Papers have standards. Yes, we can all see the humour in this statement when we are talking about The Herald. It employs David – you’re all “bots” – Leask! But even in comparison to this low-level “journalism,” Angela Haggerty has always somehow managed to lower those already bargain-basement standards. No one seriously rates Ms Haggarty as a writer. As has been discussed before on this site, her analysis and style are wanting, and I would not be the first to suggest she was taken on by The Herald as an easily controlled pro-independence voice.
The counter-voice – such as the political voice of the SNP, Sinn Féin, or Plaid Cymru – is the modern equivalent of the pillory or the stocks. This is where the enemy is presented, carefully framed and expertly mitigated, so as to make it serve the purposes of the state. We may hear the voice and see the face of Nicola Sturgeon, for example, but the narrative – the most important element of “the news” – is always that of the British state. No BBC broadcast featuring a counter-voice will leave the audience in any doubt as to dangerous nature of that voice.
When The Guardian breaks from its usual sedate and hipster fare to inform us the government is considering calling in the Ministry of Defence to transport food and that the bosses of big business are predicting “civil unrest,” I think we should wake up. Suddenly the world of the ordinary and everyday is behaving like the worlds of familiar disaster fantasy, and – what’s more – we know where it all ends. We’ve read this book and watched this film a thousand times before. We know the rules.
The headline, given that most people seeing it don’t read further, has already misguided the public. Fraser will no doubt say he wasn’t responsible for it, but its use of a headcount of “5,000” more seeking work in Scotland inaccurately describes the reality of the figures. In fairness, Fraser does explain that “the rise appeared to be due to more women seeking work, while male unemployment remained the same,” but the damage has been done. Readers have already been misled into believing that the economy is worsening – which is not true.
Yesterday, at long last, the directors at the BBC caved in to public pressure and called David Duguid – the Scottish Conservative and Unionist MP for Banff & Buchan – onto the show to answer some not-so tough questions. Considering the charges currently being laid against his party; that he and others received potentially illegal donations from a network of political associations set up and used so as to obfuscate the sources of the money, this was a brilliant opportunity for Gary Robertson to grill Mr Duguid and shed some much-needed light on this growing political scandal.
The British Broadcasting Corporation is great at what it does. Our problem was that for so long very many of us didn’t know what its true purpose was. It was never intended to inform us – it is there to form us, and the same can be said for the overwhelming majority of the rest of the Scottish media. When we have news programmes, newspapers, and journalists insinuating that the former leader of the party in government in Holyrood is working for the Kremlin...
A staged gas attack provides the US and its allies a justification for military intervention in a conflict in which they have strategic interests. The British may be telling the truth, but their outrageous and criminal behaviour in other conflicts gives us no reason to trust them. Britain is not the most trustworthy state, and so it is understandable that people will accept Russia’s claims over whatever London has to say.
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.