Sunday 12 December 2010

All in the same boat: politics, News of the World and Manchester City

Today's News of the World has a world exclusive that, for once is actually true. Late yesterday afternoon it emerged that the captain of Manchester City, Carlos Tevez, wanted to leave the club.

For those of you not interested in football you will be thinking that you couldn't care less about some over-paid foreign prima donna. Fair enough, but stick with me. As I said this story has turned out to be true and is hugely significant in the footballing world.

Neil Ashton, the News of the World's chief football correspondent came under vicious abuse on Twitter yesterday evening. You can view his feed here although I'll warn you the language is extreme. This is why this story matters; it demonstrates how the masses are now in direct contact with those in 'authority' positions such as journalists and politicians. It also doesn't matter how ill informed they are; it is now possible to communicate your views freely and directly.

Previously, people had a right to reply through a letter to the editor or a visit to an MPs constituency surgery. Now anyone can have direct contact 24 hours a day. Manchester City fans who abused Neil Ashton last night reminded me of the mob mentality, 'you are simply wrong' attitude that many now show toward members of parliament. It leaves me wondering if too much informality and familiarity, with too little deference, isn't actually a bad thing.       

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