01 August 2015

BBC Scotland refused to act over Rangers bias

by Chris Graham | Contributor

As the new season looms, and with it the hope of improved fortune on and off the pitch, a new attitude towards regular proponents of misinformation in the media has been adopted.

Press credentials were sent out this week and although the publications and broadcasters that use Graham Spiers will receive their usual allocations, they have been informed that the press passes they have been given cannot be used for the now freelance Spiers. They are free to send someone to cover games at Ibrox but Spiers will not be admitted. 

Chris McLaughlin will also not be admitted using BBC credentials following a number of questionable reports over the past few years including some that were outright propaganda for the previous regime. 

Spiers has long been a champion for the flat earth, Sevco brigade in Scottish football – those determined to spread the myth that Rangers are a new club. He has been caught out many times, over a period of several years, telling outright lies about Rangers both in print and in broadcasts and the new board has now lost patience. Despite his denials, with Spiers' career in sharp decline, he has recently reverted to filing match reports for a fee. He will no longer be doing so for games at Ibrox.

Both he and McLaughlin will also lose access to any pre- and post-match press conferences. The BBC Scotland response has been sadly predictable. Instead of acknowledging the culture of bias which pervades their news and sport departments, they have decided to 'boycott' Rangers. To be clear, BBC Scotland, a publicly funded body with hundreds of staff, is refusing to service hundreds of thousands of Rangers fans because one of their staff members is not welcome at the club. That is the level of arrogance in Pacific Quay and the level of contempt they hold for Rangers. 

McLaughlin has a long history of churning out Media House propaganda on behalf of the previous regime. Who can forget his bus interview with the Easdales and his wild claims of inflated share holdings? Despite this he has been given opportunities and cordial advice to attempt to balance his reporting on the club. That advice has not been taken. McLaughlin's latest stunt was to engineer a negative report after the 2-6 Hibs game. The BBC Scotland headlines were all about a handful of arrests amongst a 4,000 strong Rangers crowd despite an eight-goal thriller. 

McLaughlin persuaded the match delegate, former Celtic employee George Douglas, to breach SPFL guidelines and give him his negative story. So what should have been positive news for Rangers fans is quickly turned into a negative through the bitterness and lack of balance of a single BBC employee. This is what the club faces and what senior BBC Scotland producers choose to encourage amongst their staff. 

The club has been strong and fair on this. We have not acted like the second team in Scotland and banned journalists for one-off questions or stories we did not like. This is a reaction to years of unacceptable, malicious reporting from the individuals involved. All media organisations remain welcome at Ibrox - including the BBC. What will not now be tolerated are individuals who deliberately lie in print or ignore documented fact to try to lower the standing of the club or damage the Rangers brand. Senior club officials met with senior BBC Scotland figures shortly after the EGM to put across their concerns and attempt to find a solution. 

Rangers tried everything they could to avoid this ban but BBC Scotland refuse at all levels to address their problem. Instead of petulance and failing in their duty to a huge section of their audience, BBC Scotland would be better examining the inaccuracies, PR misinformation and outright lies that have been churned out by several of their employees and ask why such people seem to flourish in their organisation. 

The club is taking a much more proactive approach with the media as a whole. Many positive stories are being generated and bridges built. Meanwhile questions are being asked of anomalies in reporting like the recent use of photos of Ibrox in a Guardian piece about policing in Scotland. The editor was contacted and the club’s displeasure about Rangers being shoe horned into a negative story which had no relevance to us was made known. 

Rangers are also aware of discontent amongst online fans at the spread of falsehoods on the internet. The main culprits being Phil MacGiollabhain and Bill McMurdo Jnr with his ironically named ‘Rangers Supporters Loyal’. Both The Rangers Standard (TRS) and the Copland Road Organization (CRO) have had a great deal of fun over the years debunking the myths of MacGiollabhain and more recently McMurdo. We will continue to do so and there can now be no doubt that they are being fed their misinformation from the PR representatives of the old regime at Rangers. 

These PR representatives also continue to contact the mainstream media with their tall tales, despite being given short shrift by credible journalists. However, with their stories being so demonstrably wrong – such as MacGiollabhain’s recent claim that we had sold only 8,000 season tickets and his fantasy accounts of dealings with Sports Direct – the prevailing view within the club is that normal operations over the coming weeks and months will serve to further discredit these individuals to the point that even their most ardent fans desert them. 

Put simply, as the rebuild continues on and off the park their lies will become more and more transparent. So as we continue to see improvement and additions on the pitch, there are also some signs of our club slowly dealing with legacy issues off it. Long may it continue.

UPDATE: Spiers was on Off The Ball this afternoon lying again.