To some, the New Yorker’s description of the telephone interview suggested Salmond had been hinting that he possessed explosive information which could bring about the end of the First Minister’s career.
Salmond, however, told the National that this idea was based on “misreporting of misreporting”. Double fake news? Even Donald Trump would be shocked.
The New Yorker journalist had asked why he had “tried to destroy his former protégée”, meaning Sturgeon. Salmond said his response had been “totally taken out of context. I did not ‘chuckle’… I think I guffawed at the suggestion that was being made”.
Guffaw or chuckle, we think the public has the right to know. It is only then that we will be able to make a judgement about the apparently all-important context.
If the interview was taped, the people should be given the opportunity to listen to the evidence and decide for themselves about the true nature of what we are fairly sure can be safely described as “some kind of laugh”, although perhaps we should have checked that with our lawyers first.
And what if the New Yorker and Salmond are both wrong? If it turns out to have been more of a chortle or a giggle, a cackle or a snicker, what then?