Innuendo and gossip is something we've all indulged in from time to time. Indeed we've all probably been the subject of it once or twice. It isn't always malicious of course, but when it is such gossip can take on a life of its own ruining someone's reputation in the process.
Another name for the art of casting aspersion on the character of others is 'smear'. Smearing is widespread in politics. When deployed in the right manner the smear can be a very effective way of calling into question the integrity of one's opponent.
This weekend the Scottish media went into innuendo overdrive in its bid to destroy the reputation of Michelle Thomson. The SNP MP was subjected to a torrent of politically motivated negative coverage from newspapers and broadcasters. In one broadcast a well known journalist appeared on BBC Scotland and claimed it was "inevitable" some of the SNP's new batch of 56 MPs would have questionable backgrounds.
There's nothing much to say about the Michelle Thomson episode, mostly because there's a police investigation ongoing. What can be said is that the SNP MP is not under investigation, although you'd be hard pressed to discern that fact from the news coverage.
The loss of the whip of a senior SNP MP is a news story no doubt, but as long as Michelle Thomson remains outwith the scope of any investigation then the story just doesn't move on. Some have asked why she gave up the whip, and effectively made herself the story.
Last Sunday evening Jeremy Corbyn launched an attack on the SNP accusing the nationalists of having privatised ScotRail and of planning to do the same with Calmac.
The attack was supposed to set up Nicola Sturgeon's party in readiness for the Labour party conference where speakers were primed to attack Scotland's party of government. The message was to be that the Nats are right wing, pro-austerity and no better than Tory privateers.
Police Scotland is in the spotlight again. An elderly lady who suffered from dementia was found dead eight days after wandering off on her own. A tragedy for the lady, and of course for her family who must have gone through eight days of hell.
The media - especially BBC Scotland - have leapt on the story, not in order to comfort the bereaved but to pursue an agenda. On the day Janet McKay's body was found it emerged a possible sighting of the frail pensioner, made six days earlier, had not been passed on to investigating officers.