‘Proto-trumpian’ Sal­mond blamed for ori­gins of anti-me­dia sen­ti­ment

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By CHRIS MAR­SHALL

The anti-me­dia sen­ti­ment be­ing ex­pressed by politi­cians in the United States first de­vel­oped in Scot­land un­der the “proto-trumpian” lead­er­ship of First Min­is­ter Alex Sal­mond, it has been claimed.

Writ­ing in a new book about Don­ald Trump’s re­la­tion­ship with the me­dia, for­mer jour­nal­ist David Torrance says the pres­i­dent’s be­hav­iour is the “cul­mi­na­tion, rather than the ori­gin” of the anti-me­dia at­mos­phere which he ar­gues hap­pened first in Scot­land.

The es­say, The Scot­tish Prove­nance of Trump’s Ap­proach to the Me­dia, ap­pears in a book called Trump’s Me­dia War.

Mr Trump has re­peat­edly railed against what he calls “fake news” and has de­scribed jour­nal­ists as the “en­emy of the peo­ple”.

Mr Torrance says that the for­mer SNP leader had ini­tially en­joyed a good re­la­tion­ship with the me­dia, but ar­gues there was a “de­lib­er­ate strat­egy” on Mr Sal­mond’s part to be­gin launch­ing at­tacks.

He says: “Fol­low­ing the 2011 Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tions, Alex Sal­mond be­gan to dis­play proto-trumpian char­ac­ter­is­tics now he led a ma­jor­ity, rather than a mi­nor­ity, ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Hav­ing im­pressed even his crit­ics with an ec­u­meni­cal, states­man­like ap­proach to pol­i­tics be­tween 2007 and 2011, the Scot­tish Na­tional Party (SNP) leader re­verted to the pre­vi­ous form, a highly par­ti­san, shoot-from-the-hip, takeno-pris­on­ers ap­proach.”

Mr Torrance says that, in ret­ro­spect, the for­mer First Min­is­ter “was dis­play­ing a very Trump-like ob­ses­sion with, and sen­si­tiv­ity about” the main­stream me­dia dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign.

He con­cludes: “Had Sal- mond de­tected the pop­ulist tide be­fore any of his con­tem­po­raries, do­mes­tic or in­ter­na­tional?

“Or had a com­bi­na­tion of events made jour­nal­ists an in­evitable tar­get dur­ing a po­lar­is­ing ref­er­en­dum? What­ever the case, it was more ac­cu­rate to view Don­ald J Trump as the cul­mi­na­tion, rather than the ori­gin, of the on­go­ing anti-me­dia at­mos­phere. But rather than start­ing with Brexit, it hap­pened in Scot­land first.”

Mr Torrance, who has writ­ten books on both Mr Sal­mond and First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon, was crit­i­cised by the for­mer SNP leader fol­low­ing his de­ci­sion to step down in 2014. In a let­ter to a news­pa­per, Mr Sal­mond re­ferred to the jour­nal­ist as “my self­ap­pointed bi­og­ra­pher”, adding: “First, I hardly know David Torrance. And se­condly – and much more prob­lem­at­i­cally for a bi­og­ra­pher – he doesn’t know me at all.”

Last year Mr Torrance was caught up in a row when the SNP was ac­cused of mock­ing him in a party po­lit­i­cal broad­cast. The party said the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Mr Torrance and one of the char­ac­ters in the film were co­in­ci­den­tal.

A spokesman for Mr Sal­mond de­clined to com­ment on the es­say.

cmar­[email protected]­man.com

PIC­TURE; GETTY IM­AGES

Alex Sal­mond is said to have had a ‘de­lib­er­ate strat­egy’ to launch at­tacks on the me­dia

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