I just had a laugh out loud moment on Twitter when I was reading up on a story about how Peter Oborne, the veteran journalist and despiser of political liars, had called out the BBC for editing a clip of Boris Johnson at the debate on Friday night.
The clip was of the first question, the one about honesty and integrity.
And when Johnson started to answer the crowd openly laughed at him.
It was surreal. They mocked the Prime Minister for daring to put himself forward as a paragon of truth.
And of course, he isn’t and everyone knows he isn’t. Johnson has spent his entire career lying. He was sacked from his first job as a journalist for doing it.
There is no doubt that he is the most dishonest person ever to inhabit Downing Street, and when you consider the sins of Tony Blair – about which Osborne once wrote a scathing book – he has fearsome competition, perhaps as good as there’s ever been.
What the BBC did with the Johnson clip was edited out the laughter, and edited in applause.
It’s about as clear-cut a complete misrepresentation of what took place as you are ever likely to see. And Oborne was appalled by it, and went on Twitter to compare it to the kind of stuff Soviet State Television once did. The furore has been building ever since.
And into the mix came loads of Celtic fans; I recognise many of them from my own Twitter feeds.
They lambasted the national broadcaster over this clear-cut bias, pounding away at them for basically lying and spreading those lies on the airwaves.
The thing that got me thinking on Twitter was this; there must be people all over the UK looking at the number of Celtic fans blasting the broadcaster over this and wondering; “How come their fans are this clued up on media bias?”
How was it that so many of our supporters immediately weighed in on this debate, understanding at once the issues and the implications of what the BBC did here?
And the answer is this.
We can spot bent journalism a mile away now.
We know what bias looks like.
We’ve been dealing with it our whole lives, watching Celtic being talked down in the media as a certain other club is being talked up.
When I went to university to get my media degree I already felt like I had a masters in this stuff, just from reading the back pages of the tabloids for years and seeing the Ibrox operation get boosted at every turn.
Thank God for the internet, as without it ordinary citizens would neither be able to find the truth so easily or to hit back at those who spread lies and disinformation as the BBC has done today. Thank God for linking my up to all you amazing people. The way we debate and discuss issues online – on the Groups and in the blogs and the forums – has made us smarter, more engaged, more driven … and more intolerant of this kind of stuff when we see it.
I am dead proud of our online community today when I see our guys leading the way on this stuff.
If anyone tells you that all the hours you spend “banging on about football” is nothing but a waste of time, you point to days like this and how clearly we can see the big picture.
A waste of time?
Keep on doing what you’re doing, friends.
Keep on holding these people – whoever they are, and wherever they are – to account.
This election looks like a train wreck, so we might not win this one – the chances are against it – but there are going to be more of these fights, both in politics and in our own little sphere of the football. Remember, the Celtic AGM is this coming week, and that’s going to require all of us to give our own club more scrutiny than it has in years.
We’re good at this, yes, because we’ve had the practice.
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