Monday 21 August 2017 / 05:06 AM

WHAT IS DISGRACEFUL TELEGRAPH’S ULTERIOR MOTIVE FOR BULLDOGS REFERENCE?

This week a news story broke about Australian Khaled Khayat, who was arrested and subsequently interrogated in relation to an alleged plot to hijack a plane.

That’s the story.

But that wasn’t good enough for the people who claim to be journalists at the Daily Telegraph covering the story. They intentionally then chose to link Khayat to the NRL, where zero links exist between the man, the alleged incident and his interrogation.

They found a picture of Khayat in happier times wearing a Canterbury Bulldogs jumper. They then made the headline feature the fact he’s a Bulldogs fan.

Why? It has zero to do with the story.

What is the motive for such a spurious act?

Is it to get Bulldogs and NRL fans to click on the link? If so, it was quite deceptive. Surely the News Limited conglomerate is a widely enough known organisation to the public that they don’t need to resort to such pathetic measures to increase readership of their articles.

The link made was done so deliberately, otherwise it woudn’t have been made at all. The same story could be run without any mention of the Bulldogs and it would make zero impact on the facts in the article.

In fact, apart from the opening three words of the article, which were “Canterbury Bulldogs fan” there is absolutely zero reference to how his passion for the club or the game of Rugby League, has anything to do with the crime.

So why mention it? What’s the point? Why stop at his jumper? Why not mention his favourite drink, his favourite shoe company, his passion for a particular sock brand? That stuff is all just as relevant as the fact he supports the Bulldogs.

They didn’t talk about how big a fan Talal Alameddine was of Adidas when he was arrested wearing one of their shirts, charged with the shooting of Curtis Cheng. Why the inconsistency?

Why does one man’s apparel have such a significant amount of importance that justifies adding it to a story while another man’s t-shirt doesn’t?

One could argue that Adidas has more fans that use the internet than the NRL and the Bulldogs have combined.

Which can only lead one to draw the conclusion that there was an ulterior motive, other than clickbait, which in this case was slanderous towards the Bulldogs and the NRL, as it linked both organisations to the acts of a man who is being questioned about an alleged terror attack plot.

What is the ulterior motive of News Limited in this situation? Are they suggesting that terrorists support the Bulldogs? Are they suggesting that supporting the Bulldogs draws people to terrorism?

These are legitimate questions that need to be asked and answered. Whether the decision to link the Bulldogs to this story was intentional or accidental, it’s sloppy and disgraceful journalism and they need to be made to answer some of these serious questions.

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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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