Media Lies - "Power without responsibility - the prerogative of the Harlot"

Last updated : 19 September 2002 By Bearwood Bear


Ok, it's pretty odd to start with a quote by ex-Tory PM Stanley Baldwin, but no-one has ever summed up the Press quite so accurately. Time after time Editors race each other to wallow in the gutter first and recent events concerning Rangers fans have shown that broadsheets are just as capable of this as the tabloids.

Take the Sunday Herald, for instance. On 7 April this year self-confessed Yahoo and hack Sanjeev Kohli said this

"Mark Walters arrived at Ibrox and was showered with exotic fruit by his own

team's supporters....".

We know 1st hand that many complaints were made to the paper about this. They went both to the Editor and to Kohli himself but in this case we'll follow a complaint made by one Bear to the Press Complaints Commission.

Our guy wrote to Kohli on 8th April saying this:

Dear Sanjeev,

I have just read your article and clearly you have a bright future ahead of you, both in journalism and as a Celtic fan.

Stating "...Mark Walters arrived at Ibrox and was showered with exotic fruit by his own team's supporters...." is, quite simply, a lie of breathtaking proportions.

You truly should be ashamed of yourself for writing this.

Perhaps your affiliations are clouding your memory, but I can assure you that my recollection of events is crystal-clear. On the 2nd of January 1988, at Celtic Park, Mark Walters made his debut in an "Old Firm" game. His arrival on the pitch was greeted with boos, monkey-noises and bananas being thrown on the pitch by Celtic supporters.

It transpired that a number of these people had even taken the trouble to dress up in monkey-suits for the occasion. I recall that the start of the second half was delayed to allow the evidence of this moronic behaviour to be removed from the track-side, particularly on the appropriately named "Jungle" side of the ground.

Shamefully, these events were repeated at Tynecastle, but at no time did anything even remotely similar happen at Ibrox. The idea that Rangers supporters took part in this activity is utterly without foundation. Indeed, the very first edition of the Rangers Fanzine "Follow, Follow" featured Mark Walters on the cover with the headline "Blue-the only colour that matters." and featured a lead article focussing on and condemning the shameful treatment given to Walters.

The truth (and I suggest you try to acquaint yourself with this concept in future) is that Walters was a hero to the Rangers support, a remarkable player who I know is still remembered with great fondness.

If you have an ounce of integrity, you will correct this lie immediately, apologise and ask the "Herald" to publish it."


Getting no reply, he wrote to the Andrew Jaspan, the Sunday Herald Editor on 18th April and got no response. He e-mailed Jaspan on 29th April and getting no response - anyone else spot the pattern here? - rang his Office directly, to be told Jaspan would 'deal with it'. He didn't.

Finally frustrated our guy wrote to the PCC on 22 May. He pointed out the article hadn't been retracted, the lie hadn't been corrected, and that the Sunday Herald paid about as much attention to their readers as they did to the truth - i.e. none.

He highlighted three separate breaches of the PCC's own Code and asked them only for two things - an apology and a retraction.

Now, let me put you out of your misery here because just like "24" the other week, there is no happy ending here. He got neither.

You see, the PCC is not a neutral watchdog; it¹s members are appointed by the same newspaper industry it is supposed to regulate and as a result it's a toothless wonder. A watchdog which doesn't bark and doesn't bite

Well, how do you explain their bizarre view that printing a Reader's Letter amounts to correcting one of the biggest lies told about us?

No, the bottom line not just for the Sunday Herald but for hacks like Speirs, Cully, Grahame, Leckie and now new Bhoy Kohli is that lies are OK, not apologising is OK, libelling thousands of people is OK and making up stories is OK... so long as it's Rangers.

As we said "power without responsibility". Add in a big pinch of cowardice and you've just about summed up the rat-pack of Scottish sports journalists. They separate the wheat from the chaff and print the chaff.

(The story has a funny ending because the Bear who wrote to Kohli is a Union Official who has been an active anti-racist for decades. He wrote to Kohli 3 weeks ago offering to meet him and take him to Ibrox to let him see for himself and guess what? No reply.)