BBC Scotland flagship radio programme criticised over its coverage of flag story

BBC Scotland’s flagship morning radio programme, Good Morning Scotland, has been criticised over its coverage of a story which claimed Nicola Sturgeon had curtailed the flying of the Union flag at Scottish Government buildings.

Speaking on the John Beattie show, writer and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove suggested Good Morning Scotland’s coverage would have been better had it waited until the newspaper claims had been checked for accuracy.

Cosgrove said the story, which had appeared on the front pages of the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Express, had been driven by “ideology” rather than “accuracy or indeed priority”.

The broadcaster, who also fronts BBC Scotland’s ‘Off the Ball’ radio programme, asked why the story, despite being questioned, was still being followed by other newspapers and broadcasters.

He said: “Sadly I think for the BBC, the best piece of journalism they did around it, the fact check service, which came twelve hours later, was the most accurate by all – by which time the lie was half way around the world …”

“Had the fact check come first I think Good Morning Scotland’s coverage would have been substantially different.”


Good Morning Scotland has come in for criticism online due to its habit of promoting politically motivated newspaper headlines.  On the day the flag story broke, the programme team read out all three headlines from the Telegraph, Mail and Express.


BBC Scotland online then used the newspaper claims as the headline for its daily newspaper promotion article.  Beneath a headline which read The Papers: Scotland’s Union Flag ‘snub’ were images of the front pages of the three pro-Union newspapers which headlined the story.

In a news report later that evening on Reporting Scotland, the false reports were presented as a ‘furious row’ caused by divisions over the independence debate.

Cosgrove’s criticism of the Scottish media over the flag issue was followed by news that the Scottish Government has given newspapers who published the false story 28 days to issue an apology.

According to The National newspaper, failure to comply will mean the case goes to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the industry regulator.

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8 thoughts on “BBC Scotland flagship radio programme criticised over its coverage of flag story

  1. Big Jock

    It’s not that the BBC journalists aren’t smart enough to find out the source of the stories and their credibility. The fact is they just don’t care for facts. They see any SNP bad story, no matter how ludicrous, as an opportunity to attack the elected government.

    The BBC especially in Pacific Quay hate the SNP. The same red mist that causes the Scot/Labour party to inflict harm on Scotland just to score cheap points on the SNP.

  2. Clydebuilt

    Big jock . . . whether all journalists at BBC Scotland hate the SNP . . . . They all see it as their job to attack the SNP.

  3. Robert Graham

    Pull them all down , now that really would be a story .

    All Colonies eventually get rid of Englands flag

    The Yanks & the Ausies seen to be doing ok after getting rid of that flag

    A quick look at the venom from online daily mail readers shows how valued we are .

    1. m d

      I agree. OK, it’s Fake news but even so do they actually think that we want the Union flag flying in our country.. it mocks us and in any event doesn’t represent the monarch.

      What annoys me more is the Union flag flying over war memorials and the unionist politicisation of the first and second world war.

  4. Sandy Cuthbert

    The BBC is the British Nationalists propaganda outlet. The British Nationalists are trying to turn Scotland into Northern Ireland.

  5. Donald McGregor

    I was very aware that yesterday’s bbc reports and indeed today’s website make a big of a slash about the Daily Mail apology and then bend over twice backwards to give the very clear impression that the fault in the story is simply that it was AS rather than NS that created the horrid insult. No mention at all of her Madge in this, as per AS summary.

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