The Hacks Have A Job To Do, But Misleading Celtic Fans Is Not It.

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Glasgow World yesterday put up a headline reading this; “Celtic insider drops exciting transfer hint as man in Rodgers’ circle names area ‘definitely’ being targeted”. Everyone who reads that headline knows what position that is. I didn’t have to click on the link to know it. With the retirement of Joe Hart, we don’t have a goalkeeper.

But I guess “Celtic definitely targeting a goalkeeper” isn’t going to get hits or clicks, because this is not news. Even if the media had not spent the summer so far reporting every link out of the rumour factory with any keeper who even might be looking for a new club, common sense would tell you that of all the priority areas in the team, this is the most mission-critical.

The “writer” – and how loathe I am to use that word – of the appalling article which that headline sat over is Ben Banks, who also writes for The Record, where I’m certain this story has either appeared or will make an appearance under another lurid headline.

They are pretty much the same company, even if Glasgow World dredges the sewer in ways The Record wouldn’t dare with the “quality” of their output reaching levels of awful which need to be seen to be believed. Are they as bad as the detestable Glasgow Live, who run articles on how they “ran” games on “supercomputers” which turn out to be PlayStation 5’s, and trawl for anything that they can find which generates a headline?

No, but it’s still a pretty abysmal publication.

That story was based on a statement by Tosh McKinlay which they wanted to dress up as some kind of insider info, but was actually him talking nothing but basic good sense.

Of course a keeper is the key priority, because otherwise we’re going into the season with Scott Bain, and nobody thinks that’s a good idea.

Yes, McKinlay works inside Celtic Park.

Does it take a NASA scientist to confirm for you that we require oxygen to breathe or that the world is round and that gravity anchors us?

This is stuff we know, it’s like ABC simple, and if a national title presented this as if it was groundbreaking information I would wonder about the people who worked there.

I don’t wonder about the people who work for those titles. I know already what we’re dealing with. People who think this job is about being able to write in semi-coherent sentences and that all you need is a platform and the ability to hit a key and press publish, and that’s about as much “professional training” as any of them has ever gotten.

Where is the integrity in what they do?

Look, I make mistakes on here all the time. I miss things all the time. I sometimes misread or misunderstand what’s in front of me; it’s an occupational hazard. But I know how to differentiate between the facts I know and the things I only have opinions on.

I have a lot of opinions. Facts are harder to come by. What I don’t do, and won’t do, is present something I have an opinion on as a fact, because that’s how careers used to end in the media landscape. Another thing I won’t do is write misleading headlines which appear to offer the reader more than they can deliver as Banks did here. It’s cheap. It’s lazy. I abhor that stuff as a reader and I don’t know a single person who does not.

And what it does is it perpetuates distrust from the audience. Tactics like that, designed only to drive traffic, don’t just lack integrity but they are a stain on the entire online football media ecosystem especially when put out by a national title as this was, no matter what clothes they want to dress it up in. I take this seriously not just as someone who wants to be informed with accurate, up to date information but as someone in the same business as Banks.

Because the loss of credibility he suffers in light of tactics like that harms every one of us who operate in this field, whether at mainstream titles or lowly football fan blogs. It damages trust across the board, that does not help a single one of us in the long term.

What these people do requires no craft or skill in the first place. It’s 10,000 monkeys and 10,000 typewriters stuff; given time, those monkeys will turn out sub-par dreck by the library load long before they ever get to the complete works of Shakespeare and as far as I’m concerned that’s all this amounts to, people with a limited skill-set tapping the keys.

There was once an effort to get to the bottom of the “infinite monkey theory”; the University of Plymouth MediaArts team actually did put a bunch of monkeys in a room with a computer screen and a keyboard to see what kind of results it would generate.

Mostly, they horsed around.

The “leader” repeatedly hit the keyboard with a rock. A couple of them pissed on it. One defecated on everything. In the end though, they did manage to turn out five pages of text. Mostly the letter S. Give them the Keith Jackson Award for effort.

Glasgow World may just have published that and stuck a misleading headline on top of it. They may even have given someone like Banks the byline. It would be an improvement on some of what they do stick their names on over there.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    At least The Monkeys tried and got five pages of copy and text out there…

    And it was honest trying unlike The Scummy Scottish Football Media and their Lie after Lie after Lie for Liebrox…

    Of that there is one thing for sure…

    I’m a Beliver !!!!

  • John Copeland says:

    Now we all know what the word ‘ hacks ‘ means when anyone refers to an alleged SMSM scoop?

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