By Kenneth Widmerpool, with additional material from Tony Attwood
I’ve just been having a look at an uncut version of the “notorious” Wenger press conference prior to the Bayern game.
As the sensational/hyperbolic news broke about this, I had a look over the various sites and also thought that Arsene was uncharacteristically agitated, although (as I said on Untold) it made me laugh when he got a bit sarcastic to the daft questions revolving around commitment etc.
Tonight I’ve just had a look at the conference uncut from You tube
It’s worth watching if you haven’t seen it already, as he doesn’t seem angry at all. A bit sarcastic, and bit sharp, at his worst, nothing more.
Even more interesting is just to listen and not look at it. If you do that and remember what turned up in the media on the issue, then the key point is no longer Mr Wenger, but it is the journalists and the editors of the news media.
In fact the piece was brilliantly cut to make it look much worse just to grab attention, and it did.
The more I look the more I’m shocked by the attitude from the media. Living outside the UK, I trawl through all the papers online, and its easy to see how many fans are agitated by false headlines and unnecessary speculation and stating the obvious (Alan Hansen in the Telegraph this week).
Personally I’m quite shocked in hindsight at the way in which a press conference was reported that in the end put extra negative pressure on a team and manager that didn’t need it. Its even more baffling that the media doesn’t support Arsenal in Europe, while it tends to do this for all other teams.
To me many fans are being led astray by the media, in that every article runs something like this-
“Arsenal, who haven’t won a trophy for eight years, who got dumped out of the C1 cup by lowly Bradford and were kick out of the FAC by championship Blackburn…etc etc etc”
Surely even the folks in outer Mongolia who haven’t seen anyone of the for five years, now know that “Arsenal, who haven’t won a trophy for eight years, who got dumped out of the C1 cup by lowly Bradford and were kick out of the FAC by championship Blackburn.” What is the point of saying it over and over and over again.
I think that Man U haven’t won the FAC for nine years, yet that doesn’t get mentioned though.
I wish that more fans would step back and see that they’re being wound up, every time they read something.
Anyway we lost to Anderlecht 3-1 in 1970, and came home to win it 3-0 so perhaps the ghost of Paul Vassen might come and help us in the second leg!
I’ve seen Bayern/ Germany play often as I live in Germany and they can be easily rattled and fall apart, especially Neuer. There is a possibility.
But let’s go a little further and ask one other question: “why?” Why does the media continue to present this approach over and over again, re-stating what they have said before, unifying their perception, and ignoring the whole in order to make a point of the individual?
The first reason must be laziness. It is much easier to re-run an existing story, rather than change it. You may recall the “That’s the 50th red card under Wenger” story that dogged the opening years of the current reign. The implication was that this was a shocking statistic, although it turned out that in fact Arsenal had by no means the worst record during that period. Carefully the media repeated and repeated Arsenal’s figure, and said it was shocking, while ignoring all other club records during the same era. The media never said, “this is worst than any other club” but made it sound like that by the way they quoted the Arsenal figure. Every media outlet joined in, so everyone took the implication.
In fact for any such story to run and run, it needs most of the media to join in. If, for example, the Telegraph in the UK had run it, but all the others had ignored it, then the story would have faded away. No media outlet wants to be on its own.
But the others did not ignore the story – they picked it up and ran with it (laziness again) and so by dint of repetition it became true.
Now the same thing is happening. There is no comparison with Arsenal’s record in other eras (this is far from the longest run without a trophy for the club), nor with other clubs (where were the celebrations in the media of Tottenham’s 50 year anniversary since they last won the league?)
That comparison however is seen to be unfair, because we are now looking at all trophies, not just the league….
So it continues – constant manipulation of evidence until a story is reached – a story which fits into the agreed agenda. No one wants to break ranks, because the agenda is, well, agreed. Just as it is agreed that no one should ask, “what does ‘We want our Arsenal back’ actually mean? The Arsenal of the early years of Wenger? Highbury Stadium? The Terry Neil years?
Likewise it is agreed that the level of booing and the number of empty seats should be greatly exaggerated. Everyone agrees, everyone runs the story.
Journalists tend to know journalists and so exchange stories, and their editors endlessly check the other media. Go to any newsroom and you will find that there is as much interest on what other media outlets are saying as there is on getting their own story right.
There is sadly, little we can do about this, except expose it. But at least with Untold we can do that, and know that the exposure will reach a large number of people. That is far from a perfect answer, but at least it is a start.
Other recent posts…
- Arsenal – Aston Villa: the ref preview, and the strange goings on in the PGMOL!
- Young supporter charged at Bradford game. Witnesses needed
- 22 February 2013: one of the most important anniversaries of Arsenal FC
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
The sites from the same team…
- Referee Decisions - just what are the refs up to this season?
- Parent News - what is going on in schools these days?
- The weight loss programme: The only guaranteed way to stay fit
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society
- The Bob Dylan Reviews – the music, the lyrics, the meaning