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Wings Over Scotland



The centrifuge 487

Posted on February 10, 2017 by

Sometimes the word “spin” just isn’t enough to get the reality across.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: the Scottish media.

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A matter of disclosure 372

Posted on February 08, 2017 by

There’s a truly abominable piece of hatemongering in today’s Times. A grotesequely dishonest Nat-bashing smear job based on stupendously misrepresented fragments of quotes, it’s penned by Patrick Harkness, someone who the paper identifies as “a past co-chairman of the RSE [Royal Society of Edinburgh] Young Academy of Scotland”.

harkness

For some reason it’s chosen to leave a few lines off his CV.

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Truth With Ruth 414

Posted on February 05, 2017 by

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson a couple of hours ago:

truthless

Just a few teeny tiny issues with that one.

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What fake news looks like 330

Posted on February 03, 2017 by

The most overused political insult du jour is for people to accuse each other of dealing in “fake news” and “alternative facts”. Normally, of course, they’re referring to dodgy memes on social media or the latest mad yelping from Donald Trump or his minions.

But in Scotland, our fake news is in the real newspapers.

highesttax

Pretty much every day of every week of every year.

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While the truth gets its boots on 367

Posted on January 25, 2017 by

Here’s Alex Salmond on last night’s Newsnight:

Let’s just quickly fact-check that claim.

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The flexibility of figures 573

Posted on January 15, 2017 by

It’s a well-known fact, of course, that 87% of all statistics are made up. But as this site regularly observes, if you’re the Scottish opposition and media there’s no need to invent fake ones when you can twist the real ones to present an image completely at odds with the reality.

The Sunday Times today has some fine examples of the craft of massaging figures for the purposes of deception. It carries two separate scare stories on the NHS, both of them using figures which aren’t based on any sort of news, but on opposition spin on existing stats. One comes from the Tories, under a dramatic headline:

privatenhs

The banner is pulling a classic trick – the £685m figure is actually the total sum spent in a decade, not the single year that most people would assume (since there’s no good reason to measure spending in decades, so headlines usually don’t do it). But remarkably it’s just about the most honest thing in the paper’s health coverage today.

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All news is bad news 339

Posted on December 14, 2016 by

Figures released yesterday indicated that the number of full-time teachers employed in Scotland had risen by 253 over the past year, despite budget cuts imposed by the UK government’s austerity programme. This obviously presented the Scottish media with a dilemma: how could such statistics be presented as an “SNP BAD” story?

Luckily, we’re dealing with experienced professionals here.

teachernumbers

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The missing numbers round 261

Posted on December 13, 2016 by

We often say here on Wings that our job is to teach people to instantly recognise the sneaky tricks used by the media to try to create false impressions without saying things that are technically untrue. (Because despite the tiny size they’re allowed to print corrections at, they’re still rather embarrassing.)

A key technique is to look at a headline or story and immediately ask what you’re NOT being told. So here’s an easy example from today’s Scottish Daily Mail.

65trains

What’s been left out there, readers?

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RICS rolling 391

Posted on November 03, 2016 by

Here’s Ruth Davidson at FMQs today, telling the chamber that “last week the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said the real problem facing investment and jobs in Scotland was [Nicola Sturgeon’s] threat of a second referendum”.

Would you like to know how many actual people that was, readers?

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The hungry gamekeepers 380

Posted on October 31, 2016 by

Old media and new media spoke with one voice in Scotland today:

recordcsobfa

But for once it was the dead-tree press that held the moral high ground.

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The wrong question 413

Posted on October 13, 2016 by

There was a rather comforting predictability about the headlines the Scottish media greeted the first day of the SNP conference in Glasgow with.

natconfpapers

Unsurprisingly, the Express’ lead story was a piece of fabricated drivel based on alleged quotes from an unnamed source claiming that the Scottish Government would resign in order to force an election and win a mandate that it already has.

(The SNP’s manifesto this May, on which it won a third landslide election victory in a row, clearly reserved the right to call a second referendum should there be a serious material change in circumstances, explicitly citing the Brexit scenario as an example.)

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, puffed up a load of entirely fact-free press-release foaming from some Tory list MSP nobody’s ever heard of into “news”, in the process somehow managing to twist the economic consequences of the Brexit vote caused by his own party into a bewilderingly illogical attack on Scottish independence.

Both articles are essentially the sort of comedy pastiches of terrible journalism one might create as a cautionary example in a media studies degree course, so we’ll waste no more of your time on them. The Herald’s piece, though, is at least marginally more interesting.

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Expressway to Lietown 310

Posted on September 27, 2016 by

Low-wattage Labour list MSP Neil Findlay (rejected by the electorate of Almond Valley by a thumping 8,393 votes in May) puffed himself up to maximum socialism this week and attacked the SNP’s rather more popular Paisley MP Mhairi Black over a Scottish Daily Express story about travel expenses.

findlayexpress

It might have been an idea if he’d read the piece all the way to the end.

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