double standard shows up and rules. Barton and Taylor make meals out of feeling entitled to wind up and attack African footballers and making “that wild and crazy guy” out of Barton’s chronic problem is to enable him. Turning that crap into some kind of folk hero says volumes about those who do it. so many kudos, menace, for your shining the light on the toxic spaces where the rats live hidden among us in plain sight.

  • Anne

    @Gooner Gal:

    Considering how much I have enjoyed your previous comments on Untold, I’m happy to know now that you are enjoying these articles. Thanks. 🙂

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    How would you feel about changing over from the Standard and covering the Sun or the Telegraph in future UM editions?

  • Anne

    Oh, and by the way, I just noticed that I forgot to give myself authorship credit on this one. That should say “by: Anne” just under the headline 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    And Anne, I forgot to enter the “By Anne” … which I intended to do when I got the article but well… nobody’s perfect I guess.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    It’s ok. I’m not doing this out of vanity 🙂

  • Shard

    @jayj

    Who is this Houghton you mention? Any chance it is Bob Houghton?

  • Stevie E

    @Anne
    I can’t do the Sun, I’d rather poke out my own eyes. I’ll do the Telegraph if you like, but isn’t it already covered?

  • I lost for words, the Ref was looking the other side when the incident happens’he gives a red card to Gervinho before even contacting the liner. He contacts the liner and gives a yellow card to the hustler. Question how did the fuckin ref give the red card when he did not see anything and when his radio was off!!! I’m confused .

  • jayj

    Shard
    Ray Houghton alongside ginger prick on Talksport

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    I’ll get back to you on this. I would like to put you on something other than the Standard, I think,

  • Anne

    @kampala gun:

    Yes, that was completely ridiculous.

  • Anne

    Just to be completely clear, my suggestion above that Stevie E could possibly be moved to the Telegraph should not in any way be interepreted as a criticism of the quality of bjtgooner’s Telegraph research. It was just that, based on what we turned up in the article above, I was thinking that it might be useful to have TWO people covering the Telegraph. Just wanted to make sure that was clear. 🙂

  • bob

    kampala gun,
    Walton’s headset might not have been “working” – just like someone’s headset wasn’t “working” last season when Sagna was stomped on thrice in the same match in plain sight of the liners. Either we put an Untold Headset phone-hacker on the case to determine whether these convenient “breakdowns” are real or not; OR, we throw up our hands and realize that there’s really a chip implanted under certain ref’s skin so that they are pre-programmed to show cards or not to show cards depending on the whether the victim is an African Arsenal player (no card, as with Sagna) or whether the perpetrator could be perceived as the African Arsenal player (red card, as with Gervinho).