Was the Daily Mail too fair on the Cybernats?

AhDinnaeKen is no fan of the Daily Mail. But first and foremost it is a newspaper driven by the agenda of its readers. It reports stories – like every newspaper does. Yesterday it told a story about abusive Cybernats. As with any tabloid styled story, it contained an element of hyperbole. It’s part of the modus operandi of popular newspapers. It’s what keeps readers interested and reading to the end. We* found the Mail feature entitled ‘Cybernats Unmasked’ to be temperate to the point of sanguinity. Which forces AhDinnaeKen to ask the question – just why are all those Cybernats highlighted by the story bleating so much? Will an indy Scotland be a Crybaby Nation full of grieving victims? AhDinnaeKen investigates the Daily Mail version of “social justice”:

"The greatest humiliation in life, is to work hard on something from which you expect great appreciation, and then fail to get it." - E. W. Howe. Well done on all that hard poisonous work Cybernats. Shame about the Daily Mail, eh?

“The greatest humiliation in life, is to work hard on something from which you expect great appreciation, and then fail to get it.” – E. W. Howe. Well done on all that hard poisonous work Cybernats. Shame about the Daily Mail, eh?

By Ahmstill Laffin

THE DAILY Mail chose to expose some alleged Cybernats yesterday.

It was a double page feature introduced by a headline screamer.

Tagged as an “Exclusive”, it highlighted seven Cybernats famous/infamous for their varying independence invective on Twitter and the internet.

By the standards of some of the venom aimed at opponents or sceptics of Indy, the piece was balanced, fair, informative and temperate.

Not that you’d think so judging by the reaction to it.

One of the alleged Cybernats, Melissa Murray aka @meljomur is threatening to sue the Daily Mail for stalking and harrassment.

Of course, this isn't abusive commentary, it's fair debate.

Of course, this isn’t abusive commentary, it’s fair comment. Allegedly.

AhDinnaeKen says, good luck with that Mel, we could do with the laugh – in the public interest of course.

Another exposed Cybernat, ‘Reverend’ Jedi Wingsy Campbell wrote a whole blog about it. Entitled, “The Bully Pulpit“, the author allegedly used “trenchant insights” to “forensically” tear it to pieces.

From where we*’re standing, it read like a page out of the Wingnuts Over Scotland manual on how to write a hate preaching blog. Y’know, for Cybernats like himself and the others featured in the Daily Mail.

Consider the following two paragraphs from the whinging Bully Pulpit blog: [Italics for the Daily Mail, Bold Italics for Wingsy]

“But what marks out the cybernats is their modus operandi: from their disparate locations around the country, on smartphones, laptops and desktop computers in lonely bedrooms, they operate almost as one homogenous body.

There are central figures who spur on or co-ordinate this activity, binding them together and providing inspiration and moral support.”

To which Wingsy said:

Intriguing phrasing there. The “or” in the second sentence is a classic weasel word. It’s a bit like saying “All supporters of Partick Thistle enjoy football or abusing children” – it creates a negative impression while not actually being defamatory, because the “or” means that no one individual is actually being accused of paedophilia.

Which is “intriguing phrasing” itself. Consider this sentence written by ‘Reverend’ Jedi Wingsy Campbell aimed at AhDinnaeKen in a Wingnuts piece entitled “The Personal Touch“:

…there is no doubt whatsoever the author of the blog responsible for the “dossier” is Murray Brady, or someone acting as a front for him.”

Hmm. AhDinnaeKen says, let’s take a look at that “intriguing phrasing” and consider again, what the use of “or” is for!

That’s right. According to Wingsy, it’s a “classic weasel word” – a bit like saying “All supporters of Partick Thistle enjoy football or abusing children” – it creates a negative impression while not actually being defamatory”.

But it’s only a “weasel word”, apparently, when used by the Dail Mail.

When it’s used by Wingsy it’s “robust polemic” or “trenchant insight” or “forensic analysis” or “professional journalism” or “tribune journalism”. But definitely not a “cowardly disclaimer” or “weasel word”. That accolade is exclusively reserved for the Daily Mail in Wingsy’s world.

To call it Cybernat poison or hate preaching doublespeak would interfere with Wingsy’s victim narrative. Which is always worth remembering when reading anything written by the self styled ‘Reverend’.

The Daily Mail said that Wingsy's blog had "grown into something of a cult" . Can't imagine why.

The Daily Mail said that Wingsy’s blog had “grown into something of a cult” . Can’t imagine why.

The Mail feature further highlighted another five Cybernats. It exposed their background and highlighted their typical modus operandi which, reading between the lines, is that they probably have too much time on their hands or they’re bored.

Andy Ellis who tweets as @ndls61 was one of the five named. It stated that he is a commercial manager for Hewlett Packard.

A recent BBC (biased against indy) report stated that Hewlett Packard was suffering from “falling sales”.

It begs the question, is it coincidence or magic that @ndls61 is a commerical manager there? Maybe he should be spending less time tweeting and more time on his day job.

@Leasky has to be one of the most tolerant pro-journos out there. Even he can't stomach Mr Ellis.

@Leasky has to be one of the most tolerant pro-journos out there. Even he can’t stomach Mr Ellis.

In all, AhDinnaeKen found the Mail piece to be fair and balanced. It stated on at least a couple of occasions that there is abuse on both sides of the Indy debate.

It gave each of the named individuals the opportunity to defend themselves from the claim that they were poisonous cybernats.

And it printed their replies.

It also stated that the exposed individuals were, in general, more moderate in person than their online personas suggest – with the possible exception of ‘Reverend’ Jedi Wingsy Campbell whom it nailed with this excellent observation:

“On his website, he tells his acolytes: ‘they’ll [undecided voters] be hungry for more truth, and then you can send them our way.’

“The self-aggrandising ‘our’, of course, is slightly misleading, as Wings is more or less a one-man outfit, though he does sometimes commission and publish proindependence submissions.

“A self-publicist of the first order, Wings often boasts about his growing profile and Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham is one of his Twitter correspondents.

Now that’s what we* call true professional journalism.

The Daily Mail, in general, isn’t AhDinnaeKen’s paper of choice. But there’s no denying that it put the cybernats to the sword with its weekend feature and did so fairly and squarely.

The feature was all the more damning because it was written in a textbook professional and balanced manner.

Anyone who thinks it wasn’t needs to go back to media studies classes.

Take heed ‘Reverend’. And your cultish coterie of Cybernats.

Graham Grant of the Daily Mail gave you an abject lesson in ‘professional journalism’.

It just seems a pity that Mr Grant’s efforts have fallen on cloth ears – from the Cybernat camp at least.

AhDinnaeKen’s still laughing.


Filed under CyberNats, Media, Wangs Watch

10 responses to “Was the Daily Mail too fair on the Cybernats?

  1. Stuart

    Ah what goes around comes around….

  2. Stuart

    Well it certainly hit the target, judging by the comments made, alas I suspect it will elevate the pretend ‘Reverend’ and give him a status he does not deserve, however my favourite is this; Pogrom?

    As Corporal Jones would have said, ‘They don’t like it up em!’

    Ananurhing says:

    25 January, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t find this hilarious at all. Make no mistake, this is a pogrom. Doorstepping and demonising ordinary people because of their political leanings. Perfectly co-ordinated with Murphy’s efforts.

    Completely unacceptable. What next? Angry hoardes of orangemen smashing your windows? Kristallnicht?

    I think there’s worse to come as the Scunneristas increasingly lose the arguments.

    (Scunneristas. Thanks for that Ian Brotherhood. I just changed it a wee bit.)

    • Thankyou Stuart

      I assume these are comments from the Jedi ‘Reverend’s’ website?

      It’s good to see that they know how to keep things in perspective.

      “Scunneristas” is a cracker. Incidentally – and you’ll probably find it hard to believe – one of my friends’ nickname is ‘Scunner Campbell’.

      How’s that for irony?


  3. Indeed while much of the supposedly rigorous Wings critique is usually more snake oil than substance, I’ve rarely seen such a self-evidently feeble point as the one about the juxtapositions of good and bad with the word ‘or’ inbetween.

    Graham Grant said that some either ‘co-ordinate’ or ‘spur on’ the activity. To my mind it doesn’t make much difference in terms of how people would think of them.

    On the other hand, Campbell compares Graham Grant’s phrase to contrasting conduct which is one the one hand totally innocent, while on the other morally repugnant. Like, for example, saying that all MSPs attend parliament or are guilty of murder. Graham Grant’s claim was more like saying MSPs either spend too much time in the canteen, or are too pre-occupied with by-elections.

    Indeed, I suspect Campbell’s example could be defamatory anyway. For example, could I really say that all Mr X’s family members watch Downton Abbey or are paedophiles and get away with it?

    • Thankyou Stuart

      …Campbell compares Graham Grant’s phrase to contrasting conduct which is one the one hand totally innocent, while on the other morally repugnant.

      It’s the modus operandi of the extremist. You may be aware I have a theory concerning Wingsy and his extremist traits which are neatly encapsulated in this handy little piece: http://www.lairdwilcox.com/news/hoaxerproject.html

      The point you highlight is akin to No.3 in the list:


      Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments on little or no evidence, and they have a tendency to confuse similarity with sameness. That is, they assume that because two (or more) things, events, or persons are alike in some respects, they must be alike in most respects. The sloppy use of analogy is a treacherous form of logic and has a high potential for false conclusions.

      Wingsy’s “forensic analysis” of the use of the word “or” is virtually an archetypal example of “sloppy use of analogy” and confusion of “similarity with sameness”.

      And of course I highlighted his use of the word “or” in the Personal Touch to demonstrate just how aware of certain techniques he is. It backs up the conclusion many have reached that Wingsy is helping to poison the online indy debate.

      Tediously predictably, his analogy always goes for extreme examples in order to paint the worst picture of his perceived enemies – in this instance the Daily Mail and AhDinnaeKen.

      In the case of the Daily Mail he makes use of the words “child abusers” and “paedophiles”.??!! Breathtaking!

      In the AhDinnaeKen example he alleges murder and rape and sustained harassment. If it wasn’t so extreme it would be laughable.

      Incidentally, you can just about randomly select any piece written by Wingsy and find clear examples of the Laird Wilcox Extremist Traits laid out in the list..

      Sadly, his flock of followers, acolytes, disciples, benefactors, cultists etc don’t see it.

      There was no pulling of the wool over the eyes of the Daily Mail however.


  4. Yoshi

    Rather unsurprisingly, the Mail moderated my comment pointing people to some of Campbell’s more despicable ‘joshing’ (as he likes to term it when he’s caught being an obnoxious, offensive, psychopathic troll). For example:..here’s when Campbell decided to ‘educate’ a sex abuse victim that they hadn’t in fact been raped:


    He then, of course, followed up with an email to this poor victim accusing them of being crazy and not being up to his standard of debate:


    I think these links tell you everything anyone could want to know about Campbell. He’s an odious individual, and I actually feel sorry the sad, deluded fools who are currently supporting him on his epistemic closure of a website. It’ll all end in tears. It always does.*

    *See Podgamer, Sensible Software, the World of Stuart forum and best of all his ‘novel’ interpretation of the small claims court process, when he sued Future and proved the old dictum that “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client”.

    • Thankyou Yoshi


      I blogged about this some time ago: http://wp.me/p2for3-1i0

      He really is a morally repugnant individual. Cloaking himself under the veneer of being passionate about Independence – so passionate he can’t even be bothered to get the train up the road – his brand of sophistry is mostly self congratulatory narcissism.

      His stance on censorship, self expression is risible and false also. Shortly after I wrote the blog linked to, the WoS Forums were closed down and now all you get when visiting is the message: “The WoS Forums are now closed. Thanks to everyone who visited over the years.”

      Courage of his convictions? Or something to hide?

      Who knows?


  5. Any sort of trolling, indulging in offensive and hateful commentary is hard to justify. It should be said though, that it’s not the preserve of the “cybernats” – plenty of similar commentary going the other way too. Sad really. One’s viewpoint on the referendum doesn’t justify odious commentary, whichever way it’s directed, either to supporters of the Union or those who are pro-independence. We’re all Scottish at the end of the day and want the best for the country.

    • Thankyou Michael

      “…it’s not the preserve of the “cybernats”…”

      Indeed. The Mail piece alludes to that. The cybernats were the focus of the story however.

      Certain sustained and prominent activities are bound to attract the attention of the media.

      We’re all Scottish at the end of the day and want the best for the country.

      Of course. The Neverendum is pulling me apart in ways I hadn’t imagined. I genuinely fear the potential societal schism the vote may bring about. No matter the result, conciliation is required from both sides.


      NB: apologies for time your comment was in moderation. I hadn’t spotted it.

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