Comment – How the press really works…

The unbiased press with the anti-demolition agenda.

For the past few days, the news streams and social media feeds have been filled with opinions on the decision to make the explosive demolition of five of the remaining six Red Road blocks a part of the Commonwealth Games opening.

That decision was always likely to be divisive. For all their notoriety, these blocks have been homes to thousands of families over the years; and to include their destruction in the opening to a sporting event is either a stroke of publicity genius or an inappropriate spectacle, depending upon your viewpoint.

Personally, I am firmly in the former camp. Demolition is the first step on the road to progress and renewal; and as the London 2012 Olympics proved so admirably, a major sporting event is a superb focal point for renewal and legacy creation.

This was the point I made – strongly – to a reporter from the Herald Scotland newspaper. I also explained that the demolition was a great opportunity to showcase the capabilities of one of the world’s best exponents of explosive demolition techniques. And while I wouldn’t necessarily put William Sinclair in the same category as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, no-one had an issue with the London 2012 opening ceremony being built around an engineer who changed the landscape.

Sadly, this is not what the newspapers want to hear. In amongst the cross-party political back-biting, Angry of Glasgow venting, and the sour grapes whining of a (presumably competitive) “shocked and angry” (presumably cowardly, given their desire for anonymity) demolition consultant, my positive take on the plan was pushed to the very foot of the article where it would remain unseen by all but the eagle-eyed.

As a West Ham fan, I am quite used to demotion and relegation. But today I received a call from the features editor of the Scottish Daily Mail – who had apparently misread the Herald Scotland article, and who thought I was the shocked and angry demolition consultant – asking me to write an article explaining my position. However, when I told her that (a) she had misread the piece and that (b) I was all for the inclusion of the blast in the opening ceremony, the request for an article was quickly rescinded.

It appears that – in this instance – the unbiased press is anything but.