THE chief correspondent of Channel 4 News says he expects to continue commenting on the role of the media in its reporting of Rangers FC – which was placed into administration in February and is now subject of various proposed take-over bids, amid debt estimated at £134million – because “it is part of the story”.
Alex Thomson has been using his blog to question the part being played by the media, on Thursday claiming: “For years too much football ‘journalism’ in Glasgow had been too lazy, sycophantic and incapable of asking awkward questions.”
It follows a blog in a similar vein a fortnight before, where he wrote: “What I didn’t expect [from reporting the Rangers story] were the insults (and in at least one case a direct physical threat) not from fans but from Scottish journalists.
“Sarajevo, Mogadishu, Kabul, Islamabad, Tripoli, Baghdad … I could bore you with more – in none of these places have I ever got this interesting reaction from local journalists.
“Only in Glasgow.
“So something’s up. Something’s different.
“Something about asking questions about RFC clearly angers some in the Glasgow media in a way I’ve never seen in 25 years of global reporting.
“Equally, a number of fine Glasgow journalists have been incredibly helpful, encouraging and agree there has been something deeply wrong for far too long in the culture of reporting RFC.
“They know who they are, male and female, working in papers, radio and broadcasting and every single one has encouraged me to dig around in an area many cannot, will not or are prevented from, exploring.”
In a TV report broadcast three days before his March 24 blog, Thomson said: “Slowly, key people are breaking ranks from the apparent wall of silence, revealing a cosy, too unquestioning football culture.”
He told allmediascotland that he didn’t mention the name of the journalist who allegedly threatened him because he considered the incldent as “next to nothing, you take with a pinch of salt”.
Asked if he might have at least credited the work of newspapers for story elements to his March 21 report, he said there was new material in it. He also claimed new aspects to the story – reported on the 30th of last month – have yet to be followed up by the media, with one or two exceptions, including the Scottish Daily Mail.
He added: “There is something which, I would say, borders on corruption in the nexus between the media in Glasgow and the Old Firm [of Celtic and Rangers] generally, and Rangers particularly. What I mean by that is there is a sense they are considered too big to fail, considered a huge part of the fabric of Scottish life and therefore [beyond] serious questions.”
He later said: “I don’t want to pick a fight with Scottish journalism, except it is part of the story.”