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Just an ordinary Joe October 5, 2008

Posted by Tony Randall in Journalism.
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The first thing that occurred to me when I heard Joe Kinnear chatting with the press last week was Derek and Clive (if you’re not familiar, try This Bloke Came Up to Me, but not if your granny is listening –  and I hope that’s not too grannyist).

I’ve always thought Pete and Dud’s reflections on a certain strain of 1970s discourse was natural genius, and if you swapped the Kinnear tape for Derek and Clive Live you might not notice the difference. Of course, Peter Cook was a Spurs fan when Joe was a fresh-faced lad at White Hart Lane. Perhaps they met.

For students of journalism there was much to ponder in this tirade: Self censorship – a tacit admission that this kind of incident between press and managers is not unusual but normally is ‘off the record and doesn’t go outside’; Power without responsibility – the accused journalist’s contention that as he didn’t write the headline, only the story, he was absolved from censure; and the casual attitude to the truth:
Kinnear: ‘Stick to the facts, and don’t twist anything.’
Pleading journalist: ‘You know, you know the game …’
Kinnear: ‘Of course I know, but I don’t have to like it.’

While most columnists climbed onto their high horses to condemn Kinnear, many forums and boards were full of ‘good on you Joe’ messages. Why?

When Kinnear eventually said he’s doing no more press conferences, the journalist warned him darkly that: ‘this isn’t going to do you or us any good’.

Perhaps the readers and fans were wondering if his brand of journalism does anyone any good.

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