C.P. Scott’s dictum that “comment is free, but facts are sacred” is a powerful reminder that journalism without precision isn’t really worth the effort.
In Britain people expect much of “Auntie Beeb” when it comes to journalistic standards.
On Planet Fitba we owe much to Mark Daly’s perseverance and bravery in his two documentaries about the Ibrox omnishambles.
Subsequently I was very surprised to hear Alasdair Lamont on BBC Radio Scotland last night explain to the nation about Dave King’s legal situation regarding his tax affairs.
“He very recently settled a long running battle with the South African taxman.
“He ended up paying something in the region of forty three million pounds and in return for that all criminal charges were dropped against him in South Africa.
“He still had to plead to something like forty two lesser charges across there.”
That was how Alasdair Lamont of BBC Scotland characterised the Dave King situation in South Africa and doing so, whether by accident or design, had completely misled the listeners.
When I heard this on the Podcast I immediately let my followers know about the Beeb’s man rather interesting take on South African Jurisprudence.
I included him in tweets where I pointed out that pleading guilty in a criminal court usually means that the defendant has a criminal conviction.
Moreover, I also pointed out in a subsequent tweet that I had been in direct contact with the National Prosecuting Authority in South Africa regarding Mr David Cunningham King’s 41 criminal convictions.
The reaction on my timeline was swift and unambiguous and people were in agreement that the undeniable aroma of shite was detected emanating from Pacific Quay.
Today on Twitter Mr Lamont tried to set the record straight in two tweets:
“To my correspondents last night, I agree my wording round the Dave King story wasn’t 100% accurate, so to clarify”.
“Fraud charges against him weren’t pursued after he pled guilty to 41 counts of contravening Income Tax Act, for which he was fined £43m”.
Perhaps “wasn’t 100% accurate” can now enter the succulent lamb lexicon along with “wealth off the radar”.
I am confident that there will be no heavy meetings between senior BBC management and the NUJ to protect Alasdair Lamont from this apparent faux pas.
Now compare and contrast what the Beeb’s Jim Spence has had to endure for broadcasting the truth about the death of Rangers.
The mainstream media agenda is clear and discernible to anyone with a bullshit detector installed.
Dave King is viewed as the man who can save the Magic Staircase from once more being ascended by Administrators.
Subsequently, a saccharine narrative is being constructed that presents the convicted tax cheat as a man of impeccable reputation.
I don’t expect any better from the print sector in Scotland, especially the tabloids.
They serve the Sevco demographic and the klan only want puff pieces that everything is going to be ok down Edmiston Drive way.
Desperate for hope The People cling to the belief that Dave King is the Sugar Daddy they have been craving since the credit tap was turned off on David Murray’s vanity project in 2008.
However, I do expect better from a national broadcaster insulated, as they are, from the commercial considerations of the private sector.
I have yet to hear a BBC journalist say that Dave King is a convicted criminal.
Until then I’m not convinced that they hold facts to be sacred the way they should do.
That’s just my opinion of course.