Over at our friends at the Full Toss, a proper debate has been going on – it started initially on Twitter, with Tregaskis raising a point, and snowballed from there. The whole thing can be read through Maxie’s post on TFT, and I’m not going to repeat it here, so the link is as follows:
Here’s the thing. I like Maxie. I like his writing, and I like him personally. I’ve had a couple of good nights out with him, and enjoyed his company thoroughly. Which is why I know that saying I disagree with his premise is not going to be met with shock and horror, but more “Oh really, why?” Because if there’s one thing I do know about him, it’s that he’s exceptionally comfortable with the idea people hold different views to him – it’s something that always makes me smile when you get the more virulent criticism of him for his articles, he is quite interested in those who don’t agree.
It’s one of those things that is striking across a few of these blogs. Dmitri is the same, forever worrying about whether his perspective is a reasonable one. The irony is that it’s me who tells him to ignore the trolling and the abuse, yet I’m the one who is probably thought of as less polemical and more nuanced. The true beauty of all of these debates is that it involves real people, who can be hurt.
From his post, it seems Lawrence Booth in particular felt that he was being unfairly maligned, and here I have enormous sympathy with him. I really can’t see a thing wrong with something like a golf day that might involve a few players. And this is why – in my own line of work there is a fair bit of what we might call “promotional” activity. The deal is what is has been for generations across many kinds of career, we take them out, spoil them, show them a good time and when it comes to contracting maybe they’ll be better disposed to us than our competitors. Naturally, our competitors do the same. It’s the kind of thing that tends to be pontificated about as somehow dubious, but it’s normal practice. More specifically, I’d fall down in a faint if something like that made a potential client switch to me, it doesn’t happen, it’s way more complex than that involving building trust and – the key point – getting to know people.
For journalists, their stock in trade is copy for their newspapers. It’s nothing like as simple as on here – I can write any old rubbish and click “Publish” and up it goes. The press pack have to pass it via their editors and hope that some kind of simulcrum of what they wrote appears in the paper the following day. It is extremely easy to be totally cynical of all media output, and it just ain’t that simple.
Want the proof? I can write a piece on here talking about Kevin Pietersen, and the hits we get double from normal. Hell, just the fact his name is used will add a few extra ones. It’s extremely easy for us to manipulate the content if we were so inclined, and thus when online papers do it, the line that it’s clickbait might be true, but it’s successful clickbait.
Neither Dmitri nor I make a penny from this place, so we can say what we like, but it’s pretty easy to see how commercial sites love it when you can do something that straightforward to get extra hits.
So for a newspaper journalist, first and foremost they need to create copy that attracts attention. That might be about – say – Joe Root, as we’ve seen with the Telegraph interview with him that has got plenty of notice. But what we can’t do is expect those articles to come out of the ether, and that’s where the whole point of argument has stemmed from. It’s a fair bit easier for former England batsman and captain Michael Vaughan to do it, but for a normal cricket journalist, to provide an angle requires them to do the legwork both before and after.
We know what Root (poor lad, still using him as the example) did in raw figures and anyone can write that, it’s just that barely anyone will read it because it’s dull. How does a journalist provide context and colour? It’s by getting to know them, talking to them, allowing a sufficient degree of trust that they will speak to them in the first place. So both because of my rationale about hosting events, and because of the peculiarities of sports journalism, events such as a golf day are critical. What else would people desire of their correspondents? Glorious isolation? It simply is not going to happen, and the journalists aren’t doing their jobs if it does happen.
The unguarded comment from someone suckered in by a journalist they trust is in itself part of the job, but they can’t do that unless they know them in the first place. It’s just not a fair argument to attack people for doing what is in reality their job.
On here we have offered up plenty of criticism for journalists not holding the ECB or ICC to account, and those criticisms stand absolutely. The frustration about that can’t mean though that everything they do is therefore criticised, we have to be fair about this. When we get a fascinating interview with Nick Compton, it’s because that journalist spent time getting to know him well enough for him to talk, and created sufficient trust for him to open up. It doesn’t help anyone to pretend the means by which that happened shouldn’t.
Criticism for not doing their jobs properly is legitimate and necessary. But not for when they are. And heaven only knows there are enough things to complain about there, for there really is much too cosy a relationship between some journalists and the ECB, while the fact that the senior cricket correspondent of one of the broadsheets can’t even be bothered to watch Death of a Gentleman remains as pathetic a dereliction of duty as there is. But seeing reds under every bed weakens the argument, it doesn’t strengthen it. Sometimes they’ve simply done nothing wrong.
I completely agree with you (and Booth). Thanks for posting this. The endless shitfights between a couple of minor sports correspondents and a few blogs has long passed into irrelevance and I fear that is caused a lack of perspective on both sides of the issue.
It’s very reassuring to see you take this line. It’s reasonable, it acknowledges how sports journalism has to work, and it’s written deliberately to avoid the spite and bile that has been aimed at this place by a tiny minority of people.
Booth is a classy operator, too, and he confirmed it with his response on the other site.
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Talking of class…
This one is the tin hat. You, you out there. You the punter. You know sod all. SOD ALL.
Yeah. Yeah baby.
I didn’t think this bloke could get worse. Why do we know nothing, Mike? Some of us smelt out Paul Downton in five seconds while you were telling us how great he was! We’ll always have that. Some of us thought Moores would be an absolute disaster…. while you were bigging him up. We know nothing?
Draughty glass house.
As if by magic, Justice Cantley-Caulfield himself, as I live and breathe.
No agenda? Don’t “parrot bollocks”.
From the last paragraph in my comment below, I think we all know which category Selvey falls into.
And referring to my third paragraph, the Downton press conference is a perfect example of using “oh he’s such a lovely fellow” as so-called content instead of offering proper analysis and critique. Like probably everyone here, after watching the interview I was left with more questions than answers.
Selvey’s comments fall into the “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” category.
“But then they know nothing about cricket or cricketers so its what you might expect.
— mike selvey (@selvecricket) October 31, 2015”
Australians gets alot of criticism from the English for being dumb, and some of that is well deserved. But when I see such comments from the senior cricketing correspondent of a major English newspaper, it brings into relief the hypocracy.
Selvey is an attack dog, He follows an agenda. He’s not to be trusted. He jumps into the debate as a participant. He doesn’t stand aside as an observer.
It’s no secret he’s won our poll as the worst journalist of the year. #thatswhyheisnumber1
I have the dubious task of writing it up. Today gave me the push. Don’t you dare tell loyal fans of the game they know nothing about it. It’s a giant FU to his readers. Most of them are too comatose to realise it. He meant you……
“Wood’s indisposition has thwarted any idea (a perfectly sound one some in the England camp concede) of PICKING PLUNKETT INSTEAD OF RASHID WHO BOWLS 5MPH TOO SLOWLY WHY WON’T YOU ACCEPT THE TRUTH YOU KNOW-NOTHINGS.”
Just for completeness….
It is bordering on the obsessed, but what would I know?
There’s a poster on that article who actually describes him as “clearly a very nice guy.”
Admire his career or writing if you like, but that? Nope, sorry.
cricket fans come in all sizes and shapes. No one has the right to take high ground.
I can’t stand that westcork guy, but only because he feels he has the right to judge other people’s right to have an opinion. There are probably people who don’t like my participation at the Guardian, or perhaps even here, but if they engage me on my comments, that fine, rather than some vague definition of my credibility. I will live or die by my words, not by my identity.
This is why Selvey is annoying me more than a journalist normally would. I don’t care what his opinion is, he gets paid to have one, after all. But I do care about him, from a privileged position, telling other people they are stupid. He’s not using his track record and his current position to grow the cricket experience for everyone, he’s using it to boost his own ego. He’s not a servant of the game.
i’ve played lots of cricket. I’ve faced fast bowlers who were way too fast for me, I’ve hit fours, I’ve taken catches, I’ve sweated it out, I’ve swatted spin bowlers who subsequently bowled me. I was a keeper. I’ve played cricket.
I’ve played it, I’ve watched it, and I’ve followed it all my life. It’s part of me, and it will be until the day I die.
Selvey can go screw himself if he wants to make himself some sort or arbiteur on who can and cannot have an acceptable opinion.
There’s not a lot I can disagree with there. It’s the brimming arrogance that gets me. Although I have firm views, I know mine aren’t the only ones, and I’m not even sure I’m right. Even if I despise what you say about me or my motives (they are good at that without having a clue), I recognise you are a fan of the game and have every right and opportunity to have your say on it. I’ll disagree and all that. Selvey won’t engage debate. Its his way or the highway on the basis of wandering around watching cricket for a good few years, playing county cricket, and a test match or three when I was in primary school.
If that were the basis, Ian Botham would be a media colossus, instead of colossal bore. Thems the breaks.
Further down, the same poster asserts that MS is a “nakedly nice guy”.
Steady now, ladies.
“Selvey won’t engage debate.”
Maybe he doesn’t want to. Maybe it’s not his job.
He just winds people up, mission accomplished.
I actually agree with you.
My problem has always been with the stuff that reads like Peter Cook’s satire on Mr Justice Cantley in the Jeremy Thorpe trial. Or, at the other end if the spectrum, the most famous actual comments made by Mr Justice Caulfield at Jeffrey Archer’s libel trial. This peaked in 2014, but there has been way too much of it to stomach for three years or more now. And, I hope he doesn’t mind me saying so, but without this being observed by a number of intelligent, engaged and decent people, Dmitri’s previous blog would not have snowballed the way it did.
I think we all know who is fragrant and who plays the pink oboe by now. It really is beyond belief that, in a country with a satirical tradition, those responsible cannot see how absurd they appear.
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I’m a bit puzzled by this debate which makes me think I am missing the point. I don’t consider Selvey, Pringle and the rest of them journalists. They are sports writers and as such I expect them to produce well written, instantly forgettable puff pieces with a seal of approval from the ECB. I have no interest in reading such shit but many people clearly do so good luck to them. I’d have been amazed if sports writers didn’t play golf / go to dinner / go drinking with the players. Surely not even Fox Mulder could see a conspiracy there.
Selvey is just trolling (and he’s damn good at it) so just ignore him.
The funny part about the Selfey shite is that those who will be laughing at it in his fan club won’t actually have the gumption to realise that he’s slagging them off as well! That to be ITK, to know something above “nothing” you need to be him, or in his gang.
My lord, we are wrong on stuff. We know that when we take this sort of enterprise up and comment on cricket. I think we are read because we try our best and won’t settle for platitudes etc. But know nothing?
Your puzzlement over the debate is shared here, dlp.
I too felt a bit uneasy reading the TFT article, it did seem like an over-reaction over a simple game of golf, though I can also understand that events of the past few years have given rise to his scepticism, because many share it.
To use an awful cliché, the proof is in the pudding. Booth mentions using closer contacts to get new and intimate angles, that’s great and is absolutely what journalists should be doing. Otherwise they are doing little more than what bloggers do.
Occasionally though, that supposedly “intimate” angle is nothing more than saying “so and so is a lovely fellow” – he may well be, but it adds diddly squat to the narrative, and worse is sometimes used at the expense of proper analysis or fair critique. But it’s worth stressing that this is in a minority of cases, though it gets the most attention from BOC and TFT (not that I think anyone here/there is in denial about it being a minority occurrence).
It has been frustrating to see the cricketing press often too agreeable with the ECB line, and various things have been accepted rather than questioned, though that’s been covered to death here and elsewhere (though I appreciate that the press have often been stonewalled when trying to get answers).
In mitigation though – you only have to hear reports about how Jared Kimber’s press pass mysteriously vanished due to his involvement with DOAG, so journalists do have to keep things amicable with those in high places, even if they personally can’t stand those people. Maxie compared with the political press, but were a political journalist to lose basic access rights based on something they wrote, I suspect they are a lot more protected by law/regulation.
Lastly, I think everyone is in agreement that there are plenty of good cricket journalists out there. It’s somewhat unfair to tar them all with the same brush simply because a small number of their colleagues who (contrary to their own high opinions of themselves!) aren’t at their level. But I also hope these blogs continue to call out the poor journalism when it doesn’t happen, and I’m sure they will continue to!
Sorry leg glance but I don’t agree with you. And Selveys arrogant, moronic response proves my point. Selvey is bankrupt as a cricket journalist. He has been wrong about just about everything. His relationship with the former England bowling coach showed in great clarity that he wasn’t doing his job. He had access, and then spent all his time eulogising the England coach. His claim that somehow he knows more than us has been shown to be false time and time again. If access is so important why has he made little or no effort to get access at the ICC? He seems to turn access into a giant love bomb.
There is a large section of the cricket ‘yellow’ media that has been nothing but stooges for the ECB, the ECB agenda, and the captain. (Always remember that Selvey, who claims to know more than us had as his cricket highlight of last year as Strauss calling KP a C***.) CLASSY!!!!
Their articles could almost be written by the same ECB press officer because they sound exactly the same, and push the same talking points. A 9 year old could be employed to turn out such biased propaganda.
I don’t blame the ECB for trying to butter up these clowns to get a bit of good press. But they really don’t need to bother. The English yellow cricket media have shown themselves to be perfectly prepared to prostrate themselves in front of ECB power. They don’t need a chummy golf day to lick Cooks boots. They would do it for free. They enjoy it. The relish it. For many of them it is the number one duty of the job.
Their angry reaction only makes me think that Maxie has scored a direct hit. Bullseye!! The truth hurts, and the media have been exposed as the liars and bankrupts that they are. I don’t care if their jobs are difficult. I don’t care if they have idiot sports editors giving them grief. If they don’t like it go and work at something else. Truth is they have a cushy life doing what they like best. Which is watching cricket or football for free , and travelling around the world FOR FREE! (I include the free bit because it seems to irritate them even more.)
Hardly any of them would be missed if they were replaced by robots. Same is true of most of their newspapers. The closure of The News of the World was a damp squid. Life went on. Nobody cared. Nobody lost any sleep. If they want more respect then try doing your jobs which is titled journalist and not propagandist.
I know not everyone on here will agree with me, and I know Dmitri has tried to be fair to them. But many of them have done nothing but kick us in balls time and again. So f*** um, and f*** the lousy publications they rode in on.
Bloody boring if all people did was agree Mark!
That is very good point………….I don’t mind some of them fawning all over Ccok. Or some of them hating KP. Or some agreeing with the ECB. But all of them? Come on? It stinks.
Most of them could be interchanged with their football work mates. Etheridge could be exchanged with Custis or his idiot brother. (The one who’s every piece should come with a govt health warning. There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of Man U.) Newman could be exchanged with any of the Mails footballs stable. Would anyone notice the difference?
Selvey could write puff pieces in the business section. He would be good at that. And think of all the corporate freebies on offer there? Golf days at the finest golf clubs? What’s not to like?
The Selfey exchange with Sean B, with one person bringing Agnew into it as well prompting this…
is a classic case in point. I will admit up front that I weighed in with the ECB stooge stuff early on, but Agnew made moves towards me (and others) and I have a fair bit of respect for him for doing that. That we’ve not had Twitter contact for a while doesn’t matter. I think we can speak frankly to each other. But I’d be the first to say to him, I was disappointed with that tweet. Not that it matters. I hope this is a one off borne out of frustration. We are all fans.
You will note I’ve toned down a lot of the journo stuff recently. Not that it matters, it seems. Selvey’s stuff today was bad.
A reminder. When Selfey says that we “know nothing about cricket and cricketers” he means EVERYONE not on the inside. No exclusions. How can he know who or what I am? Or what Maxie was? Or TLG? How can he? No. We are not him. Therefore, we know nothing. No exceptions.
Carry on worshiping him if you want. He views you with contempt.
So Agnew thinks he is not biased? Here is a quote from Agnew on an interview currently up on Cricinfo…….
“If anyone ever accuses me of bias – on Twitter, say – they’re blocked straight away. It simply isn’t true.”
Hmm ….You may think your not biased Mr Agnew but that is not for you to say. In my opinion you were very biased about the whole KP affair. Would you like to now name your source for the leaked information that came out of the KP / Strauss meeting that you were Breathlessly reporting on 5 live minutes after the meeting ended?
Here is another quote from the same interview…
“I’ve known Stuart Broad since he was a child, living up the road from me. I walked my dogs with Stuart. But at Trent Bridge in 2013 I did what I considered to be my job and said standing was unacceptable. Life was very unpleasant for some time. I’d still rather say that, though, than be biased. That’s where your credibility is as a commentator.
Again Hmm. So you used to walk your dogs with Mr Broad? Is it also not the case Mr Agnew that you also know the person or the persons father who ran the KP genius Twitter account? I believe he also lives up the road form where you live?
How much did you know about who had access to that account? Why did you get so angry when it was alleged that that account was being operated from within the dressing room? How did you know that was not the case? KPs wife revealed there was a password , which you seemed to dismiss. We now know that England players had access to that account. Did you know that? Were you in on the joke? Because it was a joke wasn’t it Mr Agnew! Until KP turned it into an issue, and pointed out the double standards of England management. It was all perfectly acceptable to the chocolate cake munchers and the posh tea brigade wasn’t it Mr Agnew? But when it became a issue of how KP was being leaked against by the same players who had a hissy fit over the text messages to the South Africans. One rule for the in crowd Mr Agnew and another for KP?
You think you are not biased, and the cake munchers and your grovelling fans will no doubt agree with you. But that is because they too are very biased. So they are hardly impartial. They like it when you give your view, because it is their view too. It’s a giant circle jerk. And anyone who points this out you block. How magnanimous of you!
I will say this about Agnew.
His questions on Death of a Gentleman were certainly less pro-ICC than Ed Smith.
His interview with Downton was, in hindsight, a bloody good piece of work.
He helped me out last year. He didn’t have to.
He worked with KP during the World Cup. I’m not sure that’s fully appreciated.
I’m not putting the case for his defence, because he can do that. But I’m not piling in. This blog allows others to make their views.
I was disappointed with that tweet. That’s the main point. Also, given I got two hits from Argentina this afternoon, I think he’s seen this blog today!
Dmitri, he is not the worst offender by any stretch. Unfortunately that only shows how crap may of the others are. And he did take some heat for sharing a box with KP. I belive from our ludicrous captain?
But there is a theme they seem to have which is they know stuff, and we don’t. He played one test match for England. Selvey 3. By his own admission CMJ played no cricket for England but was a fine cricket broadcaster.
Agnew does not need to write a blog on electric house wiring. He just need to stop thinking he knows best, and that if you haven’t played the game your view is worthless. Pam n Ashes has not played for England either, but he seems to like her views. Perhaps because she parrots the same opinions?
So Agnew thinks he is not biased?
Who does “when it suits him” Agnew work for??
You’re referring to Waitrose, Escort? Ah yes.
Nothing much to add from me on the subject of the cricket press – others have either said it better or I’ve nothing new to add to what I’ve posted about this previously.
A couple of England points reported by Ali Martin (a model of how to combine access with respect for his readers) recently:
1) Cook on Bayliss:
“He’s a really relaxed guy, he lets the captain run the side and that is one of the big differences from the other guys. It has forced me to take more responsibility for the leadership than in previous coaches”.
Doesn’t that tell us a bit more about Flower and Moores than Cook possibly intended?
2) Mark Wood has had a second cortisone injection in six months. Isn’t three the recognised maximum? And I’m all for taking ODIs seriously but what is he doing in the ODI squad?
Point 1 is something so many of the nasty Cook haters were crying out for him to do – and to live and die by the results as any captain must. I didn’t care how he captained the side as such, I just wanted him to bloody do it and not be a cipher for the coach. That he’s doing it is good news full stop – but as you say, he’s unquestionably said a lot about the previous regimes that the know nothings outside cricket may have pointed out on a few occasions.
And unsurprisingly the Selveys of this world have not followed up on that revelation from Cook. And yes it speaks volumes about the previous management.
Selvey played 3 test matches for England. Hardly makes him a so called expert. He has just 15 more test days of experience than non test players. Hardly makes him a cricket Einstein. His problem is that he thinks he knows more than he does. And he has become very pompus and entitled as the years have gone by.
Just saying……” I know what I am talking about, and you don’t” is not an argument. You can repeat it over and and over again. It doesn’t make it true. Time for the Guardian to put him out to grass down in Cooks sheep fields.
My understanding is that there isn’t a ‘limit’ on what you can have, but that it depends on what is being treated.
I don’t know what Woods issue is, but if the cortisone is being used to reduce inflamation/mask pain then there is surely an underlying issue that needs addressing.
If you had coritsone injections for a arthritic knee (for example), then I think you can have that ongoing, but if it is because of something else wrong (tendons, or ligaments?) then by masking the pain, you risk further / other injury.
The fact they (supposedly) planned ahead of the series that he would be rested for the third test screams to me that maybe, just maybe they are going to break him, but over a slightly longer time scale.
I think Wood is a great player who has potential and would love to see him make it big – but sometimes, injuries get in the way.
Some injurys can be managed, others you are just masking until it goes pop.
Does anyone know what is actually wrong with his ankle?
Andy, the most I’ve heard (Ali Martin says it today and they’ve said it before) is that it’s an impact injury on the ankle joint. That still leaves some unanswered questions – whether they’re not saying or don’t know, who knows?
What it doesn’t seem to be is the most common ankle problem for fast bowlers, the growth of a bone spur that then rubs on the ligaments. Glenn McGrath, for one, had trouble with this. This injury occurs later in bowlers’ careers and Wood can’t have played enough to have developed this.
I’ve not read TFT’s article yet, but wanted to throw my 2p in based on the comments and what not here.
I think most people who have found this and other blogs, did so out of not recognising the voice or the narrative being pushed by the papers.
We felt disconnected and that there must be more to ‘issues’. It has taken people like Dmitri, LG, Maxie & James, etc to put into words what I felt and didn’t even realise. For me it was a subconscious feeling rather than knowing what was wrong with the press.
The fact the a ‘journalist’ can happily come out with comments like those above just furthers that disconnect.
The only stuff I have read recenlty from the ‘insiders’ was stuff by Athers in The Times (and that was just cause the sandwich shop I go to gets the times and has it on the side to read!!).
I haven’t sought out anything except the odd ESPN article, or one linked to from here.
I get more insight and less arse licking here than I do from ‘The Papers’. I don’t mind if they want to do puff pieces, and I’m sure they don’t mind that I don’t want to read them. They must get enough people who do like reading that to pay their wages. (here is where I will really guess what Maxie was saying) – I am more than happy for Journalists to play golf, or schmooze with players/staff etc – but they should use that inside track to actually do investigation – not puffy bullshit. I fully accept that journalists cannot ‘burn bridges’ by doing hatchet jobs, but there are ways and means (look at DOAG). The fact Selfy proudly (FFS) stated he doesn’t know how the ICC works – doesnt that make him outside…. doesn’t that make him a hypocrite in his last tweet above….
I’ll admit I prefer Dmitri and LG to TFT – I don’t really know why beyond feeling comfortable with the content and that I actually want to interact (Didn’t selfy say awhile ago that his articles and twitterings were not an invitation to speak to him….) But I still read TFT as well as I respect their opinions and their insight.
The fact I read nothing of the mainstream suggests I don’t respect what they do….hhmmm
I accept many of your well-put points, TGL.
I don’t think I argued the piece as well as I could, but what I was getting at wasn’t really the golf round itself, and in fact I only referred to that very briefly. I fully appreciate that journalists have to develop contacts.
My real point was about perception: to be taken seriously as appliers of scrutiny to their subjects, journalists have to maintain a distance from them, and more importantly, be seen to be. Very few cricket hacks give a stuff about this (I don’t think it even occurs to them) and are openly, unashamedly, matey with the very people they’re supposed to be writing about.
John Etheridge may have knocked back my politician’ example, but I stand by it. If a political correspondent had lunch with an MP, would they Tweet in this kind of tone?
On the other Selvey/Agnew exchange, the lesson is clear. You are only allowed to comment on cricket if you bowled averagely in three tests, several decades ago.