AhDinnaeKen is indulging in a little experiment based on something we read somewhere written by a MobNat praising Wings Over Scotland. The MobNat claimed that no one ever holds the editor, Stuart Campbell, to account for his writings because they can’t. The sentiment ran along the lines that Unionists/BritNats/Quislings/whoever attacked Campbell on a personal basis because they couldn’t rebut the points he raised in his website. Stop laughing. We* know. Here’s an example of why no one bothers, it’s just too easy:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiphobe
AHDINNAEKEN INTENDS embarking on a small feature series based on Wings Over Scotland’s alleged “monitoring” of the media – frothings, as they’re technically known in the NUJ card carrying trade.
This is just an experimental feature, to see how it goes.
Like Wings output, they will be highly selective, partially-truthful, mostly humourless and irony free distortions of what they report on – for the purpose of authenticity you understand.
The series will also, for reference purposes, point readers to Laird Wilcox’s handy 21 point guide to spotting the traits of political extremists.
This first feature concerns a commentary published in Wings on 13th October 2013 entitled “Organisation does job”. It’s a fine example of No.5 – ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS – in the Laird Wilcox list. (see You’ve been Longshanked below.)
Campbell took umbrage with a Sunday Post exclusive story which exposed the SNP Government for attempting to avoid public accountability. Perish the thought that the SNP would do such a thing. It’s not as if they have previous form or anything.
According to the Post’s Andrew Picken, by exploiting an “exceptional circumstances” loophole, the Scottish Government attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of the Scottish public in order to further their Independence agenda on defence.
At best, the action was a breach of the spirit of accountable governance, at worst it was a flagrant attempt at duping the sovereign people of Scotland.
The following was Campbell’s take on the matter:
What Andrew Picken’s keen journalistic nose appears to have EXCLUSIVELY uncovered is that the Scottish government is doing what it was democratically elected to do – pursue the policies in its manifesto. We’re not sure that’s strictly “news”.
Er, no. What Andrew Picken EXCLUSIVELY uncovered was that the Scottish Government avoided putting a defence advice contract out to tender by not following procurement rules which all democratically elected Scottish governments are expected to do. As can be seen from Campbell’s apologist advocacy, this essential point is conveniently ignored/forgotten.
As if to soothe his gullible MobNat readers from the osmotic harm of exposure to “evil” MSM journalism, Campbell stamps his alleged ahem, ‘professional journalist’ authority on the matter:
Because taxpayers fund everything that every government does. They’re (more or less) a government’s only source of revenue. Governments raise tax, then spend it on policies which – ideally – are the ones that appeared in their election manifesto.
Like most extremist propaganda, this par has a grain of truth in it. Unfortunately for Campbell, post-independence defence strategy was not what the SNP were elected for – they were elected to provide a referendum on Independence. Their 2011 victory allowed them to deliver on that manifesto commitment. We* certainly don’t remember voting SNP in 2011 so that the SNP could pick and choose which defence experts they spend our* taxes on.
And that’s why it’s good to know that there are journalists out there like Andrew Picken doing what journalists are supposed to do – making known what someone somewhere doesn’t want the public to know. Having to point out such a basic journalistic maxim to a self proclaimed ‘professional journalist’ like Campbell is embarrassing.
The next paragraph of Campbell’s emollient diatribe is where the real essence of ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS comes into play:
We don’t think anyone could accuse the SNP of hiding their desire for independence. So it seems fair that if the Scottish electorate give the SNP an unprecedented landslide victory in an election, as they did in 2011, it’d be reasonable for them to expect to pursue that objective as a government, which would involve spending money.
Er, hello. No one’s accusing the SNP of hiding their desire for independence. All Andrew Picken did was expose the SNP Government’s attempt to hide their hand picked ‘expert’ appointment and how much of our* money was being spent on doing so.
And no, Mr Campbell, it doesn’t seem fair that the SNP should interpret the 2011 victory as an excuse to spend undisclosed taxpayer monies pursuing a cloak and dagger styled independence agenda. They were elected to govern and legislate in a devolved parliament, not use their office to campaign for independence at taxpayers expense – the crux of Picken’s story.
As if it needs pointing out, the SNP were elected to follow the rules which all elected governments are expected to follow. Basic stuff. Professional journalists of all outlooks and persuasions know that. What’s Campbell’s excuse for being so clueless?
Then there’s this breathtaking admission of ignorance:
If a government is publishing a white paper setting out its aims, it’s entitled to use whichever experts it wants to make its case, not just whoever was prepared to give them an opinion at the lowest price. We’re not aware of the UK government having put any of its numerous anti-independence reports out to tender, nor are we aware of the cost of said reports being public knowledge.
Elsewhere, Campbell makes the laudable claim that he will cite facts and sources to back up his commentary and assertions. They’re risibly missing here. It seems he lied in this case. So far so what?
The party may be entitled to pick whatever experts it wants to make its case for Independence, but it can pay for them with party money. Governments are legally obliged to obtain best value for the electorate they were elected to serve. That’s why Picken’s story is a solid piece of ‘investigative’ journalism. The SNP government plainly wanted to avoid any kind of scrutiny or accountability over this action. Picken thwarted them in the attempt.
As for Campbell’s Tu Quoque argument regarding the UK government, does it need telegraphed to him that two wrongs do not make a right? Aren’t we supposed to be voting for Independence so that we can be rid of such allegedly sham Westminster style politics? He admits himself he’s “unaware” of the UK reports being put out to tender. They could have been. He doesn’t know. Outstanding or convincing journalism it aint.
Finally, we* have the formulaic, ubiquitous and tiresomely predictable grievance call to arms which, to the neutral observer, ensures that most of Campbell’s prolific output is strictly for polarised militants, conspiracy theorists, paranoid anoraks, Braveheart Commandos, rubber neckers and ill informed dimwits in his Nationalist based online world:
The Post’s story is simply the latest in a long line of attempts by the Scottish media to portray independence as some sort of illegitimate pursuit, an outrageous indulgence of vanity against the wishes and interests of the people rather than the core policy of the country’s biggest political party, backed by a clear democratic mandate.
Earth calling Campbell! Earth calling Campbell! Come in Campbell!
Pickens story is no attempt at portraying independence as any such thing. Picken’s report did what journalism is supposed to do – hold those in power to account. Simples.
So there we have it. With minimal effort, Campbell’s alleged forensic deconstruction and media analysis is shown up for what it really is – empty schoolboy rhetoric based on naive faith in the SNP government and an inability to grasp the basic tenets of journalism.
If that’s what passes for “trenchant insights” in the world of the partisan Nationalist media monitor, then long may they continue. The Indy campaign needs a laugh.
[ ADDENDUM – YOU’VE BEEN LONGSHANKED! ]
If anyone reading this has ever read Wings more than once they’ll pick up on Laird Wilcox’s No.5 trait (above) easily.
Campbell is very light, to the point of vacuousness, when it comes to criticising the SNP in government. It’s as if conceding any questionable point would somehow lessen the argument needed to build a compelling case for Independence. Kiddy stuff.
When governments, no matter the hue or intent, go to extra lengths to conceal information then it’s clear they have something to hide. Campbell plainly sees nothing wrong with this. In his little black and white polarised world the intention of the SNP government is benign ie they want to present a best case argument for Independence using taxpayer monies to do so.
Why shouldn’t they, runs the logic of Campbell’s argument – even when it breaks the rules of accountable governance – it’s for the greater good of the country after all. This type of apologist argument is a prima facie case of special pleading.
Call AhDinnaeKen unduly cynical, but isn’t that kind of faith from someone with the temerity to call themselves an ahem, ‘professional journalist’ just a little bit tenuous? Not so much touching as touched?
The answer of course is yes, it’s laughably weak. And that’s why Campbell’s ludicrous attempt at rebuttal of Andrew Picken’s EXCLUSIVE is not just embarrassing, it’s cringeworthy. It’s not set in stone, but it is a good example of the mark of an extremist with a poor argument to peddle.
Journalists, no matter how partisan, are expected to hold those in power to some kind of account. To advocate against basic accountability because it fits in with your political view is either sadsack journalism or the mark of an extremist.
AhDinnaeKen knows which option you should plump for – both. Campbell isn’t a journalist, he’s a mob funded, public relations Nationalist extremist.
Time to wake up MobNats, you’re being sold a pup and you’re paying for the privilege. The only people who don’t know that are those who will soon find it out.