by Tony Attwood
“Scoop” recently wrote a comment on this blog relating to our regular pieces on what some of us consider to be wholly misleading articles in the media about football.
Scoop expressed the opinion, which is often heard here, that “calling it out here is not going to change anything at all, and all you’re doing is shouting into an echo chamber.”
So I thought I would write a little article and explain why I keep writing and publishing along these lines. Then at least when the issue arises I can simply point to this article. The picture incidentally is of the founder of the Daily Mirror.
Why write articles pointing out that the media is biased and misleading when it comes to football?
- Because the technique the popular press, and the blogs that copy them, use, is incredibly successful in developing the way people think about a particular topic. I think the message the media put forward is a false message designed to help themselves, therefore I feel the urge to fight back.
- Because there are a number of people who after seeing a misleading article express the view that they felt something was wrong, but didn’t fully understand what was happening. But having read one of our little exposes, they realise they were not on their own, and renew the argument they take forth that in the area of football, the media are having a malicious influence
- Because people who realise how misleading the media can be can feel somewhat isolated and in my view it is never a bad thing to help people feel they are not alone.
- Because the effect of the technique that the media use in relation to football is to hide various issues from public gaze. I do think there are things wrong with football and by exposing what is happening it is possible to make some small changes.
- Because when certain views become dominant they can influence how the club behaves.
- Because, I suppose, I’ve always been a campaigner, fighting against things that strike me as wrong. It is a bit like standing up to bullies. I might get a broken nose, but I retain the belief that if only more people would stand up to these people things would be better. Put simply, and at risk of making myself a laughing stock, I believe it is the right thing to do. Just as, if I saw a collection of thugs run past an individual and knock her or him over I would go to that person, lift the person up and try and console the person. I didn’t stop the attack, I can’t stop the bruises, but I can say, not everyone is as mindless as the gang that just ran by.
The comment was also made that “it’s really easy to filter out all the rubbish in the press if you don’t want to read/watch it.”
But the Mirror and other media do keep publishing this material, and if no one read it, they most certainly wouldn’t. I run three blogs, and have helped many companies set up their blogs and raise their audiences, and I know a lot of the tricks used. I know what the Mirror etc are up to and I am trying to make people more alert rather than saying “you can avoid it if you want.” That’s a bit like saying, you can stop drinking too much alcohol if you want. The world isn’t like that.
Thus when our correspondent wrote, “Anyone who believes that what they read in the Mirror is anything even close to “important news” is a cretin and not worth worrying about,” I disagree. I am absolutely not a Christian, but I do share the view that all people are worth worrying about.
So I am going to go back to point 1 above – that the technique used in the football media is incredibly successful. And writing about that is, I believe, helpful, because the technique (known to psychologists as “gaslighting” is used widely by the media and by individuals, and the more people know of that technique the better it is.
Quite simply gaslighting is a technique that stops people thinking about one subject, by getting them to think about another. It is used throughout our society by bullying husbands (and to a degree, but a lesser degree, wives), it is used by politicians, business people, and journalists.
I’ve written about it quite a lot on this site, and if you are not familiar with the concept, or want to see how gaslighting is used in order to stop us thinking about refereeing in the Premier League in a critical way, you might find it of interest. The series begins with Are the referees and the media really out to get Arsenal, or am I just imagining it? and there is a link to the whole series at the top of that article.
I’ll come back to this topic shortly, but I’ll highlight each episode because if you don’t want to read about how the media is trying to manipulate how you think, even when you are certain you are immune (as almost everyone does), you’ll want to avoid it.
And endlessly the people who say privately, “I never really understood before”
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP