AN APPEAL to Iain Macwhirter of the Herald and to the maintenance of ethical journalism:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
Dear Mr Macwhirter
AS A FAN of your work I was dismayed to find that you have chosen to champion a blogger who epitomises many of the negative stereotypes associated with Nationalism.
I confess to being saddened at what appears to be an attempt by you to affiliate yourself, through the medium of Twitter, with Wings Over Scotland and its editor, Stuart Campbell.
Since the moment you took it upon yourself to reply in kind to some of the more outrageous right wing press claims that “Scotland has gone mad” , you seem to have taken it to heart and reacted out of character.
The experience also seems to have skewed, in a limited fashion, your journalistic judgement.
I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to achieve with your contrived Twitter name calling of @Wingsscotland. I think your point is that Stuart Campbell is somehow more a victim of online abuse than the abuser.
If that is the case then please desist.
Harm can only come to your reputation by doing so.
I’ll give you a couple of examples why the championing of Campbell is, at best, foolish. Hopefully, it will garner some sympathy with you for the case being made by this letter:
When Campbell of Wings experienced a little online meltdown recently at news of the apparent appointment of Kate Higgins as a SPAD for Nicola Sturgeon, he raised some outlandish and vexatious allegations against her.
He said: “Kate Higgins is the root cause and the heart of the abuse I’ve endured for the past three years from people in the Yes movement…”
A forthright, serious and specific claim made against a specific individual.
The allegation has since been deleted . If Kate Higgins had chosen to action it in court, it would have been an open and shut case. Campbell obviously made a braveheart decision, swallowed his alleged journalistic principles, and chose to delete the whole thread in which the comments were made.
Last night I asked you on Twitter to clarify the point you were trying to make with the somewhat bizarre name calling, initiated by you, aimed at Campbell on your Twitter feed. To date, you have not replied.
I also asked you: “Do you think “a dim-witted honking nobody” was fair comment from #Wingsscotland in relation to Kate Higgins”. This was in reference to an ad hominem attack initiated by Campbell in the same post in which he accused Ms Higgins of being the source of his alleged three year endurance of abuse .
Again, there was no answer.
Of course, you don’t have to reply and I respect that right. But given that the questions asked were respectful enquiries relevant to your current show of solidarity with Campbell, I expected some sort of response.
The other example is in reference to myself and a third party unknown to me.
Campbell made a specific allegation against the anonymous editor of this blog, AhDinnaeKen and the Twitter account I operate – @ergasiophobe.
In this instance, the allegation was as serious an allegation as can be made: Campbell claimed that @ergasiophobe is operated by a “stalker” who was arrested by the police “for threatening to rape and murder” him.
I , the operator of the AhDinnaeKen and @ergasiophobe accounts, can truthfully and without prejudice state that I have never been arrested in my life. Boring but true.
Campbell specifically named an individual in a post entitled the Personal Touch – which can still be read by almost “3 million Scots” to this day – and also claimed that this blog was operated by said individual or others “acting as a front for him”.
You only have to read the piece to see that Campbell made some very serious and extreme accusations based on his feelings – not on tangible or credible evidence.
The whole piece is a tirade of unethical logical fallacy, vexatious lies, smear and vindictiveness. It besmirches the basic ethical elements of journalism which should underpin the work of all ethical journalists – something which I hold you, Iain, to be a paragon of.
Of course, if Campbell’s allegations were true then Campbell’s alleged “stalker” should quite rightly have been arrested, tried, convicted and jailed. People who conspire to rape and murder anyone should be taken off of the streets to remove the threat they pose to society.
AhDinnaeKen is still here. Funny that.
Campbell, on the other hand, is in the inconvenient position of having made a serious unfounded accusation under which the ‘burden of proof’ lies upon him.
To date, other than Campbell’s post hoc opinion, no credible proof or evidence of Campbell’s vexatious allegation has been forthcoming. And it never will be, because there is none.
It would be easy to write this letter off as the rantings of an #internetnutcase or an ‘obsessive’ or a ‘stalker’. But you have it within your power, Iain, to do something about it now.
Seeing as you currently appear to be making the ironic point that Campbell is somehow the victim of online abuse, I would suggest that you’re morally obliged to clear up Campbell’s abusive accusation.
It isn’t just a vile ad hominem aimed at shutting down and smearing a critic he doesn’t like – similar, in a fashion, to the allegation aimed at Kate Higgins – it is potentially a criminal accusation that Campbell has made. And surely you can see how extreme that it is?
All you need to do is ask Campbell for the indisputable proof which directly links AhDinnaeKen and @ergasiophobe to the alleged arrest of an individual who allegedly threatened to “rape and murder” him.
I understand you’re under no obligation to do so. But there are actions you can take – which I would willingly be party to – which would put to bed, once and for all, Campbell’s vexatious allegations which are an extreme and vindictive lie.
It’s this type of behaviour by Campbell, outlined here, which leaves me convinced that he is an extremist of potentially unsound mind and the epitome of many of the dangers represented by unchecked Nationalism.
Given that you appear to have nailed your colours to the Wings’ mast, so to speak, I would suggest that you’re under a moral and ethical obligation to clear this up.
I look forward to your silence on the matter.
Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe