stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland

A series of coincidences 106

Posted on August 07, 2017 by

Earlier today we reported on the mysterious failure of the Herald to notice that its front page lead story about supposedly poor ScotRail punctuality figures made a number of serious errors with regard to the facts, most notably confusing the excellent figures for last month with a 12-month rolling average which was significantly worse.

But as we read the rest of the papers, we noticed the oddest thing.

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Newspaper misses accuracy targets 94

Posted on August 07, 2017 by

This is the front-page lead on today’s Herald.

Let’s fact-check that, shall we?

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All the way down 201

Posted on August 03, 2017 by

Today’s edition of The Times contains a textbook example of a phenomenon that we highlight regularly: how newspapers gradually unpick their own dishonest headlines to grudgingly admit a truth which is often the polar opposite of the initial claim.

Or as we more punchily tend to put it, “The Headline Is Always A Lie”.

This won’t take long.

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The bad losers 322

Posted on August 02, 2017 by

The BBC’s Reporting Scotland is, in our view, directly responsible for at least 80% of Yes supporters’ belief that the UK’s state broadcaster is biased against independence. Almost all of the worst examples of unbalanced or downright dishonest coverage over the last five years come from the flagship teatime bulletin.

But last night’s edition made even the most wearily cynical jaws drop.

Let’s just take that in for a moment.

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Choco ration soars again 169

Posted on August 01, 2017 by

There’s been some breaking news.

Or rather, there hasn’t.

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The delusion of hubris 307

Posted on July 22, 2017 by

Today’s Daily Record covers the story we mentioned yesterday about a report from a Scottish Labour campaign group making the pretty factually-uncontestable point that the branch office’s dismal strategy in last month’s election held the UK party back.

And it made the Record really angry.

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The Pollyanna Problem 69

Posted on July 21, 2017 by

Broadly speaking, the psychological phenomenon known as the Pollyanna Principle is a tendency to neurotically see the most positive possible view of a situation. It’s not generally widely found in newspapers – for whom bad news as a rule sells much better than good news – but for some reason the Scottish press makes a uniform exception when it comes to military shipbuilding.

This, for example, is today’s Herald:

Now, in itself that headline is – unusually – true, so far as it goes. But it only takes until the first sentence of the article text before things start to fall apart.

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The evolution of truth 84

Posted on July 07, 2017 by

Hanzala Malik has been a Glasgow Labour politician for 22 years without anyone noticing. His Wikipedia entry sums up his contribution to Scottish politics over that time in a single 25-word sentence amounting to “served on some committees”.

But he got noticed yesterday.

Because so committed was Malik to the core ideological principle of Scottish Labour – namely that absolutely everything bad that happens anywhere is the SNP’s fault – that he somewhat overstretched himself and blamed them for the closure of six Jobcentres in Glasgow, despite the startlingly obvious facts that responsibility for the decision lies solely with the UK government and the closures have been opposed consistently by every SNP MP in the city, two things Malik can’t possibly have not known.

After an outcry on social media when an alert Wings reader spotted the falsehood, Malik quietly amended the Facebook post twice, first from an attack on “the SNP” to the rather ambiguous “Government” and then finally to the accurate “UK government”. But “SNP BAD” will always be Labour’s instinctive default reaction.

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Weak foundations 352

Posted on July 02, 2017 by

We’re always loath to criticise political journalists for feeble stories published during the summer season, when parliaments are in recess and there’s nothing much happening to fill space with. But the Sunday Post has started pretty early this year.

Let’s see if we can put a number on the degree of “dilution” here, shall we?

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Things can’t only get better 110

Posted on June 27, 2017 by

The Labour Party’s current state of euphoric hubris about losing another election is at least partly explicable. Jeremy Corbyn increased his party’s 2015 vote in England and Wales by a thumping 40%, took the highest vote share of any Labour leader since 2001 (beating Tony Blair’s 2005 victory by five points), the highest actual vote since Blair’s 1997 landslide, and deprived the Tories of their overall majority.

Those achievements are tempered by the fact that while Corbyn vastly overperformed expectations and certainly gave Theresa May a bloody nose (and might well end up depriving her of the Prime Ministership once her party gets a challenger together), the morning-after reality is that Tory rule has been extended to at least 2022 – by which time Corbyn will be 73 – with the nasty hangover of the empowerment of the DUP.

(With both Labour and Corbyn personally now leading in the polls it’s pretty much impossible to see the Tories losing a vote of confidence which would trigger another exemption to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. Any new election would very likely lead not only to a Labour government but to a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government, a prospect to chill even the most rebellious Tory into meek and sober compliance.)

But it would be churlish to dispute that Corbyn has put Labour in its best position for nearly 20 years. The same is emphatically NOT true of Scottish Labour, which hasn’t stopped the Scottish media from desperately trying to pretend otherwise.

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We’ve thought of a way 130

Posted on May 30, 2017 by

“It couldn’t be clearer than that” was Kezia Dugdale’s assertion tonight on the subject of whether a Labour UK government would block a second independence referendum, during her “Ask The Leader” interview with the BBC’s Glenn Campbell.

She’d insisted explicitly several times that a Jeremy Corbyn administration WOULD block a new indyref, even after being shown a video clip of Corbyn from earlier in the day saying he wouldn’t, and she repeatedly urged readers not to listen to the party’s leader and to instead go and look at the Labour manifesto.

So we did.

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Kezia Dugdale Fact Check, Part 682 128

Posted on May 26, 2017 by

We hadn’t been planning to talk any more about the curious case of Claire Austin, the suddenly publicity-shy Edinburgh nurse who – how can we put this? – seemed a rather ill-chosen figurehead for the good cause of getting more pay for a group of people who are rightly well-regarded by the public.

But yesterday, the release of a letter from Scottish Labour branch manager Kezia Dugdale re-opened political hostilities after last week’s hiatus for the Manchester terror attack by shoving the now-reticent Ms Austin right back into the spotlight.

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