Mediawatch: MailOnline and clickbaiting a terrorist attack

Date published: Wednesday 24th May 2017 6:17

A new low?
Mediawatch can often be fairly accused of grumpiness, cynicism and unnecessary anger, but on Wednesday we saw a headline that truly made our piss boil.

‘Jesus returns to his native Brazil following Manchester terrorist attack,’ read MailOnline‘s special effort.

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has indeed returned to his native Brazil, just as he was always intending to do at the end of the season. His plans have not changed.

In fact, the Mail’s entire story is based around quotes given by Jesus to ESPN Brasil about how easy it has been to settle in the Premier League. Those quotes were given on Sunday, a day before the attack on Manchester even happened.

So why use that information in the headline at all? The story doesn’t reference the terror attack at all, save to say that Jesus lives in Manchester city centre in one of the many apartment blocks within close proximity to the Arena. He was not directly affected in any way by the incident.

Mediawatch knows the answer to that question, because that’s where we’ve sunk. It’s been more than 24 hours, so people can start using a terrorist attack that killed at least 22 people to sell a football story. Readers probably won’t click on ‘Gabriel Jesus returns to Brazil’, so stick ‘following Manchester terrorist attack’ on the end. ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Manchester’ are probably good SEO terms too, so you win both ways.

How did we get here? When did people stop thinking beyond the end of their f**king noses?

 

He wants it that way
Martin Samuel’s piece on Manchester United and Manchester is a superb piece of writing, but Mediawatch couldn’t help frowning at the following claim about Jose Mourinho:

‘Mourinho had a choice. Come fourth, or try to win a European trophy. Either route took his club to the Champions League. And Mourinho chose the trophy. He did not play safe. From a long way out, he decided that Manchester United’s history dictated the pursuit of glory.’

Woah there. Mourinho did not have a choice between coming fourth and winning a European trophy, he made a choice to go for a European trophy over trying to finish fourth, having been outside the top four since September 18. Let’s not pretend that Mourinho always prioritised the Europa League over league position as some moralistic commitment to trophies, or he would have at least mentioned that competition when he took over as manager and spoke exclusively of title challenges and, failing that, a top-four bid.

 

Player power
Elsewhere in the Daily Mail, Martin Samuel expresses his disgust for ‘journeymen players’ who get managers the sack. He probably has a point, but managers do know the deal.

Samuel is mostly angry about Watford’s players on the final day:

‘Take Sunday. Having given the dressing room exactly what it demanded, Watford’s owners settled down to see what the team could really do, free of the miserable influence of Walter Mazzarri.

‘With Mazzarri gone – he was technically in charge of the team, but had already been told this was his last game – Watford could at last perform unfettered. No doubt there was surprise in the boardroom, then, to be 5-0 down after 58 minutes.’

Erm…Mazzarri was still in charge on Sunday? He picked the team without central defenders that got shellacked by Manchester City. He was on the bench, being told to “f**k off” by supporters. (Presumably journeymen fans are to blame, too?).

Mediawatch does not think that Mazzarri was the only problem at Watford, but to use a bad result achieved under his management by a team picked by him as evidence that getting rid of him was a mistake is a bit much.

It’s when Samuel uses the example of David Moyes at Sunderland that Mediawatch really struggles:

‘David Moyes has gone, too, with news of the turmoil surrounding his ill-fated year at Sunderland slowly emerging. Moyes failed to connect with the players, too, after cancelling their Christmas party. Well, what a rotter. Not since Claudio Ranieri had the temerity to change the menu at Leicester has there been such an outrageous abuse of power.

‘Moyes no doubt imagined that as Sunderland had won three games in 14 by December 3, fancy dress and party hats might not be the right look on Wearside. Perhaps he had a point.’

I’m not quite sure we can put Sunderland’s relegation all down to the players downing tools after not getting a Christmas party, Martin, even if it did annoy a few; they were bottom on December 12, when the party was cancelled. Nor too can we ignore the fact that Moyes’ efforts as Sunderland manager were absolutely abysmal. The task of a manager is to inspire and coach players to reach potential, and Moyes failed that spectacularly. That is why he was sacked.

As for blaming journeymen players, Moyes signed a fair number of those as trusted confidantes having managed them at Everton and Manchester United. How come the players who arrived in January, and thus unaffected by this Christmas party outrage, offered no improvement?

As often with Samuel, Mediawatch is left with one lingering thought: Why does he never ask supporters what they think having watched their team every week? Find us a Sunderland supporter who thinks Moyes was badly treated, and we’ll find you a member of his close family.

 

First. Fast. From someone else

Quite…

 

The Moyesiah
Mediawatch raised a smile at this tweet from former Daily Express football writer John Richardson:

Mediawatch is taking time out to reinvent itself as a caring, humble sort with supermodel looks and a sensitive lover. This might take some time.

 

Answering your own question
‘Most conspicuous by his absence from the League Managers’ Association annual awards dinner at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel was Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger,’ writes Charlie Sale in his Sports Agenda column in the Daily Mail.

‘The event, the best and most well attended football function of the year, celebrated its 25th anniversary in its current guise by commissioning a new Sir Alex Ferguson trophy for the overall manager of the year and handing out medals to all previous winners since Matt Busby in 1968. Relatives of late greats Busby, Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough and Bob Paisley were there to receive gongs, plus the likes of George Graham, Roy Hodgson and David Moyes, despite him quitting Sunderland earlier in the day.

‘But Wenger, a two-time winner, was nowhere to be seen as usual. Foreign managers used to be rare sightings among the 1,000 guests. But Antonio Conte was there to collect the new trophy along with last year’s recipient Claudio Ranieri. Arsenal said Wenger was not a member of the LMA and had never gone to the awards night.’

So less ‘conspicuous’ and more ‘entirely predictable, as per the last 20 years’, then?

 

A progressing story
‘Jermain Defoe has agreed a three-year deal to join Bournemouth and will be earning a whopping £130,000 a week with the south coast club.

‘Defoe had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Sunderland on a free transfer following their relegation from the Premier League. The England striker had been strongly linked with a return to his former club West Ham but Bournemouth have won the race to clinch his signature.

‘The 34-year-old held talks with Eddie Howe on Monday and has agreed to pledge his long-term future to the Cherries. With no transfer fee involved, Bournemouth were willing to give him a lucrative wage packet and he is set to earn over £6million a year’ – Marc Isaacs, Daily Mirror, Tuesday, 4.15pm.

‘Jermain Defoe has agreed a three-year deal to join Bournemouth and will be earning a £65,000 a week with the south coast club.

‘Defoe had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Sunderland on a free transfer following their relegation from the Premier League. The England striker had been strongly linked with a return to his former club West Ham but Bournemouth have won the race to clinch his signature.

‘The 34-year-old held talks with Eddie Howe on Monday and has agreed to pledge his long-term future to the Cherries. With no transfer fee involved, Bournemouth were willing to give him a lucrative wage packet and despite original reports he would be earning over £100,000 a week, he is still set to earn over £3million a year’ – Marc Isaacs, Daily Mirror, Tuesday, 6.05pm.

‘Despite original reports’? You mean what you wrote less than two hours earlier?

 

Why won’t you come on over, gallery
‘From Zlatan to Zaha: 30 players who won’t play for their clubs again – and why’ is the Daily Telegraph’s latest gallery offering. Of course it offers 31 different URLs. Of course it does.

When one of the players who you are touting for a move is Mathieu Flamini, out of contract at Crystal Palace having started three Premier League games this season, you know you are running out of options. When another is Jermain Defoe, and you mistakenly list him as a Bournemouth player, that is confirmed. When a third is Pablo Zabaleta, who had his exit confirmed last week, it is doubly confirmed.

And who is Romelu Lakuku, anyway?

 

Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Taylor on the Europa League final.

Rory Smith with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Miguel Delaney on the Europa League final.

More Related Articles

Comments