Elite Persons in the News

The media in particular newspapers, are in a powerful position when it comes to the presentation of elite persons. Depending on a papers stand point on a subject they can be both promoted to all reading it or singled out within the media to everyone as a national villain. With the power possessed by the papers and their massive collective readership they have been know to bolster and completely end the careers of elite persons.

Two example of this happening in the media lately are those of Alpay the Turkish central defender accused of winding up David Beckham in a recent football match and Sir Ranulph Fiennes who is completing 7 marathons in 7 days for the British heart foundation 6 months after a heart bypass.

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Both of these characters have had very different press in the past couple of months, Alpay was accused of deliberately trying to cause trouble in the hectic England match In Turkey after taunting David beckham and the rest of the England players. This lead to many papers making Alpay out to be the only instigator to the violence along with another Turkish player Ergun. This common idea of what happened during the match and even half time was still not question entirely even when pictures of Emile Heskey throwing a punch were released, and particularly ironic with David Beckham himself known temper.

As soon as Alpay returned to his club the media and in fact his own Aston Villa fans started to turn on him, booing him at ever home match and calling for him to quit the club (he was later sacked). All of the victimisation in the media including pictures of burning Alpay effigies and ex professionals coming out and questioning not only Alpay’s actions but his performances on the football field followed the 2002 world cup in Japan/Korea where Alpay was voted among the best 11 players in the world. A Sign of just how powerful the media is particularly when emphasising bad things about someone.

On the other hand of course is the story of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, an explorer and all round national hero running 7 marathons in 7 days in seven continents and donating all the money to charity. All this 6 months after a heart bypass. The newspapers here were completely different in the way they described him “The Mirror” for instance calling him a “super-dedicated hero” where Alpay was a “Turkish flop”. Ranulph Fiennes is a typically British person in the eyes of the media he attended a private school and speaks with a most definite English accent, this clean cut image, squeaky clean record and brave heroics to the north pole Everest and now 7 marathons for charity mean he is presented in a good (British) light in the media.

These representations show that the newspapers are constantly going with the common ideology of the rest of the country and even if the ideology is not a strong one they have the power to change the ideas of people who were not originally thinking that way for example the Aston Villa fans or people not involved with the British Heart foundation. The reason for the papers following the ideology is their constant need to maximise their readership potential and by appealing to the majority, they are more likely to sell papers then if they were going against their dominant ideology. Also by covering people in the news for positive or negative reasons they are able to sensationalize the story making more of a story out of it. They do this with their use of words and phrases such as “hero” or “flop” making the story more sensational works particularly in the tabloid papers to make the readers take the stories as a soap opera or film and allowing them to relate more to the story.

In conclusion the gap between the persons that the media choose to represent in a positive light and those they chose to show in a negative light is a big one in the way they affect a person’s reputation. Also from looking through the newspapers it is obvious newspapers prefer to tell the stories of those they want to present in a bad way conforming to the theory bad news is good news.