Proving that clickbait journalism will probably join cockroaches (if they haven’t already) in surviving a nuclear apocalypse, The Sun is out today with an unsourced “article” claiming that William Saliba will miss our trip to Anfield on Sunday. I don’t know what’s worse—that rags like this exist or enough rubes exist to supply those rags with a credulous audience. There’s clearly an insatiable market for these folderol-mongers.
The article manages to summon roughly 400 words, which is more than I anticipated, but none of it mentions anyone remotely linked the club—not Arteta, not Saliba, not the official website—it’s just unfounded speculation that preys on our worst fears. Much as nature abhors a vacuum, The Sun insinuates itself into the absence of information regarding Saliba’s status. They’re not going to lure anyone in with “No update on Saliba injury”. They’ll get a few with “Arsenal anxious about Saliba return”. They need something splashier, something more lurid. What did they go with? See for yourself:
They’ll crash their own servers with that, I reckon. Half-clever on the all-caps “SAL OR NOTHING”, making, I suppose, a pun on “all or nothing”. Trust me when I say I know a thing or two about half-clever puns. Again, though, the article offers no evidence. We don’t know, and they don’t know either.
In case you still have your doubts, the article was scrawled by Mark Irwin, listed at The Sun‘s website as “Chief Sports Features Writer in London” and linked to the Twitter account @deathirwin. Call me skeptical, but I’d imagine that the Twitter account for the “Chief Sports Features Writer in London” for The Sun would have more than 1,304 followers after creating the account in 2010.
I’ll admit to feeling a bit of envy here as I try to offer quality writing, original insight, maybe a touch of humour, and will attract a fraction of the viewers that The Sun can get from an article that they had someone throw together in no more than 10 or 15 minutes. At the same time, I feel bad for playing their game as well with my title to this post. I hope I can escape any accusations of hypocrisy but will leave that to your judgment. I detest these parasitic sites and everything they peddle and would hate to be associated with them.
One last thing: this month, you can enter a raffle for a £25 Arsenal Direct gift card by commenting on this and other posts. Yes, it’s a direct attempt at bribing you to join the conversation. The more often you comment, the better your chances at winning.