In fact there are two types of person. Those who divide the world into two types, and those who don’t.
But leaving that aside, there are also two types of Arsenal supporter. Those who believe that what is in the football pages of the papers is most likely to be true, and those who think it is most likely to be untrue.
Take the case of our old friend Nic Bendtner. According to the Daily Invention (aka Mirror) he said “I’m very sorry to see Adebayor injured as we need him fit and to be playing in the league. But it does not really matter to me who is fit and available.
“I should start every game, I should be playing every minute of every match and always be in the team.”
That was then taken up by loads of other places – newspapers and such august luminaries of the truth as Sky Sports News, and then it appeared on loads of blogs and Arsenal news sites. From that point on the story feeds itself.
Except that according to Bendtner, he never said that at all. He claims that he gave a very long and detailed interview in Danish and it did not include anything remotely like these statements.
I don’t speak Dane so I’ve got no idea what happened, but last year a national magazine did a hatchet job on me over an article I had written. It was a full page attack, had nothing to do with what I had said.
My experience is irrelevant to a piece about Arsenal of course, except to say that when it happens to yourself you begin to realise just how evil some of these journalists are.
The fact is, in my opinion at least, it makes much more sense to start from the proposition that what appears on the sports pages of the popular press, and on broadcast media, is just plain wrong, and to work from there, rather than start from the presumption that it is accurate.
There’s one further point on this. The Mirror story was picked up and then appeared in loads of media – which of course helped give it the feeling of being accurate. But it was still the same piece. In other words the fact that a dozen or more papers run the piece does not mean a dozen or more people were at the original interview. The papers just copy each other.
Indeed in my own trivial case, once the article about me had appeared in the national magazine it then turned up in a dozen other places, generally copied word for word. And I actually had a number of people say to me that they only started to believe the story when it popped up in other magazines.
I doubt very much that Bendtner said anything like that which was reported – and that is always how it is. Start from disbelief – and work outwards from there. It is safer.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour
- With Balogun will Arsenal be heading toward goalscoring records
- Everton v Arsenal this saturday lunchtime: just what are Everton playing at?
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?