Once upon a time, the story was the terrible deeds of the autocratic, despotic, perhaps barbarous government of Qatar. How they paid their way to become Host of the World Cup and how they treated not only the workers they grossly mistreated to build the infrastructure for one of the hugest, grandest events in all of sports but also expected fans to kowtow to their Prohibition era ways,all seemed headed toward a reckoning of some kind.
But no. Something happened.
It became a question of how fans would manage without beer.
The story shifted: now the games were on and all that merited discussion was who won and who lost.
Did journalism lose its moral compass in all of this?
Or was it the organizers and sponsors and fans and teams–all of whom did the ostrich thing and just said Get on with it?
I thought this might be an ethical question about reportage but it seems more a political question about courage: the courage to admit mistakes, to not conscience human rights violations, to refuse to abide by a Let’s Pretend there is no context for the pleasures we take in sports, to insist on principles above all.
It reminds me of the many appalling tales the waft around the NFL, the governing body for American football, from racist owners to sexist players, from minimizing concussions to overlooking domestic abuse.
Ditto for the ex-President who could be exposed as a sexist pig, in so many words, as well as a pathological liar, who could be the root cause of an attempted coup against our government and who wants to scrap our Constitution, but who only needs to wait out to the news cycle to go on his next outrageous act, indifferent to consequences that have yet to arrive (though they might, someday!).
Stories get told and our storytelling journalists can claim they just provide what we want to hear.
Perhaps it’s part of the loss of confidence in public institutions and public figures generally. What do you think?