Reporting Scotland editor denies demoting Brexit stories

The editor of Reporting Scotland has rejected a suggestion that an editorial policy is in place that results in Brexit related stories being pushed down the running order or ignored altogether by the programme.

Responding to a complaint, submitted after a major Brexit story was relegated to just fifth spot on the programme, the editor said: “I have looked again at this programme and am confident that it was fully in accord with the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.”

The complaint related to the January 31st edition of the programme which was broadcast on the day an alleged leak of UK Government analysis showed any Brexit deal would harm the UK economy.  Figures contained in the leaked analysis matched those published by the Scottish government only weeks earlier.

The leak, despite being the biggest story in the UK that day and hugely significant to Scotland, found itself placed only fifth on the flagship evening news programme.  Stories deemed to be of greater importance included a pay increase offer to Scottish Firemen, a BBC Scotland Freedom of Information request, a Scottish Labour party suspension and calls by Unionist MSPs for Michael Matheson to resign.

In a complaint submitted to the BBC the day after the broadcast, a licence payer wrote: “The placement of the Brexit related story was not in keeping with its significance. All four of the stories deemed more newsworthy paled in comparison with the leak.

“Indeed at least one of them [Calls for Michael Matheson to resign] was a near repeat of a story that led Reporting Scotland two days earlier.

“The Brexit analysis leak should have been given a higher priority than fifth place on the programme. More so given that the First Minister issued an official statement following the revelation. It was sensational news.”

Rejecting the complaint, the Reporting Scotland editor added: “Together, Nick Eardley’s report on Reporting Scotland and John Pienaar’s on Network News provided comprehensive coverage from both a UK and a Scottish perspective; but had you watched only Nick’s report you would have seen a comprehensive explanation of the leaked document and parliamentary reactions from both Holyrood and Westminster.”

Analysis of Reporting Scotland from August through to October 20th has indicated a disturbing trend with respect to coverage of Brexit related stories.  A Brexit related story led Reporting Scotland on just six occasions. Meanwhile Brexit related stories were placed fifth or more in the running order or ignored completely a total of twenty times. One of the ‘ignored’ stories was a speech given by the First Minister in Dublin on October 8th in which she focused on Brexit.

Commenting, the complainant said: “There is a very clear pattern emerging in relation to Brexit related stories.  The Reporting Scotland editor completely ignored the thrust of my complaint which was to do with the placement of this very significant story.  I won’t be letting this one go.”

 

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11 thoughts on “Reporting Scotland editor denies demoting Brexit stories

  1. xsticks

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the bbc both Scotland and England have been told to put brexit on the back burner because the horses are getting nervy.

  2. Jimmy T

    Beggars belief that the editor of Scotland’s most watched News report is trying to play dumb with this.
    Is he seriously suggesting that a stories place in the running order is insignificant? It’s the biggest constitutional issue facing us ever, to relegate it below a story about an emergency service pay rise is foolish at best, however it this stage it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it is being consciously manipulated by certain higher-ups loyal to the SLAB/BBC old boys network

  3. Arthur Martin

    This blatant bias from the BBC won’t stop until Scotland votes for Independence. So what are we waiting for? It is their job after all to protect the Union at any cost, and any pretence of not doing this has long since been abandoned.
    The only consolation I take from their failure to be a fair and impartial broadcaster, is their complete humiliation when despite the relentless negativity towards Scottish Independence, this country takes its rightful place amongst the other independent Nations of the world.
    Independence is inevitable and their actions only serve to highlight that inescapable fact.

    1. Cubby

      Spot on Arthur. The BBC is a total disgrace. They know they are a disgrace and they also know that more and more of Scotlands population are coming to this conclusion with every passing year. Only the totally gullible and those who are happy for this undemocratic situation to continue will try to deny it.

      It needs the Scottish government to call them out at the correct tactical moment in an assertive fashion. No wishy washy stuff. Call them out without holding back.

  4. Robert Graham

    I seem to remember the only following orders defence also refered to as the nuremberg defence does not absolve behavour of the person involved (ie) its no excuse .

    This bbc person cant hide behind this blatant manipulation of what is supposed to be a News programme , especially as its right in front of us we are not as stupid as the bbc believe .

  5. Pentland Firth

    BBC Scotland sees itself as a British provincial news organisation and therefore regards Brexit as a “settled” matter, i.e., settled in Westminster where the important people make the “big” decisions. Its mindset is similar to that of BBC Norwich. In the minds of BBC news and current affairs editors Scotland is a region, its nationhood being only acknowledged when it’s playing some sports like football or rugby. This mindset won’t change.

  6. Alasdair Macdonald

    Remember, the EU referendum result in Scotland was 62/38 REMAIN. So, the ‘Editorial Team’ probably reckons that any item which shows BREXIT in a bad light will find favour with an electorate which has demonstrated emphatically what its preferences are. To give the report the prominence it deserved – and was actually afforded by the ‘Network’ News and much of the press – would, in the opinion of the unionists of the editorial team have given succour to supporters of independence.

    This is also part of the reason why the Labour Party in general and the branch in Scotland in particular are soft pedalling the whole Brexit issue.

  7. George S Gordon

    This is an effing joke!

    BBC Reporting Scotland has had no serious discussion of Brexit because they are too busy peddling Lab/Tory press releases followed by the latest report from outside some bloody Sheriff Court.

    Did you spot them saying Corbyn is up here “campaigning”?
    Does “campaigning” mean he’s trying to persuade the Slab Blairites to join Momentum?

  8. grizebard

    Such a supercilious, dismissive and self-satisfied BBC response is only to be expected, alas, since it’s “par for the course” and not only on matters political either. They will happily ignore any and all substantive issues raised, and self-confidently assure the complainant that black is white and the BBC provides the best of all possible broadcasting worlds.

    However, even the response received in this case rather gives the game away. It’s the job of John Pienaar in London to cover the official BBC line on Brexit, and never mind that there is a specifically Scottish dimension to the issue that Pienaar and Co. routinely ignore. The BBC’s Northern outpost knows its place and must devote its main attentions to swimming hedgehogs and other such trivia.

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