Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Twitter tools: Sky Sports presenters get some sly social medicine

Photo courtesy of Uppityrib (Flickr)

This week has been a crazy one if you are a sports fan. Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been suspended (Gray has since been sacked) after making sexist comments about a female lineswoman Sian Massey at a Premier League game last weekend.

Sky were right to act in the way they were, but why has these videos surfaced at this time?

Well, it’s simple.

Rupert Murdoch, whose son James is chairman of BskyB knows the power of shrill liberal outrage (this is just a turn of phrase, I’m as liberal as they come). A great deal of liberal outrage can be found on Twitter. Support for Murdoch is low on social platforms, unless of course you are talking about Myspace, which to be honest, nobody is.

Controversial videos go viral very quickly. This video has been top of the Youtube trends all week, and has been going nuts on Twitter. 

Misdirection away from the Andy Coulson/News of The World phone hacking saga was certainly needed by Rupert, as this was a new bĂȘte noir amongst the political, liberally-minded Twitterers tiring of Wikileaks conspiracy theories.

Andy Gray was taking legal action against a Murdoch-owned paper. His sexism was disgusting, and wrong, and yes, he should be punished for it. But let’s be honest here – is it any coincidence that this story has been leaked at this time, in the manner that it has?

Leaks make for great viral, social content. Somebody close to Rupert knows this. He knows it too. And he’s used it to deflect attention from a much, much bigger story.

He’s thrown a couple of sexists to the baying social media mob. And maybe before we tweet, or post to Facebook, we should take note of the where the information has come from. Sometimes, the seeding could be from a seedier place than you think, with an even seedier motive.

And speaking of seedy, we'll leave the final word to Andy, shall we?

(Update: Keys has now resigned too)

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