The Mail on Sunday decided to run a secretly taped private conversation in which Lord Triesman speculated about possible bribery in international football. The Mail on Sunday decided that would be a good story. The Mail on Sunday decided that even though there was no proof for Lord Triesman's claims, and even though they were claims made in a private conversation and never intended to be made public, making them public was the right thing to do.
So when the Daily Mail wrote about England possibly having 'lost' the 2018 World Cup, who did they blame? The Mail on Sunday, for printing a load of speculation dressed up as earnestly held opinion? The Mail on Sunday, for bringing a private conversation out into the open in which a public figure said something which he might not say in public, and which was therefore apparently in the public interest? The Mail on Sunday, for trying to flog a few papers with a pointless story that tells us nothing?
No. Obviously not. They blame the 37-year-old 'girl' (yes, a 37-year-old 'girl') who did the recording - not the national newspaper who made a private conversation between two people into a public statement to millions.
The 'girl who brought down FA chief' is, in the online version, 'the woman who could cost England the 2018 World Cup.' If in doubt, when you work for the Daily Mail and something goes wrong, blame a woman. Blame the woman for taping the conversation, not the Mail for printing it. Melissa Jacobs (she does have a name, honest) is described in fairly dribbling terms:
The woman who cost Football Association chief Lord Triesman his job is revealed as a flame-haired 37-year-old with an impressive academic background.
As the Labour peer reflects on his speedy exit it is not hard to see why a man of 66 might find Melissa Jacobs with her slim physique and ivory skin alluring.
You can almost hear the reporter's erection banging against the desk as he wrote that, can't you? But maybe I'm doing 'Daily Mail Reporter' a disservice there, and perhaps it's a woman who cobbled together that bundle of masturbatory tripe. Either way, the narrative is simple: sexy lady made the silly old man lose his job, not us! You could have written it like this: "The man who cost Football Association chief Lord Triesman his job is revealed as a slapheaded 61-year-old with a disgraceful background in printing intrusive garbage as editor in chief of the Mail group" but then I doubt that Paul Dacre would have seen the funny side.
During their hour-long conversation - which was secretly recorded - he made a series of indiscreet claims about the football industry and people in it.
Indiscreet? I don't know, he was only telling one person. He didn't know that that person was taping the conversation so she could presumably flog it off to the highest bidder and get it plastered all over the papers. Maybe that is 'indiscreet', I don't know. Maybe everyone, everwhere, ever should just assume that everything they say is being recorded, and none of us should ever speculate about anything, ever, just in case someone we thought we could trust is planning to shop us to the tabloids for a few grand. Maybe that's how we should all live our lives.
England had been one of the favourites to host the tournament in eight years' time. But Lord Triesman's astonishing comments threaten to fatally hole the country's chances of success and led some critics to dub him World Cup Wally.
He suggested that Spain may withdraw its bid to host the 2018 World Cup if Russia, which also wants to stage it, helps it to bribe referees in this summer's tournament.
Of course, it doesn't help that Lord Triesman is a Labour lord; that's another reason why he turns up in the Mail's crosshairs. But is it really his 'astonishing' comments that have 'fatally holed' England's bid, or is it the fatal holes at the Mail who have astonished the rest of the country by deciding to make the private public? I imagine they'd have been happy enough for Lord Triesman to resign; but the idea that England's bid may have been scuppered by their own tawdry little tale could be a little bit counterproductive.
Other newspapers are less than impressed - but don't worry, they won't attack the Mail openly:
There are all sorts of reasons why people might not think a 2018 World Cup bid is a good idea - but the Mail haven't done that. They argued that it was vitally important that we heard some speculative gossip from a leading football figure, which may well have no basis in reality at all, may not even be a strongly held opinion, may have been idle speculation, may have been said merely to impress someone by representing a degree of secret insider knowledge, and so on, and so on. There's nothing wrong with secret recording when it's genuinely in the public interest or breaking a real story - but was that really what we got from the Lord Triesman 'revelations'? I don't think so. I don't think it was evidence of anything other than what someone might say in an unguarded moment.
After all that, though, has the bid really been wrecked? I don't think so. But it's telling that the Mail decide to blame everyone except themselves if it has. Blame the 'girl' - don't blame us!
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