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Programming Note

npr national public radio Programming Note

Just a quick note to let you know that National Public Radio (NPR) will be airing a segment regarding the Hillsborough Disaster and the misinformation that Steven Cohen has been presenting on its afternoon show, All Things Considered, which will be aired nationwide today (Friday) between 4-6pm ET.

NPR will undoubtedly try to share both sides of the story and will examine how a topic like this can ignite so much passion and controversy.

I was interviewed for 40 minutes on the topic, and shared my feelings regarding why I was compelled to write the two articles (here and here) about what Cohen said, my reaction to the grass-roots movement it created, why the story of the Hillsborough Disaster is so sensitive even 20 years after the tragic day, and more.

Doing interviews like these are difficult because when they’re done, you’re then at the mercy of the radio broadcaster as he and his team edit the piece together to make it a compelling story. That’s one reason why I enjoy the EPL Talk Podcast format where we tape 30-40 minute interviews and publish them un-cut so you get to hear the whole story and not just the soundbytes.

If you’re not near a radio this afternoon, you can listen to All Things Considered on the NPR website or you can download the clip now.

Thanks for your support.

UPDATE: The comments regarding the Steven Cohen controversy have been closed. It’s time to return the discussion to football.

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 →
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26 Responses to Programming Note

  1. jd says:

    As a LFC supporter all I can say is…thanks.

  2. tank99 says:

    the gaffer,
    you could of appeared on wsd to voice your opinion ages ago,and also admit your a closet liverpool fan we all now it and appeared uncut, and to jd what are you thanking the gaffer for,

  3. Ryan says:

    I guess, it’s a lot easier to do a blog/website, as opposed to actually having to “face the music” in a live environment…it’s a shame, I think it would of been a lively debate.

  4. JimP says:

    Thanks again Gaffer – I just hope the interview excerpts used on NPR reflect your position. I’m looking forward to hearing what vindictive lies the hateful deluded fantasist otherwise know as Steve Cohen will conjure up this time. A sad, sad man with a pathelogical and irrational hatred for Liverpool and its fans.

    tank99 – you obviously don’t understand that what team a person supports is irrelevant in this matter – its always irrelevant when the issue of Hillsborough is envoked. You don’t have to be a Liverpool fan to find Steve Cohen’s inexcusable lies and mistruths abhorrent. It could have been any team’s fans and its a disgrace no-one was held accountable, thanks largely to the attempts to blame the fans (from The Sun 20 years ago onwards to Cohen today).

  5. Ryan says:

    So, that would justify the threats against his life? I think the boycott is appropriate, as it is everyone’s right, but threatening one’s life and his family is not!

  6. The Gaffer says:

    Tank99,

    I’m still waiting to hear from Cohen an admission that he was wrong, that he has retracted his statements and to hear an apology to his listeners and Liverpool fans. Only after he does that would I be interested in being on his show.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  7. Gaz says:

    Plus, how would the Gaffer being on HIS show be “fair”.

    It would be like when they have a liberal on Bill O’Reilly.

  8. JimP says:

    Ryan,

    Who said it justifies death threats? No decent-minded human being would condone such threats.

    Similarly, no decent minded human being would be supportive of the vindictive campaign Cohen has launched against people who were caught up in a horrific tragedy implicitly because of the failure of the authorities – authorities who had a duty of care to protect those people that day and failed.

    Using the shock-jock smear tactics Cohen has as his default setting, he is obviously going to do what he can to deflect attention away from the hundreds if not thousands of fans have have taken offence at his diatribe who have sought to peacfably resolve the situation, initially through attempting to engage him in debate and laterly through the idea of a boycott.

    Ryan, get your priorities straight, realise the morally bankrupt nature of the person we’re dealing with here in Steve Cohen and accept that if there is one underlying issue in this whole affair its that positions of influence also come with responsibility – given his popularity and his influence in shaping debate among US soccer fans Cohen had a responisbility not to indulge his own prejudices but he instead unashamedly and unequivocally abused his platform to spread hurtful unthruths about a very raw and serious issue. I have no sympathy for him at all.

  9. timmyg says:

    Gaffer — sorry but I don’t fully comprehend your logic.

    Steven said some inflammatory, and allegedly incorrect stuff about Hillsbrough and LFC fans.

    So, instead of going on his show and dismantling each of his arguments in front of his listeners — which would result in an apology and ultimate end to his credibility– you instead want him to apologize first, retract his statements, and then go on the show?

    That path won’t prove anything because there will be no open discourse.

  10. Ric says:

    I’m looking forward to listening to this, as it finally will be a chance to hear a fair report on it — not slanted from The Gaffer and Liverpool fans, not slanted from Cohen and his supporters. Hopefully, NPR stays to its normal high standards.

  11. Shakira says:

    And the divide and anger just keep growing with this, wonderful.

  12. Justice4WSD says:

    Miss Harris,

    You are a coward.

    I have started my own campaign group for justice. We are now thousands strong. We will be contacting all of YOUR sponsors shortly and letting them know we will be boycotting there good and services because of YOUR cowardice actions.

    You pushed to far. Prepare for a battle.

  13. tank99 says:

    The Gaffer,

    i do not buy your argument into not appearing on WSD. The show is broadcast live, so your comments will not be edited unlike NPR. The gaffer appear on WSD and have an open discussion with him.

  14. The Gaffer says:

    Just had a chance to listen to the NPR piece. Instead of focusing on the facts, most of the brief segment was spent discussing the threats and boycott of Cohen. It ended up being an entirely different story focusing on the tabloid journalism part of the controversy rather than the cold hard facts, which is a shame.

    Still, at least the NPR listeners had a chance to hear Cohen’s quote in the segment about the 6-8,000 ticketless fans – which we all know is not true. I stand by what I said in the broadcast in that it’s a shame that Cohen is continuing to spread this misinformation about who is to blame for Hillsborough. My hope is that soccer fans study the evidence and draw their own conclusions. I know everyone won’t do that (there are a lot of trolls lurking around the Internet boards regurgitating the same words that Cohen emits), but even if a few neutral soccer fans learn about what really happened on that tragic day, then calling Cohen out for spreading misinformation was worth it.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  15. The Gaffer says:

    The NPR segment is now available on their website at:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104196369

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  16. LFC USA says:

    NPR and the NY Times should be ashamed of themselves.

    These two days make me long for Merseyside. The press is more responsible there and actually understand football, the culture and the game.

    I cannot help it that the New York Times believes Americans are better for sport when they show no passion and don’t play sports the rest of the world care about. They live in an insular world where sport provides a distraction during the weekend from their materialistic pursuits.

    In the rest of the world where we love football, you live, breathe and sleep the game. Americans do not understand that sadly.

    National Public Radio I previously liked prior to today. However today they lost me forever. The fix was in for Steven Cohen, making him a sympathetic figure because of death threats and other rubbish.

    Jack Bell is a wanker, plain and simple. That piece was a setup and it is very embarrassing that a paper that adversities itself as the national paper of record could run such a story. I have canceled my subscription to the Sunday Times as of this morning.

    We will not rest or sleep until Cohen is off the air both at Fox and Sirius Radio.

    We’ll never forget the 96.

  17. Shakira says:

    Why dont you not sleep until you have the police admit they were wrong and get an apolgy from the people who actually helped cover up the tragedy instead of going after Cohen, that would be real justice. Or is real justice not what you seek and you want to make a personal vendetta more important then going after those who really helped kill the 96? You and your lot sound so hypocritical LFC USA its laughable.

    “I cannot help it that the New York Times believes Americans are better for sport when they show no passion and don’t play sports the rest of the world care about. ”

    We dont show passion, have you not seen College Football or the NFL (at certain stadiums), there is plenty of passion there. We enjoy our sports, just because we dont show the same type of passion they do in Europe, racist chanting, holigans, murder, its not to be looked upon by those who are not American.

    “They live in an insular world where sport provides a distraction during the weekend from their materialistic pursuits.”

    Ya and those from Europe dont get we play more then one sport and broaden our horizens unlike England. Take your anti-American crap somewhere else.

  18. Jaime says:

    LFC USA

    Please go back to Merseyside. We do not need you and your lot here. You ask for Jft96 in this country and then say anti-american stuff like that. I hope the other Liverpool supporters on here do not share those views, and I really hope you do not speak for them. I was slated for lumping all the scousers in one boat in earlier posts and here you are doing the same to the americans. You are pathetic.

    And of course you long for the press in Liverpool, they are too afraid to print anything against your views. God forbid anyone has a view other then yours. I take you you will all now boycott NPR and the New York Times?

  19. Fuuzball says:

    I will not contact the sponsors of anyone.

    I wonder how many of these posters that are going after Steven’s livelihood would share their personal details, employers, and business interests to avail the same opportunity for others to contact the sources of their livelihood for what they have said?

  20. JimP says:

    Justice4WSD

    Justice for WSD? Don’t degrade yourself. Justice for WSD so that Cohen can continue to slander the dead? I personally know people whose children died that day and what you fail to understand is that lies and mistruths about what happened at Hillsbrough, spread by people like Steven Cohen in this instance, are the reason that even after 20 years these poor people have had no justice and no closure. The cowardly and ill-informed sviews of an embarassing apologist like yourself is almost as reprehensible as Cohen’s personal vendetta against all things LFC.

  21. Thanks for the effort Gaffer.

  22. shanedanger says:

    I am thinking that the NYT and NPR pieces, which seem to focus on the sensationalism of Cohen and threats against him, were made possible by the PR firm WSD/Cohen hired.

    Trust me, had that PR firm not been hired to create positive press for Cohen, any story done on Cohen/Hillsborough would have focused on LFC and the reports about Hillsborough.

  23. cdoyle says:

    While the NPR piece may not have satisfied those who wished for a more fleshed-out discussion of the entire issue — count me as one of those dissatisfied — it was to be expected. But that’s not why I’m writing: I’m still a little stunned at the twisted logic at play by those who continue to believe it’s necessary to deprive the U.S. of its only real soccer talk show, not to mention the career of Cohen, on the ground that appear as shaky as those employed by Cohen in the first place.

    You may feel Cohen doesn’t do the job as well as others could. You may vehemently disagree with his opinions (I do all the time). But you cannot deny that Cohen’s industry — this entire show, and FFF, are the result of he and Gerber (a Red, it’s worth noting) putting their money on the line because they felt it a viable idea — has given American soccer fans an opportunity to listen to the likes of Graham Hunter, Tim Vickery, Graham Poll and the like on a regular basis. If you cannot realize value in this, I’m afraid I don’t understand what it is you want in a talk show. American soccer fans have learned considerably more from this show than any other available forum, and until someone creates a comparable product I will happily support Cohen, warts and all.

    Like Vickery, I wish Cohen was less defensive about the entire issue, and would state unequivocally that he is not parroting the abortion that was the Sun’s reporting on Hillsborough. But I do understand when a man gets his back up in the face of overheated and inappropriate opposition. And while Cohen may not have satisfactorily stated and defended his initial position, it’s worth mentioning that the Gaffer has punted on his opportunity to rebut what he finds objectionable on ground zero. If you called into that show and were treated as O’Reilly treats those who disagree with him, I would sit squarely on your side of this issue. But your unwillingness to budge is a parallel to Cohen’s, and you’ve ceded the high ground you seem to place yourself upon.

    Folks, at the end of the day, nothing we say or do will give justice to those 96, because justice isn’t to be found. We can only hope that those fans didn’t die in vain, and I will always be able to tell my girlfriend we have nothing to fear by entering Old Trafford or Anfield with Arsenal shirts and scarves. Ditto for Heysel. The hope is future generations will give their utmost respect to those who died by helping ensure a similar tragedy will never take place again on European soil (or anywhere else for that matter, though recent events in Africa lead us to believe such an epiphany is far off yet).

    With all due respect, I hope the calls for Cohen’s livelihood cease (that’s to say nothing of the nastier stuff, which everyone condemns). And, in turn, I hope Cohen offers some form of apology to those he offended. But, ultimately, I hope that WSD continues on for some time, because it’s an invaluable resource to fans in this remote little island of the soccer world, and it’s the only one of its kind to boot.

  24. Bob says:

    The Gaffer ( laughable) and LFC can kiss my ass!

  25. The Gaffer says:

    The comments regarding the Steven Cohen controversy have been closed.

    It’s time to return the discussion to football.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer