31 July 2015

Graham Spiers, Chris McLaughlin banned from Ibrox

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

Not for the first time, though hopefully the last, Graham Spiers has been banned from working games at Ibrox, and this time has been joined by the BBC's Chris McLaughlin.

Both have a track record that speaks for itself. Spiers is so proud of his work he's decided to rewrite history in terms of his coverage at Ibrox through the years.

Of course Graham's further clarification hangs on the "beat-reporter" title, which is true; Spiers is not a beat-reporter – he's a columnist, so in effect banning him from working Ibrox again is perhaps a bit of an empty gesture, but it's a pretty damn funny one as far as those go. Stopping him from producing his particular kind of web-traffic-generating bullshit is nigh impossible, but at least he can't do it from the Ibrox press galley any more.

Stay behind your piano, Graham.

McLaughlin is perhaps a more pertinent case. Here we have BBC Scotland's number-one match coverage guy getting the shaft. Of course he's earned it, whether it be his disgraceful "reporting" at the weekend or his willingness to repeat anything Media House tells him. (You do, Chris. You do. And we all know you do. People working next to you know you do.)

It seems to be a disease suffered by certain parts of the BBC Scotland football posse, that "reporting" is merely regurgitating information as quickly as possible and worrying about the ramifications later. This is how you have the likes of Alasdair Lamont near the time of the first EGM saying that shares in the IPO went for 90p (because that's what Irvine's email said), or McLaughlin himself regularly breaking embargo by three minutes and claiming an exclusive. This is not reporting; this is lazy hackneyed churnalism that most stringers at small dailies couldn't get away with.

McLaughlin also has a problem wherein he seemingly must work a dig in at Rangers in nearly every audio or video report he files, including one tonight. Filing a report on the SPFL Premiership, he dropped a bit of, "The blue side are still looking up from a lower division," which was met with some derision by the lady sharing the screen with him: "Here we go again."

It's a skill to be sure–I can't imagine the script rewrites he has to go through in order to squeeze in a "new club" or two every time he gets behind the microphone–but certainly not one befitting a journalist at a body such as the BBC. But, as noted before, his editors aren't universally keen on the bit any more, and the BBC has made hires in the past year or so to directly counter McLaughlin's unprofessional behavior.

And here's the final upshot in today's news: that former non-executive director, cartoon aficionado and part-time CROpod partaker Chris Graham was the first with the news, on Twitter anyway. Some seem to be having difficulty wrapping their heads around the implications of such events; we'll leave them to speculate just what that all could mean.

In any case, that's two massive journalistic waste fields banned from ever taking up seats that could be filled by real-life reporters at Ibrox. That's a pretty big win for Rangers in a week that's already featured a pretty big win on the pitch. May it continue.