Big questions for Matt Hughes of the Times to answer about his Henry story
The Times is a world's respected newspaper which, it should be assumed, is more interested in scrupulous journalism than their tabloid counterparts. But this assumption appears to be blown out of the water if you check out today's article written by a Matt Hughes titled "Henry is ours, says Barcelona". This report has led to Sky Sports.com, ITV.com, etc. predictably jumping on the recurring 'Henry will leave' bandwagon this morning.
The opening paragraph of Hughes story says: "BARCELONA have raised the stakes in the battle for Thierry Henry by claiming to have secured the services of the Arsenal striker. Sources close to Joan Laporta, the Barcelona president, have told Spanish journalists that the club have reached a verbal agreement with the Frenchman to join them in the summer."
A journalist's primary responsibility should be to inform the public on the truth of things. So why did Matt Hughes tell the Times readers that the allegations made originated from 'journalists', when in fact it appears to have been from Barcelona supporting bloggers of an unofficial blog on Barcelona - FC Barcelonablog.com - who published a post on Tuesday, 14 March making the 'verbal agreement' allegations.
The FC Barcelonablog is different from EFT in that it looks to be heavily commercial orientated, as indicated by the mass of adverts on their site. They are part of bigblogmedia.com, whose stated desire is to create as much visitor traffic as possible to gain revenue. Further, the writer of the 14 March post is the director of their Spanish department.
Who are bigblogmedia.com? Are they more interested in attracting as many visitors as possible to their site with unsubstatiated rumours so to increase revenues as they are in telling the truth? Can we really believe what they have to say? Is their stated 'inside source' fiction or fact? If he is real, is he reliable?
Did Matt Hughes investigate for himself the answers to any of these questions? If he didn't, which is my fear, is it right to write a report in a respected national newspaper based on such dubious foundations, and to start the report by saying 'Barcelona have claimed'?
My fear is that Matt Hughes conveniently ignored all these doubts so to please his boss by getting a highly dubious yet sensational sounding story into the paper that can bolster sales during a slow football-news week. Such blatant disregard for giving reliable and credible information to the public is, if my doubts are true, completely woeful.