Stenographers and scabs

I was shocked to learn that the interest from China in Alfredo José Morelos Aviléz had “cooled”.

Anyway, it was an amazing scoop for the Daily Radar.

And only last night I had submitted a media question to Beijing Rehne apropos their pursuit of the Colombian striker.

Ah well.

Journalism, in a sense, is all about questions.

Questions answered and answers questioned.

You’re serving the Public Interest by finding out what should be widely known.

However, many of those in positions of authority do not want the general public to be aware of their machinations.

Consequently, the Fourth Estate must continually subject them to scrutiny.

This is a Jeffersonian view of those in power.

Now, it shouldn’t be a matter for debate that the Fitba Fourth estate massively failed in their journalistic duty on matters Ibrox for decades.

They gorged on Succulent Lamb during the Murray years.

Any journalistic abilities that might have been extant within the press pack atrophied to an alarming extent.

Then the day arrived in November 2010 when the chaps at the Daily Record were told to call Craig Whyte a billionaire.

More than two decades after David Murray bought Rangers there was a generation of hacks in place who were trained to obey.

Their only professional input was to add the “Off The Radar” flourish.

Now there is an alternative to this nonsense.

The Fitba Fifth Estate is an eclectic amalgam that includes your humble correspondent.

There are some very fine journalists in Scotland, but they tend not to be on the sports desks.

At the end of the day, it is about asking questions that you think the public might want to be answered.

Here is a recent example of my correspondence on behalf of the public.

 

You may remember that the competition organisers posted up a video of the klan on tour with one of the Florida Cup folk in the shot.

Hat tip to the Sunday Herald.

However, I was informed by a very well-placed source close to the action that the sports chaps at the Herald Group were not keen for this story to be pursued any further by their newsdesk colleagues.

Therefore, I decided to do a bit extra myself.

 

[Jan 19th]

Hello XXXXX

I am a journalist who writes about Scottish football.

Please see press card ID attached.

I have a few questions for you about the Florida Cup.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks

[Jan 19th]

Hi Phil. Thanks for the note. Feel free to pass your questions along at your convenience.

 

Best,

XXXXX

 

[Jan 19th]

Hi XXXXX

Please see attached an image from The Sunday Herald website.

TSH is a leading newspaper in Scotland.

The picture is taken from a video where supporters of The Rangers Football Club were singing a song called “The Billy Boys”.

This commemorates a street gang in Glasgow Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s.

Their leader Billy Fullerton was a member of various right-wing organisations in Britain.

He was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan and corresponded with the KKK in the USA.

The song has the line “we are up to our knees in Fenian blood. Surrender or you’ll die”.

The word “Fenian” is a highly pejorative word in Scotland and the North of Ireland.

It refers to a person of Irish Catholic heritage.

For Billy Fullerton and his followers, it was their “N” word.

This song was banned by UEFA in 2006 and their judgement can be accessed on their website.

The video (and the still image I have supplied) also appears to have one of the organisers of the Florida Cup taking part with the supporters.

Can you confirm that the young man in the black T-shirt is part of the Florida Cup staff?

Many thanks

Phil

 

[Jan 21st]

Phil, 

Thank you for the additional background you have provided, it is very educational. Below is the statement the tournament released in response to the unfortunate and hurtful video. As you can imagine, we are far more aware of the extreme sensitivities around this issue, and have learned a great deal from this.

 

“The Florida Cup is an international celebration of football, open and inclusive to all, bringing together a variety of cultures from around the world. We apologize to all who were offended by the video we posted from the Rangers’ fan base at the club’s first match at the Florida Cup. We did not understand the lyrics of the chant and its inclusion in our social media coverage was 100% unintentional. We have removed the video the moment we learned of the issue.”

 

The gentleman in black is a member of the social media team, who created the video. As stated above, he did not understand the lyrics or sensitivities around the chant, and this whole video was 100% unintentional. We apologize for its posting, and took it down immediately upon learning of the mistake.

 

Kindly,

XXXXX

 

[Jan 21st]

Dear XXXXX

Many thanks for your prompt response to my enquiry.

For the avoidance of doubt, I didn’t think that you folks in the Florida Cup would have had any background knowledge about this song or the sentiments contained within the lyrics.

I fully take on board your statement about the Florida Cup being “an international celebration of football, open and inclusive to all”

My supplementary questions are relevant to those core values:

Did the Florida Cup organisers contact the Rangers Football Club (TRFC) about the incident in question?

If so, did the Florida Cup Organisers state to TRFC that such behaviour from their fans is not acceptable?

Did the club respond?

Was the response to your satisfaction?

Regards

Phil

 

 

[Jan 29th]

Hi XXXXX

You have had my questions for over a week now.

Can I take it that you are refusing to answer them?

Please let me know as I am about to publish a story on this incident.

Regards

Phil

[Jan 29th]

Hello Phil.

Thanks for the follow-up. I passed along your additional questions and am waiting to hear from my colleagues at Florida Cup. Since the event ended last week, it has been a bit hard to get a hold of some folks.

When is your deadline? “About to publish” meaning today or this week?

Also, any insight as to the tone of the piece that you care to share with me?

Best,

XXXXX

 

[Jan 29th]

Hi XXXXX

Thanks for getting back to me.

I can stretch the deadline until the end of the week, but no further.

The tone of the piece will not in any way be accusatory at the Florida Cup folks.

I totally get that you guys had no idea of the sub-culture around The Rangers FC.

I hope this clarification helps you to help me.

Best

Phil

 

[Jan 31st]

Phil,

 

The statement below can be attributed to tournament officials, in response to your additional questions.

 

Best regards,

XXXXX

 

Upon learning of the incident, we contacted the club and learned of the sensitivities surrounding the issue. They provided good counsel, which we followed. They understand our open and inclusive philosophy, and agreed this fan behavior was completely unacceptable and has no place in the Florida Cup or the game as a whole.

 

[Jan 31st]

Many thanks for coming through on this XXXXX.

I will reflect that in my piece.

Regards

Phil

 

 

Now, I still have the question in my head as to what exactly is “good counsel” when it emanates from Ibrox.

However, I suspect that the decent folks in the Sunshine State wouldn’t be able to appreciate the darkness that resides there towards the Irish and Irishness among the home crowd.

I have many more questions apropos matters Ibrox that those in various positions of power do not wish to answer.

That said, the very act of asking them serves the Public Interest as their refusal to answer is also revealing.

It is worth noting that the national broadcaster in Scotland is still banned by Sevco because one of their journalists committed the sin of accuracy at Ibrox.

Chris McLaughlin reported facts, but these were deemed to be “unfairly focussed” on arrests made at Ibrox during a match against Hibs.

In fairness to the BBC, they have stood firm on this matter.

However, I’m told that not all at Pacific Quay are thrilled at this show of journalistic integrity towards the basket of assets.

It is worth noting that the contractor currently providing PR services to Sevco once crossed an NUJ picket line in at Pacific Quay on November 6th, 2010.

My wee granny in Baillieston taught me never to pick a scab.

I certainly wouldn’t take a press release from one.

My promise to you dear reader is that anything you read here hasn’t been cleared at a high-Level.

Moreover, the content contains are no traces of contaminated lamb and it is free of any harmful PR additives.

Unlike some, I can confidently state that this is all my own work.