TRADITIONAL media has clearly become so discredited among many people that even on the occasions it does its job, the default reaction from readers is distrust.
The Ben Barba imbroglio is the classic example of what the press ‘roundsman’ is there to do – find out stuff people don’t want him or her to know – and which may have been deliberately concealed.
This is the sort of practice that dates back to when advertising paid for journalism, before the age of journalism pandering to advertising.
The line in the sand for sports reporters was always whether an off-field incident or allegation affected on-field performances. If there was a reason a player was missing or a team was losing, the rationale was that the fans who paid through the gates each weekend had a right to know.
Let’s look at the arguments in favour of this particular affair remaining unreported:
1) The privacy of the alleged victim. Ainslie Currie denied being assaulted back in February and she is still denying it now. What’s changed with regard to her privacy?
2) Mental health of Ben Barba. According to Canterbury sponsor Gary Johnson, Barba was on ‘suicide watch’ at the time of his standing down and of this alleged incident. So, he was on suicide watch and back playing four weeks later and the governing body of the sport was not told? A governing body which has taken a strong stance with others in relation to the very type of allegations which were apparently kept secret from them? That seems, to me, to make those involved more culpable, not less so.
Newspapers and magazines are dying. They are cutting costs, increasingly aiming to entertain instead of inform and in a number of high profile cases, are seeking to exercise what little influence they have left in grotesque political campaigns.
But every now and then, a journalist still gets to do what the code of ethics – rather than the boss or the circulation figures or the ratings – dictate he or she must do.
There are still stories in the paper that aren’t there just to get your attention and point you towards adds and cross promotions for the proprietor’s other businesses.
And it’s worth considering, no matter how little respect you have left for the media: when the papers are dead and the journalists are in the dole queue, who’s going to be there to tell you that you’ve been deceived?
GIVEN there has been so much happening domestically of late, you have probably missed a couple of significant developments abroad.
One, Norway was stripped of two European Bowl competition points for fielding five ineligible players against the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
Omar Baghdadi, Sean Casey, Timothy Hackney, Tim Rowan and Isaac Schmidt have all been banned indefinitely amid claims which have been upheld for the time being that they were ‘ring-ins’.
It’s important to understand many of the countries at this level have no domestic league to speak of and players roll up for Test matches the same way they would for park football in Sydney!
You would think things would be a tad more professional and reliable in Super League. But you’d be wrong.
The day before they played Huddersfield at the weekend, Wakefield sold their best player – halfback Tim Smith – to Salford so they could use the money to pay everyone else’s wages!
I kid you not. “Tim’s not playing today – we flogged him off to pay our bills”.
The Wildcats were duly beaten, 40-0. Huddersfield are minor premiers for the first time in 80 years.
Huddersfield is where the game was born in 1895. Now, scan the sentences above and tell me how far we have, or haven’t, come since then!
COMMENTS now and I won’t go over them all in chapter and verse this week because, to be honest, as I write this it’s getting late.