When George Orwell wrote in 1945 that sport is "war minus the shooting", it was recognition of the power of sports to arouse nationalistic sentiments.

Orwell would have seen an echo of his words in the spectacle of thousands of football supporters across Europe singing the French national anthem as a show of solidarity for those who had died in the Paris attacks earlier this month.

In times of conflict, when the mainstream news media already tend to pound the drums of war - having sports audiences repeatedly exposed to pro-military messaging - tilts the playing field further still.

The short distance from the pitch to the battlefield is evidenced by the extensive use of sporting events by the Pentagon to rally support for US troops and military action abroad. Back in Europe, how many of those singing the Marseillaise were aware of its bloodthirsty battle cry?

"Hear the roar of those ferocious soldiers. They're coming to cut the throats of your sons, your women. To arms, citizens."

Substitute 'soldiers' for 'jet engines', and we have a modern-day rallying cry for a fresh round of air strikes on Syria.

Talking us through the story are: Cenk Uygur, Host of The Young Turks; Murtaza Hussain, a journalist at The Intercept; Sandy Tolan, an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and James Montague, a journalist and author.


Other media stories on our radar this week: Two prominent journalists in Turkey are behind bars after the government accused them of revealing "state secrets"; A Bangladeshi reporter is shot and wounded while covering funerals of convicted opposition figures; Iran has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian to a jail term, but the specifics of the case are still not known; and a political cartoonist seeking refuge in Thailand has been sent back to China following an extradition request by Beijing.


Rustavi 2 and Georgia's political tug of war

Georgia's most watched TV channel, Rustavi 2, is locked in a bitter power struggle with the government over its ownership.

One of the government's staunchest critics, the independent channel has gone to court and says it is facing a politically motivated, attempted takeover by allies of the government.

But Rustavi 2 also has some political muscle behind it: people who back its pro-European, pro-NATO agenda. 

Al Jazeera's Robin Forestier-Walker picks apart the ownership battle currently raging over Rustavi 2.


Finally, in the wake of the Paris attacks, Britain's The Sun newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch, loudly proclaimed that one in five British Muslims "sympathised with jihadis". However, the headline was misleading and prompted around 1,200 official complaints, as well as thousands of sardonic responses on Twitter under the hashtag #1in5Muslims.

Our closing video gives you a taste of a Twitter backlash against a newspaper's front page.

Source: Al Jazeera