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November 30, 2011 / benwolfson08

Reflection blog: Public Opinion

In no other place is it better to talk about public opinion and how that shapes perceptions than in the world of football/soccer.

The reason I fell in love with England this summer and football was living in London the press is extremely powerful. There are anywhere between 11-13 daily newspapers (depending on who you ask) and each one is very different. Someone who reads The Sun for instance (the cheapest daily, costing only 25 pence) one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers is more than likely to be lower educated and enjoy short, somewhat factual articles in a tabloid fashion.

Reading The Sun the reader also gets the benefit of the daily topless model featured on page three. This was a shock to me the first time I saw this, considering this concept doesn’t happen in the United States. Murdoch’s paper though is the highest selling daily and distributes around 3 million copies per day, which increased after the topless model was introduced.

Touring the AP this summer I was fortunate enough to speak with someone in the sports department. He told us his son followed in his footsteps as a sports journalist, but then added that he works for the rag known as The Sun and just makes up stores.

All papers are filled with football news and I would often purchase several dailies to gauge what was happening in the world.

The Daily Mirror, covering England's struggle in the 2010 World Cup

Perception of how a team or player is performing is formed essentially by mass public opinion and the media controls that in London. Arsenal were trashed at every chance the media got last summer when boss Arsene Wenger was forced to sell Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

In fact, much of the perception that Cesc wanted to leave was by stories that were in the papers everyday of how he was hanging out with players from Barcelona.(considering most of Barca’s players are fixtures on the Spanish international team along with Cesc, this doesn’t seem that big of a deal).

When Cesc finally left the transfer saga ended even though much of the drama was built up by the media.

Did Cesc want to go to Barcelona, his home club and win trophies with his best friends? Sure he did.

But did he hate Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger the man who made him into one of the best players in the world? No, but from reading papers that’s what one would think.

Public opinion changes daily in the footballing world especially with the availability of media. At the beginning of the season when Arsenal lost 8-2 to Manchester United despite multiple injuries, many called for Wenger to be fired.

Did that happen? No. But it was such a popular perception of many this was the public opinion. One thing is certain, people will always be influenced by the media and their perception of how a situation with a club or player is is directly tied to which paper/coverage they are following.


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