By Tony Attwood
There has been, on the internet, You Tube footage of armed US soliders marching down streets in American cities. It is presented as evidence that President Obama and his cohort are indeed doing what many have said, and let’s face it, what many actually believe: the administration is about to wage war on the American people.
Among the many explanations for the mass troop movements with weapons at the ready is one that says, “They are trying to incite violence so that they can enact martial law”. Actually that isn’t an exact quote, as the English in the report isn’t very good, but that’s the idea.
Quite why the American government is looking to wage war on its own populace is not clear. The confiscation of firearms, which is one of the President’s main aims and on which he has made virtually no progress – although the mass shoot outs at schools etc continues on a regular basis, is one reason given.
The code name for all this activity is Jade Helm 15, and it is a routine military exercise, the sort of thing that all countries (except Costa Rica which doesn’t have an army) do on a regular basis. The story about the civil war between the government of the US and its people spread across the internet like wildfire and as a result the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, ordered the state guard to monitor the military’s activities, presumably so that they could be prepared for an invasion of Texan soil… by Washington.
Now I open with this because it is a perfect example of something I have been trying to put across for a little while. It is something that has been covered in the well-respected weekly UK magazine, “New Scientist”, and was mentioned recently by the American Institute for Behaviour Research and Technology in California. “Technologies are rapidly evolving that can impact people’s behaviours, opinions, attitudes, beliefs on a massive scale – without their awareness.”
I won’t take up your time by repeating all that is in the fascinating article “World Wide Warp” – it is in the 20 February issue if you want to take a read – but I do want to relate this to our prime topic – football.
A few days ago I was critical of Amy Lawrence in the Guardian for totally failing to mention the referee Martin Atkinson’s involvement in the Leicester match. My point was not so much that she was wrong, but rather that there is a danger in reporting something in a way that is totally contrary to the visions of so many of the people who were at the match. She might not have agreed that it was right or necessary to boo Atkinson to such a degree, but to ignore what was for so many people the utterly dominant input into the game was dangerous.
Not as dangerous as spreading a rumour that says that the President of the US is about to send soldiers in to attack his own people, of course, but still dangerous, because social media has meant that many people are more influenced by the reflected reality that it portrays, than of the truth.
I remember being particularly reminded of this during the days of the black scarf movement at Arsenal when a number of press, radio and internet reports were to be found of mass protests against Arsene Wenger. I attended one, not, obviously, supporting the movement, but to watch from a distance. It was written up in the press as a major event, although no one spoke of the total number there. I reckoned it was about fifty.
Out of interest, I stayed watching the “protest” on the little roundabout just beyond the west stand near the media entrance, right up to kick off time. A small number left at about 2.55pm to run to their seats, the rest drifted away – they were not going to the match. Maybe these were the people who we were endlessly told of, who had torn up their tickets. Or maybe they were just fed up with not having a ticket.
Anyway, Ms Lawrence was at the game yesterday, and this time she DID write about the referee, although crowd noise about his activity was far less. She said, “Arsenal had a couple of penalty claims, early on when Mohamed Elneny’s shot was blocked by Alex Bruce’s arm and later when David Meyler tripped Calum Chambers. But Mike Dean was in a – well – Mike Deany sort of mood, so gave whatever he fancied, which in this case was no penalties.”
Now that is interesting, because our headline for the referee preview on Friday was…
Arsenal v Hull The Match Officials. “His knowledge of the rules is excellent as is his imagination in applying them”
Maybe Ms Lawrence read us and liked the idea (which would be nice – I certainly make no complaint about that) or maybe she reached the same conclusion, or maybe upon reflection she did think that the previous week’s report was a bit out of context vis a vis reality. I just find it interesting to speculate on such things on a sunday morning before toddling off to see the grandchildren.
There is beyond any doubt a media reality in relation to referees and their level of accuracy – which is that this is not news. So for many people it is not news, because they never get to hear about it.
There is another reality stoked up by the bloggettas and their fellow travellers in the media that suggests that Mr Wenger is a total moron and the average person watching the TV report of a match (itself a manipulated affair) could do a better job – just as all the pundits could – by just applying common sense.
There is a further reality portrayed by Untold, which draws on statistics and analyses, which shows that many media stories (such as the one saying Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else, and they are all Wenger’s fault, or the one the that “it all evens out in the end” is rubbish, or the one that says that most transfers make a difference, or the …. oh well, if you are a regular reader you know what I mean) are simply unrelated to the world of facts and analyses and make no sense.
Football is not the only part of life that is being misreported by the traditional, mainstream and social media, and the false realities created by these reports are trivial when compared with the stories put out by the maniacs working for Islamic State, but they are still important.
Football is very often not what you are told in the media (of all kinds). It is very often something very, very different.
- 21 February 2009: Arshavin’s debut coming on as a substitute to replace Carlos Vela on the hour. The result was Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0, one of five consecutive draws for Arsenal in the league.
- 21 February 2015: Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2. Having been 8th in the league after 12 games, Arsenal climbed to 3rd after 26 games. Cazorla and Giroud got the goals. It was the second of eight consecutive league wins for Arsenal.