When I wrote my last piece, I talked about media hypocrisy and the torrent of it we were about to endure. I also mentioned hysteria. Even I wondered whether I might be over egging the pudding because, well, when you are angry about something you tend to do that. I needn't have worried though. Those I accused were also cross about something (Chelsea) and have been throwing furious, hysterical tantrums ever since. It has only become worse since Chelsea released their statement in which they pointed out the steps they had taken to ensure the veracity of the Mikel complaint against referee Mark Clattenberg.
One should never be surprised by the behaviour of journalists whose only real concern these days appears to be who among them has the greatest number of Twitter followers. Professional controversialists to a man (and the odd woman) they try to out do each other in the meaningless, baseless abuse stakes. James Lawton today offered his latest tirade that had at its heart a pretty tasteless attack on Abramovich, Gourlay, Buck and the Chelsea family in general. He even dropped in a bewilderingly childish and thoroughly untrue report that the fan pictured making an apparent monkey gesture had elicited applause from the crowd. He calls the evidence (as if he knows what it is) for Mikel's complaint "hair-raisingly thin". Lawson's trenchant bitterness towards Chelsea comes from somewhere; I know not from where, but his editors should rein him in because he is trudging clumsily into territory he shouldn't be anywhere near. Intemperate falsehoods wrapped in pathetically juvenile rants can be dangerous things.
Others have begun to promulgate the notion that the foreigners at Chelsea don't understand English and so couldn't possibly understand what Clattenberg said. This is the same group of people who so derided Chelsea for supporting a "racist" in John Terry. The same group of people who held up the pain and suffering of Anton Ferdinand in that case yet are completely immune to the concerns of Mikel, rubbishing his grievance, dismissing his employers obligation to support him as "representative of everything that is cheap and despicable in English football". I have searched dictionaries and the odd Thesaurus in an effort to find a better word than "hypocrisy" to represent this brazen dishonesty. Maybe that is it; dishonesty? Hypocrisy can sometimes be unknowing, the consequence of emotional reinterpretation. But dishonesty is rarely a mistake. Ironically, what much of the drivel written about Mikel and his witnesses represents is an innate racism too. Foreigners, the lot of them. Don't understand the language.
Mark Clattenberg is no angel, we all know this and he has had his troubles in the past. I do not want those misdemeanours to cloud this issue in the way they appeared to in the John Terry case. That would be vile and mendacious; he should have the right to due process. But so -irrefutably- should Mikel.
What we are now witnessing is an unrestrained media tantrum. So symmetrical, so almost aesthetically perfect is the Clattenberg complaint and so impeccable has been Chelsea's handling of it, the righteous, faux anti-racist media have generated a coruscating, painfully bright reflection that stares challengingly back at them. They are quite literally tearing their hair out over it and their irritation is robbing them of any sense of self awareness. They have the pen, it is mightier than the sword and by golly they are going to use it to slay the monster that is Chelsea FC. They need only ignore the beast who gazes back at them.
Follow Michael Volpe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mikeohp