Was last night’s absurd Newsquest headline, about Messi, the “former Rangers target” winning the World Cup the worst headline in the history of their organisation? It was up there, and let’s not pretend otherwise. For sheer desperation, it has no equal.
When my mate showed me that headline last night I thought I was being trolled. Or that he was.
Imagine my astonishment when I went online to find that it was real.
That someone at The Herald had actually put such a thing online.
There was a time when that was a serious publication. I think we can all agree that no serious publication would have put this up.
Someone suggested to me that it was some bizarre attempt at humour.
But since when is it funny for an organisation which is dependent on subscriber fees to post something so self-defeating? Something that confirms every negative view many people in this country hold towards the mainstream media?
That takes stupidity to new heights.
All across this country, people lament the drop in standards of the mainstream press. Across this country people look at their output and are increasingly turned off by it. The clickbait nature of much of it puts some of the worst blogs to shame. Seeing that headline was a reminder of why so many people think so. Especially on our side of the city.
There was a time when the Newsquest titles tried to be better than the dreck we get from the red-top tabloids. There was a time when they hired good writers and turned out good copy and were taken seriously by their readers, in no small part because they took themselves sufficiently seriously that they would never have posted something like that.
None of that is true now.
The era when the Newsquest titles, like The Herald and The Evening Times hired top writers and wrote the best articles this country’s media has produced are far behind us. I have been writing, this month, about their attempt to move part of the way into blogging; their Celtic Way production is one of the worst pieces of junk on the internet.
That it’s editor in chief is a former Ibrox blogger is only part of the reason why.
But it’s symptomatic of the deterioration in quality of a news organisation that no longer has credibility. That headline last night, whatever the intent, was of the sort that you usually only see from those spoof sites like The Onion or The Daily Mash.
That’s how bad that headline is.
If I’d stuck it on a Keith Jackass piece it would have been criticised as too absurd for satire.