I love reading Mediawatch on Football 365.

Each day they take apart the bullshit of football reporting: the inconsistencies; the hypocrisies; the unfounded hype; and the just plain wrong.

My favourite examples go something like this:

Rage, Attack, Slam And Blame
Headline on the back page of The Sun: ‘AVB LUKAKU RAGE.’
Headline on the back page of the Daily Mirror: ‘AVB SLAMS LUK OVER LLORIS KO.’
Headline on the back page of the Daily Express: ‘AVB attack on Lukaku.’
Headline on the back page of the Daily Star: ‘I BLAME LU.’

Actual quotes from AVB: “He’s a young player and wonderfully gifted – but I think he could have jumped over perfectly. I want to believe that Lukaku’s leg was not left late to clash into Hugo’s head. And I am disappointed Lukaku has not got into contact with Hugo.”

Give the man space…he’s going to explode.

The use of hyperbolic language in British football reporting is something I fnd fascinating. I understand that the back pages feel the need to whip even the tiniest disagreement into a frenzy of opprobrium, but it’s just so fucking silly. As the above example shows, a minor conflict of opinions is often conveyed to be more like AK-47s at dawn, but how did we get to the stage where we have to do over the truth in such an obvious manner?

To me it’s a close cousin of coming back from fishing with a story of the one that got away. The kind word for this stuff is ‘exaggeration’; the real word is ‘bullshit’, and the even more real word is ‘lying’.

And yet no one seems to mind. And no one seems to mind when it happens in advertising either. The simple instruction of creating a good ad is ‘find a difference and exaggerate it’. Here are some examples…

Some of the most awarded of all time, and all complete and utter bullshit. Is the Sony TV’s colour display anything like as amazing as hundreds of thousands of balls bouncing down a hill? Is Stella so prized that people would insist someone else risked their life for a bottle? Is ComCast’s internet really as fast as those examples? (Actually, it probably is, but in relative terms it’s a massive exaggeration.)

And that’s all OK for some reason.

It’s because we are all used to this construction. There have been so many ads that use this technique to sell us stuff that we don’t even notice when it happens. Every happiness provided by Hamlet or part refreshed by Heineken has made this way of advertising acceptable.

And that’s fine.

But in my opinion it’s not as good as ads that use truth (or something like it):


I mean, why lie when you can be straight? I accept that many products have nothing different to say, leaving them in exaggeration land, but wouldn’t it be better if they improved their products, found a difference and told us about it?

It might be less entertaining, but as the above examples show, it might not.