Sunday, 22 November 2009

Blogger "Wardog" hung out to dry

The ex-blogger formerly known as Wardog has been hung out to dry today by the mainstream media.

The Scotsman, a well known brand of toilet paper of last resort in Scotland, reports that Wardog; blogger, architect and designer Bruce Newlands, is "being investigated" by Robert Gordon University, where he holds a part time lecturing position.  What "being investigated" actually means, the reasons for the investigation and details of who instigated it are conveniently omitted from the story, why complicate it with facts after all - it may just be an unfounded claim and we wouldn't want that in a national Newsfaker would we?

Wardog is an architect who runs his own practice, so obviously the MSM couldn't grass him off to his boss there.  Using his finely honed super-hero investigative skills, which are usually prominent by their absolute absence, the Scotsman's indolent Scottish Political Rewriter in chief Tom Peterkin no doubt Googled Wardog's name, prominently displayed on the "About" panel of his blog, to discover his lecturing position at RGU.

Bruce became aware of just how low the mainstream media are willing to go when the Scotsman and the News of the Screws contacted him last week to say "na na na na na, we know who you are" and ask him to comment on his language and observations, before they attempted to destroy him by running off to the university authorities to report one of their lecturing staff for using a sweary word.  After all he had used the c*** word and had the cheek to assert, they alleged, "unfounded claims."
A man who has uttered the cunt word in a blog actually teaches cheeldren - well that's a shocker, the outrage of those self righteous hypocritical hack bastards is beneath contempt.  And of course we've never seen speculation, unfounded claims or opinion poorly disguised as news in our august national news organs, have we now?

Wardog had perhaps ill advisedly referred to horsey faced cunt Jim Murphy MP as a cunt in a post last week.  The reprisal? -  an act of intentional violence against a vociferous pro-SNP blogger, resulting in problems at work, the closure of his blog and an overt attack on his professional standing in Scotland.

Wardog and I rarely saw eye to eye on politics, but he was a fun and well informed commentator with a Nationalist slant and did not deserve this.

I fear this is indicative of a campaign by a lazy MSM to hold the blogosphere to account, or perhaps they just resent the fact that political debate goes on outside their mediocre newspapers and websites, I don't know - but I do know that their desire is to impose press reporting standards on all of us. I don't know if I personally can go that low.

The MSM demonstrate yet again, just how out of touch they are with the modern world - the sooner that oft predicted demise happens the better it will be for all of us...

EDIT:  One thing that is worth bearing in mind is that the press are adopting an easily replicated model for generating lazy non-news through this type of action against bloggers (Nightjack and Belle de Jour).  Simply out a blogger with strident opinions or an interesting story - report them to a concerned employer or interested party and voila, you have a story.  Cheap column inches, and a chance to kick back at new media - be warned.

Another nail in the coffin of blogging?


  1. Great article Polaris, well said.

    The MSM are the pits but the SOS is real bottom dwelling stuff. Wardog was outspoken but so are all political bloggers.

    It was a cheap shot by the media who back Murphy and if anything it was them trying to attack the SNP.

    It just goes to show why most bloggers prefer not to tell who they are, Wardog should had done the same.

    Great article Polaris.

  2. We're not allowed to comment on it, but I left one on the next article. I suggest we all do the same...

  3. Thanks AMW, my concern is that so many bloggers are hanging up their keyboards, that if the MSM want to pick us off - it's all too easy, we all have lives to live outside blogging.

    I'm not paranoid, but I think there will be more of these as the MSM struggle to survive and target those they believe have contributed to their demise.

    What they fail to see is that the blogosphere is about commentary and debate amongst citizens, it is not formal journalistic endeavour, although there is crossover at times. A comparison with MSM is actually only possible if they accept that they are no better than amateurs - a criticism of them not us.

  4. Conan, I've never commented on the Scotsman website before (I know - not according to some), cos I hate the rag. Do I have to sign up? And what is the "next article", can you send me link?

    Ae you have to sign up- I misclicked! Go see lol.

  6. Polaris..

    I think more bloggers will become anon now and it would be a sad day if bloggers hung up their boots because of the MSM.

    The Scottish media is so small that they more than any other attack bloggers. Not by name but even Maddox took something out of my blog and stuck it on his toilet paper article.

    They are running on empty.

  7. Well said Polaris. Excellent article.

    Wha happened to freedome of speech. Robert Gordon should have told then to F*** Off!

    And Murphy has just dropped yet further in my estimation.

  8. Commented Conan - we'll see how long it lasts:

    icdeadpeopleblog, 22/11/2009 13:56:37
    Q: Has the Scotsman descended to the point where it has to manufacture it's own stories?
    A: Sure has - the Story about the blogger Wardog, was a case of journalist outing a blogger to his part-time employer. The MSM are sick and lazy but quoting the contents of a blog verbatim to an employer for the sole purpose of putting forward an illogical proposition that the blog in some way presented evidence of his unsuitability to lecture was a declaration of war - an unforgivable personal attack.

    Or does the Scotsman have a more sinister motive? He was pro SNP and a critic of this irrelevant organ.

    Or perhaps we are witnessing the death throes of an increasingly discredited old-media behemoth, bleeding money and credibility in equal measure.

  9. Super post polaris. What concerns me for the future of free speech in Scotland, is that this shows just how far the Scottish press are up the backsides of the labour party, each and every one of them.

    Our regular comments about bias are now completely verified.

  10. I can't access that link Conan.

  11. Maybe it's time to fight back.

    Keep a watching brief on the MSM blogs...inappropriate comments and that sort of thing. Also, point out the cosiness between those media types and Labour politicians who came up through Glasgow and Stirling universities in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Maybe a collaborative blog like Voice of the Resistance? MSMWatch?

  12. The scottish news of the screws have put the boot in today also. Bastards.

  13. I think we need some perspective here. This aint about free speech but about the implications of calling someone a "cunt".

    I'm near certain ths story was labour sourced brought to the attention of journos for political ends. But if it had been the SNP drawing attention to a Labour blogger who called Alex or Nicola a cunt they have followed that up too. Absolutely for certain

    Do remember what happened to
    Mathew Marr - sacked for verbally calling alex a cunt in some drunken late night rant. Remember what happened to Derrick Draper and Damien McBride. Remember who exposed Jim Devine and co.

    But now its the Scottish jounnos who are "cunts", and we are to have a "journo watch". A self defeating dead end.

    Or we could just stop calling political opponents cunts

  14. Hold on a minute Aye we Can, the people you mention were in the employment of the Labour Party or at the very least previously employed by it or heavily associated to it through friendships with high profile labour party members or affiliates.

    Wardog wasn't a member of the SNP if we are to believe Tom Peterkin so why the attempt to compare it with the above?

    It's not remotely comparable.

  15. "Wardog and I rarely saw eye to eye on politics"


    "but he was a fun"

    Sort of.

    "and well informed commentator with a Nationalist slant"

    Only if you mean he could rehash the content of Nat press releases.

    " and did not deserve this."

    On balance, no. But if you're in education these days - whatever the level, and no matter if you're just a part-time external lecturer - you've got to be careful what you associate your name with.

    Let's just hope this doesn't amount to much.

  16. i dont think NOT being a member of a political party should exempt you from scrutiny.

    I am genuinely sympathetic to Wardog, think he has been hung out to dry, particularly with regards to his employer.

    But let's learn the right lessons from his plight, and just stop calling opponents cunts etc. Im concerned other bloggers seem to be compounding the incident by now calling the journos who wrote up the story cunts.

    Just stand back and ask yourself how you would feel if somebiody who was not keen on your viewpoint started calling you a cunt and publisjhing it on the web for the world to see?

    "It was only Jim Murphy", "it's not really what we meant", "it's only a wee blog" etc dont wash with me - nor I suspect 99% of people irrespective of their political outlook.

  17. "The MSM are sick and lazy but quoting the contents of a blog verbatim to an employer for the sole purpose of putting forward an illogical proposition that the blog in some way presented evidence of his unsuitability to lecture was a declaration of war - an unforgivable personal attack.

    So how do you explain yourself trying to hand what you thought where juan's details to combat 18 and protestant orange groups?

    You appear to think you operated in a tightly controlled vacuum?

    Is soliciting violence against a blogger somehow different and ok.

  18. Polaris,

    1st visit here, I respect Wardog and his openess. I think what he was conveying was the fact that in the MSM there is no "Level Playing Field".

    Under the current UK Government - there has been incompetence of a massive scale, you and I are paying for it now.

    Who knows what else will go on if they're left to roll over OUR FREEDOMS.

    It is frustrating, but where does it stop? Do we become Sheeple? If Jim Murphy can't hack been sworn at, perhaps he shouldn't be in politics or hiding behind the MSM.

    If Independence comes or we achieve a Federal UK - we need to be aware of those Labour types heading back North to trough and control at Scotland's expense - and they will, it's in their nature.

    Where does this leave Wardog? Well, history is being written and he is part of it, I think a little more of our freedom of speech died this weekend.

    I predict a riot....


  19. I'm with anon. You look like your displaying crocodile tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    I was party to your antics and you look like a right head case.

  20. @ Aye We can - we are talking about a personal blog here, the last bastion of self expression - we are not the media and if they choose to compare themselves to us they are comparing themselves to amateur commentators - hardly a compliment to them. We should not be constrained in our self expression - particularly when asked to 'toe the line' by a transparently corrupt MSM, not in the habit of using the cunt word; but happy to destroy lives and invade privacy. Remember they made this story, by contacting his employer.

    @Rab - I hear the story has surface in quite a few newspapers - quiet news day?

    @Tris and Subrosa - thanks, I felt it had to be ranted against.

    @Jess - I think you are right, but there seems to be little appetite for collaborative blogs, something we should explore. But remember we are not in competition with the MSM - even if they see it that way, and if they do - what does that say about them?

    @ Anonymous - just lies, if you believe them, that's your prerogative - but you are being misinformed, by a fantasist.

    @Crazy - nice to have you. What I find reprehensible is that the MSM have forced Bruce to resign his lecturing position for nothing. Where are we to vent our spleen if not here, what alternative is their for frustrated political observers who find the Newspapers and their websites increasingly irrelevant. Freedom of expression is worth fighting for, but what are we to do?

  21. @sm753, this is not a party political issue, is it? Wardog was fitted up by an unimaginative and tired MSM, probably in cahoots with their 'Old Guard" Labour friends - and that is unacceptable.

  22. @ Aye We Can - I did remind Bruce of the Marr incident, just to warn him of the ambivalent attitude towards that word. I do not believe it is the same for us, if you don't like my blog, that's fine, go elsewhere, if you don't agree with me - great let's debate - it's not exactly the same as a Spin Doctor shouting abuse when the leader of the opposing party wins Politician of the Year...

  23. Anon agrees with anon - how cool is that - and both from the same IP address.

  24. Polaris with Ref to SM254

    Almost agreed with Smee on his comment

    this is not a party political issue, is it? Wardog was fitted up by an unimaginative and tired MSM, probably in cahoots with their 'Old Guard" Labour friends - and that is unacceptable."

    Spot on again...

  25. Anon...

    I think I know who you are but could you not put what your posting to one side and at least give an opinion on the article?

    As you can see people from all political backgrounds are almost agreeing with each other and what Polaris has written.

  26. polaris -

    I just don't see the point of gratuotos abuse, dont see why we bloggers should get some sort of exemption card in the name of "self expression: Don't call Murphy a cunt, and the News of the World and co would not be remotely interested - journos aint interested in shutting blogs down or bloggers up, we're a free source for them.

    This has got nowt to do with freedom of expression, which is near unlimited, as long as it aint offensive nor provably untrue. We bloggers have to live in the same world as everyone else.

  27. Aye We Can - You know, as I do that these same journalists are happy to use the Cunt word in conversations to describe any target of their antipathy - as many people do. They abuse their position by targeting a blogger for using a word that is common currency, contacting his employer and asking whether his Student's parents would be happy knowing that - that is abuse of power. The same media machine happily destroys lives and invades privacy on a regular basis, justified by the "public figure public life" argument - yet fail to apply the same when it is a blogger doing just the same - expressing an opinion on a public figure. One rule for them?

  28. Thanks AMW, I guess it's not worth feeding the trolls. I'll just enable comment moderation if it continues...

  29. I can't find any article anywhere online referring to this controversy. Does this indicate it was perhaps a hoax?

    I can't see why any reputable journalist would get excited about a blogger calling Jim Murphy (or anyone else) a "cunt" without a significant other dimension ie. if it was a political figure or spin-doctor. Might as well get outraged about people getting drunk in pubs....

    Very difficult to invoke disciplinary procedures for extra-curricular blogging anyway, especially in the public sector. Exceptions are where the blogging relates to work or where there are restrictions (such as the Armed Forces Queen's Regulations and the Defence Internal Notice). Even so, hundreds nearly fifty thousand users frequent the Army Rumour Service website regardless of any potential sanction.

    Blog on! This isn't China (yet!)

  30. Jess the link is on the first line on my post or here. The News of the Screws and Herald pieces appear to be print only (correct me if I am wrong, somebody please).

    I am counting on your veracity, I intend to continue...

  31. Jess, it's just the level of what passes for 'news' these days. It drives me up the wall. It's particularly interesting to them if it's an excuse to go natbashing...

  32. Hi BellgroveBelle, that's the size of it. Cheap column inches - and a story of 'their' manufacture... Doesn't matter who is hurt, it's cheap space filler, destined for chip wrappers - no thought given to long term consequences for the victims. Scum...

  33. TheThanks for pointing out the link that I stupidly missed!

    I find myself underwhelmed by the article. Suspect Wardog has nothing to worry about. Unless his contract of employment places specific restrictions on voicing opinions in public, then his employer will find it impossible to sack him...even if they wanted to. I'm sure the University and College Union and the Royal Institution of British Architects might have something to say about it, if it ever did happen.

    Having said that, it's easy to talk about it and far harder to face such a situation. It's reminiscent of Nazi Germany or East Germany if a propaganda-writer thinks they can silence someone by phoning their employer.

    So, I've called Tom Peterkin a rude word on my blog.

  34. Jess he felt he had no option but to resign, and has. The impact as far as he is concerned is massive, irrespective of the terms of his contract of employment.

    I hope you didn't swear on that fuckin' blog of yours...

  35. A sad day for democracy and freedom of speech. I never thought I would be afraid to post comments or say what I thought but Labour have indeed made it so.
    I've not visited any of the Labour toady papers like The Scotsman for yonks and am surprised they're still operating. Be interesting to find out who is funding them as they must be near bankruptcy. Their comments pages were always loaded with Labourites who commented hours before their articles went online which kind of highlighted that they were paid employees setting the agenda.
    Good luck guys you're braver than me !

  36. Just dropped into Wardog's blog to find it has gone - googling led me here in seconds. Many thanks Polaris for this blog and for this discussion.

    Quick response from a sceptical Unionist Labour perspective: Wardog could be Mr Angry yeh, but webgab is a hot medium and cybernatter - ie natter from cybernats - is often hotter and angrier than most webgab for some reason.

    We all get carried away - I prefer a cooler approach but the thing is, despite the heat and the sweary words Wardog made many interesting points and I do hope he continues in some form.

    As for 'outing' him for goodness sake he said who he was on the blog.

  37. Polaris, ta for the post, I was having difficulty finding out just what Wardog was supposed to have done to upset people.
    Pity he didn't let them sack him, I expect he would have done quite well at an industrial tribunal.

    This from Scotland On sSnday "When challenged about his choice of language, Newlands blogged: "I appreciate that some people are a little sensitive to the 'c' word but I'm not and would repeat it again, Jim Murphy is a c***". "

    Good for him; dunno why he felt the need to resign, I certainly wouldn't if someone told my boss that I'd called someone a cunt outside of the workplace.

  38. Another thought - Wardog's blogging language is perhaps best seen as a form of flyting, an old Scottish literary custom. Dunbar and Kennedy gleefully used expressions such as 'wan-fukkit funling' and 'Yit be his feirris he wald have fukkit'. These are claimed to be the first appearances of 'fuck' in print.

    It's certainly not langauge I would use: I thought Murphy was most gracious after the by-election, as George Galloway noted, but Wardog doesn't deserve the going over he is getting.

  39. Polaris

    Why didn;t you tell me you had published this.

    You have come up in my estimation.

    Gold Star for you, my girl.

    Milky Way use e-mail is still in rumination.

  40. Hey Bugger - you've got me confused with that cryptic comment...