Does it matter if the BBC is deliberately biased, institutionally corrupt or just inept?

Derek Bateman has published two articles this last week. Both are a response to posts made by visitors to his blog on the subject of BBC Scotland. You can read his articles here and here.

The thrust of the former BBC reporter’s argument is that there are indeed problems with the way Pacific Quay handles political news and current affairs.

However he argues that there is no deliberate attempt to skew news in order to undermine the SNP and/or independence.  Bateman also, rather eloquently, hits back at critics who accuse him of defending his former employer.

I read both his blog entries and the responses to each.  All made for worthwhile reading.  But it got me thinking.  Why does the Yes community debate the reasons for what we all know exists?

Does it matter if one person believes the skewed output is deliberate but another doesn’t?  Surely the point is that they both agree it is skewed?

Does questionable, erroneous or biased output from BBC Scotland have to be deliberate before we are allowed to complain about it?  If the BBC breaks its Charter must it have been premeditated and on purpose before the corporation is called to account?

For what it’s worth I believe BBC Scotland’s atrocious political output is a product of three reasons; inept research, institutionalised corruption and personal agenda.  The last one is the most controversial, but it’s worth pointing out that personal agenda can also mean the furthering of one’s own career and not necessarily one’s political leanings – I include both.

Inept Research

But let’s take a look at all three.  Below are three relatively recent news bulletins from BBC Scotland.  They cover 2014 indyref pledges, a motorway tragedy and Brexit.

 

 

 

All three have two things in common.  The first is that they were all used directly or indirectly against the SNP or independence.  The second is that all three contained key claims that were absolutely false.

The UK government never pledged eight Type 26 frigates but thirteen.  There was never any emergency 999 call in the M9 tragedy but a non-emergency 101 call and the Spanish Minister Alfonso Dastis never issued any warning about the length of time for an EU membership to be processed, the warning came from Jose Manuel Barroso three years earlier.

An argument can be made for all three having been the result of inept research.  Indeed the ’emergency call’ news reports, both online and broadcast, were amended hours later after someone at the BBC picked up criticisms from myself and others on social media.

The frigates story is interesting in that the BBC responded to a complaint by admitting its eight frigate claim was indeed wrong.  However the corporation, instead of accepting thirteen frigates had been pledged, claimed that no specific indyref pledge had been given by the UK Government to build Type 26 frigates on the Clyde.  As a result it concluded that no public correction or apology need be issued.

This takes us from inept research to the area institutionalised corruption.  The BBC, rather than admit publicly to having broadcast fake news that formed a key part of the Scottish independence campaign, simply re-wrote history.

What of the Dastis warning that never was?  This ‘warning’ was used as a spoiler after the Spanish Foreign Minister confirmed his government would not seek to block an independent Scotland’s EU membership.  Despite a complaint having been submitted back in April when BBC Scotland reports initially appeared, there has been no acceptance of any error.  Indeed only days ago the BBC sent the following message to the complainant.

I write to apologise for a delay in the management of your complaint.  I had hoped to be able to give you the results of our investigation before next week, (when I am on annual leave) and I am sorry to say this has not proven possible.

My experience of the BBC tells me that they are looking for a way out on this one.

The three examples above raise obvious questions.  How did each get through what must be a rigorous quality assurance process at BBC Scotland?  These weren’t insignificant claims.  On the contrary each had huge political impact. Why weren’t they checked for accuracy?

There is another aspect to consider.  Each of the false claims wasn’t a story in and of itself, each was in fact an appendage to a bigger news story that day.

  • In the case of the frigates claim it accompanied news of a UK government statement regarding shipbuilding on the Clyde. [It portrayed the UK Govt as having honoured an indy pledge]
  • In the case of the emergency 999 claim it accompanied a BBC Scotland Freedom of Information based story on emergency call handling. [The SNP was under pressure over call handling]
  • In the case of the Dastis ‘warning’ it accompanied a breaking story confirming Spain’s stance on Scotland’s EU membership. [It served as a spoiler to a story helpful to independence]

Each of the false claims broadcast by BBC Scotland was in fact introduced into a larger story by the broadcaster.  This suggests someone saw an opportunity to introduce each false claim in order to spice up the core story it accompanied.  The Dastis ‘warning’ was actually gleaned from the misreading of a single sentence in an obscure article published by the Guardian newspaper.

The obvious conclusion is that no serious checks were applied because an agenda was at work.  In other words, inept research accompanied by endemic institutionalised corruption.

Deliberate Bias

What about deliberate bias?  That’s the most contentious of all claims leveled at BBC Scotland, it’s producers, editors and reporters.  It’s also almost impossible to prove.

In September 2007 just after the SNP won its first Holyrood election, BBC Scotland reporter Glenn Campbell theatrically ripped up the party’s manifesto live on TV.  The act was grossly inappropriate and prompted fury amongst SNP supporters.

Campbell has never been taken to task for the pre-meditated act.

During the independence referendum campaign James Naughtie was parachuted in from London to anchor the Good Morning Scotland programme.  Naughtie’s leanings vis-a-vis the constitution were transparent during his tenure at the helm of BBC Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.

Below is a short clip of him carrying out an interview on the subject of shipbuilding during the indyref.  At the end of the interview Naughtie asserts that in the event of a Yes vote “…it would be unlikely that the Royal Navy would place contracts outside the rest of the UK.”

 

Naughtie was presenting his own partisan opinion as fact.  A small example of course, but anyone who listened to the Scots born, London based veteran presenter couldn’t fail to notice his tendency to favour the No campaign.

Below, if you can stomach it, is Naughtie in discussion with two academics during the indyref.  The academics are Better Together member Professor Jim Gallagher and Jo Armstrong, who has an equally partisan background.

 

Kaye Adams was another who attracted criticism and claims she was deliberately biased in favour of the Union.  In one notorious programme broadcast in December 2012, the presenter invited callers to phone in to her programme to discuss what she claimed was an increase in anti-English sentiment.

 

What listeners to the show would have been unaware of is that official figures showed that, over the previous twelve months, anti-English attacks in Scotland had actually decreased by 17%.

Below is another brief example of what I argued at the time was a BBC Scotland reporter presenting his own pro-Union opinion as fact.  During the independence campaign Douglas Fraser tells viewers that the pound is not an asset.

If you watch the clip above you’ll see two senior BBC Scotland figures basically pushing Better Together campaign lines without batting an eyelid.  Fraser and Gordon Brewer could be reading from pro-Union campaign leaflets so partisan is the line of discussion.  It’s quite incredible to watch as they re-inforce one another’s prejudice.

Fraser’s claim that the pound is not an asset is deliberate bias.  There’s no question about it.  The discussion as a whole though says more about the prevailing culture at BBC Scotland.  That it’s one-sided and biased against independence isn’t in question.  But are both participants conscious of this?  I’d argue not.  They are just reflecting the culture within which they operate.

Earlier in this article I suggested what might appear as personal bias may in fact be an attempt by the reporter to curry favour by including in his or her report a reference to an issue thought to ‘fit’ with the agenda at BBC Scotland.  One of the most blatant, and current, of these is the reference to the fishing sector when reporting on Brexit.

Watch any BBC Scotland report on Brexit and it almost always includes a reference to fishing.  This, as I have stated in previous articles, is used as a proxy to shoehorn anti-EU sentiment or arguments into the Brexit item.  No other sector enjoys such coverage.  The NHS, so reliant on EU migrants, doesn’t nor does the university sector, food and drink, farming or tourism.

Conspicuous through its absence is the reason why Scotland’s fishing sector is so anti-EU, namely because it has been treated as dispensable by successive UK governments when negotiating with the EU.  The irony of course is that the very body [Westminster] responsible for harming Scotland’s fishing industry is the one benefiting from the resultant anger.

Institutionalised Bias

Institutionalised bias appears almost every day on BBC Scotland.  Observe any report on independence and/or a second indyref and pro-Union statements will always outnumber pro-Independence statements.  This is due to the habit of treating the constitutional issue as though it were a party political issue.  There are three pro-Union parties so they will always outnumber the two pro-Independence parties – even though they are outnumbered in terms of Holyrood MSPs.

What BBC Scotland should do of course, but refuses to do, is ensure parity in any and all independence related news items and discussions.  This is institutionalised bias.  Indeed in its most recent independence related article the SNP was outnumbered three to one.  There was no statement from the Scottish Greens.  The Scottish Conservatives were allowed not one, but two statements attacking the idea of a second indyref.

It also exists in the form of the so-called newspaper review.  The ‘review’ is often nothing of the sort.  Weekdays witness presenters summarising a selection of front page stories.  Weekends witnesses two so-called ‘respected commentators’ review the newspapers.  They use the platform to air their own personal views as the recent clip below shows.

 

During the first independence referendum there were no daily newspapers that backed the Yes campaign.  The headlines promoted by the BBC reflected this.  Below are two examples of what the state broadcaster used to broadcast throughout the indyref campaign.

The first was broadcast exactly one week before the referendum itself.  The second was broadcast around November 2013.

 

 

Nothing much has changed since the first referendum. BBC Scotland still promotes newspapers in this way, and of course given most are anti-independence in stance, the broadcaster helps push a pro-Union message.  Below is a short clip that was broadcast during the recent general election campaign.

 

If anything, things have gotten worse.  BBC Scotland now also provides free advertising on its main news page for newspapers.  ‘Scotland’s front pages’ appears every day as the third ‘news’ item on the website.  It is an abuse of TV licence cash.

But back to the clip immediately above.  Listen again and note towards the end of the clip the use of the word ‘Nationalists’ to describe the SNP.

The SNP is regularly described as ‘Nationalists’ by BBC Scotland presenters and reporters.  The word is of course regularly hijacked’ by Unionists who provide their own pejorative definition in order to ‘prove’ the party of government in Scotland is intolerant, inward looking and racist.

BBC Scotland reporters rarely if ever describe Unionist parties the same way.  We never hear that ‘Unionists’ have attacked the Scottish government.  Similarly the term ‘British Nationalists’ is never applied to the any of the Unionist bloc.  They are almost always benignly described as ‘pro-UK’ or ‘pro-Union’.

The recent veneration of Ruth Davidson is a result of this institutionalised bias.  Take a look at the clips from Reporting Scotland broadcast immediately after the general election … an election that Ruth Davidson did better than expected but still lost heavily.

Ruth Davidson, according to BBC Scotland, “wields more power than ever at Westminster.” She has thirteen MPs who will argue Scotland’s corner.

Ruth, by her own admission, regularly attends UK cabinet meetings and has an open invitation to do so.

So it seems odd that the powerful and very influential leader of the Scottish Conservatives with direct access to the Prime Minister has not faced one solitary question from any BBC Scotland reporter since the Brexit talks began on Monday.

Especially given that Ruth has argued that the UK Government should be prepared to walk away from talks, even it if means no deal.

Bias is widespread within BBC Scotland.  It’s endemic.  The broadcaster has a fixed template that ensures the bias won’t ever be eradicated.  Reporters and presenters can’t but be biased.  It’s their job.  Some of them of course relish it.  Most do what they are told because their job depends on it.

The BBC is after all the glue that binds the UK together.  It’s in its Charter.

 

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18 thoughts on “Does it matter if the BBC is deliberately biased, institutionally corrupt or just inept?

  1. Ayrshirelass

    The BBC is to some extent like any other large organisation which seems to exist in the UK. It has weak overpaid leadership, there is no accountabiility, the less talented are promoted beyond their capabilities because they are unquestioning about what will please the bosses. Quality suffers .The result is a failing organisation.

    if this were the NHS we were speaking of, questions would be asked, enquiries would be held quite rightly and action would be taken. No doubt the BBC would be the first in line asking those important questiond. FOI requests to the NHS skyrocketed once the SNP came to power as the BBC went on their fishing expeditions to get material for their anti SNP campaign. And it is a campaign.

    But apparently the same level of accountability does not apply to the BBC even though the BBC would be the first to insist that they are an important organisation which plays a key role in public life in the UK. They also see themselves as champions of democracy which is equally as important as the NHS. Without a proper democracy nations wither.
    if they believe their function is so important to require compulsory taxation, why do they not accept that thay should be accountable like any other public sector organisation.

    If complaints to the NHS. were handled the way they are by the BBC there would quite rightly be an outcry.. Yet the public are supposed to just accept this?

    A healthy democracy is vital to a healthy society and the BBC has failed on every measure of quality.As this article says, the end result is the same whether the shockingly poor output by the BBC output is deliberate or ineptitude.

    There are standards ro be upheld in public life and there should be an independent investigation into the BBC. More than sufficient evidence has been gathered to warrant this.

  2. Mark Harper

    Would it be possible to start legal proceedings against the BBC through crowd funding for failing their charter and lying to the people?

  3. Ottomanboi

    I am a nationalist. I am not ashamed of it. Wanting freedom for your country is historically ‘nationalist’. What spin those that would deny that freedom wish to put on the term doesn’t concern me. It’s simply propaganda.
    The BBC is an institution whose function is the maintenance of the British state. We should not be surprised at its natural bias and its overt propagandizing in support of the status quo.
    Our day will come. In the meantime there is that matter of the licence tax.
    The radical solution is to change lifestyle and abandon the venerable technical concept of tv to the museum.

  4. Robert Graham

    How much more evidence is required , there is a real problem and complaints hit a brick wall , exactly what is the point of any complaints procedure when they are never acted on .

  5. Ann Forbes

    Re Jim Gallagher see below copied from ericjoyce.co.uk

    FROM NO TO YES. SCOT
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    Oct 2016
    How an Oxford and Glasgow University ‘laundering’ operation turned a retired unionist civil servant into an ‘impartial’ and ‘eminent’ academic
    4 Comments
    In 2008 Jim Gallagher was an anti-Scottish-independence-minded civil servant working as ‘Director of Scottish devolution’ for Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Brown sent him to be secretary to the unionist Calman Commission to ensure the report reached the ‘right’ conclusions. In his spare time, like many folk of good professional standing, Gallagher volunteered as a ‘visiting professor’ at Glasgow University. He retired from the civil service in 2010 and became an anti-Scottish independence campaigner.
    What followed was an academic ‘laundering’ of his professional standing as a committed unionist civil servant and the creation of a new persona as an ‘eminent economist’, ‘law professor’ and ‘politics professor’. Gallagher’s long-held anti-independence views were then presented to the Scottish media and public not as simply as those of a retired civil servant and committed unionist, but as the impartial analysis of a distinguished academic. This is how it happened.
    Glasgow University took on Jim Gallagher – who was to draft the unionist Calman Commission report – as a visiting professor in 2005. Visiting professors are mainly not academics. They attend a few times each year and give lectures about their professional field. They’re called ‘professor’ when they visit as a courtesy in order to recognise their genuine contribution to the life of the university.
    In 2010, upon retirement, Gallagher began to assist an Oxford professor called Iain McLean. Professor McLean, a former Labour Councillor in England, is from Edinburgh and is a committed unionist. He carried out work for Gordon Brown while the latter was chancellor then prime minister. He gives evidence to Scottish parliament committees where he slides from his area of expertise, he’s a professor of politics, into finance and economics. He and Gallagher are close friends.
    In late career, McLean wanted to inform his own academic work though a close relationship with civil servants in order to produce practical ‘think-tank’ type papers aimed at influencing UK government policy. He started up a study group containing non-academics. Then, in 2015, upon his own retirement, this group became the Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy.
    Today, McLean is the centre’s part-time director and the only official ‘Nuffield Fellow’ there. He has personally recruited a handful of professionals from the think tank, civil service and unionist politics worlds to help write pamphlets for his own new think tank. Sir Danny Alexander, the former Liberal Democrat MP, is one. Where the centre’s output concerns Scotland, it reflects uniformally a unionist perspective.
    Since 2010, as a volunteer and ‘associate member’ of Nuffield College, Oxford, Jim Gallagher has written half a dozen think-pieces for Professor McLean’s think tank, extending both from his experience as a civil servant and his personal commitment as a Scottish unionist. Meanwhile, Glasgow University has kept renewing Gallagher’s ‘visiting professor’ status for an unusually long period after his retirement. These extensive ‘reappointments’ appear to have taken into account the misleading notion that Gallagher is not simply a retired civil servant with a unionist axe to grind, but instead is now a distinguished Oxford academic of high standing.
    As has been established in our earlier pieces, in spite of describing himself as; “a professor based at Oxford and Glasgow”, Gallagher is not an Oxford professor at all. Nor is he a Fellow of Nuffield College, although he was once a fixed-term ‘Gwilym Gibbon fellow’ (McLean’s think tank) for 2 years. He does not appear to have ever held a tenured academic appointment at any level at any university, including Glasgow. Nor is he a trained economist or practicing lawyer. Nor has he trained as an academic researcher. Nor published peer-reviewed academic work.
    All this being so, why did the media present Gallagher to the public in the way they did? After all, one moment he was a civil servant providing the secretariat function for a unionist ‘commission’, the next he was an eminent, impartial and distinguished academic of high standing. Given that some journalists are themselves visiting professors and know that this does not of itself give them high scholarly standing, why did they attribute such overblown standing to Gallagher?
    The simple truth, it seems, is that the media were simply duped by the appearance that Gallagher’s ‘visiting’ role at Glasgow was an adjunct to a substantive appointment and serious academic work at Oxford.
    Readers of this piece should consider what the journalists saw. Here was a man who appeared to describe himself as a professor at Oxford and with a visiting professorship at Glasgow. He can be seen described as a professor on the Oxford University politics department website. He continues to be described as a fellow of Nuffield College in many sources (indeed the present Gwilym Gibbon fellow, with whom Gallagher and McLean work, in no sense describes himself in high scholarly terms) and there is no evidence that he corrects journalists on this point. Each time he participates in an occasional Glasgow University event, where he has written one or two more think-tank pieces, it is as a ‘visiting professor’ who consistently stresses that his main base was at Nuffield College, Oxford.
    For hard-pressed journalists who knew of his background, Gallagher appeared to be one of many senior civil servants who had moved into academia via high-grade research work followed by a tenured professorship at Oxford. Of course, as we now know, Gallagher had done nothing of the sort. No heavyweight academic research; no Oxford appointment. Just a few anti-independence think-tank pamphlets in conjunction with fellow unionists.
    Both Nuffield and Glasgow seem to have failed to spot the risk that ‘think tanks’ set up within each university, competing with outside ‘think-tanks’ for contracts , could compromise their academic standards in search of news inches and ‘practical relevance’. The risk, too, that unionists would seek to use the cover of academia to hide their political intent.
    For example, Professor McLean has participated alongside Gallagher in numerous evidence sessions at committees of the Scottish Parliament. They have published a number of articles and a book whose unifying theme is the undesirability of an independent state of Scotland. The content, tone and timing of their interventions bear a striking similarity to those of Gordon Brown himself. In fact, it seems that it is McLean and Gallagher who provide Brown with much of the detail and structure of his statements in favour of devo-max as a means of defeating the campaign for independence. Has Gallagher benefited from tacit, or overt, endorsement or references from Gordon Brown, for whom in return he appears now to provide academic cover? Perhaps the media would like to ask.
    Meanwhile, Glasgow University’s ‘Policy Scotland’ think-tank, which includes amongst its number a former unionist Scottish government minister a current Conservative MSP, seems to have been happy with the extensive coverage of its events and the media’s descriptions of Gallagher as an eminent academic authority in all sorts of disciplines. The reader here can simply Google “professor jim Gallagher snp attack” to get an idea of the scale and extent of Gallagher’s preparedness to be repeatedly presented as a ‘distinguished academic’ in many disciplines. It is quite impossible that Policy Scotland did not know of the preposterously overblown claims made in the media in respect of Gallagher’s eminence in a range of areas of scholarly research.
    Glasgow University, in what looks somewhat like a holding position, has told this website that ‘honorary’ and ‘visiting’ professors hold the same professorial status as tenured professors within the university, and that visiting professors are always annotated as such. But is this true? Certainly, tenured academics do not seem to agree, otherwise what is the point of university scholarship and a lifetime’s research experience? And what would that mean for how the public understands the idea of a professor, or what credibility the public should attach to the words of professors? In any case, Gallagher routinely describes himself as simply: “Professor of Law, Glasgow University”.
    The Gallagher case flags a problem just under the surface of each famous institution. This is where ‘think-tanks’, often with a pre-formed set of ideological assumptions, are set up inside the university. They utilise non-academics to assure said think-tank acquires contracts, news coverage and ‘relevance’. They obscure the distinction between academic research and reverse-engineered arguments designed for political or ‘newsworthy’ purpose. Then the university returns the favour by appearing to grant a title which conveys academic respectability while conveying to real professors the fact that the title is essentially a matter of playing the PR game.
    It is for the academic community to decide whether the think-tankers who regularly appear on Newsnight billed as ‘professor’ (Glasgow grants unpaid ‘honorary’ professor status to some) represent a debasing of professional scholarly standards. But if it gets it wrong, as it has with Jim Gallagher, then when genuine professors discover no-one trusts their ‘expertise’ then they will have only themselves to blame.
    It is laudable for Gallagher, McLean and indeed Gordon Brown himself to argue for what they believe in. Transparency is essential, however. Otherwise establishment unionist figures will naturally use their own establishment capital to serve their, and the establishment’s, own ends.
    Still, at least Gallagher’s Wikipedia page had all the academic references removed at midnight when we first wrote about his case. And here’s his now unavailable academic CV on the Glasgow University website. So that’s a start.
    In the coming year or two, Scots should keep a weather eye out for other unionist, establishment ‘laundry’ operations. There are plenty of them around. And if they want to look for new ideas for how good a place Scotland could be, we may do well not to look to old-hands from the UK civil service establishment whose careers are steeped in the assumptions of yesteryear.

  6. michael boyd

    In answer to the question: i think it does- the BBC employees are regarded are public servants and as such they have a duty in their employment to the public at large and they may be found criminally liable for misconduct in public in office.

  7. manandboy

    A great piece of work by GA Ponsonby. Should be read by everyone, particularly perhaps by Derek Bateman.

    GA Ponsonby ; WB Yates ; WH Auden; AA Milne; JD Salinger; it’s a long list.

  8. Piotr

    Bias is built into the charter. The BBC is not designed to provide balance within Scotland only across the United Kingdom. The clue is in the name. We should therefore expect the coverage we get. To ask the BBC to show balance within Scotland is like asking pigs to fly. It is not really a devolved broadcaster and Scotland doesn’t really exist. The BBC hasn’t kept up with devolution or Scottish aspiration.

    This mirrors the refusal by Westminster to keep up with Scottish aspiration properly entrenching legislative competence to devolved administrations. Devolved administrations must be subordinate. There is a link.

    The present situation undermines the BBC because it is not what so many of us want or expect. We expect the BBC to show proper balance within Scotland, to reflect Scotland back to Scotland. The BBC has lost the trust of many. I would expect the BBC to stare blankly back at us when challenged about this, limply wondering what all the fuss is about.

    Constitutional change, locally accountable devolved broadcasting and a new charter emphasising the requirement for the devolved broadcaster to be balanced within the nation it serves might heal the wounds the BBC has inflicted upon itself. Might.

    Why is this so difficult to put in place?

    Well, perhaps because we have an intensifying, unresolved fight on our hands about the constitutional status of Scotland, despite the claim of so many of our own politicians that there is a clear settled will for subordination for eternity. And “The BBC” is a global brand. It is simply unimaginable that it would change its name to the UKBC and that an EBC would pop into being. The end of the BBC would be the end of the world, wouldn’t it? At least, as we know it.

    The BBC will find it much more difficult to defend factual inaccuracies.

  9. Scott H

    STV News get an easy ride here. Colin Mackay twice in the space of about a week said the M9 crash was a 999 call. I tweeted him and his namesake John to correct them. The latter replied that it was an honest mistake and would be corrected the following night. It wasn’t. Then Colin Mackay said it again about a week later. They knew it was a non-emergency 101 call but decided to lie anyway. It’s not just the BBC.

  10. Doug McGregor

    “Scottish Conservatives” ” Scottish Labour” “Scottish Liberals” “BBC Scotland ” All branch offices responding to the dictates of London , full of wannabees hoping to be called up to head office types. They do not have Scotland’s interests at heart.

  11. Radio Jammor

    The short answer to your question is that it does matter. If the BBC/BBC staff were inept, they would be inept about everything and there would eventually be a reckoning.

    If they were biased, the same should apply, however, if they are institutionally biased (as opposed to corrupt), then this bias is not recognised as such, but merely appears to be the natural background or order of things.

    The fact is, Scottish independence is not the only thing that suffers from bias at BBC News – and I specify BBC News because the BBC is a broadcaster with other elements to it that do not reflect this bias.

    Take, for example, pretty much any large protest national protest that has occurred in central London, especially on a Saturday, in the last several years.

    Whilst many media outlets will report it before, during and after, and some even do live broadcasts, the only likely reporting that you will see from the BBC will appear late on, either after the protest or not long before it is over. There may be a single mention on national news, or on News 24, and that is it. This whilst, for example, the BBC reports at length on the latest sports results or what the Royal Family has been up to on holiday abroad.

    And on the web, the BBC will bury their token article under e.g. England > Regions > London and Sout East, or Health, if it is NHS related. It will not appear on the main news front page, nor is it likely to appear under the well-read Politics section.

    The BBC will cover protests just enough to justify that it did cover such, when complaints flood in. But they will be grossly underplayed in terms of prevalence, especially at the time.

    This is deeply worrying, because this is where the criticism of there being corruption becomes justified.

    The simple fact is, if you hold views that are against the establishment, you cannot rely on the BBC to report such accurately, or without bias, or without being considered worthy of equal treatment as other, more ‘established’ news or events.

    You only need look at the raw deal the Greens get from the BBC, in terms of coverage, despite their views. Yet the more conservative views of Ukip are regarded as mainstream enough to warrant constant inclusion on the likes of Question Time or Newsnight, to the point where the Green Party might eat a fast food burger out of a non-biodegradable container to get.

    This is the same BBC that has Newsround and broadcast Live Aid, and One Love Manchester, and does so many other good things.

    I don’t want the BBC gone, but I do want BBC News to get a serious overhaul of its management and structure, and then its reporters. I want this in the same way that Radio 1 moved itself away from the mid 20th century and ready to take-on the 21st century, by clearing out the old and bringing in the new.

    And yes, our musical tastes might not have appreciated it at the time, but at least when doing this, the BBC made it possible for newer, unestablished artists, that appealed to the (then) current crop of young people, to have a platform and establish themselves.

    Let there be blood on the carpet at BBC News.

  12. Clydebuilt

    Since the 2014 Indy Ref. Our opponents have campaigned tirelessly against Independence.

    We have to start campaigning for Independence. Otherwise the fruits of the YES campaign will continue to dissolve. Frittered away by inactivity.

    It’s not a case of pushing our leaders for Indy Ref2 next week. We need to work to build support for Independence.

  13. commonoldworkinchap

    Flat Earth News by Nick Davies is quite an insightful read re. the media.

    His subject is the printed media. I am sure many will tell me it is ” fake news “, but too many
    things in his book ring true.

    What happens, happens. This is news. The difference is who reports it. WHO CONTROLS
    THE REPORTERS. Who sets the agenda.

    I think we know who sets the agenda here. All these media outlets get the same story
    ( usually from the PA). What they do with it (Spin) is the issue here. A triumph can
    become a tragedy depending on the agenda of the “journalist” writing.

    When we have journalists rewriting Reuters reports, sitting in offices, without investigating
    any of the claims made, but putting the newspaper (or tv channels) spin on it, then we are
    all being fed sh**.

    Watch Bill Hicks (from years ago) talking about the news ( Ted Turner). Nothing has
    changed. The only way to make the BBC to actually report unbiased facts is……

    You know….Stop paying for it until they report only the facts. It really is that easy.

  14. David MacGille-Mhuire

    Mr Bateman seems to function as the reserve goalie of self-choice for the BBC and, by default, the British state: An eloquent casuist with almost pyrotechnical oratorical abilities gymnastic who keeps letting in goals along the lines of the Liverpool keeper of yore from South Africa I cannot help but think.

    Forgive me if I am wrong, but his vino bibbing salon of fellow traveller pseudo-intellectuals , including Messrs Hassan, Riddoch, Kane, the Commonweal Trotskyite opportunists et al are fighting a rearguard action for the British state wherein they have found a niche as professional guirners with a faux conscience and a fashionable bleating meme.

    I look forward to them earning a genuinely honest crust when the Scots electorate punts the UK into oblivion, and these handwringing NorthBrits with the entity they whinge and vacillate about in the fashion aspirational of Conor Cruise O’Brien that template WestBrit, Dublin AngloPaddy apologist for the Brits that they seem to collectively aspire to imitate leaves them casting about for another vino bibbing crutch to fashionably whinge about (unless they go full-out revisionist with teary eyes for the British state’s halcyon epochs past and needing restored via some kind of federalist “solution” well short of genuine confederalism never mind full-blown independence).

    I have scant time for the lot of them. Zilch. But fair play to you for referencing them – genuinely professional of you for doing so and this should be standard media practice.

    En passant and in conclusion, the citizenry of Scotland – from wherever they hail originally – will ultimately fix this mess and not the salonistes; however, input from the likes of your good self plays a vital part in this process.

    Thank you, accordingly.

  15. Simon

    Maybe it’s time for us all, or whoever would like to be involved to do something about this situation and a situation it is!

    What can be done? We need to organise and chat about all possibilities.

    How to get going, we need to talk about that also.

    If we don’t, who will? Maybe it’s time not to leave it for others, but take responsibility.

    Have a wee think about it…

  16. Gregor

    I’ve challenged the BBC (before I was corruptly sanctioned and excluded from the BBC complaints process) to identify example/s of core ‘British values’ (British values are clearly part of the BBC Charter). The BBC steadfast refused to provide any examples of British values and asserted that such values are not part of the BBC remit. The BBC is a corrupt institution, not publicly accountable and deliberately evasive.

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