Phoney Baloney

‘Fake news’ is now a term that is very much in the popular vernacular. Worryingly, the familiarity with the term in today’s society has risen because it’s entered the sphere of politics and world affairs. Remember when ‘fake news’ just meant football transfer rumours?

A lot of football fans understandably love the circus of transfer rumours. It sparks discussion and a few laughs. They even lap it up when fake transfer rumour stories are repeated, year after year. ‘Jermain Defoe to Aston Villa’ stories must be now into its 12th or 13th season.

Such fun though leads the football fan into potentially becoming victims of clickbait entrapment. Newsnow, the news aggregate that some football fans use to monitor activity on their club (essentially a collection of headlines attributed to their club), used to be a good place to keep tabs on the latest stories, but unfortunately over the last few years, the news portal has increasingly become a cesspool of nonsense stories. Full of disingenuous headlines that draw readers to stories with very little journalistic merit and exist simply to boast the online publication’s advertising revenue.

Several football websites and blogs were set up to operate like this purposely and what most readers don’t know is they in essence advertising agencies posing as blog networks.

This virus of nefarious activity though has also infected the local newspaper industry, as it tries to boost its online income via the clickbait route to prop up flagging newspaper sales. Quantity, not quality is now king.

Worryingly, it seems we’ve now transitioned from ‘fake news’ to ‘no news’, as the following examples demonstrate…

Who?

Steve Wollaston – Birmingham Mail

Headline

When is Aston Villa’s kit launched and on sale? Here’s all you need to know

Spiel

Aston Villa supporters won’t have to wait much longer to see the shirt for the 2017/2018 season.

Last season the club unveiled the new kit on July 1st, it’s fair to assume that the time frame will be roughly the same again.

The kits are being produced once again by American manufacturers Under Armour; they replaced Macron last season, with whom Villa ended an association after three seasons.

Last time around, both the away kit and the goalkeeping attire was unveiled on the same date with details of when the item would be available to purchase.

Fans were allowed to pre-order the shirt from the 27th of June.

They were informed of the reveal date on the same day.

Villa’s association with QuickBooks reaches its conclusion this summer, the Tony Xia regime are in the process of landing their first sponsor.

Evaluation

1.’Here’s all you need to know’ – a common Birmingham Mail strap line – it states in the headline, but the resulting story can’t even answer the headline’s question: When is Aston Villa’s kit launched and on sale? There is neither a launch or sale date offered up in the story.

2. ‘it’s fair to assume that the time frame will be roughly the same again’. What? Between the end of the previous season and the start of the new season? Seriously, is this the best intel they can offer?

3. Since most of the content within the article has already been published as news before or is widely known – e.g. the shirt will be made by Under Armour and a new sponsor is incoming – why even write this article? It’s pretty lame stuff, but thanks for the reminder what happened last season.

4.Here’s all you need to know – it’s soul-destroying content.

Media Muppet Score: 8/10 – Why not ring up the club and get an answer or at least a rough estimate?

 

Who

Alan Biggs @ The Star

Headline

Who could bring goals to Sheffield Wednesday’s midfield?

Spiel

These whispers are picked up by journalists all over the place. They are not always right.

My logic was that I’d have been more surprised if Carlos Carvalhal was not interested in such a prime player for a position he appears keen to strengthen. And so to the other type of chatter. Let’s call it “thinking aloud” as far as the rest of this column is concerned. Just a stab at it using the “good shout” test.

Barnsley wouldn’t budge over Conor Hourihane and he went to Aston Villa instead. There, he added only one further goal to his six at Oakwell.

Has Hourihane fitted at Villa? Is he unsettled, as some make out?

I’d suggest that, given the slightest encouragement, Carvalhal would be back in for this player, perhaps taking over his three-year deal at Villa Park and the transfer sum negotiated.

Alternatively, the Villa boss is a known admirer of Bannan, whose inclusion in any deal could potentially tempt his former side.

Evaluation

1.This example is included mainly as background for the entry that follows in this Media Muppets column to highlight the process of spinning off stories solely based on somebody’s uninformed opinion. Here we have a local newspaper journalist ‘thinking aloud’ and really applying little logic in his ‘good shout’ of Conor Hourihane moving to Sheffield Wednesday.

2. Hourihane chose Villa over Wednesday last season, because the Owls didn’t have the offer to match Villa’s. Sorry, but Wednesday won’t suddenly match his reported £28,000-a-week wage at Villa. Nor will Hourihane give it up to accept less to move away.

3. Steve Bruce was very keen on the player and still sees him as central to getting out of the Championship. No Villa player, bar James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia, were playing at close to their full potential last season. So are they all now unhappy and wanting out? No.

4. The Bannan mention…hahahaha

5. Hourihane will be a Villa player next season. This is ‘no news’.

Media Muppet Score: 7/10 – Biggs needs to fill his column.

 

Who

Aiden Cusick @ HITC

Headline

Aston Villa player suggested as possible Sheffield Wednesday target – could a deal happen?

Spiel

Sheffield Star reporter Alan Biggs has suggested in his latest column that Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane could be a target for Sheffield Wednesday this summer.

Given that Wednesday were linked with the Irishman ahead of his move to Villa Park in January, there may well be some truth to that.

Whether he’s a realistic option remains to be seen, however. So what are the Owls’ chances?

Would Villa let him go?

It’s probably unlikely…it is suggested within Biggs’ article that Hourihane may be unsettled at Villa, in which case a return to South Yorkshire, where he spent two-and-a-half years with the Tykes, could appeal to the player. 

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Can Wednesday twist the Villans’ arm?

For the right price, perhaps, with Bruce reportedly needing to raise his own funds this summer, although Wednesday will no doubt be wary of breaching Financial Fair Play restrictions themselves.

Blah, blah, blah…

Chances: 3/10

Evaluation

  1. You only need to scan read Bigg’s original column to dismiss it. Does it really require further thought and analysis? Poor Cusik, what a waste of his time writing all this pointless nonsense (poor MOMS too, for wasting time writing this!).

2. Chances of Hourihane to Wednesday marked at 3/10! Try 0/10 for reality.

3. Lets face it, it’s all about the suggestive headline to hook in both Villa and Wednesday fans for a bit of ‘kerching!’ ad revenue.

4. No news of the highest order.

Media Muppet Score: 9/10 – Worthless no story based on a no story.

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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1 COMMENT

  1. ive stopped reading anything by the birmingham mail

    takes ages to load and is usually just a load of bull

    just the worst of the worst,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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