Guest Post by @shotta_gooner
Recently I tried making a joke at George’s expense in response to his blog “Can An Idiot Be An Expert?” PG was at pains to explain that his blog was not aimed at Pedro of Le Grove and I shot back that it was too late as the media already had a headline titled“Arsenal Supporters are Divided on Club’s Future As Bloggers Attack Each Other.” Little did I know how prescient were my comments, not that it was an amazing bit of prophecy given track record of the media and the online outfits who cover Arsenal.
The stimulus for my current ramblings was reading various reports of an interview Aaron Ramsey had with ITV and which I initially saw reports of in The Daily Mail last Friday. To be honest, unlike its usual rabid tabloid standards the headlines were fairly benign:
“Arsenal can challenge for the title next season…and don’t need a big name signing, insists midfielder Aaron Ramsey”
But the sub headings betrayed mischief afoot:
· Aaron Ramsey does not believe Arsenal need a marquee signing to make a serious challenge for the title next season – but does think it would help if Arsene Wenger moved him into a central role.
· That stationing out wide has been one of the few bugbears for the Welshman, who is convinced Wenger has all the players he needs to run at the crown, so long as Arsenal make the most of not having to qualify for the Champions League Group stages.
Clearly the Daily Mail could not ignore the thrust of Ramsey’s interview, that he was happy with the team’s progress and its prospects. But it was evident they wanted to leave a residue of controversy about the Welshman’s role and to sow or highlight some divisions with the manager.
Apparently this soft-sell by the Mail was too tame for the army of online news sites that demand the attention of the eyeballs hungrily scanning the web for some juicy football story. ESPNFC, the online arm of the 24-hour cable channel, took the Goebbels approach:
“Frustrated Aaron Ramsey admits chatting with Wenger about role”
Nope, none of this happy, satisfied Aaron nonsense. According to them “Aaron Ramsey….was frustrated by finishing the season out wide on the right rather than in his favoured central position — and says he has spoken to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger about it a few times.”
Think I am overstating the point. Hot behind ESPN was Just Arsenal News, a seemingly popular blogging and news- site based solely on their daily frequency on NewsNow, decided to ram Aaron’s discontent down our throat with their heading:
“Aaron Ramsey again complains about wide role for Arsenal”
In the body of the post, they spent most of the time cherry picking the quotes by Ramsey relating to his playing centrally and not a word about his satisfaction with the squad.
Another outfit, who seemingly only exist as an outlet for on-line advertisements, London24, led with:
“Arsenal star reveals crunch Arsene Wenger talks….”
Ha, Ha, Ha. Need I say more.
Some websites take a different approach from ESPN or the other advertising portals masquerading as news-sites but with the same objective. In one case, I found use of a popular journalistic propaganda technique, the “sandwich”:
· Big title and abstract, stating something as a given (or an interrogative statement the article is supposed to investigate and answer to).
· Then the body full of “allegedly”, “possibly”, “tentatively” reported facts (or proved facts but unrelated with the title’s assumptions).
· Then 2-3 lines stating the title again as if it had been proven as “eventually clarified”. The reader takes this last section as a “long story short”, a personal recap from the columnist to him.
This it appears was the approach taken by, an obscure to me, news-site SportsReview.com, with the title:
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey fires warning at Chelsea ahead of next season
But in the body of the article (the sandwich) are the alleged complaints by Ramsey about his playing position in the recent season and ending with his desire to play centrally. Nary a word of his so-called warning to Chelsea whose name by the way he never mentioned in the interview.
In conclusion, I suspect that with our season ending so positively and no clearly identified transfer targets or any consensus with regard to playing positions in need of radical upgrade, the commercial media, news-sites and bloggers will become increasingly desperate to stir up some controversy. As in Aaron’s case the likely source is the most benign of interviews with players who are obligated to do them while on international duty. We may need to name and shame the culprits as the summer slowly wends its way to the end of the transfer window.