Scottish GDP growth was a hammer blow for BBC Scotland

I’m not going to write a preamble to this article. I’m just going to come straight to the point. BBC Scotland smashed its Charter to bits on Wednesday when it attempted to manipulate the news narrative prior to Scotland’s GDP figures being published.

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anything quite so brazen. It started with the morning news bulletin on Good Morning Scotland. Below is an example of the kind of bulletins that were broadcast within the first hour of the programme.

 

Former Labour party official Alf Young made an appearance on Good Morning Scotland. His party ties conveniently ignored, Young lapped up the opportunity to have a go at the SNP.

 

It was the same on the breakfast edition of Reporting Scotland where the ‘recession’ story was the lead item. As in the case of Good Morning Scotland there was also a prominent attack on a second independence referendum courtesy of the Scottish Conservatives.

Wednesday was Frenzy-day. The hype was incessant. It wasn’t news, it was the opposite of news. It was expectation. BBC Scotland was preparing the ground for something it actually expected, even wanted, to happen.

But it didn’t happen. The much vaunted recession never materialised. When the GDP figures were eventually published they showed, not negative growth or even marginal growth, but growth of 0.8%. Moreover the growth in Scotland’s GDP was four times that of the UK over the same period.

What happened next? Well where the GDP had led every news item, it suddenly … didn’t. A story involving a dispute between HMRC and the former owners of Rangers Football Club suddenly became the station’s top story.

Scotland’s healthy GDP growth was not as important a news story as the earlier pessimistic predictions. The positive facts were deemed less newsworthy than the negative speculation.

Now don’t get me wrong. Scotland was indeed facing a technical recession. The previous quarter’s negative growth meant one more would satisfy the requirements of just such a technical recession. But BBC Scotland went completely overboard with its coverage.

The corporation broadcast attacks on the SNP by its political opponents based on nothing more than guesswork. Instead of waiting for the facts, the broadcaster ran with its preferred narrative before its expectations were confirmed.

But that wasn’t all. The very next day Good Morning Scotland ran the following item.

 

It was a gratuitous attack on the SNP and the party’s mandate to hold a second independence referendum. The clip was clearly part of a longer interview the BBC had conducted with Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson.

The interview segment was the lead item on the breakfast edition of Reporting Scotland. Just as the day before the lead item was an attack on the SNP and the party’s mandate for a second independence referendum. But why was it news?

An article appeared on the BBC Scotland politics site. It contained a short video clip of the interview.

Swinson manages to cram several blatant untruths into the short clip. In the interview the Lib Dem MP is heard to say that the Scottish economy is “teetering on the brink of recession”. We know of course that this is nonsense. Also nonsense is the unchallenged claim that voters had rejected the SNP at the recent Westminster election. The SNP won a majority of Scottish seats. Swinson also launches the obligatory attack on a second independence referendum.

But why was the interview filmed? Swinson’s comments on a recession that never materialised suggest that the interview was filmed prior to the GDP figures being released. If so could it be that BBC Scotland was planning to give Swinson a central role in a scheduled attack on Nicola Sturgeon and the First Minister’s mandate for a second indyref?

Regardless of the reason for the bizarre Swinson interview, one thing is clear. BBC Scotland anticipated negative GDP figures. This anticipation was used as justification for broadcasting Unionist attacks on the SNP. Guest pundits were sympathetic to the narrative the BBC was cultivating.

This coverage was calculated. It was premeditated. It was coordinated. Everyone at Pacific Quay was in on it. Editors, producers, presenters, reporters and news readers did as they were told. So relentless was the propaganda that there are undoubtedly some people in Scotland who actually believe we are indeed in recession. That’s the power of the ‘trusted’ BBC.

Make no mistake BBC Scotland was setting the ground for an all-out assault on Nicola Sturgeon. Her administration had already been described by some newspaper journalists as ‘tired’.

A recession would serve as the perfect platform from which to launch attacks that would significantly damage the First Minister and by extension any plans for a second independence referendum.

Thankfully the carefully planned operation was stopped in its tracks.  Not before Unionists enjoyed their free pot-shots at the SNP courtesy of the ‘impartial’ BBC.

 

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24 thoughts on “Scottish GDP growth was a hammer blow for BBC Scotland

  1. Robert

    We’re going to see more of this. When there’s no anti-SNP news, the BBC will just pump out anti-SNP speculation.

    SNP “claim” to have won election despite… you know the rest.

    Also, I’d be surprised if this 0.8% vs 0.2% will be allowed to persist.

    They’ll now find a time frame in which the UK economy outperformed Scotland and start pushing that to adjust the facts for the best political advantage.

    They’ll be on it right now.

    More “despite” headlines on the way.

    1. Allan

      Given the bias against the Labour party south of the border, are you surprised this is happening at the BBC
      The BBC will be biased to whichever party is in power, they will not bite the hand that holds the BBCs purse strings

  2. m boyd

    I saw the Jo Swinson interview yesterday on one of the rare occasions I watch this drivel…it was strangely out of place in time and context.

    Call me cynical but i’ m surprised the BBC don’t have a counter narrative in the back hand: the Union works for the Scottish economy.

  3. jdman

    Just dont ask Derek Bateman for his interpretation of this,
    it’ll just be poor journalism!🙄

    1. Alex Beveridge

      Absolutely jd. I don’t know what we have to do for more people to realise that the B.B.C is the spearhead of the British Establishment’s propaganda campaign to continue the brainwashing of Scotland’s population that has been taking place for many years.
      Ably assisted by most of the print media, they have only one objective to achieve and that is to convince our electorate that we should never be an independent nation.
      I’m grateful to all the blogs such as this as I never watch, listen or read anything produced by the M.S.M, because I grew exasperated by their lies, and their continual promotion of U.K best.

  4. jy

    I believe the force behind this co-ordinated attack on the SNP was the Fraser of Allander Institute, They even promote Alf Young’s book, Forty Turbulent Years, on their website.

  5. James D.

    The growth in Scottish GDP must have stuck in BBC Scotland’s collective craw. It was clear through the almost funerial tone in how it was broadcasted.

  6. bringiton

    Where there is success,we will bring failure.
    Where there is hope,we will bring despair.
    Where there is harmony,we will bring discord.
    ………
    The revolving door between the Tory party and the BBC continues,except in Scotland where the British Labour party is allowed,on a short leash,to take part.

    1. Geejay

      Thatcher’s legacy. Do these “Lying Scum”, to coin a phrase, never stop to think about the damage they do to Scotland as they turn every positive story into a negative?

    2. Robert Graham

      excellent appraisal of the scottish media a lost cause as for the BBC well where would you start .

  7. Angus Shoor Caan

    The bbc won’t respond to this because they don’t want to give it any more air time than is absolutely necessary. Much like the tories down through the ages they don’t like being taken to task or found at fault.
    Along with a political uprising we need a media uprising to back it up. Kick them out of Scotland and do away with the TV license altogether.
    The lower case in quite intentional by the way.

  8. Ron Birrell

    In his book, when talking about Indyref1, Nick Robinson claimed that the BBC wasn’t biased, but did make this startling admission – the BBC followed the news agenda set by the printed media. He was quite clear – the BBC ‘journalists’ don’t do journalism. During Indyref1 28 daily and weekly newspapers were in circulation in Scotland, and 27 were pro-union, only the Sunday Herald being pro-independence. Obviously, the National is now available, and we don’t know what the Sunday Herald’s stance is now. The BBC would no doubt claim that it is only continuing to do what it has always done with regard to Scotland – repeat whatever the multi-millionaire non-dom tax avoiding newspaper owners spout.

  9. stewartb

    The BBC, sometimes STV, and of course most newspapers ‘frame’ their social and economic coverage almost entirely in one way – negatively – when there is (i) an opportunity to reinforce the SNPbad message; and/or (ii) damage national self-confidence in our capability for self determination. We focus often on illustrating ‘bias’ – the equally, or actually the more important, issue is how to deal with/overcome this ‘framing’.

    I posted most of this on Wings in July, 2016 – it seems appropriate to share it again here.

    ‘… it’s clear that refutation in political debate is far from straightforward. See this from Professor Martin G. Evans, an organisational psychologist at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, in an article in the Boston Globe (14 August 2014 – https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/08/13/confronting-and-refuting-political-lies/DqojwnVw9gDGWzAn2WrI6L/story.html ).

    It has been claimed that “ …. when disputants argue things out in the marketplace of ideas, lies will be exposed.” However, Evans disputes this.

    “Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. The lie itself usually opens up a new arena for discussion and, by being first on the ground, sets up the mental frame for the argumentation to come. Therefore, those wishing to refute a political lie have a two-part task: (1) they must convincingly articulate the truth, and (2) they have to replace the existing frame of discussion with a more accurate one. Those tasks are very difficult to accomplish.

    Why? Because the mental frame the lie establishes is then used to channel the information we receive. Information consistent with the frame is easily assimilated in our minds. Information that is inconsistent with the frame tends to be ignored or distorted into being consistent.”

    Evans adds: “Counter-speech is at a major disadvantage here; the …. politician who gets the lie in first has the higher ground. This advantage for the lying party is enhanced by repetition. Repeating the lie time and again strengthens the network of nerve associations (the neurological substrate) underlying the frame in the minds of listeners and readers, making the lie more difficult to refute.”

    “Paradoxically, …. when the (opposing) candidate denies the lies, the same frame is invoked and once again the neurological substrate is strengthened. For effective counter-speech, the candidate must escape from the original frame. How? Well, for example, he could speak about all the good things he has done for his constituents and the people ..… By talking this route, there is a good chance that he can supplant the old negative frame with a new, more positive frame.”

    Professor Evans argues: “Cognitive science has much to teach us in the political arena. By increasing awareness of these tendencies, we can perhaps help inoculate the public against succumbing to these harmful distortions. But we also need to discourage the repetition of obvious lies.”

    The work of Evans reinforces the findings on the power of ‘framing’ by George Lakoff that is finding an attentive audience amongst progressives in US politics. According to Lakoff: “From a political perspective, framing has widespread consequences. For example, the concept of framing links with that of agenda-setting: by consistently invoking a particular frame, the framing party may effectively control discussion and perception of the issue.”
    (https://georgelakoff.com/2016/12/15/how-to-help-trump/ )

  10. John

    Appears to be BBC Scotland’s Westminster Correspondent David Porter interviewing Jo Swinson.

    He crosses the line from interviewer to propagandist when he tees up the Unionist talking point slogan right at the end of the interview:

    “So, it is a case of, ‘CONCENTRATE ON THE DAY JOB’? ”

    To which she responds: “Absolutely!”

    She absolutely appears to have forgot to use the slogan therefore he feeds her the line like a good wee purveyor of British state propaganda! He was being the most friendly of journalists to a poor quality politicians!

    In legal parlance, it would be called “Leading the witness”.

    Come on George, you’re slipping in spotting these little nuances in amongst the bulk of the propaganda :-). Keep up the good fight Sir. We’ve got the British State Broadcaster on the run.

  11. Ottomanboi

    We need a Quit Scotland! movement. Kick the Brits out, bag and baggage. Off with the kid gloves.

  12. Tony

    Do people believe this stuff – you’re drinking your own Kool-aid.

    Just because it’s not recession and just because the most recent results are better than rUK does not compensate for a decade of lost growth. Seriously guys…

    If you don’t believe me, then surely you must believe the Guardian (hardly right-wing, pro establishment) which shows a 19% gap in growth over the previous 9 years. Now this 0.8% vs 0.2% might help narrow the gap – but it’s a drop in the ocean …

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/04/scottish-economy-grows-far-more-slowly-than-uk-as-a-whole)

    1. Clydebuilt

      The Guardian , not part of the Establishment, might have been true 20 years ago, not now. They tried to rubbish Craig Murray and Corbyn.

      So I suppose we don’t have to believe a word in the Gruanad.

      You should be wondering why the UK’s growth is so low . . .

  13. Jockanese Wind Talker

    BBC and the rest of the MSM in Scotland are basically conducting a ‘bloodless coup’ in their constant push to undermine the SG and install a Unionist Supporting Puppet Administration at Holyrood.

    They are saturation broadcasting another regimes (a hostile regimes) propaganda 24/7 into Scotland.

    They are, plain and simple enemies of the people of Scotland and should be treated as such.

    BBC and U.K. MSM are Enemy Combatants in the Media War for Scotlands Independence.

  14. millie

    great article……. great work from G A Ponsonby.

    BBC Sunday Politics Scotland was forced today to revisit this, after the utterly dire output from them last Sunday.

    Keith Brown should be congratulated for his performance – and the wealth of information he imparted.

    I would love to see a video/clip of the Keith Brown / Gordon Brewer interview.

    I hope more people “publicly” get behind Keith Brown – he is a real asset to politics and an excellent media performer.

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