By a Newsnet reporter

The political editor of the Herald newspaper has accused online independence supporters of sending intimidating messages to journalists they believe are critical of independence.
Speaking on the Shereen Nanjiani show on BBC Radio Scotland, journalist Magnus Gardham called for action over anonymous “trolls” he claimed were responsible for spreading "hatred and bile" on the internet.

Mr Gardham was taking part in a discussion on the Conservative peer Lord McAlpine who had been wrongly implicated in a sex abuse scandal by the BBC and who was considering taking legal action against people who posted messages on Twitter naming him.

The former Daily Record reporter, who recently joined the Herald, said he hoped that the Lord McAlpine scandal would be a “defining moment” for social media and added:

“In Scottish politics there is a huge problem with internet trolls who target journalists who are perceived to be critical of Scottish independence, who hide under a cloak of anonymity and spread bile and hatred and abuse and intimidation.

“If a precedent can be set in this case which shows that it’s not acceptable and there are sanctions then I think that will be entirely healthy.”

Mr Gardham was not pressed by show host Shereen Nanjiani and his claims went unchallenged.

The journalist, who was introduced as political editor of the Herald and who is himself perceived by most people to be pro-Union, was also recently critical of a Newsnight Scotland programme that failed to inform viewers that a legal expert who appeared on the programme was an SNP supporter.

In an article in the Herald, he wrote: “Andrew Tickell was introduced simply as an Oxford University lawyer without mention of his role as a high-profile Nationalist blogger, who writes online under the pseudonym, ‘Lallands Peat Worrier’.”

The Newsnight Scotland programme saw Labour MP Ian Davidson aggressively accuse show host Isabel Fraser of being anti-Unionist.

Hear Mr Gardham's comments


# bringiton 2012-11-18 21:50
Sounds like someone whose cage has been severely rattled.
# mudfries 2012-11-18 22:00
The Internet has been fantastic for getting info, this guy just doesnt like the fact we are not forced to get our info from Unionist comics like The Herald anymore, too bad, no wonder nobody buys a paper anymore, who wants to pay to be lied to and misled? we get enough of that from the BBC!
# Ped 2012-11-18 22:01
I wonder what his views are on biased journalism and untrue political statements being reported as facts? Just curious.
# Marian 2012-11-18 22:06
I don't know where Mr Gardham claims he sees "SNP trolls" as I read the web extensively and never see such a creature but do see numerous unionist "trolls" who are very active in trying to suppress proper debate.

I rather suspect that Mr Gardham's "trolls" are in reality people who challenge his myopic unionist views and get the better of him.

A real journalist would have insisted that Mr Gardham produce evidence of his claims otherwise withdraw them, but sadly it would appear there are no real journalists left at BBC Scotland current affairs department so we will never know.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-11-18 22:19
This tells me he believes the unionists have lost the argument.
# snowthistle 2012-11-18 22:23
I am now a member of the SNP, I deliver leaflets, man the polling station on election days, go out campaigning with our local Yes Scotland Team.

I had long been an interested bystander in the political process, the impetus to act was given to me by the Daily record when Mr Gardham was their political editor.

I have much to thank Mr Gardham for, I would never have got so involved if his newspaper hadn't banned me from commenting on their website.

P.S I was always polite, no bad language, no personal insults, no reason to be treated in the way I was
# Anon_Sailor 2012-11-18 22:26
So having an opinion makes you a troll. Being a troll is a crime and there we have it, MSM pro unionist liars can threaten us with the Police. we choose anon names for privacy, im not hiding from anyone, id happily meet you all in a bar for a pint.
# McHaggis 2012-11-18 22:29
Trolls are not people who spread hatred. Trolls are people who stir up arguments and generally sit back and watch the fun. The best ones you won't even know are trolling until its way too late.

People who just post nasty stuff are NOT trolls. They are flamers.

I despise when the uneducated simpletons of the press get the basics wrong. Reminds of the phone 'hacking' scandal recently in which no phones anywhere were ever actually 'hacked'.
# xyz 2012-11-18 22:34

Those Vile Cybernats ^^
# Edna Caine 2012-11-18 22:40
Give Gardham his due, he is not always totally anti. I suspect he grudgingly agrees with Mr Salmond on this one -

"Mr Dyke stepped down in 2004, along with then-chairman Gavyn Davies, after Lord Hutton's damning report on the David Kelly affair and BBC journalism in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Lord Hutton said a BBC report claiming the Government "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "unfounded", though no WMDs were discovered after the conflict. The whistleblower, scientist David Kelly, committed suicide."

Back on topic, looks like Magnus is getting a bit worried about reading the truth on the internet? When you've no answer, attack the straw men.
# Jo Bloggs 2012-11-19 05:29
I wonder if Alex Salmond has seen the book on the David Kelly case by a LibDem MP whose name escapes me. It casts grave doubt on the verdict of suicide in the Kelly case, and in fact points the finger rather strongly in the direction of the Blair government.
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-19 09:26
Mr Gardham failed to mention that Tom Baldwin the Sun journalist it is claimed outed David Kelly is now ED Miliband's chief spin doctor.
# hiorta 2012-11-18 22:56
This man seems to know a lot of 'trolls' and a lot about them - yet he says they are anonymous.
# Bill C 2012-11-18 23:09
I think this is a very serious escalation in the propaganda war of the unionist msm. It is becoming very obvious that the unionist cabal of msm and political parties have agreed on a joint campaign of smears, lies and distortions.
The personal attacks on the FM, the ongoing college secret recording stitch up and now this unsubstandiated claim by the political editor of one of Scotland's broadsheets; surely provide evidence that the dirty tricks brigade are now fully operational.
The question is how to counter such black ops, which appear to be affecting the morale of at least some nationalist supporters. One well respected, nationalist blogger claims that we are in danger of the "death by a thousand cuts" scenario i.e. throw enough mud and it will stick!
I would suggest that the leadership of the the SNP really have to take the gloves off. Nationalists from the leadership down, have to realise that our opponents are fighting dirty!
# cuckooshoe 2012-11-18 23:11
I would like to congratulate Nicola Sturgeon who has been named the Herald's Scottish politician of the year..
# McHaggis 2012-11-18 23:12
If you really wanted to define trolling then actually its the unionist journos themselves who are the most adept.

They post non stop streams of anti SNP or anti independence stories and headlines that you seriously couldn't believe could be made up. Poorly, if at all researched, and massively biased in tone.

This is blatant trolling by them - Foulkes is an expert at it on twitter... he throws out a lure being some nonsensicle anti-SNP rant and reels in the responses and then bleats that he has been trolled! Quite the reverse.

Journos do it to keep adclick revenue high, but I think it is actually turning people off from even reading those papers online. I myself gave up completely on The Scotsman months ago and The Herald is on the way - as it happens ever since Gardham came on board.
# snowthistle 2012-11-18 23:15
Old Cochers at the telegraph is a master at this.
I'll bet that he knows fine well that half of what he says is ridiculous and the other half is just plain daft but, boy does it generate hits for the telegraph website
# Indy_Scot 2012-11-18 23:14
I am not even sure what a troll is.

I have visited many websites and read many posts relating to Scottish politics over the years and I can genuinely say that the only troll posts I have come across, if that is what they are, would have been from unionist supporters.

Clearly Magnus does not like his opinions, which to be honest are mostly ridiculous, being challenged.

You know when someone starts throwing the dummy out, that they are losing the argument. Unfortunately for the unionist media, the internet has taken away the ability for them to control and spoon feed the public whatever propaganda they wish, and they don’t like that.

They have lost a great deal of power which they will never regain, and it is getting weaker by the day, and they know it.

I believe the internet and the people who use it have made and will make an invaluable contribution to Scotland’s Independence.
# oldnat 2012-11-18 23:18
"I am not even sure what a troll is."

That's a condition you share with Gardham. The difference is that the rest of your comments make sense, while his are ludicrous posturing.
# Edulis 2012-11-18 23:40
Anent Marian's earlier comment, I have a great deal of time for Derek Batemen. He is fair, does not meekly accept Unionist posturing and delves into constitutional issues which others don't touch.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-11-19 00:07
Gardham flags up a serious issue.

The demonising of smart people who can argue their case well, question established unionist certainties and and do the research that paid journalists often fail to bother with, as bullying "cybernats".

It's not surprising that it makes the "professionals" like Gardham uncomfortable and that rather than responding intelligently they complain the nasty separatists are intimidating them. Instead of " darn they've caught me out regurgitating Labour Press releases and noticed I can't do political analysis" it's easier to say "aren't they vile and aggressive, they should be banned".

When I read a columnist who even acknowledges the existence of an entity called "cybernats" they drop several rungs further in my estimation as it shows a lazy acceptance without evidence of yet another unionist meme.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-11-19 00:08
I always try to respond to Mr Garham's drivel under my own name because the last time I looked, so long as I don't "play the man" and only attack his viewpoint in a calm and rational manner, then that is entirely legal. This man should be challenged for what he says. If he doesn't like it, he could always do a "beeb" and remove the opportunity to respond to his articles if that's how he feels. I see others doing the same and the tone of responses are always well thought out and reasonably put. Perhaps Mr Gardham should spend a week or two at the Daily Express or the Mail to see real evidence of what he's trying hard to convince folk of. It is just human nature for someone who considers them self "a cut above the rest" to react in this way when their arguments or statements are taken apart so logically and completely by people who have the opposing point of view.

"Kleenex" or "Handy-Andies" Mr Gardham?
# Intransigent 2012-11-19 00:08
The difference between the output of nationalist 'trolls' and Mr Gardham and similar journalists is that the latter make their living from theirs. Given a similar position, I don't doubt that we would all be happy to express our political preferences with our names attached. I don't see that expressing opinions in anonymity is any less moral than churning out heavily slanted articles under the pretence of being an objective observer. Neither do I believe that any dislike anyone may acquire for Mr Gardham could arise from comments on his articles, rather than from what is in the articles themselves.
# ButeHouse 2012-11-19 02:22
Ped 2012-11-18 22:01
I wonder what his views are on biased journalism and untrue political statements being reported as facts? Just curious.

My first thoughts also Ped. These characters can never see their own faults, too busy looking for faults in the opposition......or in his case, making them up.

# Wag_the_dug 2012-11-19 04:50
The level of ignorance shown by Mr Gardhams is astounding given his position as political editor of a supposedly leading Scottish newspaper and the recent high profile cases.

There are already laws that governs the sort of charge he has put forward.

Malicious Communications Act 1988 and Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

He's clearly not as well read as he would like to think he is.
# Jimmy the Pie 2012-11-19 06:37
Sounds like he's annoyed.

I suppose the fact the SNP won a landslide majority last time round hasn't really sunk in yet.

So he still has to lie like a cheap watch in the forlorn hope of influencing anyone to the unionist way.

Just treat him with the contempt he deserves.

# Angus 2012-11-19 08:03
There have been quite viscious and unfounded attacks on the CyberNats in the Scotsman,which is disabling comments on some of its more aggressive attacks on the SNP.
The theft of £53k by a Labour MP who gets let off, is ignored, instead they have a witch hunt on Mike Russell's supposed tantrum. There is a wrongness!
# gus1940 2012-11-19 19:27
Don't forget the ludicrous unsubstantiated story in The Scotsman a while ago about how their star propagandist Maddox allegedly had his windows smashed by Independence Fanatics.
# Puskas 2012-11-19 08:10
Like his old staging post in the Record the demiss of the Herald although heading downward this gentleman shall speed up the process. I still temember the old Glasgow Herald as being fair and a paper with honest debate.

If my comments are looked at by Mr Gardham as over the top at least they are factual and honest unlike himself.
# Macart 2012-11-19 08:18
On evidence of his time at the DR and indeed even more so of his tenure to date with the Herald, Mr Gardham and journalism appear to be complete strangers to each other.

He is the ultimate stalker/troll with the added advantage of a very public soap box. His single minded pursuit of all things independence and SNP is bordering on the obsessive to say the least. As for the interviewers lack of challenge to Mr Gardham's statements, are we really surprised? Why was there no counter view or guest present? Our media, predictable as ever.
# Seagetagrip 2012-11-19 09:05
Sounds as though Gardham has lost the plot. His many Unionist articles receive numerous comments few of which are "vile" They do not post them in anycase. Of those that are poster, the "vilest" are invariably from Unionist posters who have also lost the plot.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Independence debate will NOT take place either on BBC Scotland or in the Unionist press.
It will take place ONLY on the internet and the sooner people are made aware of this fact, the better. I have one or two ideas on that score but would welcome any others.
# Flora Macoo 2012-11-19 18:41
Me too. Happy to hear from anyone to discuss ideas. You see some great ones on here but they get lost when the newsfeed ticks on. I can be found at Hopefully the mods won't just delete this.
# Breeks 2012-11-19 10:05
Quoting xyz:

Those Vile Cybernats ^^

Makes you angry doesn't it XYZ?
If Gardham was to produce a similar list, I might even concede he had a point.

However, most people can dismiss puerile rubbish like this as written by nine year olds who still haven't learned to spell. Living proof of the reason why you need to be 16 to vote.

I suspect Mr Gardham is nostalgic about the old days when the public couldn't answer back and ask him to substantiate his assertions.
# snowthistle 2012-11-19 10:50
I suspect that he probably could produce a list Breeks. Unfortunately there is fault on both sides and we shouldn't pretend that the indy movement is completely innocent in this and all the dross comes from the Unionists. That is what Mr Gardham is doing in reverse and that is where I vehemently disagree with him.
Incidentally, someone on twitter (can't remember who) produced a list of vile comments against Alex Salmond for Lord Foulkes. Foulkes graciously agreed that the comments were out of order and conceded there was fault on both sides. Not sure that his graciousness continued but it was certainly there on that occasion.
# Barontorc 2012-11-19 10:25
What a joke this guy Gardham is, surely he's the Herald's prime mover down that slippery slope to shut-down.

It's as if the Scotsman's Maddox and the recruited Gardham for the Herald, amongst the other Torquils and Cochers of the MSM and their pals at the BBC, have been put on a war-footing against independence and all associated with it.

This unified opposition and to hell with circulation figures and making a deepening loss, by the way, surely begs many a sensible question, as to why they adopt this crazy approach diving relentlessly to the bottom.

If this is troll-talk - well slap my thigh - now, will the real Spartacus please stand up.
# taimoshan 2012-11-19 11:38
Apologies for this it's from when I used to read the NorthBriton! "Dr Mark Shephard of Strathclyde University last month hosted a discussion in the House of Commons- discourse on Scottish Independence - Politicians versus Publics" Published 8th May 2012 -
"the majority of posts are anti-SNP/Independence and anti-Salmond rather than anti-English/anti-union"
"In terms of language, too, comments about the SNP and independence are much more vitriolic than about the union and UK"
# Embradon 2012-11-20 15:29
.../negative-cyber-politics-is-problem-for.html This appears to be what you are quoting from. Well argued blog piece about cybernatery.
# pmcrek 2012-11-19 12:31
I believe this is called Paranoid Personality Disorder.
# Dunnichen685 2012-11-19 17:00
O/T Today in rs mcolls in Glenrothes they were handing out free copies of the (scottish) daily express. I was given a copy yet I had just bought the morning star ! Needless to say I didn't spend long reading it. Full of rabid right wing, anti SNP poison. There was even an article in it about what makes Britain great. Reading it would make you think Britain still had an Empire. It wasn't long before I filed it under B.I.N.
There circulation must really be struggling for them to be giving them away.
Why oh why do people read these rags ?

Vote YES in 2014
# pmcrek 2012-11-19 18:45
A few months back the Torygraph were doing something similar in the McColls in Buchy St Bus station.

If you buy a bottle of water you got a free Torygraph and were charged half price for the water. I wasnt the only one to refuse and pay full price for the water.

Desperation is setting in for some of them now I think.
# rhymer 2012-11-19 17:27
WOW ! Somebody must have disagreed with his opinion.
Imagine that. The cheek of somebody to actually have an opinion of their own and not just go along with Gardham 's viewpoint.

Does he support the varied ( and really daft) ideas put out by these characters in the House of Lords ? Remember ? Like the RAF bombing Scottish Airports or charging us a large fee to hand out free whisky at international receptions. Eh ? Does he ?

Garham is a newly hired political reporter with unionist sypathies.
Hopefully his opinions and political analysis will be balanced and there will be a lack of the bias, propaganda and spin that had previously poisoned the reporting of the news.
# Clydebuilt 2012-11-19 22:45
Near the end of Shareen's show the luvvies were listing their favourite new words.

Marcus Gardham used this as an excuse to air another twisted view of Scotland under the SNP.

"there are attempts being made to describe the crisis in Scottish Education as a polyshambles" M.G.

What crisis, there are more Scots in colleges and universities than ever before. No one on Shareen's show picked him up on this.

Once again Gardham turns any opportunity into an attack.

They're looking for a new Editor at the Herald stable. Anyone fancy it? Might be a larf having MG get your coffee.
# jinglyjangly 2012-11-19 22:55
I find the Herald to be the most neutral
of the msm rags, yes they are bitter
together journos and articles but there
are also pro yes columnists, who write good stuff several times a week.
I have no problem with the herald
im confident it will come down on the
yes side on the run up to the referendum.
# Diabloandco 2012-11-20 16:35
Well jinglyjangly, you are certainly more optimistic about the Herald than many others.
I suspect by the time the referendum comes around the Herald will have closed down - it has insulted the intelligence of its readers ,lost its reputation for putting forward arguments from all sides and allowing the reader to make up their mind without a biased political input and now another whinger like D.Fraser who also berated those who "corrected" his column as "cybernats"- now of course the same gentleman can be seen and heard pouring doom and gloom all over Scotland.
Quite frankly ,these so called journalists shouldn't dish up devious ,misleading drivel and expect to get away with it.
I do agree that there are at least two saveable journalists at the Herald - the 2 Ians are still worthy of a read .
# fergie73 2012-11-22 21:20
Gardham had a piece the other day about the costs to Scotland of the new tax powers coming in with the Scotland Act - millions we have to pay out our budget to HMRC to adminster a Westminster stich up act no one wanted or voted for, that doesn't help the Scottish economy one bit.

It was his typical biased nonsense, which almost made it look as if it was the SNPs fault somehow.

I made a comment, and at the time there were a few other comments. Later that day there were only 3 comments left and every other one had been deleted. Next day they'd all gone. They were all reasonable, informative posts with more knowledge of the subject than he had, clearly.

I'm with others above - I've stopped buying any paper long since, and more recently stopped bothering with online, except for the odd article linked from Facebook or Twitter.

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