The Scottish Media's Ransom Note

By Keith Waddell | Media Analyst

Has anyone seen the ransom note?

There must be one somewhere because it appears logic — along with intelligent, balanced debate — is being held hostage in social media's basement while incoherent hatred and fury rampage across our screens.

The lie of this wasted land of ours must be plain for everyone to see by now.

So skewed has become the narrative that the SPFL go out of their way to contradict their Senior Counsel, Gerry Moynihan QC, who stated categorically that (Rangers) OldCo’s use of EBT was lawful. The SPFL, however, and the oafish Tom English say it was unlawful.

Expert legal opinion isn’t enough for them, not when they have an agenda to nurture and promote. Even after a very public Twitter humiliation for English and the BBC, he remained unrepentant.

Do not be fooled or wrong-footed by the apology offered by their Basil Fawlty of a publishing editor, Jonathan Russell, to the Rangers supporter he recently tried to undermine in his place of employment. The Record are getting the message: Rangers fans have the power to close them down.

This paper's refusal to employ logic and balance when dealing with the complexities of Rangers' recent back story has been truly appalling and more spiteful than other publications, although they, too, should be aware they are being watched. They have allowed themselves, willingly, it should be noted, to become infected by the malice and invective used so freely in the stinking lower reaches of social media.

Incoherent hatred and fury has been rampaging across our screens for years and the savage, uncouth sub-language of the internet now dominates journalists and journalism. What a terribly sad indictment of our Fourth Estate.

Honesty and reality are chocked by the virus but this isn’t the worst of the symptoms because when reporting on Rangers there is something more disturbing about the behaviour of our papers and broadcasters. In fact, there is something sinister in the way so many so-called journalists appear determined to demonise Rangers.

Of course sitting ducks, like Murray and Whyte, are tackled every now and then but more should have been done to connect dots and shine a light on people such as Grier, Muir, Green, Ahmad, Stockbridge, the somnolent Easdales, certain over-zealous individuals within HMRC, and of course Lloyds Bank.

And what about studying the roles played at Hampden by Harper Macleod’s Rod McKenzie – exactly how much influence does this friend of Peter exert at Hampden - and the outgoing SPFL chairman, Ralph Topping? Perhaps, before he disappears, not that anyone noticed he was actually among us, he might be asked if he still holds a torch for Celtic’s fans after their latest shameful behaviour.
Then again, these fans who regularly embarrass the country needn’t worry if, as has been suggested, Topping’s successor Murdoch MacLennan really does have a profound dislike of Rangers. Is loathing for Rangers a prerequisite for a top position over at Hampden?

But don’t hold your breath waiting for any of our journalists to ask because no newspaper or broadcaster has attempted a proper number on the blatant tax-avoidance film schemes so well used by Celtic employees, including Lawwell? Has this club’s benefactor Dermot Desmond been asked for his views on the fines imposed on Rietumu Bank (he owns almost one-third of the Latvian bank’s shares) which is engulfed in a money-laundering scandal?

No, stop. This is just nonsense. After all, how can any of us expect our papers or broadcasters to be professional when they refuse to take their own anti-Rangers zealots to task?

And that brings us back to the wretched Record. They suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of Scottish newspapers – one every bit as embarrassing as Rangers’ recent exit from Europe – when they were given a public flogging by their governing body, IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation.)

This came after the Record had published lies about the trouble which flared at the end of the 2016 Scottish Cup final. The reporter, Jane Hamilton, who has a history of referring to Rangers supporters as Huns, was not even reprimanded never mind sacked. In fact, she was singled out for special praise by the paper’s editor Murray Foote at the last Newspaper awards do.

While he is more than happy to drop everything and scurry to Lawwell’s office when summoned – as is Allan Rennie, the Record’s managing director, another who has declared a dislike of Rangers – Foote and Mouth (Rennie) treat Rangers with such disrespect they don’t even bother showing up for meetings with Stewart Robertson, Lawwell’s Ibrox equivalent.

Those Rangers supporters who still purchase the Record should be aware of this bumbling duo’s abject fear of Lawwell, a terror which helps explain their constant attacks on Rangers. We should be saddened because this was once a paper of genuine significance but it has become poisonous.

Russell has already had an inglorious mention but by way of further examples, let's not forget news editor Kevin Mansi, who thinks he's at the Celtic View, the preposterous Hamilton, and perhaps the most ill-informed hack on the planet, online sports editor Darren Cooney. There are many others but this trio don't even attempt to disguise their bottomless contempt for Rangers.

Indeed, Cooney is another who has freely used the term Huns to describe Rangers fans. It seems that the more lies and poison any hack can spread about Rangers the greater his/her chances of promotion at the Record, where all manner of rabid, two-bob Celtic bloggers are afforded this one-time national newspaper’s platform to spread their bile.

Yet, the Record ignores completely Club 1872’s statements while promoting anything other, much smaller, and, to be honest, insignificant fan groups shovel out. And Foote, whenever he isn’t pouring Peter’s coffee, continues to splutters his paper has no agenda.

The reality is that it is now impossible to fathom the depth of loathing of Rangers within the Record, and sister paper the Sunday Mail where space is given to a bellowing hack, who succeeds in discrediting his profession every time he attacks a keyboard with his knuckles. Honestly, Gordon Waddell is such a crushing, loud-mouthed bore – yes, worse even than that incoherent Jackson fellow – yet the execs who pay this pair of poltroons still wonder why plummeting circulations have reached terminal velocity.

But Waddell, who cannot grasp even then most basic of facts, is by no means the worst of a tawdry bunch. Angela Haggerty (Sunday Herald and other minor publications) detests Rangers fans and scrapes a living from faking news about them. But perhaps the most worrying aspect of this dreadful woman’s semi-literate rants is that she offers us a glimpse of how sordid and twisted Scotland will be if independence becomes a reality. Her Scotland would be hellish.

Yet, she is another who is given space and allowed to pollute the air waves by both Scottish TV and BBC Scotland, of course, because she is exactly their kind of patsy. She promotes their agenda, especially the BBC‘s anti-Rangers rhetoric. A bit like the Daily Record, they are intent on creating the news rather than reporting it.

How else can we explain those title-stripping stories which little Chris has pushed relentlessly? He and others like him claim there is an almighty clamour to remove titles when, in fact, there is no great demand at all. It’s just that the BBC (and the Record) are determined to promote the spitting, spewing minority through the usual Pacific Quay suspects like McLaughlin, Spiers, English, Gordon, Spence and Cosgrove but they aren’t to blame. The real BBC culprits are the ones who approve contracts for this tainted and twisted crew.

It is reckoned, within BBC Scotland's own HQ, that Celtic fans account for more than 70% of the sports department workforce, which might help explain why Mark Daly is given so much leeway and why his team includes one of the most rabid anti-Rangers individuals of them all. Come on Martin (Conaghan) don’t be shy. Take a bow. Your support for that deranged, baying mob, who ought to have been done by the RSPCA for flogging that dead resolution 12 horse, is known.

It really is time Rangers supporters used their power to end to the lies and hatred directed towards them by all manner of so-called journalists, who are really nothing more than bigots. They need to realise that even if only 30% of Rangers supporters throughout the country stopped buying the Record and complained to BBC Scotland on a regular basis they would quickly secure a more balanced coverage. The Record cannot afford to lose any more customers and the BBC are terrified of legitimate complaints.

Each and every Rangers supporter has the power to stop the flow of hatred towards Ibrox simply by repeating the strategy which helped forced Sports Direct to play ball.

Take a lead from Dave King and stop buying. Stop listening to and stop watching shameless individuals intent on destroying your club. There must be no let up. You are in a circulation war and you can win it.