There’s generally a hierarchy of media, as we all know. There’s the independent media that rigorously sources, researches, and fact-checks a story before publishing, there’s the slightly less independent media that may do two of the three, and then there’s the Sun.
But there’s also a fourth category. There’s a media outlet that doesn’t really need to fact-check, is its own rigorous source, and exists to promote the agenda of its owner as much as possible, with a very positive spin on everything at all times. That’s right, it’s the team’s own website.
Every sports team has one, in every sport - it’s basically the PR arm of the team, and in almost all cases, you’ll never read anything negative on any of them. Even when there’s bad news, it’s cleaned and polished to within an inch of its life until it’s at best neutrally presented. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing - there are enough other sources around to give any given story enough context that getting official confirmation of it from the club, even a sanitized, shiny version, is just another piece of data.
With all that in mind, I bring you a piece today from arsenal dot com about the re-signing of Mesut Özil. “Piece” is a little...generous? I mean, the thing starts like this:
“Mesut Ozil committed his future to us and we sat down with him to discuss the main reasons behind his decision to stay.”
followed by exactly three quotes, each of which was deliciously airless and calorie-free. Of those three quotes, only one could even generously be construed as a “reason”:
I love the city.
So Mesut loves London. And because of that love, he decided to stay. I think. He doesn’t actually say “the city is a major reason I decided to stay”, although he does allude to it when he says
Before I signed the contract, I spoke with my family about what the best decision was for me.
So there you have it. There’s a video linked in the story, which you can watch if you want, but it doesn’t go into a lot more depth than the quotes in the summary.
None of this should be construed as me not being happy Mesut signed, by the way; I’m very happy he stayed, I like him as a player and he seems like a decent person. This is just another reminder that when you’re looking for hard news, don’t necessarily look for it directly from the originator of the hard news you want information about.