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July 2021
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How viral lies about Arsenal are amplified by the media on a daily basis

By Tony Attwood

There is a story doing the rounds in the United States that members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team turned their backs on the country’s national anthem.  Films of the event don’t exist because it didn’t happen, but it seems there are tens of thousands of tweets etc proclaiming this to be true.

Now if you are not American you might be tempted to shake your head and wonder at how these Americans can believe something where there is no evidence at all to support the claim.

But then it is just possible that you might wonder how the printed and online media in England have combined to create an equally totally false story about Arsenal.  And indeed wonder at the irony of the Guardian reporting the fake news from America but utterly failing to notice the fake news propagated every day about Arsenal in the English media.

The writer in the Guardian talks about being “pulled into an alternate universe – a bizarro world with its own narratives and set of facts around the USWNT [the US women’s team], designed by right-wing propagandists and built on outrage.”

And yet if the writer had paused for a second she would have realised that the “bizarro world” is not just a bunch of extremists in the US, but is also the dominant news force in England’s football reporting.

For here every tabloid newspaper and the majority of bloggers are reporting daily that Arsenal had a failed season last year, while the truth is that Arsenal undertook the most radical change in tactics ever seen in the Premier League and as a result for the last two thirds of last season, Arsenal had the results of a top-two club outperforming every club in the division apart from Manchester City.

What’s more, also ignored by every outlet including the Guardian, is the fact that through the season Arsenal were refereed by officials known to give  multiple fouls against Arsenal players, while referees who were known to give fouls against Arsenal at around half the level of their over-extended colleagues, rarely got more than one Arsenal game.

Indeed so crazy is the reporting of Arsenal now that we can even have the story written in the Express that Arsenal had “a disappointing end to what started as a promising campaign.”   The exact opposite of the truth.

In fact so widespread is the view that Arsenal had a failed season last year we even have correspondents writing to Untold Arsenal to tell us that Arsenal only did well after Xmas because the fixtures were much easier.   Again utterly untrue.  Our fixture list in those final two-thirds of the season was no tougher or easier than in the first third of the season.

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We even have the story that Arsenal players were awful last season and the vast majority need to be replaced whereas Figures from Football Observatory at the end of the season showing Arsenal players dominating the statistics in terms of their effectiveness and positive play.

Of course when all the news being handed out is this type of fake news from start to finish, the really interesting news about Arsenal is hidden away – such as the news that last season Arsenal’s yellow card tally dropped by an amazing 45% compared with the previous campaign – despite being given primarily trigger happy refs.

A person actually interested in the truth rather than someone wishing to maintain the circulation of lunatic fake news might be asking how this happened – but no – you’ll only find that story here.

There is no interest in publishing that news, any more than there was in publishing the story of How a club can commit the most fouls but get the fewest yellow cards – another story that the media ignored.

The fact is, the changes that took place last season in the Premier League which resulted in Arsenal being 15th at the end of the first third of the season, and second if one measures the final two thirds of the season, is ignored.  Some say that only the actual league table for the end of the season counts, and of course that is what the record books will show.

But in terms of an Arsenal turnaround last season was dramatic.  In terms of referee appointment bias it was extraordinary.  In terms of a tactical change it was unprecedented.  And in terms of news coverage, there is none.

If only the Guardian would realise that the propagation of fake news is not confined to the United States for in the English media it is universal.  In fact, running the story about media lies in the US while not mentioning the situation in England is at best misleading, at worst another brick in the fake news wall.

 

4 comments to How viral lies about Arsenal are amplified by the media on a daily basis

  • Doug Whincup

    Unfortunately, the media have myths they propagate in every field, from news to sports. The purpose of media seems to be entertainment and propaganda, not truth. So once a story arises that the audience or the journalists or the editors or the owners of media like, it gains a life of its own and is almost impossible to change.

    I’m not expecting that your detailed analysis of refereeing and Arsenal will change that, but perhaps you could make your conclusions even more rock-solid by showing that it is not just a matter of the league giving more games to referees who award more fouls, so that all clubs get such refs. Do other clubs get more games than Arsenal does with refs who award fewer fouls?

  • billy

    The land of trump. 75 million dumb bas****s voted for the 400lb orange t*rd. Another idiot.. Dave Tickner so-called ‘writer’ for football365. a complete idiot who would be better employed writing for the exchange and mart

  • porter

    Why bring your political views into a football conversation ?

  • mick shelley

    Does the negative media coverage on Arsenal players have an adverse affect on their value on the transfer market. For example see the excessively low amount it appears we are going to get for Granit Xhaka who we have constantly been told by the media is pretty useless. Has that constant rubbishing of him, both ability and attitude wise, lowered his value on the transfer market.
    Compare what we can probably get for his sale to the inflated amounts quoted for players of much lower quality who we want to buy.
    Conversely do other clubs push up the price when they see us coming because they are influenced by the media’s constant harping on that we need to buy X,Y or Z because we are desperate to replace the supposedly inferior players we currently have.
    A sort of double whammy, we lose out both ways because of the media portrayal of Arsenal’s supposedly dire, desperate state.

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