Can hate preaching, no matter how articulate or allegedly eloquent, ever be called ahem, ‘professional journalism’? AhDinnaeKen doffs the trusty cap of fair minded and honest journalism (cough) and investigates the hate preaching sectarian bigot calling himself Rev Stuart Campbell.
[Reader warning: This piece is overly long by AhDinnaeKen’s standards. If you want to read the essence of the piece go to the subhead “Warning: The following contains distressing examples of a complete lack of ahem, ‘professional journalism.'”]
I was going to write this some time ago and refer to a different blog piece to make my point. But, time, lack of interest and boredom got in the way. It was a short, concise and pithy quote which brought things into sharp focus and spurred me into action:
“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” ( Ayaan Hirsi Ali )
When I read this minimalist and elegant quote I realised that I could no longer tolerate the bile and hatred and intolerance which pours out of the so called ahem, ‘professional journalist’ of the Wings Over Scotland blog, Rev Stuart Campbell.
On 13 September 2012 the self proclaimed ‘media monitoring watcher of the watchmen’ vented his spleen in a manner which can only be described as revoltingly and repulsively abhorrent – beyond the ken of normal humanity.
The Rev Stu piece, ‘No justice for the 96‘, outlining the Rev’s alternative take on the Hillsborough disaster exhibits a clear lack of spiritual and human empathy which actually made me feel sorry for this individual’s lack of soul or connectedness to his fellow human beings.
Any human being who could take the time out to write and articulate such a piece, calling Liverpool fans “murderous” killers and “reckless cretins” is clearly spiritually desolate, intellectually challenged and in need of a nervous system carrying those dual humane weaknesses of emotion and empathy.
The empty vacuum in this individual’s life is plainly eased when he fills it with the type of hatred, bigotry and gross ignorance witnessed in the ‘No justice for the 96’ hate piece.
Onyhoo, that’s enough of the Rev’s pathology, or lack, thereof. This AhDinnaeKen piece has been written to debunk one of the Rev’s oft repeated false homilies – namely that of being an ahem, ‘professional journalist’.
A brief foray into Wikipedia defines the aim of journalism as follows:
“It is intended to inform society about itself and to make public, things that would otherwise be private.”
Whereas the Rev’s ahem, ‘professional journalism’ tends to inform you more about the Rev’s personality and makes public things virtually no one else with an ounce of humanity would say in public. Conveniently, his ahem, ‘professional journalism’ exposes the deeply unpleasant schoolboy idiocy resident in the psyche of the self alleged ahem, ‘professional journalist’.
Basic journalism tutorial alert
The following paragraph long tutorial is for the Rev. Consider it my gift/donation to your campaign. You plainly need it much more than you need my pound:
Basic journalism runs along these lines: Check facts. Verify sources. Obtain quotes. Look for corroborating evidence in sympathy with or supportive of your original assertion. Then, when you’re sure of your facts and you’re sure your claim is sound, source a potential alternative view which possesses some sort of authority. In this instance an eye witness account would be perfect. Failing that, a quote from an expert in a subject, say, like crowd disasters or hydrostatics.
Tutorial over – the best pound sterling I’ve never spent.
When I first read No justice for the 96 I thought I was going to find something out about the Hillsborough disaster I had never known before. At the very least I expected an earth shattering revelation or two providing corroborating evidence that, as per one of the Rev’s claims, the pushing action of Liverpool fans was deliberately ‘murderous’ and caused the fatal crush in the middle Leppings Lane pens at Hillsborough.
I remembered, vaguely at first, another publication by News International which made similar headline claims quite a few years ago. The proprietor of that publication is still around now and he’s a prime ‘backscratching’ friend of Alex Salmond. But I digress.
Before anyone gets uppity and feels the need to leap to Rev Stu’s defence, consider the evidence being presented here first. I’m not writing this out of malice. I’ll confess to not liking the Rev. But, I feel sorry for him first and I couldn’t hate him because I don’t do hate. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: ” I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
AhDinnaeKen recently pointed out a laughable schoolboy error in a piece of the Rev’s attacking a low-grade propaganda leaflet published by the Better Together campaign. The same basic schoolboy error is made in ‘No justice for the 96’, though this time it isn’t laughable; it’s vile, hateful, abhorrent and disgusting. And, if the Rev knew shame, he would be ashamed.
Warning: The following contains distressing examples of a complete lack of ahem, ‘professional journalism.’
Consider the following accusation/assertion in Rev Stu’s ‘No justice for the 96’:
“At Hillsborough, EVERYONE pushing their way into the tunnel KNEW perfectly well that it opened into an enclosed area with no exits, hemmed in by overhanging steel fences, which minutes before kick-off was likely to already be crammed with people, and which took the inherently-hazardous form of a stairway.”
[Emphasis by AhDinnaeKen]
EVERYONE KNEW! Wow! This is an entirely false and tediously cretinously moronically hateful and unjustifiable assertion. If it were true, following the logic of the piece, then EVERYONE forming part of the crush – including those being crushed in the tunnel – is a homicidally “murderous” individual willfully contributing to the slaughter of their fellow fans with “lethal stupidity”.
Breathtakingly, the Rev later repeats just such an assertion:
“The reality is much simpler, and required no lying – the fans were to blame because they, alone, were the ones who pushed and thereby caused the crush.”
Truly an earth shattering revelation – if remotely true. But, for such a revelation to be truly earth shattering it needs to be, at least, partly true. The assertion needs some corroborative fact based empirical evidence behind it to, y’know, reinforce the heinous claim.
You can read ‘No justice for the 96’ as many times as you want – empirical evidential based facts backing up the sick hateful claim are notable by their complete absence. Nyada. Not a one. There is not one fact, no matter how strung out or remotely tenuous, available ANYWHERE in the piece to back up the Rev’s accusation that EVERYONE KNEW they were killing others and pushed regardless.
In fact the only evidence provided is the Rev’s own experience in a crush at a Barrowlands concert. And even here, we have no demonstrably empirical facts such as crowd density, crowd numbers, dimensions of venue, injuries, potential dangers, pressure equivalents or similarity to circumstances played out at Hillsborough.
No, the only evidence provided is that the Rev had space to move backwards by acting with the same kind of anti-social recklessness and abandon he accredits to Liverpool fans:
“So I started jabbing my elbows and heels behind me, and worked my way back through the crowd to a safer spot near the sides.”
If you’ve got space to do that, then you’re not in a fatal crush situation. You’re nowhere near it. Survivors of the Leppings Lane pens spoke of being unable to move their arms – they were pinned in a vice like grip. They relate the extreme difficulty in breathing. Every breath is a desperate gulp for life and every exhalation potentially your last.
Now, this piece could go on, but it’s too long already. There’s plenty more in the Rev hate piece which could be debunked. But each time I read it I get angrier and sadder.
The reason I get angry is simple – I’m a human being with a nervous system. Some of the Rev’s lines are ghoulishly necrotic, relishing in the death throes of the damned at Hillsborough:
“And space was indeed created, from the only place it possibly could be – the rib cages of the people already on the terracing.”
“…the irresponsible, reckless cretins who pushed into a solid wall of bodies even as agonised screams cut the air in front of them.”
And the reason I get sadder is simple also. A soul or spirit has to be some kind of arid and desolately empty and driven by a pathological hatred of fellow human beings to write such fundamentally dishonest and hateful assertions.
Kelvin McKenzie was behind the Sun’s smear. What motivation lies behind the Rev’s?
It’s certainly not journalistic integrity or professionalism. The Rev is as much a ‘professional journalist’ as a small boy wearing a helmet, sitting in a cardboard box and making engine sounds, is a professional astronaut.
The Rev starts his ‘No justice for the 96’ with some risibly pretentious and sanctimoniously facile bombast which initially made me laugh out loud. He has the temerity to quote Orwell on journalism:
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
Assuming that the Rev has now allegedly reached his professional Egoagogo begging target, consider another quote from Mr Orwell:
“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
No justice for the 96 is an atrocity toward journalism. It twists and mocks the basic fundamentals which make true professional journalism an absolute essential in a working democracy. No justice for the 96 demonstrates a motivation and intent driven by a pathological hatred which can fairly and squarely be labeled a hate crime.
Yet quite a few hundred fellow Nationalist independence sympathisers seem to think the Rev’s brand of hate preaching passes as ahem, ‘professional journalism’.
It would be funny if it didn’t so tragically fulfil some hackneyed old cliches and stereotypes regarding the communal delusion required for Nationalism to work.
If you donated your pound or more to the Rev’s Egoagogo campaign, you’re virtually as guilty as the Rev of hate preaching because you’re condoning it as acceptable. Hang your heads in shame and repent. I’ll forgive you. Don’t expect me to forgive the Rev.
I’ll finish with a quote from the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) who painstakingly adjudicated on the amassed evidence of the Hillsborough tragedy:
“…the SYP Police Federation, supported informally by the SYP chief constable, sought to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on several police officers’ allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence among a large number of Liverpool fans. This extended beyond the media to Parliament.
“Yet, from the mass of documents, television and CCTV coverage disclosed to the panel there is NO EVIDENCE to support these allegations other than a few isolated examples of aggressive or verbally abusive behaviour clearly reflecting frustration and desperation.”
Worth remembering that the HIP sifted through a metaphorical and literal mountain of evidence to come to such a conclusion.
What empirical evidence based facts did the Rev provide for his polar opposite conclusion that the Liverpool fans were murderously culpable? None. Unless, of course, you count an anecdotal example of jostling in an uncomfortably crowded Barrowlands more substantial than the evidence available to the HIP.
Now that’s what I call ahem, ‘professional journalism.’
Get your money back Egoagogo suckers. You’ve been sold a pup.