Well, there you go. You’d have thought it impossible for SMSM not to learn the lessons of its collective failure in 2012, when the real journalism on Rangers going bust was left to an independent journalist, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. You’d have thought that the bloody nose SMSM media received back then would have rudely woken it up. But instead the shock seems to have sent it into a coma.
A quick look at the back pages of most papers in Scotland recently has seen articles in awe of the new regime at the new club. After a brief, post-liquidation Govan Spring, where journalists considered it momentarily fashionable to hold power to account at Ibrox, stenography has once more returned. And it’s as if it’s never been away.
We’d be wrong to think SMSM is uniquely servile to the interests of power. Most corporate journalism due to pressure from owners, sponsors, advertisers shy away from uncomfortable truths when conflicts of interest appear (The Sunday Herald is an exception). Hence the welcome development of social media and the new wave of independent writing, writing often despised by the MSM as they watch it fill vacuums created by their own timidity.
But what is unique about the SMSM’s treatment of The Rangers Story is that despite being called out on their dereliction of duty less than three years ago, and despite knowing that it’s is being examined by readers and media alike, SMSM almost defiantly and loudly proclaim the return of stenography. It’s as if some are proud to return to “the good old days” when dodgy money ruled the league, and power was worshipped by those pretending to question it.
There’s something shameless and glib about all these “we’re back!” proclamations. It’s as if the writers of the story and the subject of the story have colluded to produce this toxic concoction. After all, the sale of season tickets and of the newspapers is often to the same clientele. The only reference to The Criminal Conviction That Dare Not Speak Its Name is disingenuous babble such as “Now that Mr King has resolved his differences with the South African Tax Authorities”. Perhaps that’s true but only in the same sense that Ronnie Biggs “resolved his differences” with the UK legal system regarding the Great Train Robbery. The only thing “off the radar” it seems is Mr King’s fit and proper criminal conviction.
So, Rangers fans, prepare yourself once more for being led by woolly writing from stenographers who should know better and who will lead you on a wild ride before their mint-sauce train comes crashing into hard truth. And prepare for all the nonsense of “we never saw it coming.”
Thankfully there is truth out there. The Invisible Journalist, invisible that is to all who write and who swallow the fairytales of “minted Dave”, is once again ahead of the pack. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain would, in any other environment, be recognised as such. As for those newshounds who appear to be out to lunch, isn’t it embarrassing to be found wanting twice in such rapid succession?