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Trump banning the media; the media being selective with reality. There’s a difference.

by Tony Attwood

The news that the President of the USA has started to remove various news organisations such as the BBC, the Guardian and the New York Times from press conferences is interesting in its own right, of course.   But it is also interesting in the light of the campaign that Untold has run since its inception against the way newspapers in England report football.  (Which is not to say the two issues are of remotely the same importance, only to note that media issues seem to be everywhere).

While Trump has jumped right in and banned various newspapers for their fake news, the response of banning newspapers that say the wrong thing has largely been limited to a modest number of cases.  In 2015 for examle the BBC boycotted Rangers matches and press conferences after one of its reporters was told to stay away from the club’s ground.  Rangers also banned the Times columnist Graham Spiers.  

Newcastle United in recent years has routinely been restricting access to the national and local press and instead have given access only to its own reporters.  Swindon Town, Crawley Town, Rotherham United, Southampton and Port Vale were also involved in similar situations in that year and the media asked the FA to intervene.  As far as I know they failed to do anything so no surprise there.  At other times Leeds have done quite a bit of banning.  And to balance the comment about Rangers, Celtic have banned journalists too.

The chief football correspondent for the Guardian and the Observer, Daniel Taylor, was banned by Nottingham Forest.  Alex Ferguson ran a vendetta against the BBC for seven years because he didn’t like something the Corporation said about his son.  So it goes.

Since 2015 the story has stopped being a major issue, mostly because it is just happening and there is no more news in it.  Some clubs ban journalists and that’s that, it is now accepted.  Liverpool banning the Sun in 2017 made a few headlines because of the historical context, but otherwise, it has all gone quiet.

Does any of this matter?  Does the media and its coverage of football matter?

Trump and co have accused the media (including, rather amusingly, the Daily Mail, a newspaper that is now so right wing that it appears to exist solely in order to make Nigel Farage look like a jolly decent level-headed liberal), of generating fake news – exactly the charge brought against the media in the UK over football matters, by Untold.  Indeed we’ve sometimes suggested that newspaper football journalists created the fake news concept with their gibberish about transfers.   Our argument was not just that the transfers that were “rumoured” were complete journalistic fantasies but also the notion that transfers generally worked for the improvement of clubs was a media invention to create news without actually leaving the pub.

And that really is the point: the media in reporting football decide what to is the news, and pursue that agenda remorselessly, excluding all the stories that don’t fit.   Plus sometimes (I suspect) with quite a bit of nudging from certain organisations that require that specific topics are not covered.

And some other times they highlight specific issues simply to get more audience engagement and thus get their numbers up.

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With

This week with no Arsenal match in the offing (despite our last post – and I must say in passing it was extremely amusing to see how a few people on twatter wanted to have a laugh at our ineptitude for publishing a preview of a match that was not happening without actually reading even the first couple of lines, which revealed that it was all a spoof) the papers have been forced to go elsewhere for their headlines.  So for once other clubs feel the force of the media’s negativity as with stories such as…

  • United’s Mkhitaryan and Carrick set to miss Wembley after St-Étienne victory
  • Everton face losing injured Yannick Bolasie until end of year
  • Mane calls on Liverpool to put woeful 2017 behind them
  • Where has it all gone wrong for Crystal Palace? A fan tries to explain.
  • Southgate critical of England’s ranking as 13th ‘isn’t good enough’
  • AC Milan considering summer move for Spurs flop Sissoko
  • Luke Shaw will consider leaving Manchester United in the summer if he does not play regularly between now and the end of the season.
  • Five things we learned as Spurs are humbled by plucky Gent

But in the end they can’t resist and so we have to have more anti-Arsenal even when we don’t have a game…

  • Five areas behind Arsenal’s malaise
  • Arsenal fans are terrified Alexis Sanchez will injure himself in Storm Doris
  • Hector Bellerin could join Barcelona if Arsenal let Arsene Wenger leave

Banning any media outlet from any football ground or any club isn’t really the point. It is having a media that between them covers all aspects of the debate.   In the US they have this – they have pro-Trump and anti-Trump publications.  That is what makes the banning orders so sinister, as well as being possibly against the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

In football though we are still a very very long way from having a media that covers all sides of the debate.  In fact, most of the time there is no footballing debate at all.  Although it is the US battle that is important, it is worth noting, we’ve got it worse than they have.

Arsenal History Books on Kindle

The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle.  Full details are here.

Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without.   For full details please see here.


31 comments to Trump banning the media; the media being selective with reality. There’s a difference.

  • Menace

    The US has the biggest baby that ever won the presidency. He is missing his dummy & blames everyone else for fouling his daipers.

    The football ‘press’ only occurs on the field of play. Calling reporters ‘press’ is a misnomer. They have the constitutional freedom but abuse their position with lies & damned lies.

    Leicester has lost its flavour & Chelsea are the 2017 flavour of the media. The missing red cards are a clear indicator. With a bit of luck & Gods grace Chelsea might also court relegation next season 😉 .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Wait till the Donald starts changing certain passages from the good book to suit his beliefs . Or changes American and world history . Their youngsters will learn how the bravery of people like John Rambo and Chuck Norris won the Vietnam war FOR America.
    Don’t believe him? There are hundreds of clips on YouTube that will back him up !

    Do remember to reset all your calendars to 0001 ADG – Annus Donaldus the Grate .His-story began on 21st January .

    And when was the last time you sat up when you heard the words , ” Newspapers are reporting that …..”, and paid serious attention ? Its coming up to two years since I stop reading the newspapers , and I feel fine and much smarter to boot !

  • John L

    I remember Brian Clough banning the Nottingham Evening Post from Forest. His action was totally honourable on that occasion as he was showing solidarity with union member journalists who were in dispute with new anti-union owners of the Paper. (part of the Northcliffe-Rothemere -Daily Mail outfit, I think. Other may have clearer memories of the event.)

  • Josh M

    Stick to football! No one cares about your political views. We’re here to follow Arsenal and all that entails. And get your facts right! The “ban” you’re referring to was not an official press conference. President’s do this all the time. In fact a past press secretary just came out and tried to calm the waters by letting the “snow flake freak out cases” like NYT, CNN and yourself, to calm down. This a common practice, it’s called a gaggle. Impromptu select media and people for a meeting. Obama did this all the time and there was no freak out. The double standard is glaringly apparent. So shut your mouth and report on our favorite football team!

  • Gord

    Trying to track down locations for 2 referees who did FA or League Cup games in 1995. And the probably both retired at the end of that season.

    Trevor West and John Watson (or John L Watson or JL Watson).

  • Tommo

    Gord, Im all for slating refs off, but trying to find their addresses so you can stalk them is going too far.

    Let it go. Let it lie. Move on to the 1996\97 season.

  • Gord

    Is that the best you can do? I don’t want their addresses, I want to know what FA they were based out of.

    Have you ever done any science?

  • Zzzx

    Please stay away from politics and stick to football. Press freedom is crucial for any functioning democracy. Dictators hate the press for obvious reasons. The press in the US will not be shut down by donald trump. They will expose every dirty laundry in his closet. Let’s talk about who is the right man to replace Wenger in the summer and stay away from politics.

  • Gord

    I am trying to set up a neural network, to see if it can predict some aspects of games. It needs training data to start from. Then a person can move into the data when Wenger is manager, to see if whatever is happening in November is predictable. I suspect that most of what people think they see in November, is just statistical noise. Hence it isn’t real.

  • Mandy Dodd

    They are just giving trump enough rope….and that includes the republicans…..he will end up impeached over something, he has pissed off the media, and U.S. Security services, that will come back to bite. They will have things on a man like trump, let’s face it …..just need to ease them in and get it right, to avoid the old civil war factions getting even worse than they are.
    Republicans who want to have a post trump career will turn, the president is trying to mimic the MOs of China and Russia, the U.S. Should not work that way. Trump will be removed if he continues as he is.
    Lots of attempts by the media to stifle the outage of our rivals to the mighty Belgian team, our impending exit to possibly the best team on the planet…..yet again….. will make far more fake news

  • Menace

    Josh M – ever tried reporting with your mouth shut? Perhaps that is advice that Trump needs.

    Incidentally President Obama was an educated gentleman, unlike Trump, a spoilt brat.

  • Josh M

    Menace- that’s the point… stick to football because that is this forum. We don’t need to come to an Arsenal news site and find any political opinions. You have your perception of Obama, mine is different. Point was, hypocrisy from the media has come to light and they are being shown openly for the bias they hold. Good for their cause or guy and they “report well.” They don’t agree, it’s all the sudden unfair and they have a cow.

  • para

    It is amazing to see that people still believe that any president today is actually voted in by the people. All it takes is to follow the life connections of these people and one sees who is running them.

    We must be aware that anything the president does is well coordinated with his/her “bosses”. Come on,we have not had an assassination(character or physical) for some time now, that should tell us a lot.

    Because of the increasing awareness of people, their strategies are changing to adapt, so one must be very astute in discovering their doings.

    Remember, they like to “appease” people by giving them what they think they want, all the time it is they who have decided and convinced people of what they want.

    We all tend to look at “appearances” too much instead of the actions of those people, this is why they will always be around to take the place of the “leader” of the nation.

  • Tom

    I care about your political views, so that’s at least one thing Josh M is wrong about.

    I could easily find other holes in his pet theories but from the look of his angry tone he might not want to hear them.

  • Tommo

    I do apologise Gord. I didn’t realise you were a scientist.

    No, I’ve not done any science, well not since school, and that was what colour does litmus turn and all that. Nothing as interesting as neural networks and training data.

    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend trying to decipher your November Theory of Noise. I’m sure it will be an interesting read.

  • I am always a little bemused by readers who write in and say that Untold should stay off this topic or that topic. Generally speaking we publish about 20 articles a week,so by the very nature of this site we are going to cover a lot of issues that have a bearing on football from politics to economics, from humour to sadness, from tactics to science.

    Of course I am always pleased when anyone expresses pleasure at reading anything on this site, but it is inevitable that some topics are going to be on topics that some readers don’t want to read about. I can’t see any way around it. True I do avoid religion as a topic simply because I have never found any way of discussing the issues that religion raises in relation to football without getting such threats and outpourings of anger and abuse that it really doesn’t seem worth the bother, but otherwise if it has some relationship with football, even a tangential one, it seems to me fair game for discussion.

  • Equalizer

    Mainstream media is becoming increasingly irrelevant as more and more people realise that they’re being fed complete thrash. In the US , 90% of the msm is owned by 5 companies. The real owners of those companies and their agendas will never be known. I guess it’s similar in Europe. Those with the greatest wealth dictate the news you hear to manipulate the public.

  • I’m with you Josh, leave religion and politics on other sites…. Maybe Arsene should enter politics, time for a change….

  • John L

    A serious discussion about football cannot and should not ignore politics. How else to consider FIFA and FA governance, how clubs are owned and financed, state-aid issues, social impact on communities, influence of gambling and dangers of corruption, to name a few topics.

    On a tangent: I wish Gary Lineker would stay out of football and stick to politics.

  • Menace

    John L – I wish Lineker would go back to his dads stall & become a cabbage or a sprout. He was a spud at one time & has remained at that level of intellect.

  • Norman14


    Indeed, it is exactly the same in Europe, and they are the same companies as owns the USA msm.

    Mostly belonging to or affiliated with Murdoch no doubt!

  • goonersince72

    Tony et al. I’m living in the States. Please refrain from giving Putin…..I mean Trump any more ink. To say the democracy is actually under attack is hard to get one’s head around but that’s the case. His top advisor (and major purveyor of fake news) says this is the “deconstruction of the administrative state”, i.e., the government; to be replaced by an authoritarian autocracy aided by the billionaire class and a bunch of generals more interested in a junta than geo-diplomacy.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Why is it that people who come on here and don’t like the topic du jour , just don’t read it and move on without any moronic comments ? Just move along ! Come back later. Or better still , not at all !
    Or try the buffet table – they are usually quite bland and predictable .

  • Multi

    The media manipulates minds. Trump and Farage speak logic and sense but look at the idiots that won’t listen to any other opinions or facts. They watch the divisive media and don’t even realise they have been manipulated. Liberal snowflakes are acting like facists with their minds being shaped by the fake news. If we relate this to football, the non Arsenal supporters will not even look at the facts. They just take for granted what the media tell them and spew hate.

  • Equalizer


    Now I am no Trump fan. However I must take issue with your comments.

    1.there has been zero evidence produced so far to show trump had any connection with Putin or that Russia had any influence in the US elections. If there was it would have been produced by those contesting the election by now and Trump impeached or the election declared null and void.

    2. “Democracy is under.attack”. You’re correct there. However where I see it under attack are the funded and sometimes violent protests against the results of a democratically elected leader and the refusal of one side to accept they lost an election. But not only that, to encourage ordinary citizens to go out in the street and protest while the laugh from their ivory towers.

    3. “the government; to be replaced by an authoritarian autocracy aided by the billionaire class and a bunch of generals more interested in a junta than geo-diplomacy”- you just made that up, maybe read it on the msm? What he actually said is “this is the deconstruction of the administrative state”, which would in fact suggest less government power through deregulation.

    Again I’ll repeat, I am no Trump fan. But I believe it’s fair that he gets a chance to govern as a democratically elected President and the results of the election should be respected unless other evidence that indicated otherwise is produced.

  • goonersince72


    1. You’re certainly naive.

    2. To whom are you referring with your less than subtle ‘one side’ , ‘ivory towers’?

    3. Read again. I quoted him exactly (as you did). What do you think that means?

    Your last sentence indicates you are a Trump fan and are in favor of an autocrat dismantling a system that was painstakingly created by far more sophisticated minds (and has endured for almost 240 years), for the benefit of himself and his chosen few.

  • Al


    1. Show the facts of Putin’s involvement.

    2. People like George Soros who have been linked with bank rolling ultra left wing rioters(Berkley one example). J.K Rowling and her saying all those who do not accept immigration are racist and fascists even though she will not house them with her massive wealth and land ownership – read Mike Cernovich. Just two of many ivory towers.

    3. Read Equalizer. Less governmental power.

    I don’t like Trump, he is uncouth, arrogant and says ridiculous things at times but you still have no case whatsoever.

    By the way would you have voted for Hillary?

  • Norman14

    Talk about biased commentary. Some scouser on Sky last night with Leicester 3-0 up..

    “Leicester are under the cosh here”


  • Equalizer


    The fact that you failed to answer my first question, instead preferring to project a negative trait on my character, says much more about your character than mine.

    Trump was democratically elected. Accept it. Acceptance of what is will make your life much more pleasurable over the next 4 years..

  • goonersince72


    The shocking number of published accounts of interaction between Trump intimates and Russia answers your question. If you were informed you wouldn’t ask the question. I understand and accept Trump was elected and is President; it changes nothing else.

  • Equalizer

    I beg to differ. “Published accounts of interaction between Trump intimates and Russia” are as meaningless as published accounts of Ivan Gazidis meeting with Ronaldos agent. I hope I’ve put that in simple enough terms for you.

    If there was a shred of evidence of any wrondoing, the Obama administration, who spied on more people than any regime in the history of the world, would surely have the evidence. And it would be well publicised by now