THURS, 1PM ET
LIL0
EVE0
THURS, 1PM ET
LIE0
SEV0
THURS, 3PM ET
TOT5
TRI1
THURS, 3PM ET
INT0
ETI0
THURS, 3PM ET
VIL4
ZUR1
THURS, 3PM ET
MON5
APO0

Berbatov To Man United: British Newspapers Follow The Sun's Lead

the sun newspaper Berbatov To Man United: British Newspapers Follow The Sun's LeadThe biggest news of the past 24 hours is that Manchester United has reportedly tabled an official £20 million bid for Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov. Problem is there’s no evidence of an actual bid being made and all we have to go on is a quote from his agent in The Sun newspaper. What is the “money quote” from the agent that “confirms” that the “bid” has happened?

“I cannot make any comment until there is official confirmation from Tottenham or United.”

While the story may be true, it could also be the agent trying to start a price war to raise Berbatov’s price.

What makes the whole affair ludicrous is now the other British tabloids are picking up on the story and regurgitating the news, and all they have to go on is an article from The Sun. Meanwhile, The Daily Mail even had the cheek to call the story an exclusive.

Here’s a breakdown of how the story broke and how the other news organizations rewrote The Sun‘s material without one of them crediting The Sun:

Headline: United’s £20m Berbatov Bid
Newspaper: The Sun
Day/time article appeared in RSS feed: Friday, 8:53pm ET
Number of attributed sources:
One
Source: Emil Dantchev, Berbatov’s agent
Number of direct quotes: One (from agent)
Quote from agent: “I cannot make any comment until there is official confirmation from Tottenham or United.”
Article length: 266 words

Headline: Ferguson Turns His Attention To Berbatov
Newspaper: The Independent
Day/time article appeared in RSS feed: Friday, 9:03pm ET
Source: “There are reports” (i.e. The Sun)
Number of direct quotes: Zero
Article length: 965 words (although only 121 words are about the Berba “bid”)

Headline: United Bid For Berbatov
Newspaper: The Guardian
Day/time article appeared in RSS feed: Friday, 10pm ET
Source: “According to reports” (i.e. The Sun)
Number of direct quotes: Zero
Article length: 135 words

Headline: Exclusive: Get Berbatov: Fergie Puts 20m On Table For Spurs Ace
Newspaper: The Daily Mail
Day/time article appeared in RSS feed: Friday, 11:17pm ET
Source: None mentioned in reference to “bid”
Number of direct quotes: Zero
Article length: 628 words (with only 454 about the Berba “bid”)

At 2:48am ET on Saturday, BBC Sport mentioned 20 words about the story and appropriately placed it in their Saturday Gossip Column

Headline: Spurs Striker Dimitar Berbatov Subject Of Bid From Manchester United
Newspaper: The Daily Telegraph
Day/time article appeared in RSS feed: Saturday, 4:06am ET
Source:
“According to reports” (i.e. The Sun)
Number of direct quotes: One (the same quote from The Sun)
Article length: 317 words

To me, this is all about selling newspapers. All of these tabloid and broadsheet newspapers want the eyeballs on their website so they can sell more advertising space. And those print newspapers who were able to squeeze the news into their fish wrappers last night will sell more copies today with the headline about Berbatov. As of press time, the only respectable English newspaper that hasn’t written about the story is The Times. That either may be by choice, if they determine the story is to be utter tosh, or they may be trying to write their own version of the story with new facts and quotes. Then again, they may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

And all of this comes from one news story in The Sun which features plenty of hearsay and one innocuous quote.

The British press are quick to criticize football clubs and stars, but isn’t it time that they raise their journalistic standards and refrain from lazy journalism?

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

2 Responses to Berbatov To Man United: British Newspapers Follow The Sun's Lead

  1. jm says:

    This reminds me of last summer’s embarrassment regarding a fake story. I believe the link was Palacio to Arsenal, and a blog wrote that the deal was as good as done. One paper picked it up, without attributing any source (nor interviewing the blogger), and soon it was all over a host of papers which referred back to the original paper!

  2. Todd says:

    excellent article gaffer, this is something im constantly trying to explain to people and you do it very clearly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>