JOURNALIST, novelist, radio broadcaster, film-maker and Head of News at Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay apologised to AhDinnaeKen editor, @Ergasiophobe, yesterday. Neil had foolishly retweeted a Wings Over Scotland defense of his newspaper. We* graciously accept that apology**. Here’s why:
By Longshanker aka @Ergasiophobe
THE SUNDAY Herald, the Sunday newspaper which supports an independent Scotland, came under fire from Labour types yesterday.
The paper was accused by some of being a “mouthpiece” for the Scottish Government.
For honest journalists, such accusations must be tedious and tiresome, especially when you’re proud of the quality, time and hard work which went into your end product.
Head of News, Neil Mackay, quite rightly defended his paper from such attacks.
As part of his twitter strategy, Neil retweeted Wings Over Scotland. Wings said: “Incidentally, why are Labour all bleating about the Sunday Herald today? They know Cameron is the TORY leader, not theirs, right?”
According to the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.
AhDinnaeKen doesn’t doubt Neil Mackay’s journalistic credibility or integrity for a minute. It’s why we tweeted Neil to say: “Cant believe @NeilMackay would RT vexatious slanderer and fraudulent liar @WingsScotland just because he’s defending Sun Herald. Dear dear!”
We* were disappointed in Neil. Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland has no journalistic integrity. He uses his propaganda website and internet accounts to shut down debate, steal newspaper content and intimidate opponents through slanderous defamation, threat and surveillance.
Neil’s retweet, arguably, condones that. But there’s a further irony in Neil using Campbell’s statement to defend the Sunday Herald.
Until recently, Campbell used to effectively “steal content” from the Sunday Herald’s sister paper, The Herald, by posting archived links to stories within.
Such action, according to a Herald source, is “a deliberate act of theft and sabotage” designed to “deny clicks and ad revenue“.
Campbell still does this with other newspapers, particularly those – such as the Scotsman – he wants to see shut down.
Neil Mackay, by retweeting Wings defense of the Sunday Herald, could quite rightly be accused of condoning those actions and undermining his company’s business model. It was the reason for the @ergasiphobe tweet and it’s the reason this piece has been written.
AhDinnaeKen knows the hard work which goes into producing a paper. Seeing that paper traduced must be infuriating and frustrating for the people producing it.
But that doesn’t excuse promotion of agents, such as Wings, who are the enemy of professional journalism and free speech – not to mention, deliberate agents of sabotage of your company’s business model and revenue streams.
At best, for a journo of Neil’s stature, it was lazy to retweet Wings. At worst, it undermined his credibility and made him look a bit stupid and ignorant.
You’re the reader, you decide. Maybe Neil should apologise to the lot of us.
*We – as in pompously vain and pretentious pluralis majestatis
** For any literalists out there, we* know that Neil’s faux apology to @ergasiophobe was heavily sarcastic and that’s why we accepted it in the same spirit – y’know, as a joke.