An Agent of Influence: David Leask’s Job

David Leask’s job isn’t to spot lies. He may want to convince himself that this is what he does for a living, but he’s deluding himself. Mr Leask can’t even spot the lies in his own paper. He hasn’t commented on the astronomical number of retractions The Herald has had to publish in relation to its coverage of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish government (see the pattern?). Retractions on page 12 a week later, as The Herald knows, don’t correct the damage done by a lie published in bold on the front page – and that’s how it works.

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Anatomy of the British Nationalist Troll

Accounts of this type are not interested in discussion. They routinely insinuate themselves into ongoing conversations pretending to be ordinary people – giving no indication of their political position – and work, if given the chance, to derail the discussion and waste people’s time. When this tactic fails, or when they are discovered and called out, they resort to personal abuse and threats in an effort to drive people away from the conversation.

Online Trolls: Don’t Feed the Bampots

Internet trolls – especially in the political sphere – have a number of functions. They are a distraction. Trolls will engage activists in petty arguments, and, of course, the activist, taking this as a teaching opportunity, will happily go down the rabbit hole. It’s pointless. No argument will convince them of the merits of independence. They don’t even have a vote. Most likely the person on the other side is in an office in Wolverhampton following the instructions pinned to their blue cubical wall.