An example of what I believe is the institutional corruption within BBC Scotland appeared on Wednesday. The day started off with some surprising good news.
Scotland had the best performing NHS across the whole of the UK. Alone out of the four constituent parts, our NHS had managed to reach some waiting time targets.
Admittedly eight per cent is not a massive figure and certainly nothing to boast about, but when placed alongside zero for England, zero for Wales and zero for Northern Ireland then it’s more than a crumb of comfort. Best of a bad lot perhaps, but still the best.
The findings followed a UK wide investigation by the BBC. Below is a short clip of how they were reported on the UK wide BBC news that morning.
The clip above is pretty comprehensive. The statistics are displayed for each of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. At the end of the piece the reporter says of Scotland’s NHS, “that’s the best in the UK”.
Now let’s have a look at how the same statistics were covered by Reporting Scotland. Below is the item as it appeared on the early morning edition.
Not quite as clear-cut is it? Sally McNair’s auto-cue contains two glaring caveats. The terms “at times” and “on occasion” are jarring. There’s also no mention that Scotland’s NHS has the best waiting time target results in the whole of the UK.
Then something odd happened. The lunchtime edition of Reporting Scotland dropped the item completely. There was literally no mention of the story that had led the programme only hours earlier. Where had it gone?
The item had been given a bit of a work-over. It appeared on the tea-time edition of Reporting Scotland, albeit relegated from its initial top slot. Below is what viewers of the flagship programme saw.
It’s a confused mish-mash of statistics. Nothing is clear cut, certainly not the fact that the Scottish NHS came out best performer. Indeed the tone near the end as Jackie Bird asks what response has come from the Scottish government would lead most people to infer the investigation was actually bad news for the Scottish NHS.
In the space of a few hours, the Reporting Scotland team has managed to turn a relatively good news story into what looks like a bad news story. The thing to note is that they did it without telling a falsehood. That folks, is how it’s done.
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