The story which resulted in the Scottish Football Association's head of refereeing, Hugh Dallas, last week stepping down from the position has been traced back to a reporter compared to the celebrated journalism duo of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who exposed former US President Richard Nixon in what soon became known as 'Watergate'.
Writes The Guardian's media commentator, Roy Greenslade, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain – born in Glasgow but living these last few years in County Donegal, in Ireland – “comes from a hallowed line of single-minded investigative campaigning journalists, but with a new media twist”.
Adds Greenslade: “Though he freelances for mainstream newspapers, much of his work appears on his blog. He operates through the cultivation of good contacts. But he has been able to put greater pressure on the authorities by posting new material swiftly online.”
Dallas was accused of having sent an offensive email relating to the Pope's visit to Scotland.
The story appeared on the journalist's blog. Continues Greenslade: “The next morning, the Scottish edition of the News of the World ran the same story. But it was entirely coincidental (as the NoW has generously conceded in an email to me). So it was a genuine scoop by Mac Giolla Bhain.”
The specific comparison with Woodward and Bernstein is made by the Daily Mirror's Brian McNally, here, which Greenslade points out to his readers.