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September 2020
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What foreign journalists think of the missing ethics of their English counterparts

By Tony Attwood

Some years ago we analysed the way the English newspapers reported Arsenal and found the most amazing bias in those reports.  Our report with its analysis is still online here.

There was also a long period in which English journalists ran the story every week that because of Mr Wenger’s training methods Arsenal got far more injuries than other clubs.  In fact, we didn’t – it was all fake news. That story was unravelled in We are not the most injured club: revelations

For years we have been saying that there is something very wrong with refereeing in the Premier League and we’ve reported on that by analysing with video evidence 160 games.

Years before Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and others were hauled up by Fifa we reported that Fifa were looking at illegal Premier League transfers of children.  Of course, the clubs didn’t take any notice of us – why should they?  We’re just a blog; easy to dismiss.  Besides none of these stories ever made the mainstream media.

And because of that significant fact that the media ignores key stories that don’t fit with their sycophantic agenda, we do focus a lot on journalism here, because journalists in magazines, newspapers, and on TV and radio, determine the news we get.

It is not that the news is out there and they each present it in their own way, biased by their media’s political leanings.  That we know to be so – it is self-evident every day.  But it is that there are two lens.  The choice of which news to ignored, and how to present the news you choose to cover.

We have repeatedly made the point, not least through the slightly humorous stories concerning the journalists’ public house, the Toppled Bollard, but also through highlighting the way that the English media ignore key stories that are making the news across Europe.

In footballing terms in England all we get at the moment is “project restart”.  In Europe there is that concern of course, but there are also issues concerning Fifa and the two huge corruption stories that have broken in the past couple of weeks – all ignored in England.

The way that the media in England is now out on its own was proven last week when in Valais (a canton in Switzerland) Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, were sued because they still owe 8 million francs to the seller of the chalet they acquired in Verbier, in 2014.  The report of what happened next comes from Le Temps, and you can read the original (in French of course) here.

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As normal the English media had missed the story completely, they did not even bother to have a Swiss correspondent to follow the trial for them, and so the English media, a bit late, climbed all over the story rather like a bunch of monkeys spotting a banana dropped by their keeper at the zoo.  An unedifying sight.

Bemused by the fact that the English journalists and their newspapers could not be arsed to follow the story in the first place, now, late in the day, the Swiss found themselves besieged by English journos trying to catch up.   According to one journalist who covered the story in Switzerland one Daily Telegraph journalist admitted that “we are a little fed up with the monothematic of the coronavirus,” and so this made a nice break.  Except they missed it.  “Doh!” as Homer Simpson might say.

So the Swiss journalist discovered what we have been saying for a number of years, English journalists can’t be arsed to do any research, nor to keep their eyes on the news.  “Got a blank space?  Make something up,” is the motto.  This is true in terms of transfer stories (as you may have seen yesterday we are now linked to 77 players!) and true in terms of football news from outside England’s boundaries.  And now we see true it in terms of the newspapers’ favourite topic of all: the royal family.

Thus the journalist was bombarded by requests for further information on the story.  No offers of payment of course – the English journalist’s motto is “let someone else do the work, don’t pay, get drunk,” although not always in that order.

The Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the rest all contacted a Swiss journalist who had been in court, for further information on the affair.  They had missed the scoop, and royal correspondents are fractionally more cautious about making things up than their football reporting colleagues, so they needed something on which to hang whatever fanciful dramatic headline came into the copy editor’s mind.

Thus once Le Temps in Switzerland had run the story, that Swiss paper discovered to its surprise just how far English journalists will go.  Writing about his experiences, the journalist who ran the original piece, Grégoire Baur, and his colleagues used the headline “Passer outre la déontologie” which may probably best be translated as “Screw ethics.”

For to their surprise, the Swiss found that journalistic ethics simply do not exist in England.

For example, a prime rule of journalism is that you do not ever, ever reveal your source.   Yet quite openly these English journos were sending him emails asking how Grégoire Baur got the story in the first place!!!

As M Baur said in a subsequent piece “Lâcher une bombe médiatique sur l’Angleterre, depuis Sion” (which is probably best translated as “Dropping a media bomb on England from Sion” – Sion being the town where the case was heard) “the golden rule of the profession is precisely never to reveal one’s sources.”

Yet here he was being asked utterly openly to break the fundamental rule of journalism.  But that was not all that shocked him.  As he says (originally in French of course, this is my translation), “The British media are also ready to untie their purses for information. One of them is ready to “settle” if I send him the documents in my possession. While another is willing to pay me to investigate for him, as if I were a freelance journalist. But this is not the case. I, therefore, decline the proposal to continue to devote myself to Valais news.”

He describes the media in England as demanding an “after-sales service,” the implication being that they were acting as if they were dealing with some lesser being who would do whatever they wished.  The attitude was “We are Britain – see to it will you?”

And in a way that is completely what one would expect.  By missing out huge chunks of football news which are central to the discussion of the game, the English media bend the stories to fit their agenda.   But worse, they do this in a manner which shows that they really do believe that all foreigners are stupid.  These are the people writing our news, and this is why I bang on and on and on about the media.

They are not “reporting” but are selecting and giving a bias to, without any regard to the standards of journalism that exist elsewhere.   That is why they need to be exposed.

 

5 comments to What foreign journalists think of the missing ethics of their English counterparts

  • Nitram

    Tony

    Another great and revealing article. As you know we don’t always agree (Spending on transfers for example) but yours (and others) series of articles during this Lock Down have been nothing short of remarkable.

    “These are the people writing our news, and this is why I bang on and on and on about the media.”

    And long may it continue.

  • Nitram, that’s very kind of you, and most generous. Thank you.

    I do find it interesting that as I plough through these stories day by day with my friends in Europe, very few other folk interested in football seem to be picking them up. I’ve hated the lockdown, but this has been a bit of relief.

  • Nitram

    Tony

    No problem at all.

    Given the amount of articles you have published I did get the feeling you were revelling in this opportunity, as sad as it’s circumstances are, to scour the media, both home and abroad, to get an even deeper insight into just how insular our media is.

    Enjoy your digging and please continue calling these useless hacks out for the Arrogant, Sycophantic Xenophobes they are.

    Keep up the good work and most of all keep safe.

  • Tony, it sounds like your entire media has succeeded in dumbing itself down to the level of our Fox News, a mouthpiece for all things (and all people) simple and damn the journalistic standards.

  • Dawie

    Mike in Atlanta, the facts are what Tony highlights, so first check your facts about Fox and whether their news is factual, before slating them. I guess the huge settlement CNN had to pay that 16 year old youngster because they abused and harassed him with their view does not mean that they peddled fake news. It speaks to the fact that they decide which narrative they will peddle, which is certainly not based on facts.
    Have you seen CNN’s latest rant about the exoneration of 3 star general Flynn because of the documents from the FBI. These kind of things is what Tony is exposing and he is doing a great job. That is what journalism is about, NOT deciding what the narrative is and then bending all to fit your view. Good for Tony and great for the readers on here. Keep up the good work.