By Bulldog Drummond
This article continues from Did Arsenal really have defensive frailties last season as some suggest ?
So as we have shown over and over again, much (possibly most) of what is written and said about football in the media is factually untrue. But it gets repeated, and so in the minds of many, it becomes true. As in the most recent example from the piece linked above, it is argued that Arsenal are better defensively this season because they improved their defence last summer. But this is factually completely untrue. Arsenal are not better defensively this season than last.
What is written about football is also misleading because it leaves out important issues, such as the fact that Arsenal moved in one season from being the most yellow carded club in the league to being the 17th most carded team the following season. Within 18 months the club has moved from getting the most cards to getting under half the number of cards of the most carded team!
Thus we have football commentary: a mixture of total falsehoods, misinformation and omission.
Last season over 130 players were said by the media to be coming to Arsenal. Five arrived; but during the course of their coverage none of the media pointed out that a 3% accuracy rate was likely. As a result some fans believed the failure to secure the deal was due to Arsenal incompetence, rather than journalistic fantasy.
As a result of this successful media-wide approach people commenting on football know they can get away with anything. So today we have Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar 2022, telling the president of the Norwegian Football Federation, that she needed to “educate” herself.
Thus although nothing has changed in Qatar in terms of human rights, but with the help of much of the media, it can pretend the stories published in the liberal press are untrue. And why not. Most of what the media publishes about football is untrue.
As for what the media doesn’t publish about football – well we could go on for article after article – and in fact we did in our Gaslighting series. That series started with 1: Are the referees and the media really out to get Arsenal, or am I just imagining it? There’s an index to the series in that article.
Our writing doesn’t have much effect of course, although as we pointed out before the first ever mention of gaslighting in connection with football other than in our series appeared in the media just six weeks after the launch of the above series on Untold.
But as for the fact that the head of Fifa is under investigation in Switzerland for corruption in liaison with the head of the Swiss legal services, and has gone to live in Qatar, well no, not a word. And indeed when newspapers and bloggers can write utterly untrue commentaries about football, what hope is there at all that the next thing we read will be truthful?
Indeed the book “What you think you know about football is wrong” (suggesting they are going to tell you the truth), is be packed with lies and falsehoods! Just as when in 2020 a headline in the Sunday Mirror accused Arsenal of historic match-fixing, without citing a single case or providing any evidence. And how for years the media at large has proclaimed that Arsenal bought their way into the first division in 1919, when all the evidence shows that this is not the case.
The message to the media – and from the media on to corrupt bodies like Fifa, and countries without human rights like Qatar, is, “With football you can say and do anything you like. We say what we like all the time, and amazingly, much of the time people actually believe us.”
Even more amazingly the media collude to ensure that certain stories are never told, and incompetence is never commented upon or attacked. The inability of the FA to organise the sale of tickets and entry to the ground for the Euros final at Wembley, is never mentioned, for example. Of course we should never excuse the people who forced their way into the ground, but ignoring the FA’s incompetence in organising the event, is also inexcusable.
Thus in relation to football the media commits four crimes
a) It focuses on irrelevancies and ignores key stories
b) It publishes complete falsehoods
c) It spreads rumours it knows will (at least in 97% of cases) turn out to be untrue
d) It holds none of the individuals nor organisations that run football, responsible for the consequence of their actions or inaction.
And that’s why football is really in trouble.
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.