My opinion: Clickbait journalists. My response to Aaron Langmaid @aaronlangmaid

<> on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France.
MARSEILLE, FRANCE – JUNE 11: England fans react after police sprayed tear gas during clashes ahead of the game against Russia later today on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

When I first read it I thought that it was a bad attempt at sarcasm

THE greatest threat of terror on the streets of Australia is born not of the twisted ideology of young jihadists but at the hands of emerging new radicals who don’t need guns or bags packed with explosives

Soccer thugs come armed with a mindset for street warfare, waging their belligerent campaign that has far less to do with any scoreboard and more with mob mentality.

They wrap their faces in scarves, light flares, hurl bottles and issue ugly rants in guised ethnic cleansing campaigns legitimised by light-footed politicians and left wing hypochondriacs.

But Aaron Langmaid article in the Herald Sun was meant to be serious. (It may be paywalled in some instances, so I reproduced here)

What the article does is to link the violence between hooligans that have occurred at the The 2016 UEFA European Championship, with what could happen in Australia.

The scenes that have plagued one of the world’s biggest football competitions has overshadowed any talk of which nation will emerge victorious.

But the tentacles of this kind of violence have already begun to strangle the streets of Melbourne.

It began a few years back when racist goons doing Nazi salutes stormed their way into the Australian Open.

It continued two years ago when A-League morons crusaded along Swan St, Richmond ahead of a showdown between the Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory.

Then, earlier this month the same kind of nitwits raised their flags and lit flares to mark a soccer friendly between Greece and the Socceroos.

This was beyond the pale for many, including many journalists that cover other codes.

The anger on twitter was palpable. Equating football fans with flares with terrorists that kill was ludicrous at best and deeply offensive at the worst. But I immediately saw that this article was written by some fairly unknown writer wanting to create click and attention. And it worked.

I wasn’t angry about what Langmaid wrote. My responses tried to be ironic and not to serious. We should know by now that the Herald Sun is tabloid journalism, and tabloid journalism always have tried to create outrage through division. Whether it was dole bludgers in the 70’s 80’s to Asians in the 90’s and Muslims now. We know that that paper has already writers like Rita Panahi and Andrew Bolt who are employed to create controversy and conform the prejudices of their readers. Perhaps Langmaid hoped to join that ‘exalted’ company.

But the main issue lies behind the ludicrousness of the article and the fact that the author tried to somehow portray Association Football back to ‘wogball’ and a violent one as that. The narrative remains that ‘soccer’ is either still foreign and falls outside the mainstream Australian culture, or that its presence will create discord and violence, something which is un-Australian (and by implication unlike other codes such as AFL and NRL).

Unfortunately some turn their anger towards the AFL as a whole, but I think that’s not the right target. As tweets above have shown many journalists involved with the AFL have been angered or have ridiculed Langmaid article.

What articles like the one Langmaid has written is to seek attention by exploiting the xenophobia (and I stress ‘phobia of foreign’ nor racism, that’s a different thing) which exists amongst many of the Herald Sun readers. Maybe for the – let’s say – less informed reader the link between the hooliganism in France and some flares in Melbourne (the tentacles of this kind of violence have already begun to strangle the streets of Melbourne, as Langmaid writes) is not much as a stretch as most of us.

But this stuff is not new. Whether it was Communism in the 50’s the ‘Yellow Peril’ and keeping Australia ‘white’ this fear of the foreign was always there.

And many believe that the FFA also is pandering to this xenophobia by having excluded any club with a non-English speaking background from the A-League and still suppressing any demonstration of ‘foreigness’ when these clubs play in the FFA Cup.

The best way to approach these articles is either to ignore them or taking the absolute piss out of them and show the contempt they deserve. As stated below they are designed to heckle us football supporters and generate clicks or social media trending, and to confirm the prejudices of tabloid press readers, which are unlikely to be Association Football supporters anyway.

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