According to The Guardian, the decision by Swedish newspaper ‘Dagens Nyheter’ to rank footballing legend and sometime pony impersonator Zlatan Ibrahimovic to second place in their poll of Sweden’s all-time sports stars has really rattled his cage. ‘Zlatan anger at finishing second on list of all-time Swedish sports people’ screams the headline.

Okay, you may not be able to even name five Swedish sports stars yourself, but probably most people with half a foot in reality can think of at least one who stands out; namely seventies tennis legend and five times Wimbledon men’s singles champion Bjorn Borg. How, realistically, can anyone begin to get angry about coming second to Borg, for the love of God? What planet is Ibrahimovic on? Talk about arrogance. That’s the problem with modern footballers; they are just overpaid, over-hyped, arrogant shits with a hugely overinflated sense of their own worth and importance. What a shit!

Now let’s rewind, just a little. Angry? Just for a moment, let’s examine something that many people now find a little uncomfortable. It’s called ‘evidence’. It’s really useful when you are trying to get to the bottom of something to look for tangible support for any claim you make. Otherwise you look, well, uninformed at the very least. What basis are we given for the claim that Zlatan is ‘angry’ about what, on any view, is a tinpot poll in a tinpot newspaper. I’ll quote the Guardian piece in full, for the sake of completeness.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reacted angrily to finish second on a list ranking Swedish sports people of all time. The PSG striker was the runner-up behind five-times Wimbledon winner Björn Borg as the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter ranked the top 150 Swedes.

Ibrahimovic, however, was not best pleased with the result as the paper asked him for his thoughts.

Dagens Nyhether: Congratulations, you have finished second on the list of Swedish sports people of all time, how do you feel about that?

Zlatan: Thank you but to finish second is like finishing last.

DN: You have previously mentioned Muhammad Ali, Petter Northug and Ronaldo as sports people you rank highly. Who would have finished on the podium if you had ranked the best Swedish sports people of all time?

Zlatan: On that list I would have been No1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with due respect to the others

DN: Björn Borg is No1 on the list and he has previously expressed his admiration for you and that he sees you as Sweden’s biggest star, “even bigger than IKEA”. How do you see Borg and his career?

“He is a cool person and a living legend.”

As I read, and re-read, this piece I began to ask myself ‘where the fuck is there any suggestion that Ibrahimovic was in any sense ‘angry’ about this poll? You will note that what started out being described as an angry reaction quickly becomes ‘not best pleased’. How the fuck can anyone reading that interview possibly conclude that Ibrahimovic was angry about it rather than, say, simply being ironic? He concludes by saying poll winner Borg is “a cool person and a living legend”.

What we have here is, from a supposedly respectable newspaper, an example of misleading bullshit that frankly deserves calling out. Maybe hyperbole where it comes to sports ‘stars’ is something that most people are prepared to blow off. But where does it end? Answer? It doesn’t. This is now standard media practice, and if you look at many news stories in anything other than a superficial way, you can see that the general public are being bullshitted by the media, day in day out, on an industrial scale. I am reminded of a sketch in the all-too-brief 1990s satire ‘The Day Today’, and have linked it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3BO6GP9NMY. Chris Morris had this bullshit taped years ago, and nothing has changed.

If you want to stay reliably informed, the last place to now look is the mainstream media. It’s time to declare war on it.

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