A few days ago, I drafted an article on the Out Of Context Defence. You know the sort of thing. A politician or entertainer says something controversial, faces a backlash of criticism, and responds by says a quote was taken out of context.
In my experience, that’s usually not the case. When someone complains of being take out of context, the quote is usually reported accurately and in context. But to stop the Out of Context defence, I was going to suggest that in all interviews and conversations, reporters should record what was said.
Then Roy Keane happened. Disgusted by the Irish team’s perfonance in theEuro finals, Keane noted the heart and soul among the Irish fans, and suggested they deserved a better team.
This was misquoted. Keane was presented as saying the Irish fans shouldn’t sing. Anyone who’s been on a terrace knows one of the deadliest chants is ‘You Only Sing When You’re Winning’. Now here was Keane, presented as saying ‘You Shouldn’t Sing When You’re Losing’.
Not once. Not twice, but several times, Irish media deliberately whipped up controversy, misrepresenting what Keane said. It didn’t seem to matter his actual words were recorded.
Irish audiences deserve better.