Media vermin

In the wake of an appalling crash brought about by a vehicle from France Television on stage 9 between Issoire and Saint-Flour in cycling’s tour of France, Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland, expressed unwarranted generosity in his remark: “We can still be happy that we’re alive. Nobody can be blamed for this,” he said. Fortunately, tour director Christian Prudhomme was less accommodating of media barbarity and arrogance: “They [the people in the French TV car] caused the crash of both riders. This behaviour is intolerable”.

a vehicle from France Television on stage 9 between Issoire and Saint-Flour

Australian media celebrities and sports journalists have made it clear for some years that sport exists for their benefit. In Adelaide, South Australia, they go even further. Here the same conceited and ignominious class of person have, in collaboration with dying sports clubs, managed to convince the government of the state that taxpayers should cough up 535 million dollars largely for the benefit of themselves and their mates. They puff Australian Rules (sic) football continuously across twelve months of the year. Like their political counterparts who have gradually sunk to the same level of arrogance, ignorance and self-importance, they have convinced themselves that the would revolves around them.

Journalists are a species of low life that warrants extirpation from public life. But that is only possible if the public begins to treat them with the contempt they deserve. It is an oddity that even as politicians have debased themselves in the public eye, when almost every remark brings parliament into deeper contempt, no similar contempt has generally adhered to the same journalists who have helped reduce the public mind to its present state of sloth and clumsiness. As the public mind has deteriorated journalists have puffed their own importance.

And now the same class happily and literally runs down the people upon whom they so closely depend. Professional sport is a questionable pursuit. Most is completely ignorable. Cycling differs from most in its demands of skill, strength, not only of physique but of mind and character as well, as well as trust in one’s team. Friendships and similar trust go beyond the usual boundaries of team. The Tour of France is truly a marathon. Over quite a few years now one has been privileged to witness numerous truly astonishing performances by these athletes, one determined last year by family loyalty at the expense of a possible stage win.

Contemporary media make it possible for no-bodies like me to able to know of such a race. Yet the same media make it increasingly difficult to maintain an interest in this particular professional sport. Commentary is rarely accurate. Endless clichés rule their speech.

At least, race organisers have announced that the French TV car would be excluded from the remainder of the race. Cycling News continues:

Christian Prudhomme said that the offending car had not taken directives from race radio.

“I announced on Radio Tour, which is the channel everyone should be listening to, that all cars should pull to the side and give priority to the team cars,” he explained.

“The car previously received the order from the race direction not to pass and let the Europcar team manager get through to the breakaway to give Thomas Voeckler the bottle he was asking for. They did not take that order into account . . . and caused the crash of both riders. This behaviour is intolerable.”

French TV’s apology smacks of today’s cowardly politics effectively disclaiming fault. Linguistic effluvia complement scam and bribe.


Far too generous: Hoogerland refuses to sue French TV; accepts their apology.

“They have apologized and we’ve accepted their apology. We’re not looking for a scapegoat. They went too far and they know that,” team manager Daan Luijkx said according to De Telegraaf.

It isn’t about looking for a scapegoat. But responsibility, that’s another matter.

For the moment one hopes that Hooegerland will be able to begin stage 10. Then it may be that we will be able to do no more than look forward to his presence in France in 12 months time.

Further, from the tour management:

Special Prize For Wounded Riders . . .

Today is the first time that two men will be awarded the prize that’s sponsored by Brandt and called the ’Fighting Spirit Award’. Also known as the most aggressive rider, it is a competition based on votes. The votes today have been cast and both Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland will stand on the podium to collect a red dossard. They were shunted off the road with about 35km to go while they were part of the escape group. But both have finished the stage. Bravo to both!



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