Statement on Rangers website: “If RFC fans want the truth they will find it only on the Club’s official platforms.” < Respectfully disagree.
(Peter Adam Smith – Twitter 17.08.2013)
The above tweet by STV journalist Peter Adam Smith reflected both caution and frustration with the current situation at Ibrox regarding the press and media. I doubt very much a Rangers support still very much in recovery post Craig Whyte will ever take official statements emanating from Ibrox as “gospel”. It was a lesson which was learned the hard way and such an erosion of confidence is just one of the many legacies where Whyte’s tenure has left its indelible and ugly mark.
I have considerable sympathy for journalists such as Peter Smith and Richard Wilson at the Glasgow Herald, honest hard working journalists whose job is made a whole lot more difficult in view of the press shutters at Ibrox being firmly shut. The term “Iron Curtain” springs to mind. It goes without saying this is not a healthy situation for either the press and media but more importantly, nor for the Rangers support. But rather than limit their criticism at Rangers alone, perhaps those journalists, victims of collateral damage, would benefit from looking inwardly for a moment at the cause rather the manifestation of that Iron Curtain.
The recent hard-line statements from within Ibrox directed towards the press and media have been the subject of considerable discussion within the journalistic fraternity, particularly those who use twitter. Many are quick to mock suggestions of an anti-Rangers agenda or bias amongst our press and media – it is after all a fairly sensational claim. But their speed of dismissal of such notions slows down considerably when certain examples are put before them. (Im still waiting for an answer from STV journalist Neil Sargent over a number of points I raised with him via twitter)
As Rangers fans we take criticism of our club personally. When that criticism is based on lies or misrepresentation then that hurt anger is significantly compounded. Our media would do well to realise they are dealing with a support who have been conditioned to very negative and false representation with regard to our club even pre Craig Whyte. The Ibrox grass being cut to represent a sash, and Eggs Benedict being removed from the Auchenhowie menu are just a couple of examples which role of the top of the head. Perhaps its ironic that the newspaper which carried these stories is no longer in existence – due to the immoral and criminal conduct of some of its journalists.
And our support, almost to a man allegedly, were just a bunch of bigoted troglodytes according to Mr Graham Spiers. The same Graham Spiers who resorted to lying on national television rather than have the strength of character or integrity to admit, when challenged by Chris Graham, that what he had written was wholly and fundamentally wrong and inaccurate.
It seemed Rangers bashing was one of the few growth industries in Scotland.
Is their any basis whatsoever for Rangers supporters mistrust of the press and media or is it , as some would have up believe, just a figment of blue tinted paranoia ?
I will start with BBC Scotland mainly because during the preparation of this article an example of the type of journalism which this article hopes to challenge manifested itself. Jim Spence on BBC Sportsound, just this week, commented on the alleged mortal state of our club. This prompted the normal flood of complaints from Rangers supporters with the usual denials from within Pacific Quay. Casual observers, given what has transpired over the last couple of years would probably class this as “situation normal”
BBC Scotland themselves reported on Lord Nimmo Smith’s ruling that Rangers under Charles Green post administration were accountable for the actions of the pre administration Rangers as there was continuity of the football entity if not the business side. Jim Spence of course is not alone at BBC Scotland in conveniently ignoring what either Lord Nimmo Smith, the European Club Association, the SFA (or perhaps as an indication of how ridiculous this has become – the Advertising Standards Agency) – all had to say about the continuity of the football entity which is Rangers.
The fact that the BBC Trust had to adjudicate on this matter indicates how widespread disdain for Rangers football club is within BBC Scotland. A complaint regarding the manner and descriptive terms used by BBC Scotland to describe Rangers had to be escalated through all management levels at BBC Scotland until eventually it was referred to the BBC Trust with the Trust finding in favour of the complainants , much to the ire of many within BBC Scotland. And which even resulted in their business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser, having a pop at Rangers via Twitter.
One has to wonder how long individuals like Spence will be allowed to use the platform of the BBC to peddle their mis-information and lies regarding the club ?
Furthermore the circumstances surrounding the making of the BBC Scotland documentary – The Men Who Sold The Jersey’s – is worthy of comment (albeit limited due to the criminal investigation relative to this) BBC Scotland received evidence which was stolen from the Rangers Tax Case, not leaks, not some minor e-mails, but as Lord Nimmo Smith described them “productions” from the Rangers Tax Tribunal. Rather than return this evidence as one might expect from a responsible organisation in receipt of stolen property, BBC Scotland decided to retain this appropriated property and used it as the basis to for their sensational documentary, the balance and fairness of which was certainly questionable. As Lord Nimmo Smith describing the documentary commented :-
This event appears to have been the trigger for more activity in response to the SPL’s request.
A public funded media organisation felt it was appropriate to engage in criminal conduct (Reset) in order to engage in a bit of Rangers bashing. Forget any excuse about “whistle blowing” – these facts were already in the public domain and subject to legal proceedings thus usurping any claim that it was whistle blowing.
But this Rangers bashing is not limited to BBC Scotland either unfortunately. The Daily Record, a recent target of fairly hard line statements within Ibrox only have themselves to blame.
On the 24th May, 2013 the Record ran the following story.
Perhaps journalistic standards have dropped in recent years but would it not have been wise for the Record to check the dates in question ? Had they done so they would have learned that Rangers never had EBT’s during the time alluded to by the “victim”. Furthermore, in case the Record missed it, (though… “Its a fucking Government conspiracy” comments, allegedly by their staff, appear to suggest otherwise) Rangers were found not guilty at the Tax Tribunal.
Furthermore it was no secret that the Record Editor. Alan Rennie, was keen to recruit the persons behind The Rangers Tax Case Blog, for a regular column within the newspaper. In fact he openly pleased with them via Twitter to get in touch. Perhaps their spiteful, malicious and vindictive conduct towards our club jumped out at Mr Rennie from their CV. Quite simply Mr Rennie should be utterly ashamed of himself.
But the unashamed appears to know no bounds when it comes to the Scottish media. Perhaps some of you will be surprised by my next example, particularly given some of the lies this individual has concocted about our club and support in the past. But for me the following article from Graham Spiers is the epitome of Rangers bashing.
It breaks all the rules of debate, it breaks all the rules of evidence. (Well the ones BBC Scotland haven’t received and retained) Note the author’s use of examples from snapshots of time, following emotionally charged meetings or events. Perhaps worthy of greater note are the comments which Mr Spiers fails to cite in his article – Those of Lord Nimmo Smith, The SFA, The European Clubs Association to name but a few – in short a complete absence of comment from those who have either the authority or qualification to adjudicate officially on the matter. Sub standard, lazy and poor journalism ? Probably. But given the author it would be fair to include the ingredient of malicious mischief making into the pot.
I haven’t proven beyond reasonable doubt a concerted conspiracy within the press and media in Scotland towards Rangers – but I do think I have demonstrated why there is something of an Iron Curtain around Ibrox towards the press and media.
As I said in the opening this is not a good thing for wither the press or the Rangers support. But it’s not from within Ibrox that the change must come, but rather with the cause rather than the manifestation.
Malicious, inaccurate, lazy and sub standard journalism are the real enemies of the truth – not those within Ibrox who pull down Iron Curtains – that’s just the medicine for the malaise.
But until the gentlemen of the press learn how to self-regulate (and apparently Lord Leveson does not think them capable) then Iron Curtains are sure to descend.
But how do they self-regulate ? Well for a start perhaps journalists could spend their twitter time criticising those who cause Iron Curtains to descend, due to malicious, poor. sub standard and inaccurate articles.
Over to you Peter.