Apologies if Media Muppets has been a little AWOL in recent months. No, the standard of football journalism hasn’t suddenly risen, it’s more a case of the dam breaking and it being hard to keep up with the increasing flow of football media misdemeanours.

The most recent annoying trend in football ‘journalism’ today is the turning of tweets into stories with barely any editorialisation. The simple formula seems to be a clickbait headline leading readers into a story that is essentially ‘so and so tweeted this’. It’s an example of lazy journalism that young journalists fresh out of university with journalism degrees are being told to follow and also local press sites are increasingly farming out.

Villa owner Tony Xia’s Twitter account has certainly started a cottage industry of this kind of activity on its own. The Birmingham Mail might as well make Doctor Tony their Football Editor to cut out the middlemen. Every time Xia tweets, the Mail run a story, with very little additional meat on the bone.

Anyway, let’s have a look at a few examples of media muppetry over the past few months…

Who?

Alex Dicken @ The Birmingham Mail

Headline

Sources in France are suggesting Aston Villa have agreed a £17 million deal for Bristol City’s Jonathan Kodjia

Spiel

Sources in France are suggesting that Aston Villa are set to complete the siogning (sic) of Bristol City’s Jonathan Kodjia for a Championship record £17 million.

media-muppets-b-mailThe striker has featured on Villa’s list of attacking targets for a while, but following the failure to secure Hull City’s Abel Hernandez they seem to have turned their attentions to Kodjia.

 

 

Evaluation

1.During the transfer window the Birmingham Mail had already ran several stories on Villa’s interest in Kodjia, quoting a more realistic transfer fee, before running this one. This is the perfect example of newspapers running click-bait regardless for ad revenue rather than actual news.

Such was the rush to get another transfer story out, the journalist didn’t even correct the spelling of ‘signing’. Maybe the paper has got too used to cut and pasting Tony Xia’s broken English tweets for their stories?

2. ‘Sources in France’? Not one French newspaper or website is quoted. This is pretty low rent hack work.

3. £17m transfer fee? The amount was at odds with what every news source was reporting, including their own paper. The fee ended up being £11m potentially rising to £15m with add-ons.

4. Why even post this story? As we’ve stated, the Mail had covered this story better in previous reports. Are they that desperate for clicks?

MEDIA MUPPET SCORE: 9/10

Who?

Dan Newman @ Bristol Post

Headline

Aston Villa fans are stunned by Jonathan Kodjia’s goal-scoring performance against Brentford

Spiel

Who knew Jonathan Kodjia could score goals? Well Aston Villa fans seem certainly surprised after the former Bristol City striker’s stunning curling effort against Brentford on Wednesday night.

Kodjia completed an eye-watering £15m move to Roberto Di Matteo’s side over the summer and he opened his account for the season against the Bees.

Evaluation

1. ‘Who knew Jonathan Kodjia could score goals?’ Well, how about the team who spent £11m (rising to £15m) on him because he scored 20-odd goals last season? What a weak pun to try to justify an article made up of cobbling together some tweets.

2. Not one of the tweets collated offers up a Villa supporter showing any surprise. NEWSFLASH – no Villa supporter was surprised Kodjia scored a goal. He’s a striker, that’s his job. Were they impressed by the goal? Yes sir, but we were not ‘surprised’.

3. There is no angle in this story…but also, there’s seemingly no quality control at the Bristol Post.

MEDIA MUPPET RATING: 8/10

 

Who?

Gregg Evans @ The Birmingham Mail

Headline

‘Aston Villa striker suffers cruel injury blow’

Spiel

Mmmm, who could it be? Well lets look at the sub-heading to find out…

‘This claret and blue forward is waiting to discover the extent of his latest setback’

The mystery Villa striker plot thickens…

Evaluation

1. The nameless ‘Aston Villa striker’ bait is put on the line with the headline and sub-header not mentioning the name of the player. The story is then cast out to see what bites – namely any Villa supporter thinking, ‘Oh no! A Villa striker injured?! I must click this to find out who’.

2. So, who is the Villa striker injured, pray tell? 19-year-old Harry McKirdy. Most Villa supporters haven’t even heard of the player. Well, you have now, thanks to the Birmingham Mail’s clickbait trick. Maybe it was a sponsored article by McKirdy’s management team to boost his profile?!

3. ‘Harry McKirdy suffers cruel injury blow’ just ain’t gonna get those clicks, is it? Unscrupulous clickbait using a player’s misfortune to amp up the readers.

MEDIA MUPPET SCORE: 8/10

 

Who?

The Sun

Headline:

ASTON VILLA fans led tributes to their tragic former star Dalian Atkinson during tonight’s home Championship match with Huddersfield.

Spiel

Supporters brought umbrellas in memory of a famous goal celebration, held banners and chanted his name – while Villa held 60 seconds’ silence in the 10th minute, representing the ex-England B striker‘s main number at the club.

Evaluation

  1. They had just one thing to report… Villa didn’t hold a 60 seconds’ silence, it was actually a round of applause to celebrate Dalian Atkinson. Was the Sun reporter even at the game or was he still in the toilet?
  2. Now if they got this information wrong, imagine them spreading misinformation in more serious situations on a daily basis…er, like they do already.

MEDIA MUPPET SCORE: 9/10

 

Who?

The Irish Times

Headline

colin clark

Spiel

The headline says it all and they are reporting on Newcastle buying Villa’s Ciaran Clark.

Evaluation

1.This is a leading Irish newspaper reporting on an Irish international footballer and they can’t get his name right in a headline.

2. OK, maybe you’d get his surname wrong, as you might have forgotten if it’s ‘Clark’ with without an ‘e’, but you don’t spell Ciaran, C-O-L-I-N!

3. There’s several people at the Irish Times who get paid a decent wage, who failed to pick up on Colin Clark.

MEDIA MUPPET SCORE: 10/10

If you’ve spotted an article that is just lazy journalism or worse, and perfect for Media Muppets then leave the link in the comments below, DM us on Facebook or send it to us via Twitter @oldmansaid

 

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