The Sensational Sun
08/12/2011 950 Comments
Following on from the previous blog post- which illustrated the willingness of a Rangers supporting journalist to subject himself to ridicule and to pass blatant disinformation off as fact- today we head into the sewers to take a look at how The Sun does it.
Our national tabloids have never been taken too seriously. However, at their best, the red-tops have used sensationalism to attract large audiences to stories involving fraud and hypocrisy among the famous and the powerful. How strange then to read this morning’s article “Whyte’s putting off AGM”. When has a down-market trash-tabloid like The Sun ever worked so hard at de-sensationalising a story? I would not argue for any paper to do anything other than print the facts, but this is The Sun. Making stories sexier than they really are has been their stock in trade for generations.
Taxes? No worries. “…Whyte has been in detailed negotiations with HMRC to sort out the problems he inherited at Ibrox”
No audit? No problem. Rangers are just waiting on a wee letter from their busy lawyer who must just be swamped with other, more serious, issues.
Losing the tax case? Relax. Andrew Thornhill QC “expected the ruling to go in Gers’ favour and the club have had no suggestion that has changed“.
Rather odd to see a tabloid working so hard to take the heat out of a scandal!
Regular readers of this blog will know that this article in The Sun is riddled with disinformation and outright fabrications. The especially astute would wonder if a Sun hack had even penned a single word of this article. It is smeared with the fingerprints and DNA of the professional PR rep. (If Rangers’ PR gurus were any good at their trade, it would be a little less obvious). This article looks like it is a straight copy & paste from an email sent by the likes of Jack Irvine.
Negotiations with HMRC? Over which of the three cases is “The Sun” article referring? The Big Case? No- Whyte did try to engage in some discussions recently but those fell flat. The Wee Case which Whyte has recently opened an application for a belated appeal (despite the bill having been previously agreed). No. I don’t think so either. Or maybe most of Whyte’s recent discussions with HMRC have been “negotiating” the fact that Rangers have not been remitting the tax which they have been withholding from players’ salaries? Yes- that could be it.
Or Andrew Thornhill’s letter from last year? Is it this one mentioned by Rangers’ board of directors internal management communications from the middle of May? (Whyte was already in charge when this internal report was prepared).
Not exactly what “The Sun” ;-) has reported. Is it? This opinion amounts to “you are up for sale, and you need me to use my lawyerly skill to provide an empty and meaningless statement that sounds promising at first blush“. It looks like for the second time in a week, Rangers’ PR reps have been feeding untruths and disinformation to their friends in the media. In the case of The Telegraph’s Roddy Forsyth and The Sun’s Iain King, both have well known loyalties to Rangers.
Whether it is lack of intelligence, an absence of professional pride, or both that makes these journalists serve as willing channels for PR-guff does not really matter. The sad part is that even with the exposure of the failure of so many hacks to defend their beloved club from fraudsters and charlatans, they are still willing to wag their tails and wait for some scraps of succulent lamb to be thrown from their master’s table. Have they learned nothing?
If anyone was ever in any doubt as to how serious the crisis is within Scottish sports journalism, they need look no further than today’s The Sun. Not only are they hosing water on the seriousness of Rangers’ myriad legal and financial problems, but we are treated to a headline pumping the notion that Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool are ready to make their move for Rangers’ prime sellable asset, Nikica Jelavic. Let us hope that Whyte does not fluff the negotiations like he did in the summer. Contrary to the comical hype of the time, it is well accepted within Ibrox that not a single formal offer was received for Jelavic. A telephone enquiry was made by Leicester and a price of about £6m was discussed. However, Leicester did not follow through with an actual binding offer. At the time, it seemed that if Rangers FC were content to inflame the rage of HMRC staff with talk of being in a position to reject such princely sums, then it was not my job to intervene!
Whether Dalglish has any interest in Jelavic or not, I have no idea. What is clear is that Rangers are pulling in their markers in a big way to generate favourable press just now. Any sensible observer would be entitled to wonder why it is so important now.