Friday, 23 November 2018

Perception v Reality (2018)

Just this month, two guys on Twitter created Footy Smiles, a social media account on Twitter and Facebook that is aimed at telling the good stories that happen in Rugby League. In that short period of time, they’ve already attained over 300 followers on Facebook and almost 1250 on Twitter (Please click on the links to give them a follow).

The reality is, people want these good news stories.

Sadly, the perception coming from the mainstream media outlet The Daily Telegraph is starkly different.

This week, Footy Smiles has revealed the South Sydney players uniting for a walk to support White Ribbon Day, Sia Soliola losing his plentiful locks to raise almost $45,000 charity Kulture Break, Jesse Ramien taking on a challenge to raise awareness about an aggressive brain tumor, The Dragons team spending 2 days to help Year 11 students plan for life after school, a number of Parramatta Eels players who attended a fans 18th birthday….the list goes on….and these were in a 24 hour period.

Yet over at the Daily Telegraph, their Rugby League news section contains several articles on two stories: Jarryd Hayne’s alleged sexual misconduct and Valentine Holmes’ decision to pursue success in another code of football. There is also an article about ARLC Chairman Peter Beattie and his salary (what is it with the Tele wanting to know how much everyone is paid?) and Wayne Bennett hiding from the media. Not one mention of any of the great things highlighted by Footy Smiles.

Earlier this year, the Tele responded to fans who were sick of all their negative stories. The Tele ran a series of attempted positive stories one day, but the aggressively petulant Paul Crawley still couldn’t resist the urge to whine about fans to open/ruin his feature piece.

The problem here is that the mainstream media is conditioned to reporting the few miserable stories, analysing and over-analysing each transgression in lurid detail. This in turn has conditioned fans to want them. Then the journo's pumping out those stories justify them by saying "it's what people want to read."

It's a miserable cycle.

Fear and misery is a concept that is hard to keep thriving, because once people get conditioned to it, you need to up the ante.

And as player behaviour continues to improve, the number of bad stories rapidly reduces, forcing these parasites to hungrily fawn over any slightly negative incident.

As we saw in 2018, if there isn’t anything negative, they’ll create it. We all remember the tirade of abuse and attacks hurled at the NRL and match officials over penalty crack downs by the likes of Phil Rothfield, Phil Gould and Paul Crawley, as well as on air commentators like Corey Parker and Braith Anasta.

People need to demand more from these well paid journalists. Their stories are often agenda driven campaigns which dictate public opinion and subsequently force the NRL into action.

But thanks to the long overdue Footy Smiles, we now get to see that the game isn’t a cesspit of misery. It’s a game filled with players, clubs and officials doing great things in the community.

Every single day.

That is the reality.

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