Scottish Television journalist Stephen Daisley’s paradoxical admiration of both honest journalism and Wings Over Scotland’s partisan propaganda needs to be challenged. Stephen himself needs to do most of the challenging. Here’s why:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
“CROWDFUNDING COULD be the game-changer that opens up the media landscape and allows the best and the brightest — left and right, Yes and No, veterans and newcomers — to rise to the top.” concluded STV journalist Stephen Daisley in a gushingly embarrassing promotion of Wings Over Scotland’s recently launched online mendicant fundraiser.
The conclusion was reached by Stephen in an allegedly analytical piece written by him on the STV website. The implication is clear. Daisley thinks professional “wind up merchant” and Wings blogger, Stuart Campbell, is the “best” and “brightest” of the ‘alternative media empire’ currently being built in Scotland’s online mediasphere.
If it had been written by a Wings acolyte it could easily have been dismissed as the gibberings of a tunnel visioned zealot.
But Daisley’s nobody’s fool. Despite the lightness of his touch and humorous nurturing of the facile and the inconsequential, Daisley is a highly perceptive, balanced and fair journalist. Except, of course, when it comes to the vexatious smearing liar and self professed “professional journalist” Stuart Campbell.
There’s an embarrasingly glaring blind spot there. And it undermines Daisley’s credibility somewhat given the number of times he refers to Wings in his STV writings and Twitter feeds.
On the plus side, the STV journalist showed his mettle recently when taking SNP MSP Joan McAlpine to task for her very public attack on local councils. His review of Telegraph columnist Alan Cochrane’s referendum diary was a masterpiece in scathing critique. And his calling out of trolls for their sustained and vile online abuse of Labour’s Margaret Curran was as firm and clear as it was necessary. Though the latter piece by Daisley made no mention of Wings’ misogynistic attacks on Curran.
What AhDinnaeKen has difficulty in understanding is the affinity, bordering on supine apologism, Daisley has for Wings.
In reference to Campbell’s blog, Daisley said: “Wings Over Scotland emerged during the independence referendum as the leading alternative news and opinion site…”
There’s no attribution or explanation cited for the assertion so it’s clearly Daisley’s opinion. AhDinnaeKen would like to know which criteria the “leading” was measured against.
Curiously, in his piece entitled ‘Analysis: Pro-independence campaigners building alternative media empire‘, Daisley omits Wings’ readership figures. Though he does mention page views and number of articles – 54 million and over 1000 respectively.
AhDinnaeKen checked with other journalists who interviewed Campbell if they had corroborated stated readership figures supplied by him with another independent source. To date, no one contacted – the most recent being Angela Haggerty of Common Space – have given an affirmative answer. So Daisley earns kudos points for avoiding mentioning “readership” numbers claimed by the deceptive liar Campbell. Daisley appears to know the numbers couldn’t be independently confirmed. All of Campbell’s alleged “readership” figures periodically stated by him are lies and he knows it.
It can only be concluded Campbell does so to convince readers that they’re part of something big which is achieving something big just so long as they hand over some big donations. A fool and his money etc…
But the real issue AhDinnaeKen has with Daisley is his treatment of Campbell as if he is a journalist.
He’s an unbalanced and partisan propagandist: a not unskilled one, admittedly; a feverishly dedicated one, undoubtedly; and a deceptively disingenuous and vexatiously vindictive one, provably. But a propagandist nevertheless.
Campbell has no scruples, ethics, integrity, honesty, balance, accuracy or sense of fairness or justice – qualities a good journalist should possess or at least demonstrate more than lip service to. Campbell, on the other hand, continuously besmirches the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) code of conduct despite claiming he is a NUJ card carrying member.
In a way, his blog is a totemistic symbol of every negative Nationalistic stereotype you could wave a saltire at – a stereotype which should have cause to make any reasonable person fear the potential of Nationalism unchecked.
AhDinnaeKen experienced this Nationalist phenomenon first hand. Some time ago, we* discovered that Campbell had been circulating vexatious and untrue accusations via private email messages to third parties in order to smear AhDinnaeKen. It appeared to be an act of vengeance for a post we* published which demonstrated Campbell thinks that in video games, “beginner is for girls and homosexuals”. We provided corroborative visual evidence for that. (see below).
The post coincided with Wings’ first fundraiser result and took some of the wind out of Campbell’s ego fuelled sails.
No doubt in a fit of rage, or whatever apoplexy that type suffers when they get angry, he batch emailed the accusation that the person responsible for AhDinnaeKen had been arrested for conspiring to gang rape and murder him. He also claimed to have arrest records to corroborate the vile accusation.
This came as a nasty shock to AhDinnaeKen. We*’ve never been arrested in our* life. Boring but true. It took a while for our* outrage to calm. When we analysed Campbell’s accusation in a reasoned and systematic fashion, a study of the wording of the email made it clear just how unreasonably irresponsible, bordering on insane, Campbell is.
Notably, Campbell made the heinous claim to the third party without actually naming who this alleged gang rape and murder conspiracist was. That’s why AhDinnaeKen published a post demanding that Campbell come clean and name this alleged perpetrator.
Forced to respond, Campbell wrote a blog entitled ‘The Personal Touch‘ which relied on many of the key fallacies, falsehoods and lies he abuses in the majority of his fevered Wings posts. Of course, he didn’t name the editor of AhDinnaeKen but he did name another individual whom we* had never heard of. And Campbell’s stuck to that line of argument ever since – repeating it on Twitter on numerous occasions.
And that’s where Stephen Daisley comes in. The individual hinted at in the email and named in The Personal Touch post, so far, appears to have lacked the appetite to sue Campbell. Maybe he’s been intimidated by the potential of Wings goons hunting him down in the same “creepy as f**k” manner they sought out and targeted Better Together leaflet campaigners under Campbell’s instructions during the Indyref campaign. We* don’t know.
What we* do know is that @journostephen, aka Stephen Daisley, due to his promotion of Wings – and his clear commitment to balanced and fair journalism – is virtually morally bound to clear up the claim made here by AhDinnaeKen – that Campbell is a vexatious liar and vindictive smear merchant who besmirches the ethics and purpose of journalism and brings it into disrepute.
Daisley attacked Alan Cochrane for his referendum diaries. His outrage was forthright and sincere. He said Cochrane’s “admission that a No vote was more important to him than journalism.” was “extraordinary reasoning.
” For that contempt for journalism, and for his disrespect towards those who strive to do the job without fear or favour, Cochrane is the Villain of the Year.”
A concise and upstanding defence of journalism and one that’s virtually impossible to disagree with.
Daisley appears to be under the misunderstanding that Campbell is a journalist. But if Stephen really believes that journalism is worth respecting then he needs to clear up, in his own mind at least, that Campbell isn’t taking the rise out of him personally and journalism in general. Which at present – so long as the Personal Touch story stays posted and no apology is forthcoming – Campbell is.
Campbell’s paranoid fantasy piece entitled ‘The Personal Touch‘, where he names the person referred to in the email smear, is a breach of the NUJ code of conduct in three clear areas. According to the code all journalists should:
2) Strive to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair.
3) Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies.
4) Differentiates between fact and opinion.
But equally, if not more, important to that is the deliberate and aggressive defamation of a named individual by Campbell in order to silence and intimidate. Campbell did so in the full knowledge he had no tangible, credible evidence that the named individual had any connection in any manner whatsoever with AhDinnaeKen. It’s beyond contempt and it’s beyond reprehensible. And if it’s the future of an “alternative media empire” then Scotland must despair.
We* already tweeted a link yesterday to Stephen Daisley regarding Campbell’s vindictive vexatious conduct. Unsurprisingly, there was no reply.
If Stephen remains silent or, at least, doesn’t report something on Campbell’s vexatious defamation then he’s no better than a cheap nasty partisan propagandist like the Wings man himself. By promoting Campbell, Daisley is promoting the notion that “journalism” can be used to deliver the most vexatious and heinous claims against individuals in order to silence and intimidate them.
From what AhDinnaeKen perceives of Stephen Daisley, he has too much integrity and sincerity to let that happen.
Time will tell if the perception is accurate.
* tedious persistence of redundant joke in terms of the pretentiously bombastic pluralis maiestatsis