Journalism is one of those things, like Gaelic football and teenager's manners, that is always in decline, seemingly forever teetering on the precipice of disaster and ultimate extinction.
A few weeks ago, the once-noble human endeavour known as journalism hit a new low when Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to conduct an interview with himself on Facebook. The entire exercise seemed to be a final nail in the sleuth's coffin, a rubicon at which journalists' access to players was left behind.
The worst thing for journalists was the fact that Zlatan's interview with himself was bloody entertaining. Ahead of the first leg against Man City in the Champions League, Zlatan prised out some cracking quotes from, well, himself, and managed to weave the transcript into a smooth, coherent and flowing arc ending in a gag at the expense of Joe Hart:
Q: Tonight, it’s time for Champions League as you receive Manchester City at home on Parc des Princes. The other day you got a perfect warm-up by winning 4-1 over league-third Nice, a match where you performed a hat trick. What are your thoughts about the quarterfinal?
Zlatan: An important and difficult match.
Q: Manchester City eliminated Dynamo Kiev in the previous round, and for the first time in club history they get to play quarterfinals in the Champions League. What do you think of the light-blue team from Manchester?
Zlatan: It’s a very good team.
Q: City is, just as PSG, a world class team packed with stars. Which City players would have made the PSG starting lineup?
Zlatan: They have a good team, and we have a good team.
Q: The keeper for Manchester City is Englishman Joe Hart, a player who has conceded beautiful Zlatan goals before. How about adding to his misery tonight?
Zlatan: Let’s see what happens.
We expected much from the second interview ahead of the return leg this evening, with Zlatan facing off against Joe Hart once again having suffered the ignominy of having Hart save his penalty in the first leg. So expecting either a magnanimous climbdown from the previous interview or a magnificent re-affirmation of his attitude to Hart, we eagerly clicked onto his Facebook stage. This is what we found:
Q: Tonight, the quarterfinals in the Champions League continue as you face Manchester City away. The first match ended 2-2 and your opponents now have the opportunity to play on this result. What do you think of the match?
Zlatan: It’s an open match where anything can happen.
Q: Some of your key players are suspended (David Luiz and Matuidi), and although players like Veratti, Pastore and Trapp are on the squad, it’s not sure that they can play due to injuries. What are your thoughts on the squad tonight?
Zlatan: Our squad is ready.
Q: Compared to the first match, what do you need to improve tonight to eliminate City and advance to semifinal?
Zlatan: We are not going to repeat the simple mistakes we did in the first match.
Nothing on Hart. Barely anything on the first leg. In all, Zlatan gave three perfunctory answers totalling a meagre 27 words, showing little regard for the journalist - okay, himself- who would have to file copy off the back of the interview. Zlatan the interviewer, meanwhile, could have tried a bit harder to push for further answers, and totally failed to challenge er, himself on comments before the first leg.
It seems once he had the access and the guaranteed clicks, he stopped making an effort. Lazy Journalism.