Kevin McKenna makes no attempt to consider the actual reason for David Torrance flouncing off Twitter in such comically melodramatic fashion. No doubt it had ceased to be “fun” for him. But if one is less inclined than Mr McKenna to simply accept the superficial excuses, one might pause to reflect upon why it had stopped being the amusing diversion that Torrance seems to think he had a right to expect. If one was familiar with Torrance’s pompous pretentiousness, this reflection would surely lead one to consider the possibility that engaging on Twitter had stopped being fun for him because it is a medium in which he has no advantage. A medium in which he must engage with others on equal terms. A medium that provides a level playing field where his pontifications can be challenged by those not so ready to accept his assumed expertise.
If it was only David Torrance it wouldn’t matter much. Torrance made greater mock of himself by his petulant tantrum than any of the supposed “vile abusers” who had brought him to such a nadir of despair and compelled the life-changing decision to quit Twitter. There is a bigger issue at stake here than the tender sensibilities of some mercenary hack who pads out his meagre talent for prejudice-soaked political analysis with a cringe-making propensity for contrived name-dropping. Torrance is trivia. The bigger question relates to the status of political journalism itself.
Kevin McKenna acknowledges the despicably dishonest nature of the British establishment’s anti-independence propaganda effort during the first referendum campaign. He recognises echoes of this hysterical viciousness and contempt for basic honesty in the Blairite assault on Jeremy Corbyn. What he fails to appreciate is that Better Together/Project Fear never went away. It’s still doing its insidious work of deceiving and intimidating and misinforming and defaming on behalf of a British state under threat from a surge of democratic dissent risen in Scotland and bearing down on its structures of power, privilege and patronage. And he fails to realise that part of this effort is the manufactured myth about extreme intolerance of any criticism of the SNP.
It is no coincidence that recent weeks have seen a flurry of efforts to revive the threadbare “vile cybernat” line of attack. The lies and scaremongering of the anti-independence campaign are being exposed as never before. The journalists who colluded in the smears and fears are more vulnerable than ever to having their part in the whole appalling exercise commented upon through social media. There is no way they can now pretend that all the stuff they spouted about a No vote offering a golden age of certainty and security was anything other than a heap of malicious lies. Their only recourse is to try and discredit those who would use social media to point out just what a load of utter pish it was.
Journalists don’t want to be held to account for their part in one of the most virulent propaganda campaigns ever mounted by the British state in peacetime. They don’t want to be answerable for their abysmal failure to challenge the claims and assertions made by Better Together/Project Fear, the British parties, and the UK Government. And so they try to make out that anyone who seeks to hold them to account is unreasonable. That anyone who so much as suggests that they should be answerable for their conduct is a mindless zealot.
David Torrance quit Twitter because he wants to spout whatever malicious drivel suits his agenda and do so with complete impunity. In this he differs from the generality of political journalists only in the extent of his infantile pettiness with which stomped out of the playground in a cloud of self-righteous indignation.
The whole thing about journalists supposedly not being able to criticise the SNP for fear of being the target of “vile abuse” is a complete myth. It is a device by which it is hoped to divert attention from the fact that the supposed “reasonable criticism” is invariably no more than a sensationalised parroting of attacks from the party’s opponents published without so much as a token effort at fact-checking.
The irony is that the most nefarious purpose of this myth is to silence those who would ask the awkward questions about this “criticism”. It is an attempt to induce that most pernicious form of censorship – self-censorship. It is hoped that, by portraying those who question the perspective peddled by the unionist media as some kind of extremists, we will all be deterred from asking those awkward questions.
The entire notion of journalists as “victims” because the rest of us now have an effective means of challenging them has come to be a very convenient part of a cosy consensus formed around a smugly ill-informed London-centric perspective, the dominance of which is aided by large measures unquestioning complacency and intellectual indolence, as well as a lack of resources. It is a cosy consensus which Kevin McKenna, for all his undoubted redeeming qualities, has an unfortunate tendency to buy into.Views: 9231
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