Sunday Herald Editor takes aim at online Yes ‘mob’ and accuses ‘SNP figures’ of ‘allowing lies to poison the body politic’

The SNP is allowing lies to “poison the body politic” in Scotland, a newspaper Editor has claimed.  Neil MacKay also took aim at Independence supporters who criticised the Sunday Herald and accused them of showing a “hatred of journalism”.

In a controversial editorial in this Sunday’s edition of the paper, the Sunday Herald Editor wrote: “It is, therefore, disappointing that a small minority of both the Yes movement and SNP voters should turn on a paper that supported the central tenet of their beliefs – independence – for many years.

“There seems to be a hatred of journalism – of questioning, of analysis, of nuance, of open debate – at the heart of such sentiment whuch is truly not good for democracy.”

MacKay’s editorial was prompted by a backlash against the newspaper last week after independence supporters took issue with a front page image and article they claimed misprepresented a sixty thousand strong pro-independence march.  The article claimed the good-natured event had been “marred” by “ugly confrontations”, a claim that was rejected by those in attendance.

In his editorial, MacKay described online critics as “a mob” and also hit out at what he claimed was a “distortion of the truth” by those same critics.

He wrote: “Some of the criticism levelled at us has had the feel of a complete disconnect from reality, and has echoes of the worst of the online world as exhibited by the Trump campaign and its dissemination of lies as fact.”

The newspaper Editor claimed staff had been subjected to threats and also hit out at the SNP, accusing the party of standing by and allowing political discourse to be poisoned by lies.  He added: “It is also disheartening that SNP figures do not speak out to condemn such distortions of the truth …

“By maintaining their silence they are allowing lies to poison the body politic.”

The Editorial was the latest manifestation of differences between the newspaper, which adopted a pro-independence stance in late 2014, and online Yessers and bloggers.  It came a day after another Herald journalist was involved in a twitter spat with pro-independence opponents after accusing them of mounting ‘Trumpist Attacks’.

Responses to MacKay’s Editorial suggests the rift between the two sides has now widened, perhaps beyond repair.  The row wasn’t helped by what was widely seen as a defiant front page in this week’s edition that targeted former First Minister Alex Salmond.

One blogger suggested the Editorial had damaged the Sunday Herald and its weekday sister paper.  Grousebeater tweeted: “The sadness in Mackay’s badly judged diatribe is he doesn’t perceive the damage his newspaper and the Herald does every day to the cause of civil rights in Scotland.”

Stuart Campbell, who runs the Wings Over Scotland website, contrasted claims in the Editorial with threats he said had been aimed at him by a Herald journalist.

Campbell tweeted an image of tweets apparently posted by Neil Cameron.

The blogger also posted a message which read: “No mention of stuff like this, directed at me unprovoked by a Herald hack I’d never heard of and including an implied physical threat.”

The blogger revealed he had emailed the Sunday Herald Editor requesting a right-of-reply to the Editorial.

Another Yes blogger, James Kelly, argued the newspaper had compounded the misjudgement of the previous week by placing a ‘despicable attack on Alex Salmond’ on this week’s front page.

Writing on his Scot Goes Pop blog, Kelly said: “You might have thought that the Sunday Herald would have reflected on the damage done last week, and would be in full-on build-bridging mode this week.

“But not a bit of it. Instead, they’ve doubled down with a front page that sends an unmistakeable message that a great deal has changed. It contains what I can only describe as a despicable attack on Alex Salmond that in none-too-subtle fashion pursues the barking mad “the Russians are everywhere!” agenda of Mr David Leask from the paper’s anti-independence daily sister publication.”

The blogger suggested the Sunday Herald had gone out of its way to create the front page ‘news’ lead, adding: “I know that defenders of the front page story will point out that the Sunday Herald can’t be expected to let its pro-independence views get in the way of reporting the news.

“But the snag is that the comments of Mr Litvinenko’s widow about Alex Salmond are not a news story that has just spontaneously appeared out of thin air.

“She presumably didn’t ring up the Sunday Herald offices and say “I’ve just got to get this off my chest, guys”.  They sought her out and solicited a view from her about a subject that she might well not have given much thought to otherwise.

“It’s a piece of “news” that has been artificially generated by the Sunday Herald completely from scratch.”

The front page attack on Salmond will be seen by some as a warning to SNP figures of what the party can expect should they decline MacKay’s ‘invitation’ to call out the ‘mob’.  However early signs suggest Nicola Sturgeon and her party are steering clear of the row.

In a separate tweet, Salmond himself attacked what he called the ‘smear piece’ on his TV show.

The former First Minister revealed he had now cancelled his long standing subscription to the Sunday Herald following the newspaper’s ‘truly bizarre’ coverage of the Glasgow Indy march.

The newspaper stands to lose a considerable sum in terms of subscriptions should other independence supporters follow Salmond’s lead.

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9 thoughts on “Sunday Herald Editor takes aim at online Yes ‘mob’ and accuses ‘SNP figures’ of ‘allowing lies to poison the body politic’

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    It is almost as though they have a suicide group mentality.

    Either that or this strategy is being ordered from the parent organisation in London or even the bigger boys in Langley.

  2. John Robertson

    The Herald has stooped so low in its contant drivel smear and Diciet they constantly publish.

    Its a Rag State Controled Propoganda Lying and untrustworthy MSMthats nit worth wasting your money on . OFFCOURSE unless you want to be treated as a fool by reading their Trash that wouldnt even look reasonable after being recyled.
    “Save your money and Burn The Daily Herald Trash. Sorry dont even burn this garbage as this would still polute our atmosphere with lies .
    Maybe incinerate their trash .Time to put the Hetald and their equall crook MSM out of bussiness.

    The annuall edition off the Broons,The Dandy and Oor Wullie makes better reading.

  3. 100%Yes

    So there supposed to be for Independence, Aye right now we know. I suppose its better to know now then later when we’re in the referendum and their stabbing the SNP and Yes Movement in the back. Lets not beat about the bush it’s Scots the SNP and the Yes movement there is no one or organization we can rely upon I don’t trust The National or Bellacaledonia, Commonspace and Cat Boyd.

  4. Independent Woman

    I gave my opinion of the Sunday Herald report of the Independence March held last week. I am now taken aback to be described by the Editor of the Sunday Herald as being part of a ‘mob’. I thought my comment yesterday was reasoned and polite.

    I can only repeat what I said on my previous comment: newspapers and journalists must realise that they will now be called on by their readers to either report accurately or be ready for the inevitable criticism.

    Distortion and half truths are not acceptable either. The photograph on the front page of the Sunday Herald, while being a snapshot of the march, distorted the truth about the size of the protest. While standing there I heard objectionable comments from those who seemed to be associating themselves with the protest, some wearing red, white and blue and one wearing orange. The marchers looked and laughed and waved.

    I saw the headline in yesterday’s Sunday Herald and lost any impulse I had to buy it. Those of us who watch the Alex Salmond show on RT appreciate the wide range of guests and subjects on the show. He would never get a platform like this on the media in this country.

    Why is Alex Salmond being singled out for producing an informative, lively, entertaining show? Because the USA and the UK have targeted Putin and Russia with wide-ranging accusations with little proof so far. The Sunday Herald had many stories it could have put on its front page. The one they chose is scraping the barrel and , I think, contemptible.

    I don’t like Putin, but I don’t like Theresa May or Donald Trump either. I have proof before my eyes every day that Theresa May has seriously damaged the lives of many people: immigrants; NHS staff; the disabled; the unemployed; public sector workers; low paid workers; fishermen; farmers. And I could go on but you get the picture. And then there are the positives – Scottish companies doing well. Can I recomment the Editor of the Sunday Herald to check the pages of its sister newspaper, The National for stories of that kind. The Sunday Herald could have chosen any number of stories relating to Scotland today but chose not to. Sad.

    1. Robert Graham

      It must be kinda soul destroying knowing when you get up in the morning your task that day ,and every day since you can remember is to find some way to please your unionist paymasters ,
      Every day in life try and find something to attack people whose only wish is to try and make things better for all around starting with a caring government and country ,

      How do you attack Hope , well i suppose by spreading Lies and derision all over peoples dreams .

      What a worthless existence sucking the life out of every good thing people are doing .

      I suppose these folk end up like Cochrane who writes for the Telegraph who in my opinion is in need of Professional help as his whole existence depends in attacking anything todo with independence , thats it nothing else as you say SAD .

  5. Brian MacLeod

    The Sunday Herald has not yet worked out that there is an independence movement which is completely separate from the SNP.

    The SNP is not in charge of it, and in fact appears to avoid having anything to do with the independence movement’s more prominent supporters.

    The SNP is a political party that most of the independence movement supports because there is no credible alternative.

    In no way does it lead us or tell us what to do, or we’d tell it where to go…

    Maybe if the Sunday Herald did its journalistic homework it would better understand what is going on.

  6. Fedupwiththislark

    The Herald know perfectly clear that the Indy movement is more than SNP. They are simply, like other hacks and Better Together, trying to lock the SNP onto such accusations because they know in doing so, they damage the SNP. It is the same media strategy used by Better Together to make indyref 1 about Salmond, knowing that many disliked him. It is the same as what Ruth is using in continually linking the SNP to her obsession to new referendum. Knowing many (unionists) dislike the idea of having vote again and can be motivated to campaign against it.

    Here we have an editorial team which is hostile to the YES cause. And with it, an unreflective industry incapable of recognising why people are abandoning traditional print media and who have some messiah like complext in expecting people to “respect their ver existence” and “appreciate” them. As a result their industry will die.

  7. Tommy Aikenhead

    suicide group mentality
    drivel smear and Diciet
    State Controled Propoganda
    Burn The Daily Herald
    polute our atmosphere with lies
    incinerate their trash
    stabbing the SNP and Yes Movement in the back

    Not much poison here? You don’t do irony either………

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