1 200 doom-filled words that will certainly boost distancing but somehow missing the obvious


After reading this I feel so anxious. I didn’t realise things were so bad in Scotland. I’d been reading that Talking-up Scotland site which has lots of relatively positive evidence about NHS Scotland and chilling reports on NHS England that make you glad you’re ‘up here.

But, no, it’s far far worse than we thought. McCardle, doesn’t have time to mention the higher death rate or the real shortages of PPE or the lower staffing or the outsourced 111 service staffed by ex-cons in England.

When she’s enjoying telling us how the First Minister has been forced to acknowledge the higher death toll in the new NRS statistics, she doesn’t have time to tell us, like the Guardian did yesterday, that only Scotland is counting deaths outside hospitals in, for example care homes, and that the death rate in England which is currently twice that in Scotland, will soar to many times that, if the Tories ever allow such facts to emerge there.

McCardle has clearly had to work so fast to meet her editor’s deadline, she hasn’t even been able to write down the names of her sources so she’s had to refer to them like this:

‘We are certainly seeing cases anecdotally around Scotland…’

‘One public health expert familiar with the issues, who asked not to be named...’

‘A spokeswoman for the..’

‘There is also disquiet among some public health professionals….’

‘One Scotland-based expert…’

‘Speaking on condition of anonymity, they added…’

My research assistant (16) suggests that relying on unattributed sources is just not good enough but I don’t think he really understands the pressures of journalism.

11 thoughts on “1 200 doom-filled words that will certainly boost distancing but somehow missing the obvious

  1. “Context, perspective, named sources, truth and accuracy, fairness and accountability, do no harm” ! ——-The tools of journalism.

    Would it not be fair to proper journalists, to call McCardle something different?

    A HACK WRITER, is traditionally a “pen for hire” expressing their clients political opinions in newspaper articles. Journalists they are not.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. So the mystery surge in Scottish Covid-19 deaths is due to the inclusion of suspected Cv-19 deaths outwith hospitals- explained in great detail by the FM this week.
    I imagine that a very high percentage of Herald victims will be aware of this. So McCardle has produced a piece of work her readership will know is stupidly wrong. What’s that going to do to the circulation figures.
    Or is it all about the headline on the news stand and circulation / revenue doesn’t matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The same story appears in today’s Sunday Times behind a paywall so not completely visible to me. 361 additional deaths beyond those at this time last year.

    It has already been raised with our FM who is , for the moment,unable to explain the cause but, for sure an explanation will come. Travellingtabby’s excellent website has a little corner tracking these excess Scottish deaths. No doubt the excess is to be seen across the UK

    Meanwhile, in Engwerland, medical experts journalists and politicians continue to make false claims about the number of deaths in Engwerland daily. This from Richard North.


    “Yet, this is manifestly not true. It is not even close to true. When we refer to the NHS site, and specifically the spreadsheet breaking down the 823 people who died in English hospitals, we see that only 115 occurred in the previous 24 hours.

    A further 325 are recorded on 9 April – the day before that – and 161 are allocated to 8 April, while another 209 are split between 1-7 April. The remaining 12 deaths occurred in March, with the earliest new death taking place on 25 March.

    There is no secret about this – the NHS is openly publishing the daily breakdowns, starting from 2 April. This means that there is now a far better opportunity to build a picture of Covid-19 mortality, albeit that the data are still fragile, for the reasons pointed out yesterday.

    What is inexplicable, therefore, is the willingness of ministers at the daily No 10 pressers, to allow the interpretation that we are being offered clean figures for each of the preceding days. That this is then compounded by the media adds further to the mystification, as the data continue to be misrepresented.

    Bringing it almost to the level of high farce, we then have the BBC’s “Head of statistics”, Robert Cuffe, solemnly offer us an analysis, telling us that “the growth in the total number of new deaths has stalled in the last four days”.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do journalists, real journalists, notbhave a professional code of conduct?

    Something even by way of the NUJ?

    Pretty sure there is but…it seems to me that the most honest journalism in Scotland is from the pen of non professional journalists.

    Liked by 1 person

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