Another day, another round of MSM output to study… Last night, the Record trailed today’s front-page splash
…and then posted the story. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-takeover-probe-police-raid-5642669
To be fair, it’s an eye-catching story, and the Record was the first to run with it.
The investigation into the sale of Rangers, and later (post-liquidation) its assets is absolutely fascinating. Any significant development is always going to be lapped up and analysed by the likes of the obsessed The Clumpany.
That word “Raid” certainly stood out. And it wasn’t long before Keith Jackson – who is still making time to provide commentary form his holiday(!) took to Twitter to add some ‘context’.
I can’t say I believed for a single minute that Police Scotland’s Finest had actually broken-down Sports Direct’s doors, but we were certainly invited to believe a dramatic image of police descending on the offices with some dynamism…
There was also a suggestion that this might be bad news for His Big Mikeness, in that he might have to take a “backwards step” (presumably from his involvement in Sevco). Chris McLaughlin of the BBC repeated the “raid” line this morning, and was questioned about it by yours truly…
There was immediate online scepticism about the image we were being sold last night. This intensified this morning, when Sports Direct released its own statement:
The image set out here is of a police visit, with information asked for, and full cooperation being given. The statement made it absolutely clear that the investigation is not directed at Sports Direct, its Directors or employees. It is a somewhat more ‘benign’ portrayal of the situation.
Clearly Sports Direct will have their own media and legal team and will have thought very carefully about how to explain the situation to shareholders and interested spectators.
As for Police Scotland, they have simply said: “We can confirm that officers carried out a search of property in Derbyshire. As this is a live inquiry it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
The issue I wanted to raise in this short piece is not that of ‘who to believe’. It would be the height of insanity to try and determine that. Better minds than mine have spent years trying to unpick the Rangers/ Sevco saga with only partial success. And in any case, there is an ongoing police investigation and due process to respect.
No, my point here is that this little case study is a useful example of why we should never simply take at face value what the media tells us. There may always be more to the matter than it first appears. It could well be that the Record and others meant to use ‘raid’ in a general sense. Perhaps in the sense of “visited (with a warrant?) in order to conduct inquiries?”.
‘Raid’ does sound more exciting though doesn’t it? Particularly with lurid Twitter commentary about doors being kicked in!
One of the great things to happen as a result of the Rangers/ Sevco saga is that Scottish football fans cast a much more critical eye over what the media and PR advisers tell us. This scepticism and refusal to gratefully accept a handed-down narrative is a very healthy thing for our sport as well as society and all the citizens that live in it.
Yes of course we should be polite and respectful. Shouting at the messenger is almost always counterproductive. But questioning the messenger, their motivation and the quality of their information is unquestionably a good thing.
Who knows, we might ultimately end up arriving at the truth. Or at least ‘A Truth’. Of sorts…
Keep it up!
As for Police Scotland’s trip to Sports Direct HQ, I look forward to further tidings in this #Developing story. Even if they occasionally seem to come from ‘off the raid-ar’.
UPDATE: 18:00, 6 May 2015
Since I originally wrote this piece, Phil MacGiollabhian has posted two blogs which strongly suggest that the ‘raid’ possessed none of the attributes you might normally expect of… errrr…..a raid. I look forward to the Record’s next ‘take’ on the matter!