If you have followed my ramblings in the past you’ll know I am rather critical on occasion of my fellow professional scribblers who, I suggest, have been known to take a list of players and a list of clubs, slide them up and down, and come up with links. It is easier than working.
My all time favourite, and one that I managed to slip into my Highbury High piece for this issue, was Peter Crouch to Arsenal to replace Adebayor. Such imaginative inventiveness. Such drunkeness. Such drivel. How do you think up stuff like that?
Anyway, never to be outdone, the journalists of the Times have gone one better – instead of just being satisfied with linking a player to a club that would never sign him in a million years, they actually found an invented player who has no basis in the real world, and said Arsenal would sign him.
Of course in true “1984” fashion The Times hve now changed their web site to remove all traces of the mythical player and their insane error (just like Chelsea paste out any comments on their fans forum that they don’t like. )
(Actually it is not surprising that Winston Smith, the hero of “1984” worked for The Times going through old copies, and re-writing the news to make it fit. What George Orwell didn’t know when he wrote that novel in 1948 was how true it would be, even in the tiny detail.)
Anyway, back to our invented man: Masal Bugduv, who plays (?) for Olimpia Balti in Moldovia (club and country do exist). He’s 16, he’s an attacker and “strongly linked” to Arsenal who are trying to get a work permit.
Theofficeside.com suggested it was all a load of made up cobblers. But that great and glorious web site (oft mentioned on RedAction and elsewhere as a source of gibberish) goal.com picked up the story and ran with it, failing to notice that by then others were wondering if this was a hoax.
What actually happened was that a bunch of bloggers, (no names, no sites, because they are going to do it again soon) decided to get a moment’s revenge on the idiot journalists in pubs who spread rumour and gossip, without giving a thought to the fans who believe their drivel.
The method used was the usual one – Wikipedia. Journalists of little brain are known to inhabit it, as a short cut to doing any research. Place glowing articles on Wiki from various people and you are going to be read, not least because you can change articles to incorporate your own updated extra information.
Of course I would not be willing to suggest to anyone that they deliberately set out to mislead the drunken copywriting fraternity.
But it is funny.
Will The Times and other journalists now learn, and start checking their sources? I wouldn’t put a penny on it.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009.
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