Following an article in the Daily Record on May 26th, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has upheld a complaint that the ‘paper breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editor’s Code of Practice. The article, carrying the headline “Cops: Mob rule outside Hampden blocked us from getting in to help”, claimed Rangers fans blocked police from getting to Hampden Park to deal with the pitch invasion following the Scottish Cup final. It goes on to claim that Rangers fans “started hitting and spitting at the vans, trying to rock the vans, kicking the vans, trying the doors” as police made their way towards the National Stadium and that literally “everyone walking past us” was involved.
Written by Jane Hamilton, the article was produced on an unsolicited email which purported to be from an officer involved in public order duty during afternoon of the cup final. The journalist then tried to corroborate the story using two police sources who hadn’t actually been anywhere near the southside of Glasgow that day, nevermind in the immediate vicinity of Hampden. Callum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation also provided quotes for the story describing the actions of Rangers fans as “disgraceful”.
No-one at Rangers Football Club was contacted by the Daily Record as it was felt the story did not involve the club.
When the story was published (May 25th online and May 26th in print) the Rangers support immediately provided evidence which debunked the claims made by Hamilton, Steele and approved for publication by Daily Record editor Murray Foote. Countless eyewitnesses came forward, video from various different angles were uploaded and hundred, if not thousands, of other photographs were shared online. None showed anything remotely close to what was depicted in the Daily Record.
As Rangers fans complained to the Daily Record over their make-believe reporting, management at the Record closed ranks. Tweets showing Ms. Hamilton referring to Rangers fans using sectarian terms were produced (these were aimed at her husband apparently) and accusations of bias were made. The Record added, what has become known as the “Footenote” absolving Hamilton of any wrongdoing.
At least we'll always have 'The Footenote'.. pic.twitter.com/CZ0zEEgsPM— GT (@NewcoTed) August 26, 2016
With today’s retraction printed by the Daily Record perhaps Mr. Foote may rethink his stance on standing by his journalists and journalism quite so unquestioningly. Ms. Hamilton instead seemingly went on a pre-emptive Twitter blocking spree, blocking any prominent Rangers fan. Maybe she was avoiding the flak she hoped her nonsense story would send the way of those same Rangers fans?
The IPSO’s findings leave little wiggle room for the Record over the accuracy of their story. Despite trying to verify the claims made via email with THREE different “police sources” the Record could not find a single officer on duty who could provide first-hand corroboration. In addition to being unable to validate a single claim made, IPSO found that there was no evidence that the original source was in any way “independent” as the Record article claimed.
Worryingly, IPSO also found that despite the original email appearing to come from a police officer looking to redress the balance regards the criticism of Police Scotland’s handling of the Scottish Cup final, the Daily Record only attempted to corroborate the claims made with sources who were not at Hampden. With serious allegations of violence made against Rangers supporters it’s unthinkable they would be published in a national newspaper without first-hand corroboration.
There was no shortage of disorder for the Daily Record to report on following the cup final. The scenes which marred Hibs’ first Scottish Cup win since King Edward VII took the throne were broadcast globally and are still seeing people arrested some three months later. The Daily Record had no need to create an alternative timeline which put the spotlight on innocent Rangers fans leaving Hampden and the question now has to be why such a story, without ANY first-hand corroboration, was allowed to be published?
Over to you Mr. Foote.