Late last night, the BBC published an article on the interview which I highlighted in my final piece for the day yesterday, the one on the interview that David Hamilton, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation gave to their Sportsound show.
The piece was entitled “Old Firm must show ‘strong leadership’ on stay-away messaging to fans”.
It was a pretty reasonable distillation of one of the comments Hamilton made, except that he did not name either club nor use that damnable phrase.
Here’s the thing; the reason I chose to feature that interview in last night’s article was that Marshall did not pull his punches when it came to apportioning blame for the events at George Square and up at Ibrox.
He slammed the club there, their management and made it abundantly clear that it was them and their fans who were entirely responsible for all this outcry.
His was only the latest voice to be raised in disgust at the behaviour of the club itself … but he went much further than anyone else had dared go, which is why I warmly applauded his comments.
But whilst the article went out of its way to make this a “plague on both our houses”, guess which of his remarks this particular piece left out of its coverage?
The BBC did a perusal of their own interview with the guy but left out every single reference to the comments where he apportioned blame!
They painted it as a generic attack on both clubs, which it absolutely was not.
“Rangers and Celtic need to show “strong leadership” in urging fans to stay away from Sunday’s derby, says the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation,” is how this piece opens.
It quoted Hamilton when he said both clubs have to continue to push the “stay at home line” and then it Nicola Sturgeon, who did in fact use the hated OF phrase.
Nowhere in there was Sturgeon’s comment about how it was solely down to the Ibrox fans, nowhere was there a reference to Celtic’s confirmation that the Scottish Government does not in any way hold us responsible for any of this.
The BBC chose to frame this as something both clubs have to deal with as if it was a problem afflicting both and not just down to one.
Imagine leaving out Hamilton’s comments on who really was to blame, words that were without the slightest equivocation.
There is no way that his no-holds barred attack on the Ibrox club wasn’t the biggest story to come out of that interview. In any other football enviornment that would be the headline take-away from it.
The BBC is more interested, it seems, on promoting nonsense about guards of honour.
Although an attack on a major club was clearly the dynamite moment of the segment, the writer of last night’s article actually went out of his way to make sure not a trace of it made its way into the piece, even going as far as to clip a small segment of those comments out and represent them totally without context.
Here’s what the article quoted him as saying;
“It’s not just about one statement or one day’s worth of social media. It needs to be consistent and persistent.”
Now I recognised that the second I read it, as it was part of that much wider statement he made and which myself and other bloggers highlighted last night.
““(The Ibrox club) was pretty disgraceful at the weekend when we had the celebrations in George Square. Not just in terms of their silence in advance but also in allowing their players to go to the corner of the stadium to cheer along, also in the dressing room, cheering people along and taking footage. Those behaviours contributed to the problems. We should not forget that. What we really need to see is the clubs making it clear. The First Minister is right, it’s not one statement or one day’s worth of social media, it is about being persistent and consistent.”
So you tell me; what agenda is being pursued here when the BBC edits its own interview with the guy to make it sound like a condemnation of two clubs instead of just one?
This is why we always have to keep these guys in our sights; the media should not be allowed to get away with nonsense like this.