The Mirror have a growing reputation as a paper whose sports pages regularly lie in a bid to generate traffic. Yesterday, they were at it once again when discussing the eagerly anticipated return to fitness of Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke.
As I’m sure many Eagles fans know, the Belgian striker has been missing from first-team action since our trip to face Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium. Having started the game at the head of the side, the Belgian international was taken off midway through, having damaged some ligaments in his knee.
In the weeks since, we have experimented unsuccessfully with both Bakary Sako and former Margate man Freddie Ladapo occupying the role of a lone striker but with the return to action of Wilfried Zaha last weekend, Roy Hodgson was finally given a potent attacking weapon with which to work, utilising his pace, skill and general class to beat champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
With a spring in everyone’s step once more, Palace TV’s Chris Grierson caught up with Benteke earlier this week to get an update on his rehabilitation. The chat, whilst relatively safe, did give the impression that the big man was optimistic of a relatively quick return, although both made sure that no specific time-frame was placed on his recovery, just in case of any medical complications in the immediate future.
Given that fact, you can imagine how surprised I was to read this piece in The Mirror on Wednesday evening with the headline stating “Revealed! The game Benteke is targeting for return” when he had in fact said nothing at all along those lines. “Perhaps Darren Lewis has got some new quotes from Christian” I thought, before scrolling down to read the exact same comments he had given in the aforementioned interview used in the body of the piece with absolutely no mention from him of a specific game that he had penciled in as a target.
In truth, Lewis and The Mirror have taken a punt on when Benteke will make it back, which in isolation is fine, but to do so when packaging up an article with a headline that uses “Revealed!” as the first word is simply poor form whichever way you slice it.
Of late, few journalists at The Mirror seem to care about the content of the articles they write, preferring instead to focus all of their efforts into hooking you with a flashy headline and satisfying their advertising quotas. It may pay the bills in the short-term but eventually, their general traffic will dry up, following years of readers being deliberately misled when on the lookout for genuine, well-researched news.
Sorry for ranting.
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