stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland

Spinning down 177

Posted on March 14, 2018 by

So here’s a headline from the (Dundee) Evening Telegraph.

You know how we’re always pointing out how newspapers love to lie to readers without actually saying things that are untrue? Let’s have a quick case study.

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Replacement bollocks service 343

Posted on January 31, 2018 by

Alert readers may recall some articles last August in which we highlighted the total pig’s breakfast Scotland’s media had made of reporting ScotRail punctuality figures, centred around mistaking the “on time” figures (trains arriving within 59 seconds of their scheduled time, ie at the advertised minute) for the “PPM” figures (trains arriving within five minutes) which are the basis of official punctuality targets.

Several newspapers, including the Herald, Courier, Daily Record and Daily Mail, had to publish corrections after our articles, so we can be pretty sure they won’t have made that mistake again with the latest stats.

Can’t we?

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An early failure 277

Posted on January 25, 2018 by

Taking things personally 87

Posted on January 22, 2018 by

Call us cynical if you will, but we were very suspicious when we saw today’s Herald.

We were a little bit surprised that Oxfam would have commissioned a report into Scotland, so we thought we better check and see exactly what it said.

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The art of escalation 87

Posted on December 15, 2017 by

The Tories kicked off yesterday’s reaction to the budget with a straight-up lie.

No promise has been broken. The basic rate HAS been frozen, at 20p, and low and middle earners HAVE been protected. Nobody who’s on less than £33,000 – which is considerably higher than the average (£23K) or full-time median (£28K) wages – will pay a penny more tax, and the large majority of Scots will in fact see a small tax cut.

(The weasel-wording justification is of course that pretty much everyone who pays tax pays some of it at the basic rate, and are therefore in a sense “basic-rate taxpayers”. But “nobody will pay any more tax” wasn’t the promise. Indeed, the manifesto pledge is a pretty clear implication that better-off people WOULD be taxed a little more.)

But the numbering was interesting. In order to try to obscure that fact that most Scots would be paying LESS tax as a result of the budget, the Tories went with a nicely vague but high-sounding “hundreds of thousands” for the number of people who’d lose out a little. And then the Scottish media went to work.

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Reheats and revisions 120

Posted on December 10, 2017 by

Alert readers of the Scottish Mail On Sunday – if any such people exist, that is – will have noticed that the paper has of late been cutting both costs and the middleman by giving Tory MSPs entire pages to spout party propaganda for free rather than paying a journalist to slightly rewrite it.

First Ruth Davidson, and now the party’s finance spokesloyalist Murdo Fraser, have recently had free rein to say whatever they liked to the paper’s readership, and today Fraser chose to go with the topic of “waste”.

(Following on from a bizarre Scottish Daily Mail piece last month about which we’ll have some startling new information for you very soon.)

It seemed oddly familiar, with one rather significant alteration.

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Minor roadworks alert 406

Posted on November 30, 2017 by

Scotland has 2,174 miles of trunk roads, of which 1.7 miles (that’s just under 0.08%) comprise the Queensferry Crossing. For the next few days those 1.7 miles are going to be subject to some partial lane closures on the southbound side for maintenance.

They’ll cause almost no disruption, because as it happens there’s another very similar bridge conveniently located just a couple of hundred yards away – linked directly to all the same roads – that traffic will use instead.

Not much of a story, is it? We don’t know how many miles of Scotland’s roads have roadworks on them on any given day of any given week, but we suspect it’s quite a lot. It tends not to make the news beyond a few seconds on the traffic bulletin at the end, but today was different.

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The missing half of the equation 202

Posted on October 18, 2017 by

Readers will doubtless be startled to hear that today’s Scottish newspapers have taken a somewhat misleading approach to the facts on one of the day’s big stories.

Several of them report the findings of a commission looking into the idea of a Citizen’s (or Universal) Basic Income, a scheme which pays every adult in the country a fixed sum every year regardless of their own income, almost completely replacing the current benefits system.

(We’ll use Universal/UBI, to avoid confusion with the greedy-businessman trade body.)

The idea is that as well as reducing poverty, the administrative costs of social security are massively reduced, as is the problem of vulnerable people not taking up benefits because of the stigma often attached to them by the press.

The downside is that it’s generally more expensive. But have the Scottish press accurately reported the scale of that cost, or have they massively exaggerated it for shock value and to serve a right-wing agenda? Read on for a surprise!

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Watching different games 420

Posted on October 11, 2017 by

This was Jamie Ross of Buzzfeed at the SNP conference yesterday.

But not everyone was having the same experience.

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The papier-mache press 108

Posted on September 28, 2017 by

As readers who were once children will probably recall, papier-mache is a substance in which incredibly flimsy material – such as tissue paper or newspaper – is turned into something rather more hard and durable by dint of combining multiple layers of it with a simple flour-and-water solution.

What’s less well-known is that the process also happens IN newspapers.

For a case study, let’s look at this article in today’s Times.

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Nothing like the truth 177

Posted on September 27, 2017 by

The Scottish Daily Mail almost explodes with fury over new crime statistics today:

Which is weird. Because there’s less crime in Scotland than there’s ever been at any time in modern history. How do we know that? Because the Mail tells us so.

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The two types of oil 306

Posted on August 20, 2017 by

With this year’s GERS figures imminent, there are two stories about North Sea oil in today’s papers which are markedly different in both tone and honesty.

This, for example, is the front page of the Sunday Herald:

It’s basically a reprise of a Wings story from almost a year ago, noting that despite producing broadly similar amounts of oil to Scotland from the North Sea, Norway has generated tens of billions in pounds in government revenue from it – even during the price slump of recent years – while Scotland has actually LOST money.

The Sunday Times, though, has a rather different take.

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