Don’t Feed The Mainstream Media Trolls

@EvanMcFarlane comments on Bill Leckie, Adrian Durham and more of the worst of the professional hot take haver, click chasing, provocateur class. Read and share to start the fight back against troll journalism.

The media treatment of Alfredo Morelos since he arrived at Rangers has been nothing short of disgraceful. One of the biggest, most exciting talents Scottish Football has seen this side of the millennium subjected to a seemingly endless stream of xenophobia and scrutiny. It’s not coming from some weird bloggers sat in their mum’s basement though, it’s coming from our mainstream media.

Bill Leckie’s recent Morelos piece joins a long, long list of similar articles penned in recent years, quite a few of which have centred round the Colombian. How could we ever forget the infamous Narcos-themed abomination served up by Scotland’s premier football writer, Mr Keith Jackson? There are first year journalism students that would’ve been taken to one side by their professor and told to “tone it down a wee bit” had they tried to shoehorn so many cocaine references into a piece of writing. Scotland’s four time (four, time) sports journalist of the year however received no such talk. He simply stayed off of Twitter for a few days until it all blew over. His work was done.

It would be very, very easy for me to sit here and call Keith Jackson, Gordon Parks and Bill Leckie massive simpletons and lambast them for the truly mind-numbing pieces of writing they are PAID to produce. I have in the past, I probably will again, but ultimately it does not matter. All they want is a reaction.

You can sit and dissect their words and point out every single glaring inaccuracy or bit of casual racism littered throughout their work. You can call them every name under the sun and tweet insult after insult until we’ve all moved on to something else. If you’ve engaged with the article and what they’ve said though, that’s all that matters to them.

That’s just what our society is now. It’s all about getting that reaction, no matter how much of an idiot or a scumbag the person generating it might seem. Katie Hopkins, Piers Morgan, Paul Joseph Watson, the lot of them. Every reply, every quote tweet, every article written about them – it sustains them. The more outlandish they get, the higher the numbers go. This piece is not meant to criticise users that have, or still do engage with these accounts. Particularly when it’s islamophobia or just outright lies about a race or religion, it is extremely difficult to simply leave it unchallenged – especially when there’s thousands of people online who will take whatever these accounts say as gospel. We have an innate desire to argue against it, but whilst we do that, Hopkins & Morgan just watch their numbers climb higher and higher.

Football’s very own Katie Hopkins is of course Talksport’s Adrian Durham, a man who seems to pride himself on having a brand new bad opinion every week. It is impossible for anyone to actually be as thick and as detached from reality as Durham is. He is no scholar, but he is not the person he portrays himself as. Almost everything Adrian Durham says is done to get a rise out of someone. He doesn’t care how much of a tit he has to make himself look. If you watch the clips and reply to the tweets, he’s winning.

A shameless plug here, but if you go to my Twitter @EvanMcFarlane, you’ll notice the pinned tweet is a Daily Mail article from Mr Durham himself, in which he touts Mark Warburton as a future England manager after “revolutionising” Scottish Football with his Championship-winning Rangers side. It really has to be seen to be believed. When I took him to task on some of his points in it, he tried to argue back, before blocking me. Why? Because that was supposed to be a serious piece. The Talksport persona (somewhat) left at the door and the actual “journalist” Adrian Durham taking over. Keith Jackson and Gordon Parks are the same. They’ll take wee breaks from begging for Twitter interactions to write things with a bit of substance or emotion. Have you ever seen a tweet that reads “This is such a great piece from Keith Jackson” or “Tremendous insight from Gordon Parks here”. No? I wonder why eh?

Perhaps being behind so many articles which focus not on the content within but the reactions they will elicit has completely destroyed any credibility Jackson, Parks, Durham or Leckie will ever have. It is impossible to take any of them seriously or place any value in the words they say when they are so happy to toss away integrity for the sake of a few Twitter interactions. Or maybe, they’re just not very good writers. There are so many better out there in Scottish Football, many of whom who just do it for their love of the game – producing articles, podcasts and tactical profiles of a standard the names above could only dream to reach.

Who are the real winners and losers here though? The guys that put time and effort, hours and hours of research into their work, and often release it for free? Or the guys that can write any old nonsense, have racist undertones, pick up a healthy wage and still get named Scottish Sports Journalist of the year four (four!) times? I guess that’s for your own interpretation. Personally, I’d rather not be a puppet. I would rather not completely sell off my credibility for the sake of a few clicks. I would rather not pretend to be completely naïve about something and make myself look like an idiot (deliberately anyway) all just to get hits. I would certainly rather not out myself as a racist in the national press just because I don’t like a foreign footballer’s attitude. The names mentioned in this article gladly will though, the best thing we can do is ignore them.

By Evan McFarlane (@EvanMcFarlane)

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