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Untold Media: Media sets a new standard in failure, earns a pathetic “-F” on UM’s January transfer window quiz – Part 1

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By: Anne

 

Just before Christmas, Untold Media published a quiz titled “Will the Transfer Happen?,” which attempted to document all of the transfer rumours that had appeared concerning Arsenal between the close of the summer transfer window and Christmas. This quiz comprised a total of 90 transfers that the media predicted would occur during the January transfer window. At the close of the window, the media’s final score for accuracy stands as thus:  -110/90, or negative 1%. Here’s the specific breakdown:

 

Players in:

In terms of players coming into Arsenal, the media got one transfer correct (Thierry Henry). However, in light of the fact that the media made this same prediction with regard to every player who trained with Arsenal, the accuracy of this one prediction was probably just coincidental.

 

Players out:

In terms of players leaving Arsenal, the media got 0 transfers correct.

So, that would be 1 correct transfer prediction out of a total of 90, leaving the media with a final score of 1%, just barely keeping them in positive territory with the lowest possible “F.”

However, the above score does not take into account the transfers that actually happened and which the media failed to predict.

 

Specifically, the media failed to predict 1 player coming in (Thomas Eisfeld from Dortmund), and 10 players who left Arsenal on loan (Luke Freeman (Stevenage, undisc); Vito Mannone (Hull, loan); Daniel Boateng (Swindon, loan); Gavin Hoyte (AFC Wimbledon, loan); Paulo Botelho (Levante, loan); Emmanuel Frimpong (Wolves, loan); Sanchez Watt (Crawley, loan); Wellington (Alcoyano, loan); Sead Hajrovic (Barnet, loan); Rhys Murphy (Preston, loan).

If these failures are taken into account in the final score, we are left with a score of -110/90.

 

And while it’s probable that the media did, in fact, predict some of these transfers later in the window after I compiled the quiz, it’s also true that they predicted a lot more that didn’t happen as well.

 

Taking all of the above into account, I feel completely confident in stating that the media’s overall accuracy levels in this reporting definitely fall within negative territory, and probably to a greater extent than this quiz reflects.

 

The final conclusion? Media reporting about transfers is complete bullocks, for the most part, and should not be taken seriously without some kind of additional supporting evidence to back up the report.

 

Having now established that most of this reporting is complete bollocks, that brings us around to the larger question of WHY? Specifically, why does the media report so many transfer rumours which apparently have no basis in fact?

 

At this point, I’m not sure that we have a clear answer to that question, and I think that we are likely dealing with a confluence of motives. So, what I’ve done here is compile a list of all the possible motives that I can think of, and we can hopefully draw additional conclusions from there. I’ve divided my list into two separate sections, the first being possible “legitimate” motives, and the second being possible motives that are more nefarious and shady.

 

Possible Legitimate Motives:

1)  An honest desire to inform the footballing public of relevant matters, and provide readers with newsworthy information.

Personally, I see very little evidence in the above reporting to suggest that this motive was present at all. However, it can’t be ruled out, and I suppose it probably comes into play sometimes.

For example, a number of the rumours included in the quiz involved possible transfers of players from Dortmund to Arsenal. Considering that Arsenal did, in fact, sign Thomas Eisfeld from Dortmund, it’s possible that the news leaked out that Arsenal was in negotiations with Dortmund, and the related transfer rumours were attempts to speculate as to which Dortmund player Arsenal was in negotiations over. I would consider this to be an honest attempt to report the news, if that was what occurred.

 

2) An attempt to sell newspapers or generate “hits” for websites

While this is a possible motive, I don’t have the facts or figures I would need to truly evaluate it. For example, I have no idea how many “hits” a news report about a transfer tends to generate. As a result, I’m not in a position to speculate as to the profitability or lack thereof of transfer reporting from a business perspective. With regard to me personally, I never click on these reports, so they’re not generating any hits from me. But I can’t speak for everyone.

To take an example from the quiz, I could see the above motive coming into play with regard to a report like the following:

“Arsenal is considering a bid to sign Rafael Van Der Vaart from Tottenham.”

Van Der Vaart is a big name player, who plays for one of Arsenal’s chief rivals. Under these circumstances, such a report would likely generate a significant number of hits, which might have been the motive for publishing it.

 

3) Attempts to influence existing transfer negotiations

The huge volume of transfer rumours that are reported in the media makes transfer reporting an ideal refuge for liars, in a sense. And by that I mean, because of the large number of these reports, it would be very easy to use transfer leaks as a form of gamesmanship to improve one’s position in negotiations over a player. The total volume of reports would make it virtually impossible to trace a false report back to the party who leaked it, meaning that such leaks could be made with very little risk to the leaker.

As a result, it is certainly possible that some transfer rumours are leaked by parties who are engaged in negotiations over a transfer, including the clubs themselves. The use of a transfer rumour for this purpose could further any number of interests, which would vary depending on the behind-the-scenes issues that were present in any given negotiation. As such, it would be difficult to isolate any particular transfer rumour as having been leaked for this specific purpose. However, it is likely that this occurs to some extent. And it is also very possible, if not likely, that some transfer rumours concerning Arsenal are leaked by Arsenal itself, in relation to this particular motive.

I would personally suspect this motive as coming into play particularly in instances where transfer rumours are leaked about a player who is in contract renewal negotiations with his existing club.

 

4) A reporter has a deadline to get an article in, and to meet his deadline, he files a bogus transfer report that’s not really motivated by anything other than his own laziness (this is self-explanatory).

 

From here, we’ll move on to consider:

Possible “shady” motives but this is for the next article which will come on line later today.

9 comments to Untold Media: Media sets a new standard in failure, earns a pathetic “-F” on UM’s January transfer window quiz – Part 1

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Anne for this great follow up.

    Another example on how supporters have to be very careful when reading all those “reports”. Why do I bother calling them reports, just call it as it is Walter: lies..

    I think order from importance on these motives I go for the nr. 4, nr. 2, nr. 3. And for reason 1… for a very few of them maybe. Because I think that or they are older reporters who are untouchable or they are driven out by the young sharks who have a better imagination than the older ones who maybe knew the times when reporters where supposed to bring the news and not invent it

  • WalterBroeckx

    I also published the second part of this article now. So you can see the full picture.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    It’s really hard to say which ones might come into play more… Like I said, “an ideal refuge for liars.” It’s hard to detect anyone’s specific hand in it, and it’s hard to link it to any particular motive 🙂

  • Kentetsu

    Not that it matters to the overall score, you have adequately proven your point, but you missed that Ryo went on loan to Bolton. I actually missed any statement of it on the Arsenal site and only found out a bit later on.

  • Anne

    @Kentetsu:

    I noticed that after I submitted it, actually. But thanks for pointing it out. I guess we can now update the final score to -111/90, because they didn’t predict that one either 🙂

  • Micko

    Can you believe it, Harry Redknapp’s been found not guilty of tax evasion.
    Why should anyone now bother paying their taxes ?

  • Anne

    @Micko:

    Unfortunately, I can believe it. Given the way that all of this Redknapp for England crap has continued cheerfully, unabated, and without a hitch throughout the whole process, I figured that they knew in advance that he was going to get off. Either that, or he was just going to be ordered to pay back taxes or something.

  • Arvind

    Thanks Anne. A score of -110/90 cracked me up a bit. Heh. I do enjoy the logical structure of all your articles. I don’t promise I read every bit of each, but the one’s I do, like this one, are usually excellent. Now on to Part 2.

  • Anne

    @Arvind:

    Glad you enjoyed it 🙂