Social media erupts in fury as Herald journo accuses Indy critics of ‘Trumpist Attacks’

A Herald journalist has sparked outrage on social media after accusing online independence supporters of mounting ‘Trumpist Attacks’ on journalism.

David Leask also called for SNP politicians who endorse criticism of members of his sector to be disciplined by the party.

The journalist tweeted: “This weekend’s @newsundayherald is a must-read for anybody who thinks cybernat rhetoric on journalism is either acceptable in a democracy or remotely helpful to the cause of Scottish self-determination. The SNP must now act on any elected member endorsing Trumpist attacks.”

The message was prompted by an announcement from the Sunday Herald that its Editor would be responding to recent criticism of the newspaper by independence supporters.  The Sunday Herald account tweeted: “You can read a full response by our editor @NeilMackay to the reaction to our front page last week in the forthcoming edition of the Sunday Herald.”

Last weekend the newspaper was accused of having misrepresented a sixty thousand strong independence march in Glasgow.

Independence supporters who took part in the march reacted angrily to a photograph on the front page depicting what appeared to be a considerable pro-Union counter demonstration.

The article also claimed the march had been “marred” by “ugly confrontations”.

Within minutes of the front page appearing, pro-independence users of twitter swamped the social media platform questioning the newspaper’s coverage of the event. Many expressed anger at what they claimed were misrepresentations and pledged to cancel long held subscriptions to the newspaper. Others questioned the newspaper’s claim to back independence.

The ‘Trumpism Attacks’ tweet from David Leask has now reignited the spat and has witnessed the journalist swapping insults with other twitter users.  Asked about the Sunday Herald’s reporting of the march, Leask responded: “I thought that was strong front page but alas I don’t work for the Sunday Herald and I can’t claim credit for it.”

SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter tweeted: “Equally let’s not get into a situation where genuine criticism is seen as just “cybernats”. I think putting that pic on the front page was a misjudgement. Won’t stop me reading the S Herald or Herald but I really didn’t like it.”

Leask responded: “I’m really happy the Sunday herald continues its record of highlighting extreme unionist and sectarian groups. And, yes, they fly Union jacks. But a lot of the reaction to that picture & those flags was not “normal” criticism by any measure. It was fascinating, though, to witness.”

The Herald journalist was less diplomatic with other responses, later tweeting: “It is really problematic to call this “contradiction”. We’re dealing with Mass allegations of professional misconduct, routine false allegations, threats and intimation, false blogs about reporters (I was recently falsely outed as GCHQ spy), cyber attacks, malicious theft. Etc.”

Responding to a tweet which pointed out the march had nothing to do with the SNP, Leask retorted: “I didn’t say the march had anything to do with the SNP. The SNP, however, suffers the most from dysfunctional online behviour and Trumpist antiMSM narratives. So the SNP is our natural ally in challenging this serious problem.”

The journalist also defended his use of the term ‘Cybernat’, saying: “Cybernat was not coined by unionist newspapers. It’s as good a term as any of the mobs whose antics are capable of doing more damage to Indy than the entire massed ranks of unionism together.”

He added: “I don’t use the term cybernat to describe those who support independence. I use it to describe a poisonous online minority who undermine what is overwhelmingly a democratic and legitimate viewpoint in and of our society.”

Leask was pressed on the use of the term ‘Cybernat’: “Cybernats? Are you referring to Scots Cybernats or Brit Cybernats? Or both? Rhetoric? Are you saying anyone who is not a journalist cannot present facts? Are you saying journalists are infallible? Really?”

The Herald journalist responded by advising the person to delete their twitter account: “These points are pretty surreal, proud cybernat. What I am saying is that you – and your ilk – now pose a meaningful threat to quality of political discourse and the possible success of the cause you claim to support. My advice: Delete your account.”

Amongst the scores of responses to Leask, few, if any, were sympathetic to the journalists’ arguments.  Many reiterated a desire not to buy the Sunday Herald again.

“I bought the Sunday Herald for 20 years, long before the recent prominence of the Indy issue. I stopped buying it recently. This Trump/cybernat smearing of any criticism is not winning me back.”

“Jeez David,“trumpist” & “cybernat” surely you dont need to utilise that approach. Never normally tweet on things like this but no one person is above criticism and when levelled you should try and respond rationally, granted it’s not always easy. Just disappointed in the language.”

The exchanges are unlikely to dampen a feeling amongst many pro-independence supporters that the main stream media remains a significant obstacle to independence.  The Sunday Herald, which came out in favour of independence towards the end of the 2014 campaign, has never formally altered this stance.  Last Sunday’s front page was viewed by many online commentators as a serious misjudgement that will have cost the paper a significant amount in terms of pro-independence custom and trust.

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12 thoughts on “Social media erupts in fury as Herald journo accuses Indy critics of ‘Trumpist Attacks’

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    They are quivering and trying to shut us down.

    We must be ahead in private polls

  2. Clydebuilt

    Over the last week I’ve stopped buying both the Sunday Herald and the week day Herald.
    Reasons, Last weekends depiction of the March on the front page
    And On Herald’s front page Sarwar’s claims that Scotland is no better than England re racist attacks.
    Leaks can whine all he wants. I don’t have to read lies.

  3. john

    Leask obviously feels he has to up the anti on the SNP and their Indy supporters in his reporting , he can stir up feelings of resentment quite easily by putting his dreadfully biased words and pictures into print . Whether it is coming from him or his billionaire newspaper owner ,who knows , maybe he is trying to keep his job . Since the Sunday Herald and the Herald are not what you would call class newspapers anymore and are basically tabloids , lets hope they go the way all tabloids are going , down the pan !

  4. Clydebuilt

    Sunday Herald:

    Last week front page photo gets backs up of Pro Indy folk
    PIF air grievances on Internet.
    Leask fans The flames
    Allowing today’s SH to continue rubbishing “Cybernats”
    Increasing the split between paper and Independence.

    Unionists start buying SH.
    SH drops pretence of supporting Independence.
    Job Done .

  5. Robert Graham

    Leask a Journalist ha ha now that really is taking the Piss .

    There are no Journalists in Scotland , these bag carriers of the Unionist message are bloody cowards who have sold whatever few principals they had to their Precious Union .

    As for this Arsewipes comment he was unable to claim credit for the Heralds front page , is this Twat for real “credit” for the worst misrepresentation of an event i have ever seen , this one really inhabits some pretty strange places if he says someone should have credit for that .

  6. Independent Woman

    I am getting on a bit now and decided to join the march at Boot’s Corner (yes, that’s how old I am). I stood for a while just next to the counter-demonstrators. I heard comments from red, white and blue-clad individuals that were, to the say the least, inappropriate to be expressed in public, as well as being bizarre in the circumstances. I heard the man with the megaphone and he was given his say without opposition.

    People on the march went past laughing and waving. I didn’t witness any objectionable behaviour either then or at any point later in the day.

    The picture on the front page of the Sunday Herald did not accurately reflect the circumstances surrounding the march in general and the counter demonstration in particular.

    Journalists and newspapers must recognise that ordinary people now have a platform to respond to perceived poor or biased reporting. I don’t do twitter so I don’t know what kind of response there was. However, as long as the response was factual and not abusive it is legitimate. It does not enhance the reputation of a journalist or a newspaper to respond petulantly to criticism as seems to have happened here.

  7. James Coll

    The front page of the ‘Sunday Herald’ last week was on the level of the ‘Daily Wail’ or the ‘Daily Bawl’. Shame about that. Not befitting of the man the wrote ‘The War on Truth’. Result, 1 copy in Thurso Co-op remains unpurchased today. (Is unpurchased’ a word?) However, had 1 copy been purchased I could have read the editorial. That editorial means the Co-op was again sell one more copy next week.

    We need every single independent voice. A lapse in standards is different from a change of policy on independence. Can we a’ keep the heid here?

    1. Ian Foulds

      Mr. Coll,

      All those desirous of Independence must indeed in the coming weeks and months
      ‘keep the heid’ Until Independence, no matter the provocation (easier said than done sometimes).

      No matter what, this MUST be the motto to follow.

      1. Clydebuilt

        Well said, new YES motto . . . . “Keep The Heid”

        There’ll be plenty encouraging others to loose the Heid.

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