For someone in the media, Chris Sutton is extraordinarily green, and I don’t mean in a good way.
He has to be to have done what he did yesterday, when he gave a handful of the hacks a chance to drag our club into the sectarianism debate.
When he said that he was “told” to send his kids to a Catholic school when he arrived in Scotland I cannot believe he failed to realise how it would be spun.
The word “told” was always going to be used like this. Someone more experienced might have said that it was “suggested” but even that would have given them an angle. I know he was trying to do the right thing and make a point, but man oh man …
If he didn’t know that his words would be twisted like this and used against us, then he hasn’t spent as long in the newsrooms as his output might suggest.
Of course, most of those who heard Sutton talk yesterday knew exactly what he meant and framed in the context in which he meant it, but not The Daily Record.
They decided to go with a headline screaming this story in a way that suggested it was some kind of prerequisite for getting a deal, a preposterous and untrue suggestion that Celtic “told” Chris Sutton to send his kid to a Catholic school, as if we made it conditional on his signing.
You have to read the actual article to find the truth, that someone – and it’s not even clear if that someone worked at Celtic Park – suggested it as a way to spare his kids any trouble. Sutton himself has a piece in the same newspaper and he actually spells out very clearly what happened;
That is a sad indictment of Scottish society, and whilst Sutton was definitely given good advice the way he put it across, and the way the hacks interpreted it, allowed those with axes to grind the opportunity to do just that. The Daily Record headline screams it like an accusation;
There are people who won’t even read past the headline, and the online staff at The Record should know that full well.
That headline will reinforce prejudice, that against my club and that, I am quite certain, was foreseen because as per usual when its something like this they’ve stuck The Daily Record Online by-line on the piece because no-one wants their name attached to that shrieking mendacity at the top of it.
The connotation of it barely needs to be pointed out, and anyone could have seen that’s exactly how somebody would choose to spin it.
Honest to God, the rawest first year student of politics would have known not to give certain people in the media an opening like that … any journalism trainee would have been able to tell Sutton in advance that this would happen.
Certainly, any Celtic fan would have cautioned him against it.
I don’t want to give Big Chris a hard time here; he’s done nothing wrong in this case except completely misjudge some of the people he works with. He does stuff for several outlets, including The Record, but he remains extraordinarily naïve about how they operate, which is a consequence of his having had no formal journalism training, and no experience at the dirty end of the field where innocuous comments are often taken out of context in order to create lurid headlines.
Does he never ask himself, when cashing The Record’s cheque, why so many of our fans despise that newspaper?
Why none but a handful trust a single word it says?
Does none of this compute with him? Maybe now it will, just a little.
Lesson learned, Chris? I hope so.
Above and beyond this, there’s little doubt that the sectarianism debate is the biggest issue in the game this weekend.
It is an incredibly important one, and one, as I said yesterday, that I am very proud this website has fought on the right side of.
Let that headline be a measure of how some in the media intend to respond to it; with sensationalism and a complete lack of respect for those who are the victims. This problem has only lasted as long as it has because the media has refused to take it seriously.
Based on this, they still are.
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