Sensationalism, inflating the facts, a parent/child relationship, these are all traits you expect with the Sun, the Mirror and even the ‘Independent’, yet one place you don’t expect it from is the BBC. The blind faith the general public once had in these ‘national institutions’ has all but evaporated and left the mouldy residue as everything else moves forward.
Whilst I appreciate using a sports ‘hero’ as an example often cheapens the argument, I do need to put this initial message into context; I am, of course, referring to the media’s representation of Gareth Bale and his ‘plight’.
It’s a well-known fact that the written press has been playing ‘catch-up’ and second fiddle for the last few years. Firstly “the revolution that would never last” rocked the printed press to the point that eventually they had to make unprecedented changes in order to resuscitate their failing industry. Then, just as it appeared disaster had been averted, along came the second technological blow; the advent of social media.
Of course there’s another argument that this field hasn't been resuscitated per-se, but merely swallowed up into another empire to help promote that empire’s primary focus; usually TV subscriptions. However let’s ignore this puppet master theory and assume there is a smidgen of purpose to their work.
So what has all of this got to do with Gareth Bale you ask? Well everything.
Because we’re now in a world where much of the media doesn't know what they are or what purpose they serve, genuine exclusives are few and far between and therefore the what-should-be redundant method of sensationalising a story appears to be the only conceivable tactic a journalist has in their armoury to sell a story, or to get hits on their website.
It doesn't stop there; the well educated writers are not even writing anymore. Instead they prefer to scour the internet for interesting stories and then either re-badge or piggy back onto this existing story or worse still, they enter forums looking for a meal. They've become desperate.
It doesn't matter if the original source is unverified or not in the slightest bit true (when has this ever stopped this industry?), however what’s important is that the writer can thrash out a two minute article within a deadline, to satisfy their editor’s lust.
There’s not much new about this methodology; however what this industry seems to ignore and underestimate is that the reader is now in a much better position to make their own choices and to form their own opinion, using the array of information at their fingertips. Gone are the days when a reader is spoon fed a bit of information and gobbles this down without thinking, now the user is in a better position to use mediums such as twitter or news-feeds or Google to really explore whether they’re being told facts or over cooked baloney. In fact with these instantaneous mediums the reader is streets ahead of any published article and therefore this ‘news’ is anything but new to the informed reader.
So relating this back to Gareth Bale, what we had were hundreds of articles that were either too lazy, to out of the loop or too slow to consider the truth and decided to regurgitate the unrealistic rhetoric that appears in well-known mouthpieces such as Marca.
It got to the rather embarrassing situation when the British press were quoting Marca articles as fact, adding a bit of their own spice and then Marca was re-reporting this added bit of British spice as fact. It became a self-fulfilling circle of evidence-less fabrication.
There was this rather amusing situation where Daniel Levy (the Tottenham Chairmen for those that don’t know) was in L.A, Hong Kong and Great Britain (at the same time), and was flying back to either have crunch talks, or to give Bale the silent treatment.
It’s a bit of a tragic state of affairs because I genuinely believed that the phone hacking scandal would have woken part of the media to adopt a more forward thinking approach, and not just about ethics and transparent practices. I would have thought that the changing technologies and how we interact would have been a prime opportunity for the press to embrace their readership and provide some thought provoking scenarios, where the reader can participate and share knowledge in an instant. Not be treated as a brain-dead moron that relies on the press for news.
However the reality of the situation is we have a puppet controlled media that continues to peddle their out dated methods in the vein hope they make a name for themselves.
Well, we can probably all give them a suitable name.