Sometimes I wonder what the role of fan media is. Is it to regurgitate the stuff that the mainstream media puts out? For a lot of sites, across the broad spectrum of all the clubs, that’s pretty much what it does. I don’t understand what the value in that is, but a lot of people must read that kind of thing and that’s why so many sites which do that exist.
Speaking for myself, I think it’s to offer a fan’s perspective and not only on your own club but towards the game as a whole. This site is called The CelticBlog, but it’s never been a Celtic only site. It is written by Celtic fans, and it looks at football and the issues in football through that lens. Most of the output is focussed on our own club … much of it is focussed on punching back against the distortions, lies and general ineptitude of the sports media here.
There was a time when only a handful of sites took that part of the job seriously. Now almost all of them do, and that’s good. It means the hacks get away with less than they ever have. If one of us misses something someone else picks up on it.
But I’ve long wondered – I have struggled with the idea – that perhaps what we’re actually doing in some cases is helping to promote some of our enemies instead.
Now, let’s be clear here. I am not talking about the mainstream press as a whole. I am talking here only about the controversialists. The so-called “shock-jocks”. Those who aren’t interested in rational analysis or objective discussions but only about furthering their own legends. You know the sort of people I mean. The ones who stir the soup just to do it.
Those people want to be talked about. They want to be highlighted. And sometimes I think we do that a little too much.
One particular Scottish “journalist” – the term flatters him – features heavily on this site and others although not one word of objective, sensible analysis has passed his lips in decades. I don’t think we’re “promoting” him because really, what is there to promote except how colossally uninformed and stupid he is? That said, I think he gets a little too much ink on this site at times.
Likewise, with the Village Idiot on Sky; if we were to write about every idiotic remark that comes out of his mouth then we’d do nothing all else all day, every day. But there are times when he needs to be called out and when they need to be shamed for employing him.
There is a time for offering a critique of what these people do. When they attack our club unjustly they are mostly fair game. When they get their facts wrong they should be leaped on. But more and more, I’ve come to think that there are times when they are better off just being ignored.
The main culprits aren’t even getting mentioned in this piece. We all know who these people are and what they are about.
We know the difference between some clown giving an opinion based on their own bias or lack of basic knowledge and someone who is simply rattling on the bars to get attention, and we should stop giving those people the oxygen of publicity.
They and their audience inhabit a toxic little bubble of ignorance and bile. There is no merit in what they do except as a perverse form of entertainment. It’s not informative. Half of the time I am not even convinced that they mean half what they say; they say it because they know it will get a reaction and too often, on too many of our sites, it does.
What we do is important, I think. It’s too important to waste time and effort on people who really aren’t relevant to the debates we’re having around Celtic. They lower the tone. They pander to the lowest common denominator, and that’s their audience not ours. Celtic fans are too smart for this stuff, too sophisticated now, too far in front of this game they play.
We don’t have to swing at every target. Our audience is clued up enough to recognise those people for what they are, and in the eyes of our people they’re already irrelevant. We can drive that final nail into their collective coffin.