The Media in the Press 9.4.10

MA Journalism student, Matthew Nelson, of Edinburgh Napier University, casts his eyes over the media stories making it into today's press…

The story of Labour’s (now ex) Moray candidate, Stuart MacLennan’s abusive Twitter messages dominates the front page of The Scottish Sun. The headline reads: ‘Twitter Twerp’s Twisted Tweets’.

The first par kicks off: “A Labour hopeful posted X-rated online attacks on voters and rivals in a stream of abuse filled Twitter rants.”

In the offending posts, MacLennan attacks members of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as his Labour colleagues. He is said to have summarised Conservative leader, David Cameron, in the following post: “… Cameron= t***”. 

MacLennan is reported also attacking Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, allegedly saying he can “f*** right off if he thinks he’s in the same league as Brown and Cameron”. 

Ironically, MacLennan predicts his own downfall (which has since happened). In one of his messages he is supposed to have remarked: “Iain Dale [politics blogger] reckons the biggest gaffes will likely be made by candidates on Twitter – what are the odds it’ll be me?”

SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson is quoted, saying: “These are outrageous comments. Labour must be clear if they still consider Mr. MacLennan fit to be a candidate. This kind of language is simply unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, as reported yesterday on, the Scottish film and television industry has appointed a new figurehead. The Scotsman (page 22) covers the appointment of Jude MacLaverty as the director of the Scottish branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Writes Brian Ferguson: “Her main task will be to oversee the Bafta Scotland Awards, the flagship celebration of the nation’s achievements.”

MacLaverty is quoted, saying: “I’m thrilled about joining Bafta Scotland, and I look forward to helping the continued development of such a great organisation. These are very exciting times for the Scottish film, TV and digital industries and I’m glad to be part of that.”

Gordon Brown and David Cameron appear to be avoiding the chance to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, says the front page of The Guardian. The mocking headline reads ‘Oh, Do Come On! Brown and Cameron Shun Paxman’. According to the article, neither of the two has responded to invites to appear on the BBC current affairs programme, Panorama.

Comments The Gaurdian, the two key candidates are intimidated by Paxman’s pugilistic interview style. Writes Afua Hirsch and Allegra Stratton: “He has monstered Michael Howard and harangued Hazel Blears. And his tough guy interview technique has made political interviews a spectator sport – two possible reasons why Jeremy Paxman may not get the chance to give Gordon Brown and David Cameron the once-over during the General Election campaign.”

A BBC insider is quoted, saying: “They are doing GMTV interviews, doing interviews with God knows who. On this they are running scared and using the TV debates as cover.”

Staying with The Guardian and another BBC journalist has been shunned. Jonah Fisher was ejected from a press conference in South Africa by the president of the youth wing of the African National Congress, Julius Malema.

According to The Guardian, Malema – described as “firebrand” – threw Fisher out for inferring that he is a hypocrite. Writes David Smith, Malema “mocked opposition exiles for using offices in Sandton, a wealthy suburb. Fisher interjected: ‘You live in Sandton.’”

Returning to social media, and The Scotsman (page 5) picks up the story that Facebook is “set to help boost voter turnout”. Says The Scotsman, Facebook will be used to “target unregistered voters”. According to the article, every Facebook user logging in tomorrow will receive a prompt asking them if they are registered to vote. If they are not registered, they will be directed to the Electoral Commission’s website.

Some of the potential hazards of having a Facebook account are shown on page 19 of The Scottish Sun. Says reporter Andrew Parker, Crimewatch presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Rav Wilding, was threatened via the social networking site. 

Writes Parker, “internet pest” Toneeta Beckford used Twitter and Facebook to tell Wilding “she hoped he would break a leg on Strictly”. Parker also reports that Beckford warned: “I will see you on Judgement Day and you will plead for mercy. I will see you in hellfire.”

Finally, The Guardian (page 39) carries an obituary of journalist, Gillian Sandford. The tribute says Sandford was “one of those women journalists in the 1980s whose independent spirit took them to far flung corners of the world to report with distinction from danger zones.”

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