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Scotland spinning out of control.

Byline: A Conservative voice BY WEST SCOTLAND MSP RUSSELL FINDLAY

Journalists get a bad rap. TV soaps and dramas written by luvvies lazily portray newspaper reporters as devious and dishonest ghouls in dirty macs who target vulnerable people in an immoral and predatory way.

The reality is the majority working in Scotland's media are decent and diligent. They take great pride in keeping the public informed and great care in getting the facts straight.

Crucially, they hold the powerful to account whether keeping an eye on council planning decisions, rooting out rogue lawyers, exposing corrupt cops or cutting through SNP phoney grievance.

With every passing year, as newspaper sales have plummeted, the life of a proper jobbing hack has become increasingly more difficult (hats off to the team for producing this paper in your hands).

Weary old hacks, just like old cops, will tell you that the job isn't what it used to be.

Reporters on stagnated wages are chained to their desks with virtually no time to work on a story.

They have multiple spinning plates on the go and demanding deadlines to meet.

They are often now found in drab business parks, miles away from and invisible to the local communities they serve.

One of the greatest blights are the massed and ever-increasings ranks of PR people once merely known as "press officers" but who now usually style themselves as "comms"

experts.

The public sector is the petri dish for Scottish PR. Taxpayer-funded spinners can be found in virtually every single one of Scotland's vast array of public sector organisations.

Local authorities, NHS health boards and countless crony-stuffed quangos produce enough hot air to propel every wind turbine in the land.

Take Renfrewshire Council, which has a "corporate communications and public affairs manager" and five "senior communications officers" on the payroll.

A few years ago, another Scottish council accidentally published a list of applicants for its head of spin post. It revealed many prominent print hacks lured by chunky public sector wages, pensions and gentle hours and conditions.

Perhaps our council taxes could be better spent on local schools, policing or the pot hole epidemic (Fun fact: In 2007 when the SNP gained control over the Scottish Parliament, there were 3,981 reported pot holes. Last year, there were 20,988).

This week it emerged that the SNP government has turned itself into "one of the biggest media operations in the country" with the equivalent of almost 55 fulltime PR people on its books.

This spin factory costs taxpayers almost PS3million each year.

Unlike journalists, where fairness and balance are required, they airbrush any negatives while peddling whatever fairytale the government demands.

During my past career as a journalist, I became inured to public sector PRs telling bare-faced lies in response to a story which might damage the reputation of their paymasters.

Specific questions are routinely met with cut-andpaste banalities.

It is shameful and arrogant but they know they can get away with it.

Nicola Sturgeon's SNP government are masters of spin, and I don't meant that as compliment.

Any fact can be distorted or ignored in pursuit of their damaging agenda.

The SNP were exponents of fake news when Donald Trump was still just a reality TV star.

Scotland's culture of spin is out of control - and should concern everyone who understands the importance of a vibrant and effective media.

CAPTION(S):

The art of spin Real truth is a rare thing
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Author:A Conservative voice BY WEST SCOTLAND MSP RUSSELL FINDLAY
Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 24, 2021
Words:572
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