The cheaper end of the Fourth Estate loves stories like that of footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted of a rape offence and sent to prison, but who has now been released. The press loves this not out of any concern for the victim, but because they can generate an endless stream of why-oh-why stories, which hold that, whatever Evans does, it is totally wrong.
So, as soon as it was known that he was going to be released from prison, this was wrong. When he was actually released, this too was wrong. On being reunited with family and friends, there was a get-together, which was promptly described as a “party”, and denounced as being wrong. Then the idea of his resuming his playing career – the job he knows best – was judged to be wrong.
His club, Sheffield United, apparently did not sack him on conviction, and paid up the few months remaining on his contract: this caused much head-shaking among the punditerati, and of course it was wrong. Evans’ girlfriend decided to stand by him, and she too was denounced for being wrong. But at least one thing was judged to be right – making up stories about Evans to suit the press’ agenda.
And who would like to put head above parapet first? Yes, it’s the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to tell “Footie rapist’s £½million deal ... Ched Evans comes home to a party, fiancee, fame ...and £5,000 a week earnings”. Really? Do go on: “FOOTBALL rapist Ched Evans has been offered a two-year contract by Sheffield United worth more than £500,000.The offer has sparked fury”.
It’s certainly sparked fury at Sheffield United, because they’re still having a think about it. “An article in the Sun today that Sheffield United has offered a contract to former player Ched Evans is false and damaging to the club. We have made a statement on this previously ... we are continuing to deliberate on any long term decision about Ched Evans”. But the story was off and running.
The Daily Mail has lifted the Sun’s claim: “Ched Evans is set to be offered a two-year contract with his former club, Sheffield United, it was claimed this morning. The deal, worth more than £500,000, could see the 25-year-old striker return to training with the Yorkshire club as early as next week”. This is married to faux concern for the victim of Evans’ crime, as the Mail plays every possible angle.
Yes, the Dacre doggies have been to Rhyl, “a seaside town that has seen better days”, to portray it as a North Wales coast version of Royston Vasey, while they and the Sun show scantily clad clickbait alongside their righteous froth. But what does Ched Evans do? He’s served his time, though the press seems to say that he shouldn’t be allowed a livelihood unless they say so.
The Murdoch press calling out others for criminality. There’s irony for you.