Tom English: When it comes to the truth, don’t depend on Joe Blogs

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AN online Nostradamus was predicting the end of Rangers on Friday.

On Twitter, there was talk of crisis meetings and bold predictions that Craig Whyte had run out of money, that the club couldn’t trade any longer, that Armageddon had come early. This is the reality of the online blogger. They can spout stuff that turns out to be untrue and, when they get it wrong, it never boomerangs back and hurts them. They carry on untouched by the laws of libel that the mainstream media have to contend with and shielded from the mortification that a newspaper or radio reporter would experience if he, or she, went off half-cocked with such a bombshell.

For instance, for months the same soothsayer said with all the certainty of a man who knew that night followed day that Whyte would never take over Rangers, that it was, in fact, a fakeover. Bloggers can get away with such blunders. It’s not so easy for the rest of us. You learn to be cynical about the cyber bombasts. At the height of the online hysteria on Friday I received an email from a Celtic fan who berated me for missing the story of the collapse of Rangers, which was happening “right this minute” at Ibrox. Nostradamus said it. Must be true. He wanted to know why I was ignoring the story. This is what you’re dealing with. It could well be that, within a few weeks, Rangers go into administration. That could very well happen. Whyte has confirmed it, albeit after a long period when he denied it, a spell of many months that only added to his mystery and the suspicion that surrounds him. But it hasn’t happened yet. These breathless, hair-on-fire dispatches from the frontline of an Old Firm crisis zone, these supposed exclusives from the blog-o-sphere that we’re expected to chase like a cat would a mouse? Sorry, most of them come and go without a squeak of truth.