The Guardian today offered an uncensored transcript of a Newcastle United press conference, featuring temporary manager Joe “not Roy” Kinnear, who was, to be fair, somewhat ridiculed on his arrival last week. Read the transcript by following the link below — but be warned, there are lots of swears, including the c-word, so don’t read it if you’re going to be offended.
Towards the end of the transcript, you’ll note that the Newcastle press officer tries to persuade the gathered members of the press not to report what had just been said, in a kind of what-happens-in-Vegas all-boys-together kind of way. Given that it’s just appeared in the Guardian, The Mirror (includes audio), and various other places, we can safely assume this request has been ignored rather comprehensively.
The press corps are very good at putting words in people’s mouths. You’ll quite often hear this on radio reports on 5Live. For example, they might say, “Alan Shearer has said he’s NOT looking forward to taking over at Newcastle.”
This makes it sound almost as if Alan Shearer organised a press call and issued a statement. In fact, someone shouted a question at him (“Are you looking forward to the Newcastle job?”) to which he replied in the negative, or with a shake of the head or a shrug of the shoulders.
This is a variation on the, “When did you stop beating your wife?” question, and it’s used to make people appear to have been discussing something openly with the press, when all they did was answer, no. Even if you say, “No comment,” the report will run: “Alan Shearer has refused to comment on rumours that he’s about to take over at Newcastle.” (Or even more damningly, “Shearer has refused to deny…”)
It’s easy to fall out with the press, who will destroy you once they’ve decided to. There’s clearly history between Joe Kinnear and the corps, and they’re out to get him from the start. You might describe it as bullying; it’s certainly an example of the rabid aggression of the British press when they’re roused. They’ll also keep repeating allegations about you until you sue them — and even while you’re suing them, until the moment they’re ordered to pay damages or print a retraction (on page 64).