An amazing day: newspaper journalist launches attack on media football coverage

By Tony Attwood

OK I have already written one article about football and the media today, and this is another.  And I am running it because this one is about a rarity indeed.

Normally, the media generally don’t attack any other aspect of the media, because to do so opens up a debate that they really don’t want to have: the notion that there are bits of football news that the media simply are not covering.

Meanwhile, my view, as you may well know, is that there is a major issue concerning football refereeing in England – not just in the problems with PGMO referees and what they do, but also with the fact that there is a blanket refusal of the media to get involved with the debate.  It is, for them, a no-go area.

Quite why that is I am not sure.  Does PGMO tell journalists that they will ask clubs to remove the accreditation of journalists who attack the whole refereeing system?   Does the media believe that the issue of home bias by referees is too complicated for their audience to comprehend?  Is it laziness and a desire for each of them to be talking in a similar way.

Or do football journalists damn well know that there is something very wrong with refereeing in the Premier League but believe that if they publicise it, people will lose interest in football, and so they’ll be out of a job?

Certainly whatever the reason, journalists don’t normally attack other journalists for missing certain key issues.  And this is why this piece in the Telegraph is so interesting.  For here the writer is the Scottish Editor of the Telegraph Media Group – and not a football journalist at all.

He states that “after BT Sport’s shambolic non-coverage of unarguably the biggest football event of the year, I’m planning to cancel [my subscription] as soon as I can….

“They missed the story. It’s as simple as that. Broadcast journalism is still journalism and missing the story is easily the biggest – some might say the only – sin of the game. BT Sport might argue that they were in Paris to cover a football match, not a riot, but if they do that’s another reason why I want a refund.”

The reasoning behind this line of attack is that “when a major football match is delayed by a near-riot that becomes a major news event; that they didn’t accept that and tell viewers like me what was really happening in and around that stadium is surely a breach of the unwritten contract I have with them.

“I pay them for their coverage and they tell me what’s happening – everything that’s happening….

“Instead, what I got was a presenter and three millionaire ex-players burbling about a football match that had somehow been delayed when only yards away British fans were being tear-gassed…. 

“But what we got from BT Sport was … well nothing, really.”

And better still, and I really must raise my hat to the writer for this he adds…

“Didn’t basic curiosity – you know, that staple journalistic trait – ever get the better of the presenter? Didn’t those football stars – two of whom used to play for Liverpool – demand to know what was happening around them? Or was it simply easier to earn their corn mouthing banalities about their sport?”

And that is exactly the point I am trying to make in running all these articles about the media and the way it covers football.

Why is it down to a small group of friends writing articles in a blog to point out that the results in the Premier League are warped and weird?  Why is it down to us to report that 97%+ of transfer stories are fantasy?  Why is it down to us to point out that there is such a wholesale agreement within the media not to touch a whole bunch of subjects?  Why are we the only people in England covering the scandals of Fifa, the investigation of its president for corruption, and his avoidance of that investigation by moving to Qatar?

(Of if you want a different take, you might like to try “Gianni Infantino and President Putin: football must decide whose side it is on.”

If you have missed our various articles on these subjects you might also like to read our series on “gaslighting” which starts with Are the referees and the media really out to get Arsenal, or am I just imagining it?

Of course, this Telegraph piece might be a one-off, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if the media suddenly awoke to the fact that their way of not covering key issues in football is perhaps the biggest scandal of all?

Meanwhile, if you want a more Arsenal centred approach you might like to try “The great football media scandal.  How the media has utterly refused to pick up on the main issues and instead reports the trivia.”  Here are the articles from that…

4 Replies to “An amazing day: newspaper journalist launches attack on media football coverage”

  1. I’m still waiting for at least a mention of Frank Lampard’s fine by the FA for criticing the referees. It’s exactly what you’ve been illustrating including 2 posts today. And, by the way, I haven’t seen anything in support of Lampard! Have I missed something, including a comment by Untold? Would like to hear your take, Tony.

  2. Why do the FA keep talking about bringing the game into disrepute. Most of their referees manage to do just that by stepping onto the pitch.

    Also from the Sun – “Following the defeat away at Liverpool, Everton wrote to the Professional Game Match Officials Board to explain why the penalty was not awarded.”

    Surely it’s not up to Everton to explain why the penalty was not awarded. 🙃

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