Panorama and FIFA

Interesting - at least from a journalistic point of view - that investigative reporting has been a topic of huge debate in recent weeks. Last night it finally came to a head with the broadcasting of Panorama's investigation into allegations of corruption at the FIFA.

The argument has raged back and forth with accusations that the BBC is unpatriotic for scheduling the programme days before the winner to host the 2018 World Cup is to be announced being countered by the assertion that investigative journalism cannot be silenced for commercial or nationalistic considerations.

But the bid team and our Prime Minister have said they have no intention of silencing free speech but have criticised the timing of the programme and questioned why it could not have been aired some time ago.

As a journalist clearly I want to see investigations come to the fore - I tire of the churnalism that we see day-after-day in the media and of the constant use of celebrity to justify the news values of a story (why do we need Bob Geldof and Bono to convince us that Africa needs our help?).

But what did last night bring to the table? It was difficult to see much new information.

Panorama has given some truly superb examples of investigation but last night was little more than a 'cuttings job' - a story which has been formed entirely from repackaged existing news.

We had a summation of Panorama's previous, and entirely justified, attack on FIFA vice-president Jack Warner four-years ago. The top line to come out is that three senior officials took bribes in the 1990s, and a large part of the reporting was based upon investigative work by the Danish newspaper Tipsbladet.

The most interesting aspect to me was the fact that FIFA insisted that Government change their laws to protect the commercial rights of the tournament's official sponsors. The goes a long way to explaining how a group of women was arrested for wearing orange dresses during the world cup in South Africa this summer. It was seen as ambush marketing by brewer Bavaria which undermined the official sponsor Budweiser - but making wearing a colour of clothing illegal is a shocking victory for commercialism.

However, even that 'revelation' was actually the work of the Dutch Government and not Panorama. It also transpires that similar agreements have already been reached regarding the London Olympics next year and yet that does not seem to interest the BBC.

The Daily Telegraph's eminent sports writer Henry Winter had the following observation on Twitter immediately after the broadcast:
Watched Panorama with eminent sports news hacks here. They shrugged. Btw
David Mellor hardly added to substance.
But Paul Hayward in The Guardian offers a different view. He states:

Three days before the 2018 World Cup vote, the English bid is starting to feel like complicity in the supreme authority's slavering pursuit of the game's
astronomical wealth

And there's the rub. Whatever we think of the BBC's timing, it is FIFA that has failed to tackle corruption within its ranks and it is FIFA that puts the needs of sponsors before that of a democratic judiciary.

Whether or not the BBC should be rating chasing by sensationally timing its broadcasting of such a programme is a side issue - it is FIFA that has done wrong and it is our job as journalists to uncover it.

The Sunday Times' sting operation was hugely criticised by FIFA yet what the organisation failed to deal with was that the newspaper has uncovered yet more corruption.

I love sport and, barring the idiotic minority of football fans, still love the game of football but if we lose the 2018 World Cup because we have journalists willing to challenge corruption when they see it then that is a price I am prepared to pay.

I'm a failed Twitolutionary

It always looks so easy.

Creating a meme or an online campaign. We saw it last year when Killing In The Name Of beat X Factor at number one for Christmas. I've seen Stephen Fry, Clare Balding and JackofKent whip up a wonderful frenzy of outrage or glee.

So, having been delighted with the wonder of Brett Domino's Gillian McKeith song (below), I felt it was time to step up (to use the parlance of the day). I want to see Domino at number one for Christmas.

It's got everything. It would stick it to The Man, jam a stick through spokes of the wheels of commerce, promote a genius 'amateur' comedian, poke even more fun at the awfulpoolady and, above all, amuse the hell out of me.

It had the added bonus of promoting an act rejected by Simon Cowell on Britain's Got Talent (below). It seemed the concept of parody was beyond the comprehension of the mighty Kingmaker of pop.

But, and here's the rub, it turns out I have little to no influence. I thought my compact but respectable 211 followers (as of 26/11/10) would be enough to get something going.

I thought a few well phrased retweet requests to some influential Tweeps would get the ball rolling and I could sit back and enjoy with revolution from the comfort of my newly acquired Powerbook.

Except my retweet request fell on deaf Twears (sorry, I'll stop doing that now - it's starting to annoy me a little).

No word from Sunday morning Absolute podmaster Dave Gorman or Chris Moyles. @DavidAllenGreen (formerly known as JackofKent) - someone who I regarded as a banker due to his previous with the Emperor Palpatine-like McKeith - politely declined with the following Tweet:
@MBradbrook Sorry - have moved on from dealing with her ;-)

Disappointing, but not a fatal blow. But the minutes turned to hours and still no retweet. I checked my hashtag #dominoforxmas1 just in case it had been retweeted without my name attached. But one result popped up. My own tweet looked back at me in a mocking way.

Maybe Cheggers would back me I thought. But it turned out he's on a Tweetbattical (dammit that's a bad habit) after coming in for a bit of stick.

Maybe I shouldn't give up. I'm sure Che Guavara wouldn't have surrendered so easily. But Che wasn't operating on the information superhighway (old school).

I can't blame the holders of big Twitter accounts for not complying with every request that comes there way. Dave Gorman in particular is right to be suspicious after his recent brush with a fake account claiming to be raising money for charity.

They have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people and, as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker: With great power, comes great responsibility.

We'll see.

Maybe this whining, plaintive blog post might stir some support. The thing with social media is that every Tweet or status is a stone at the top of a hill - it just needs a good push to gather some speed.

If you're reading this and feeling the revolution, go on - give it a go and RT or repost to your status:
Twitcampaign to get @BrettDomino to Xmas no1? Would annoy awfulpoolady and Cowell (rejected him on BGT) #dominoforxmas1