Thanks Thanks:  16
Likes Likes:  53
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,283
    Post Thanks / Like

    Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion



    After losing the opening match of the 2022 AFL season last month, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge sat down for the thing he hates most about his job: the press conference. It got messy quick. After listening to a question from Fox Footy reporter Tom Morris, who had earlier accurately reported upon a leaked team selection detail, Beveridge paused momentarily before unleashing.

    “You’ve got the nerve to ask me a question, and even be here?” he said. “You barrack for Melbourne, you’ve been preying on us. You’ve been opening us up, causing turmoil within our football club by declaring our team well before it needs to be declared. Is that the way Fox want you to operate? Is that the gutter journalist you want to be?”

    Beveridge went on: “Your gutter journalism at the moment is killing us behind the scenes … This is why the health and wellbeing of people in the game is caught up in this … You’re an embarrassment.”

    The definition of “public interest” is not easy or automatic, unless you’re solely guided by clicks. And then, if you’ve chosen a potential story to follow, the specific treatment of it matters too.
    Beveridge was immediately and uniformly condemned by the media, who saw an “abnormal” act of intimidation and one that seemed to have derived, weirdly, from the relatively inconsequential reporting of Lachie Hunter’s omission. The AFL fined Beveridge and the next day a filmed apology from the coach was released by the club.

    But only hours after Tom Morris had been congratulated by peers for holding his ground against Beveridge, two audio clips Morris had shared within a private WhatsApp group were leaked. On one leery and juvenile tape, Morris can be heard crudely objectifying a female colleague’s sexuality. The appalled colleague later publicly referred to his comments as “degrading”. Fox sacked Morris.

    It was a dramatic development, but let’s return to the media responses to Beveridge. “What we saw last night is a man unravelling,” veteran footy reporter Caroline Wilson said on 3AW radio. “I’m quite serious about this. Who invokes the mental health and wellbeing card over a selection story? I have never seen anything so disgraceful in all my years of covering football. It is a man who is clearly not coping.”

    First, there’s the minor quibble of Wilson’s hyperbole here: she cannot literally mean Beveridge’s press conference was more disgraceful than, say, Wayne Carey’s domestic violence, the Essendon supplements scandal, the AFL’s mishandling of Adam Goodes’ public persecution, the long and odious influence of agent Ricky Nixon, the squalid and self-destructive culture of the mid-noughties West Coast Eagles, the revelations of an indulgent and chauvinistic administrative culture et cetera.

    But, more substantially, it must have been an intolerable irony to Beveridge that his ham-fisted appeal to reporters to consider the mental health of players could only be understood or interpreted in the context of Beveridge’s own alleged “unravelling”. Here was a man – confusingly and intemperately, yes – damning the media for its prurient interests and its effects upon his players’ health being called mentally unstable for doing so. And Wilson was far from alone in this.

    Little has been said about the many speculations about Beveridge’s mental health, not least because the man himself has been chastened and does not wish to push the story. But at first blush, the media questioning appears to be borderline defamatory. At the very least, it’s unimaginative.

    Beveridge did not help himself or his club by using as the ostensible source of his anger Tom Morris’s accurate – and trivial – report on the late omission of a player. If this was truly the only source of Beveridge’s contempt, then of course his outburst would have been bizarrely disproportionate.

    But it wasn’t the only source. During the recent off-season, Beveridge – an intensely loyal and protective coach – was incensed by the many careless inquiries made into the private life of star player Bailey Smith. Once again, Beveridge saw the media’s feral competitiveness for dubious scoops, and its effect upon his players’ health, and he fumed about how often this instinct ignored proportionality, fairness or potential harm. In Tom Morris, I suspect Beveridge saw a smug epitome of this ruthlessness – and a man whose job was essentially parasitic.

    Beveridge might reflect upon how to better articulate his concerns, and his suggestion that Morris was motivated by his support for the Melbourne Demons seemed silly. But it was also silly to offer Morris, even before the leaked tapes, as some exemplar of an indispensable profession. Morris was a shallow and self-regarding scavenger of bins – more an ibis with private schoolboy connections than Bob Woodward. He was – like many footy reporters – a simple gossipmonger, more enthralled by their status than the game.

    On a scale of one to 10 of social value, where one is a serial arsonist and 10 is a paediatric nurse, Morris’s job would score about a two. And yet the gulf between this modest value and the immodest egos who practise it is hilariously massive. You’ll find more thoughtfulness and humility among paediatric nurses.

    When criticised, journalists reflexively use abstractions to defend themselves. We use lofty words such as “accountability”, “democracy”, “discourse” and “public interest” regardless of how appropriately they can be applied to the actual thing being criticised. Richard Nixon once said that when a president does it, “that means it’s not illegal”, and I often smell the same desperate appeals to exceptionalism from journalists. And maybe some believe it – that because they’re a journalist, they can do and write whatever and believe that it’s all valuable by definition. The self-regard of a Tom Morris is both too great and too fragile to broker self-reflection – why act or think in a way that might puncture your sense of exceptionalism?

    What Luke Beveridge might have asked reporters, were his articulateness not choked by anger, is what they considered their duty of care to players to be. What scrutiny is acceptable? What are scrutiny’s basic thresholds, and when does reporting become vulgar and destructive gossip? How do you define “public interest” if not by mere online traffic? And if you have a loftier definition of “public interest”, when might it be subservient to the potential harm to an individual? Can I trust that each of you think about these things? Can I trust that each of you are genuinely serious about the mental health of players? How pure are your motivations, really?

    But as I write this, the seagulls have already moved on to the next pile of hot chips: rapid-fire speculations on the mental health of Richmond player Dustin Martin, who’s currently grieving over the loss of his father.

    The AFL’s 2021 yearly report declares that about 2000 people were given media accreditation to work at “match-day venues”. The federal press gallery has 250 accredited members. Even allowing for the greater technical demands of broadcasting sport versus politics, we’re still left with a considerable discrepancy. It’s an enormous number and it’s never been greater. But what has this investment yielded? Very little. Gossip and shallow takes still prevail: X club is up, and Y down; A player is injured, but B is exceeding expectations. While the numbers of accredited media have increased, the length of stories seems to have decreased, and there’s been no commensurate increase in insight.

    There are exceptions: ABC sports writer Russell Jackson won a Walkley for feature writing in 2020 and this year the Melbourne Press Club’s highest honour, the Golden Quill, was awarded to Michael Warner for his reporting on the Collingwood Football Club. But I’d suggest the most significant outcome of this vast swelling of media accreditation is a large and decadent class fattening itself upon the honeyed teat of the AFL.

    It was, at least, acknowledgement for Warner, whose damning book The Boys’ Club from last year – our only sophisticated, book-length examination of AFL House for decades – was largely ignored in the media. Given its importance, and the fact Warner is one of the few sports reporters with an ability to examine financial and administrative cultures, the silence was conspicuous.

    There are times when the private behaviour of players meets, I think, a threshold of public interest. The dangerous dysfunction of the Eagles back in the noughties is one, I’d argue. But the definition of “public interest” is not easy or automatic, unless you’re solely guided by clicks. And then, if you’ve chosen a potential story to follow, the specific treatment of it matters too.

    So, the question for me is not whether scrutiny of footy clubs is appropriate. It obviously is. The question is how many reporters seriously contemplate what scrutiny means, or should mean. Beveridge made a mess of that press conference, and I can sympathise with those who first saw a weird and intimidatory tantrum. I was one of them. But buried in his outburst were genuine grievances and, I suspect, more integrity than can be found in the subjects of it.

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/...1800013597#mtr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,283
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Interesting piece and with hindsight and time to reflect on the entire episode it does make you think. Bevo's method was appalling, but his point was probably right. Also, the author (Martin McKenzie-Murray) does make this great point. Too many AFL journos take themselves way too seriously and always believe they have the moral high ground.


    "On a scale of one to 10 of social value, where one is a serial arsonist and 10 is a paediatric nurse, Morris’s job would score about a two. And yet the gulf between this modest value and the immodest egos who practise it is hilariously massive. You’ll find more thoughtfulness and humility among paediatric nurses.

    When criticised, journalists reflexively use abstractions to defend themselves. We use lofty words such as “accountability”, “democracy”, “discourse” and “public interest” regardless of how appropriately they can be applied to the actual thing being criticised. Richard Nixon once said that when a president does it, “that means it’s not illegal”, and I often smell the same desperate appeals to exceptionalism from journalists. And maybe some believe it – that because they’re a journalist, they can do and write whatever and believe that it’s all valuable by definition. The self-regard of a Tom Morris is both too great and too fragile to broker self-reflection – why act or think in a way that might puncture your sense of exceptionalism?""

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    14,512
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by angelopetraglia View Post
    "On a scale of one to 10 of social value, where one is a serial arsonist and 10 is a paediatric nurse, Morris’s job would score about a two. And yet the gulf between this modest value and the immodest egos who practise it is hilariously massive. You’ll find more thoughtfulness and humility among paediatric nurses.
    Nailed it with this statement. Couldn’t be more perfectly articulated.
    Just call me Ponyboy.

  4. Likes Sedat, WBFC4FFC, KT31 liked this post
  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    4,308
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Man thats an awesome article. Hope it gains some traction.
    I should leave it alone but you're not right

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    9,780
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Thanks for posting AP. I saw a snippet on twitter on Saturday but couldn't find a free version to read fully.

    Does anyone know what deems you to be given media accreditation to work at “match-day venues”?
    #BeMoreBulldog

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    9,780
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by soupman View Post
    Man thats an awesome article. Hope it gains some traction.
    Soup, highly doubtful. The article is 48 hours old and I haven't sited or heard it discussed apart from one twitter post and here on woof.
    #BeMoreBulldog

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Shanghai
    Posts
    9,423
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Great article and thanks for posting Angelotragopia

    What I hamfistedly am trying to get across in another thread regards Jeff Kennett is done here with the deft of a Cyril Rioli mark.
    It's well balanced and draws you from micro to macro, with shades of grey. To me anyway, this article has the quality of writing The Age used to have when I was a kid.

    The only thing perhaps missing is Morris's track record, the Jessie Hogan tweets.

    And one word here " Beveridge – an intensely loyal and protective coach – was incensed by the many careless inquiries made into the private life of star player Bailey Smith

    Since the death of print advertising revenue, the race for clicks on social media platforms has gone into warp. 'cheap-shot' inquiries doesn't sound right, but that's what I mean.
    Last edited by Ghost Dog; 04-04-2022 at 09:51 AM.
    “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” ― Epicurus

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Mulligan's Boogie-board
    Posts
    11,785
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    "Morris was a shallow and self-regarding scavenger of bins – more an ibis with private schoolboy connections than Bob Woodward."

    What a line
    Western Bulldogs: 2016 Premiers

  10. Likes EasternWest, jeemak, WBFC4FFC liked this post
  11. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    7,352
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Yeah fantastic article. Bevo’s response in a vacuum was unprofessional but I think as some more colour was added to the situation it became clear that his comments needed to be viewed in its proper context, as a last straw rather than a one off. And Wilson should be ashamed and embarrassed by her armchair psychology bullshit, clearly said in hurt over her personal connection to Morris and the situation itself as a “journalist” (?) rather than out of any objective review.
    - RIP Goldstein for 2021 First - 2020-2020 -

  12. Likes Ghost Dog, WBFC4FFC liked this post
  13. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    With the greatest respect to any footy scribes that lurk on woof, it is a truly gutter profession full of parasites who infect their venom onto the real stars of the show, the players/coaches/clubs. We need to take everything written and spoken by these parasites with a grain of salt. There are 2,000 of these vermin involved in the game - that is an indictment on the entire footy industry.

    If Joel Selwood is the patron saint of the cynical head-high ducking, and has created an army of acolytes that have infected the modern game, Caroline Wilson is the patron saint of the footy media parasites, those shallow people who have no interest in the actual game and are obsessed with raising their own profile through the dissemination of the off-field activities of players/coaches/clubs to create meaningless and damaging click-bait, causing incredible damage to players/coaches/clubs in the process. Morris is simply a younger, even more smug, version of this footy media parasite that was created and perfected by Wilson (and Mike Sheahan to a lesser extent - he at least spent some time focusing on the actual game in his writing). Hutchy is another parasite who feasts on the off-field at the expense of player/coach/club welfare and mental health, and being a major player in the media landscape he is causing carnage in the modern game.
    We are the goon squad and we're coming to town. Beep Beep.

  14. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    7,352
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedat View Post
    With the greatest respect to any footy scribes that lurk on woof, it is a truly gutter profession full of parasites who infect their venom onto the real stars of the show, the players/coaches/clubs. We need to take everything written and spoken by these parasites with a grain of salt. There are 2,000 of these vermin involved in the game - that is a travesty.

    If Joel Selwood is the patron saint of the cynical head-high ducking, and has created an army of acolytes that have infected the modern game, Caroline Wilson is the patron saint of the footy media parasites, those shallow people who have no interet in the actual game and are obsessed with the off-field activities of the players to create meaningless and damaging click-bait for their employers, causing incredible damage to players, coaches and clubs in the process. Morris is simply a younger version of this footy media parasite that was created and perfected by Wilson (and Mike Sheahan to a lesser extent - he at least spent some time focusing on the actual game in his writing). Hutchy is another parasite who feasts on the off-field at the expense of player/coach/club welfare and mental health, and being a major player in the media landscape is causing carnage in the modern game.
    Hell yeah.
    - RIP Goldstein for 2021 First - 2020-2020 -

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    The Kennel
    Posts
    6,929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedat View Post
    With the greatest respect to any footy scribes that lurk on woof, it is a truly gutter profession full of parasites who infect their venom onto the real stars of the show, the players/coaches/clubs. We need to take everything written and spoken by these parasites with a grain of salt. There are 2,000 of these vermin involved in the game - that is an indictment on the entire footy industry.

    If Joel Selwood is the patron saint of the cynical head-high ducking, and has created an army of acolytes that have infected the modern game, Caroline Wilson is the patron saint of the footy media parasites, those shallow people who have no interest in the actual game and are obsessed with raising their own profile through the dissemination of the off-field activities of players/coaches/clubs to create meaningless and damaging click-bait, causing incredible damage to players/coaches/clubs in the process. Morris is simply a younger, even more smug, version of this footy media parasite that was created and perfected by Wilson (and Mike Sheahan to a lesser extent - he at least spent some time focusing on the actual game in his writing). Hutchy is another parasite who feasts on the off-field at the expense of player/coach/club welfare and mental health, and being a major player in the media landscape he is causing carnage in the modern game.
    Hutchy is the cretin who started it all.
    Retired from match day thread - Sep 2021

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,619
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantysghost View Post
    Hutchy is the cretin who started it all.
    Hutchy rapidly accelarated the decline but Wilson absolutely started all of this garbage. Hutchy now employs the likes of Wilson and Cornes, so yes he is an even bigger part of the problem today due to his media ownership, power and influence in the modern footy landscape.
    We are the goon squad and we're coming to town. Beep Beep.

  17. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    7,352
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Cornes is a prick. Why offer any expert analysis when you can line up a 19 year old for messing around with a Go Pro?
    - RIP Goldstein for 2021 First - 2020-2020 -

  18. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    The Kennel
    Posts
    6,929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Beveridge v Morris in the court of public opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedat View Post
    Hutchy rapidly accelarated the decline but Wilson absolutely started all of this garbage. Hutchy now employs the likes of Wilson and Cornes, so yes he is an even bigger part of the problem today due to his media ownership, power and influence in the modern footy landscape.
    I know Hutchy loves those edgy US sports panel shows and after a stint over there launched a similar style here.
    Creating drama where there is none through their confrontational back and forth.
    My memory was Wilson was reasonably stock standard like Sheehan prior to this writing for The Age but I could well be wrong.
    Retired from match day thread - Sep 2021

  19. Likes Ghost Dog liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •