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.Views: 6374