Sunday, 21 March 2010
On Friday night there was a boxing event in Melbourne, Australia, which had been heavily promoted as a "pay to view" programme by Sky Channel in New Zealand. In one corner was Shane Cameron, a New Zealand heavyweight of some note, apparently, in boxing circles. In the other corner was one John Hopoate, a former ARL rugby league player-come-boxer who is best known in Australasian sporting circles for his suspension-earning practice of inserting his finger up (rugby league) opponents' bums. Following all the promotional brouhaha, it was reasonable to assume there would have been, at the very least, a report in the sports pages of the daily newspaper on Saturday. But nope, not a mention. Googling revealed a very short report on a sports website, to the effect that Hopoate had been disqualified in the second round. No, not for digital penetration, but for "continual holding". For the benefit of those who, like the writer, are uninitiated in pugilistic matters, I take it this means hugging one's opponent in order that he cannot punch. If that's the case I don't blame him. I would do the same. My point is not the boxer's tactics or the result of the fight, but the complete failure of Sky Channel's attempts to generate public interest in what the newspapers seem to confirm, by their lack of reporting, as being a non-event. Which affirms my contention that media promotion sets out to create news, rather than report it. In this instance, Sky Channel's efforts failed miserably, which suggests that in some cases at least, the public are not as gullible as media folk think.