The view from America, by Don McMahon
Recently, while surfing a few AFC websites and blogs, I noticed that some bloggers were writing the most insane and non-sensical irrationalities I had ever seen on a website. During my regular sorties onto the net, I have had the opportunity to engage with alt-right gun-toting Christians and fundamentalist Republicans, as well as pure radical Democrats and middle of the road Independents.
There are three paradigms that Trump and his supporters use and strangely enough, they are often copied by anti-Arsenal attackers, whose basic principle of argument is to avoid presenting any supporting evidence and at the same time using misdirection and misinformation to try and fool the unwary into accepting their views. It is the same approach as the media take. Here are a few examples;
- One media headline screams, in capitals, ¨Fans will be incensed by Wenger’s choice of striker¨. All the fans or maybe 2-3 fanboys? Why incensed, why not mystified or bemused? Hyperbole at its worst combined with flagrant charlatanism, since the media aren’t mind-readers!
- A disreputable pundit publicly states that Ozil will join PSG in January while Ozil himself publicly denies any such rumour-mongering. But the damage has been done.
Here are the nefarious and unethical Trumpisms, identified by and adapted from the Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver, which the anti-Arsenal crowds have adopted from the Donald:
This technique is based on the idea that if there is criticism of a particularly repugnant event in Football by a pro-Arsenal/pro Wenger site like UA ,then the Arsenal hater will, rather than ask why this occurred, refer to the claim that Arsenal have done the same in the past.
For example, let us say that Wenger criticizes a referee for missing a crucial call (like offside). The Arsenal hater will say, ¨what about when Arsenal got an offside goal against XYZ club in 2016, Wenger never complained then? ¨ We call this a red herring where I come from and it is used by politicians and criminals to try and distract the questioner from his or her original purpose, thus allowing the person to avoid responding to the original issue.
2: Fake News
Trump has perfected this technique or ruse by labelling ANYTHING he doesn’t like as ¨fake news¨, in other words fabrication and misinformation. Interestingly enough the Soviets had liberally applied this skill back in the worst period of the Cold War.
In football, the Arsenal hater will spread a rumour that there is dissension in the dressing room, that Alexis had a bust-up on the training ground with Wenger, etc. The essence of this relies on the almost certain credibility the naïve, the ignorant and the Arsenal haters will award to such unproven and easily contested misinformation.
The media use this everyday when they quote each other as the source of such news, rather incestuously quoting each other as the ¨reliable source¨!
3: Delegitimizing the scientific and expert analysis
This is specific to Trump’s entire life view. He uses it to demean the media, he refers to scientific proof as ¨opinions¨ and he regards experts as just like anyone else, whose feeling are just as legitimate as hard evidence from a highly respected scientist.
The football version arrives when a clearly amateurish argument is presented to counter a strong statistical or analytical one, as if they two were of equivalent value.
UA has presented overwhelming video and analytical evidence, from both Arsenal supporting referees AND officials supporting other clubs, that there is something seriously wrong with the PGMOL and the EPL. So If Walter writes that a linesman missed a crucial offside leading to a goal being scored against Arsenal, a deligitimizer will respond by saying that UA and its numerous bloggers are suffering from rampant paranoia or that it all evens out in the end or that their expert view is that it was onside, or that we should all stop blaming our losses on the officials, or that statistics can prove anything and are easily manipulated, or that Walter is rabidly biased (despite his status as an experienced referee), ad nauseam.
In my view UA has to be very careful and vigilant when confronting these strategies and are totally justified in calling them out. Despite personal attacks and demeaning criticism from a small percentage of our UA followers, I and I am equally sure Tony, Walter and other contributors, will always opt for the truth in which ever form it comes.