Hunting season

A guest post by Samuel Miller

A few questions on a disturbing phenomenon which only the reader can answer in the privacy of their own thoughts.

How has it come to this? What curse do ordinary people live under that we have to put up with the metric tonnes of what seems to be utter bullshit, fed to us by toxic politics and an ever more toxic media?

When did it become acceptable to hound and hunt people as a political strategy? To ‘claim scalps’ (is that the term?), make their lives and by extension ours, a living nightmare of sound bite statements, cherry picked factoids, half-truths, manipulation and misdirection?

When did we allow politicians and the media to talk to us in the way that they do? Is it possible we became so lazy, so apathetic, so disenfranchised that we allowed others to do our thinking for us? To make decisions for us? And when things go wrong, or even when they haven’t, to tell us who to blame?

That does make it easier though, doesn’t it? Having a finger pointed for us so that we know who to hate, or punish. Takes away that whole responsibility for individual thought thing. Worse, or perhaps better depending on your point of view, it takes away the public’s collective responsibility. Makes us feel a bit better about hating the stranger, the other tribe, the benefit scrounger, the immigrant, the furriner, the sweaty whinger in Holyrood.

I’m sure most readers of this site are only too familiar with media campaign rhetoric generated in last year’s general election. Who could forget ‘Tartan Stalinists’, ‘What a McMess’ or ‘The most dangerous woman in Britain’? Clearly we all identify with Stalinism, dangerous wummin and political carnage in Scotland (sigh). My own personal favourite and possibly the most classic/infamous example of media and political attempts to influence opinion (which happily went totally south), remains ‘Frenchgate’.

I mean, if you’re struggling for examples of the phenomenon, simply Google this: ‘Sturgeon slapped down’ (kicked, hammered, blasted works equally well), or perhaps this ‘Fury over SNP’, or simply even ‘Salmond’ (pretty much anything Salmond). If you really want to have sleepless nights, try these – Benefits Scrounger or Hard on Immigration.

As a more recent example – Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf’s current political and media woes, are apparently the latest in a very long and very tiresome line of such antics. Again, a simple search for Mr Yousaf under ‘News’ (steady now), and the blaring headlines which will greet your search, will tell you all you need to know about the sheer amount of column space which can be dedicated to a subject when both political opponents and the meeja get the bit between their teeth. Fair enough as far as it goes. He is, after all, a public figure in a position of responsibility.

To be honest, I have no idea about rail services in the Uk today and its been a long time since I’ve used them t’boot. It may even be the case that some criticism is warranted (shrugs), but blanket coverage for weeks on end? Seriously? Has the entire structure of Scotland’s rail network collapsed? From the coverage given you’d think so. I can however confirm (by looking oot the windae), that no major extinction level meteors have struck Scotland in, ooooh, at least the past several months and that our transport infrastructure still appears reasonably intact.

If I were the average reader at this point, or perhaps a journalist (shudders), I’d maybe research an expert or two and ascertain their opinion. If I were interested enough that is. Also as an engaged reader, and in absence of such information, I’d maybe cast my eyes about for other stories on the subject matter to try to provide some comparison, perspective, context or balance.

For instance, I hear that rail services in England are currently having their own woes and yet I see a somewhat skewed percentage of titles being hyper critical of PM May’s Transport Minister, Chris Grayling. That’s pretty much a ‘red flag’ moment right there you’d think?

It appears however, that some in the new media arena are willing to ask the questions we should all be seeking answers to and even provide some of that sourced evidence stuff. Which seems to me, to be a fairly sensible and logical way to go about things and how perhaps this whole informing and enlightening the public should work.

Back to the general thrust of the subject in hand though. Another question or two may occur to the reader at this point. Just how many scalps have been gathered and how many careers have been made or ruined on the back of this fairly savage political and media environment over the years? How many justly and more importantly, how many needlessly? Quite scary stuff really, when you do start to think about it.

Before the finger-pointing, before the hounding, before calling for resignations, there should be the questions. There should be critical analysis and there should be a weighing of evidence gathered. It should be a lorry load of information with context and possible extenuating circumstances present and/or accounted for. It should be innocent till proven guilty. It should be,…but apparently it’s not.

If you were a bit leery of some folks motives in the meeja, and it’s a safe bet that supporters of an independent Scottish parliament have some reason to be, you could say it’s perhaps needlessly inflammatory headlines. It’s the barely and oft-times, completely unsubstantiated sound bite (see under Frenchgate). It’s politics and it’s agenda. It’s innuendo and character assassination. It’s calculation and strategy. It’s the self-interested and deliberate directing and management of public opinion. If you were leery like.

More depressingly though, it’s seems to be always hunting season. There is always some scalp that someone wants for whatever reason and whatever the cost.

A never-ending hunting season where political and vested media interest do the hunting and the public are perennially used as their hounds.

You can start having those private thoughts now.

0 thoughts on “Hunting season

  1. Pingback: Hunting season | speymouth

    • Another truthful and precise post , just shows what the media and the ” establishment” wishes to feed us. I take comfort in my fellow independence supporters and of those “swithering on yes and no” to discern the truth or lies fed to them. I sincerely believe that the majority of my countrymen and woman, have been greatly enlightened to the ” project fear ” union ok” SNP Baaad” constant tirade of negative propaganda, and feel it has become less effective in putting Scotland back in its subservient box.

      I shudder to contemplate the next set of threats lies and promises on offer to keep this Rancid Union together , we can all be sure that the establishment will go ” Nuclear ” on Scotland and anyone who dares support Independence. But,,,, just remember the story of the boy who cried Wolf.

      • Totally concur John57…and it cant have escaped even the Yooniest of media-watchers that SNP BAD is being ramped up.I love it.Can you taste the fear?

  2. The UK media is like a protection racket. It’s sickening. I think the only way to hit back is to target their advertisers in some way. Cut off their funding.

    Having said that, I use Scotrail regularly and it is pretty bad. A staff member told me to ‘like it or lump it’ recently after a train was cancelled. However, it’s always been bad so I doubt it’s the current transport minister’s fault, and I don’t think it’s any worse than the rest of the UK. Most of the delays are Network Rail’s fault anyway.

    • Its no excuse for an employee of a train company to tell you to “like it or lump it” even if it IS outwith the companies control, your contract is with them not network rail (who it would appear are responsable for the bulk of delays)
      I find myself wishing I could tell our customers that when their broadband has gone done because Open Reach have messed up and closed an exchange ,but I (reasonably) am not allowed to pass the buck to the people who are REALLY responsible for the customers inconveinience, AS MUCH AS I WOULD LOVE TO DO IT!

  3. There was once a man who rapped me over the knuckles for wishing bad cess on ‘our’ newspapers.

    It seems that man is in total agreement with me now!

    Great piece Macart!

  4. an interesting post that has more or less confirmed what most supporters of Independence have been experiencing over the last few months indeed ever since fluffy increased the budget for propaganda output oops ” Information budget ” ,at the Scotland office . I wonder how much input the British Security Services has in this entirely coincidental dramatic increase in spurious headline garbing personal attacks almost every single SNP MP has been at some time has been subjected to .
    I believe the whole point of this drip drip drip is an attempt to hold the line and discourage anyone tempted to think Independence being a alternative to this one sided union that for many is a rotting corpse , dead on its feet , no longer relevant to most people , the Union is in real trouble they know it and so do “WE” a final push might be all thats needed .
    All that was required was for Westminster to Honour their “VOW” but in their arrogance they decided to go with “EVEL” they couldn’t help themselves they couldn’t even let a full day pass before trying to crush the Independence movement , that worked out well didn’t it . the more they push the more we resist and so far they aint winning .
    So look on the bright side it will happen we will gain our Independence they know this so prepare for some real shit coming our way before they finally give up because they will .

    • Totally with you on your post, and I can see the R,uk headlines ,in an unionist papers post Independent Scotland reading ” Scotland breaks up 300year union leaving 300years of Scottish debt ” ” England left to pick up the cheque ” ” Scotland !! the not so Brave ” etc etc with accompanying music ” There will always be an England ” sob sob.

  5. A personal view after a short amount of reflection (and no research). I think this all got much worse (yes, it was there before but not to the same degree) after the financial crash in 2008. The 1% started getting increasingly desperate to deflect attention away from the growing inequality and this periodic ‘scandalisation’ of, usually opposition, individuals is one of their more effective ploys.

  6. I’ve tried to let it all wash over the top of my head, but it’s so insidious and so many still haven’t got it yet. Of course once any campaign starts it gets easier as face to face works so much better.

    I feel it’s got darker since brexit, more desperate even. maybe I’m just being overly sensitive!

    Great piece again Sam…

  7. Political ‘scalp hunting’ is an old practice, probably as old as politics, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it continues unabated even in these so-called enlightened times.

    I blame Gutenberg. Before he democratised the printed word, it was the word of mouth, the bell ringer or the court jester who did the dirty. Or an inky scribe with quill, vellum and a very small audience. The Romans took political scalp hunting quite seriously though they probably learnt the practice from the Greeks who, in turn, read about it on a Mesopotamian clay tablet, or it could have a been a shopping list. But Gutenberg made the scribes and town criers redundant and, before long, Martin Luther was nailing a post-it to a church door and the world has never been the same. Towards the end of the 16th century the pamphleteer wars break out, (twitter flame wars in modern parlance) and Francis Bacon wrote an essay about roast pork. 1631 – Cardinal Richelieu launches the ‘Gazette, a mixture of propaganda and news. 1643 – The English government enacts the printing ordnance to control unlicensed printing. 1704 – The ‘Review’ newspaper is published by Daniel Defoe with the support of Queen Anne’s first minister. It promotes English government policy for the Act of Union. And so it goes on. Have a look at early Punch cartoons depicting the Irish, amongst others, as apes. Racist? Just a little bit.

    Political Bias? Not new either. The Daily Heil wasn’t backward in promoting blackshirts.

    Scalp hunting is a professional hazard for politicians though, to a certain extent, by going after Humza Yousaf the meeja is showing its weakness with such easily refuted claims and especially with on-going rail chaos darn sarth as a comparison. Are they getting desperate? It does seem to me that the shrill knob is edging towards 11.

    But back to the plot – Scottish Independence and meeja bias. What is new, and is to be celebrated, is the new-meeja (that’s you lot and, maybe, me) who are alert to the constant meeja rogering. Maybe I am getting cynical, but look at the headline below from today’s HeraldScotland

    Which taxpayers and which islands (not islanders) did you think had been failed? Was it St Helena? Of course it was. First thing that came into your head.

    The recent EBC shortbread headlines on teacher numbers went through several revisions, hopefully, in response to the new-meeja. In addition, new-meeja provides a wide range of alternative news sources, many trivial, some authoritative. Nana over on Wings frequently posts links to alternative information. Many an Internet rabbit-hole have I been diverted down following the links. One of the better ways of finding out what is happening in this country is to look at the news output from other countries, particularly Ireland.

    So, all is not gloom and doom.

    However, there is no room for complacency. The meeja rogering will be on-going because, unless there are some damascene changes, they are stuck in a rut and cannot change even though eventually, along with the Scottish Labour Accounting Branch, they are destined to disappear into a fog of their own hubris. Until then, be alert, because lerts live longer.

    • Well said bedelsten. I think it was always so, it’s just that these days we have the internet, and can expose their untruths with ease. Given that we can do very little to prevent the oppobrium unleashed by the M.S.M, and their fellow travellers on the independence campaign, and its supporters, it’s beholden on all of us who are able to, to get our message out to as many of the people as possible.

  8. Welcome to the New World Order. It goes way beyond the struggle around the corpse of the ‘UK’. It’s the same everywhere, including here in supposedly democratic Finland. The media just spews out the agenda. Trains not running? It must be the Russians. Hell, they’re to blame for everything these days ut seems.

  9. There are very few members of the MSM i would call honest, in what is now a thoroughly compromised industry. If it ain’t click bait, its increasingly fake new or real news that is distorted and misrepresented. The BBC reporting an overall drop in teacher numbers, despite there being an increase, springs to mind. The one thing I don’t rely on for news these days is Newspapers. Round about the same time I gave the BBC its marching orders, I pretty much did the same with the so called fourth estate. It ain’t worth the price and its the last place i would find anything that could be remotely called news on it.

    Most of the news I get about events in the UK does not actually originate in the UK or its on blogging sites like this one. I wish Newshaft had been able to get a proper start up but I still hope for something to emerge.

  10. The owners can hide but the journalists can’t. They thought at the beginning they could control it all and the SNP and Independence would be over quickly and out of the way.
    Now the politicians and journalists are chained together and they will fall together.
    It does illustrate the question often asked; how can someone carry out despicable acts then go back to normal life with a normal family on a daily basis. The answer was they selection process of the individuals and the dehumanisation of the ‘victims’.
    However it hasn’t quite worked out that way for the Independence scenario, the majority support the SNP, who are the intended ‘victims’. The No majority are not one group, indeed each part of that majority would want the end of the other parts. And one part is the majority in Westminster and the greater in Holyrood.

  11. Mrs T began with pregnant women in her mission to destroy the welfare state. Pregnant women are at their most vulnerable at this time. Mrs T knew this well. She cut benefit and time off work levels. The Maternity Alliance of which I was a member, fought on behalf of pregnant women . It became very clear as the struggle continued, that the overall goal by the Tories, was to undermine the whole benefit system.

    Mrs T and her friends also began with the intellectuals. Change was instigated in Universities that caused several nervous breakdowns and possibly suicides. Her ‘There is no such thing as society”undermined academics teaching sociology a subject researching society and the effects of political ideologies.

    I scanned the newspaper stand in Morrisons today. There was no sign of the National. The headlines were universally and powerfully anti SNP. It was if there is an agreement to go hard on destroying any potential psychological considerations or imaging of independence by the Scottish populace.

    So it continues, manipulation and potential destruction of images of freedom.. However, there is always hope. Human beings are very good at hoping.

  12. Pingback: Hunting season | pictishbeastie

  13. Looked at but did not buy the newspapers and smiled to myself and a bonny blond girl walked by and guffed , yes guffawed with me. She seen what I was looking at . She knew the headlines were pish

  14. Well said Sam

    I used to believe everything that was told to me by the MSM. Now I dismiss everything.

    Even weather forecasts are skewed.

    We are fed the story but not given any balance. Most of the time reporting is about, for example the NHS in England, but it is told to us as if it’s the whole of the UK. I would like to be told…bla ba bla NHS England and on the other hand in Scotland the NHS is……………

    I know that most of us, particularly those of us who visit this type of site, already know this. But many do not.

    I hate politics. I am not interested in the day to day goings on of Brexit, rail delays, the cost of somebody’s trewzers!!!

    I want to hear real news about real people. Why are we fed all this guff that has nothing to do with us. I know that Brexit is important. But do we really need to have every body and their aunties take on it. Who might do this, say that, etc…..

    I want to hear about the successes as well as the failures.

    One definition of news is: Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.

    Who decides what is noteworthy? I think that’s where the problem lies.

    Extremely cold debilitating weather north of the Border is not seen to be noteworthy. Whoever makes that decision is wrong. But if one snow flake falls on London the whole of the media stops and reports its journey from the sky to the ground.

    Sorry, about the rant. When I’m in charge I’ll make sure that noteworthy things are noticed and guff is put in the bin.

  15. The trouble with the MSM these days that it is staffed and run by liars, crooks, cheats and scum who are all working to their own, usually political, agenda. The majority of the newspapers in Scotland, with the exception of the National (which is not stocked by many retailers), are English owned, English controlled and English run. Also, the television stations, including the EBC, are English owned, English controlled, and English run.

    The English media are increasingly guilty of propagating fake news, unsubstantiated rumours and blatant lies, as well as their usual slew of anti-Scottish garbage; and now they are even following their American masters with their relentless move towards McCarthyism. The whole concept of both truth and investigative journalism has fallen by the wayside.

    It is little wonder that in this rotten corrupt Union, the only way to get towards the truth is by reading independent blogs, such as this, and other media such as RT, Al Jazeera and similar.

    • BBC World were doing a story about “fake news” just last night (an angle on the US election). What a laugh that was…

  16. I’m surprised we’re not hearing on ‘radio truth’ that the SNP are to blame for the rail strikes in the deepest darkest south…
    And I reckon that the ‘DJ’, early morning ‘radio truth’ show, is a great bit…woodenspoonstiritpropagandanist…

  17. The difference is obvious,
    Theresa May can make these newspapers lives a living hell,
    whereas all Nicola Sturgeon can do is give them a dissaproving look!

  18. A wonderful piece, Sam.
    Just out of curiosity I nipped on to BBC I Player GMS broadcast yesterday morning;
    the ‘what the papers are saying’ item post 6.30 am.
    The usual Unionist BBC Propaganda set up. Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar read the headlines, but in a way which comes across as the BBC Scotland’s editorial position, their voices ebbing and flowing to accentuate Scotland Bad.
    On the teachers’ shortage?
    They quote from the Mail, the Herald, the Times, and the Express, on a programme from so called BBC ‘Scotland’.
    Of course the Teachers’ Shortages lies and omissions which were subsequently debunked and exposed as Unionist pap throughout the day on the Facts Based social media like here, WoS, Ponsonby, Bateman etc,, were presented as ‘facts’ on the radio.

    The MSM can be described as ‘the alternative’ Scottish Media now, surely. Hardly anybody reads the Dead Tree Scrolls, and the sales of the English rags, the Mail, the Express, and the Times must number in the mere tens of thousands now, and can be described as a minority alternative viewpoint . But not at the British Broadcasting State Newspeak outlet at Pacific Quay. Their hacks’ skewered views of Education in Scotland is presented as the overwhelming opinion of the country, as described in foreign owned rags.
    I noted that on the controversy over a separate SFA enquiry into child abuse in Scottish Football, that both Robertson and Millar repeated the same What The Papers Say script on this. You may recall the FMQ cynical attempt by Kezia Dugdale to scupper the Scottish Government Enquiry into child abuse at state run Children’s Homes last week. New Labour’s murky child care PAST IS COMING BACK TO HAUNT THEM.
    I live for the day when Gary Robertson is quoting you, or Paul, or Stu on GMS. No don’t laugh.
    BBC Radio Scotland: the sound version of the People’s Friend, 1953.
    We are so close now, I can taste the steel in the air, Sam.

    • Heh, unlikely in my case since I’m not a writer. But yes, I look forward to presenters quoting those worthies. Better yet. I look forward to the day when commentators trusted by and who represent the beliefs of, at least half of Scotland’s electorate have their place perma booked on the pundits couches of our broadcast media.

      When that happens, you’ll know its a new day.

  19. The bbc is now beyond redemption in Scotland. The britnat eejits in charge [!] at Pacific Quay must know it but don’t care anymore. There is no going back. The bbc is finished in Scotland.

  20. Hacks can make money chasing a boring story that will be denied anyway, or they can make up headlines, insinuate, and basically lie about things, and fill the rest with adverts.

    They don’t get paid to tell the truth. They get paid to fill space in a medium, and keep their readers coming back for more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.