This article is the first in what I hope will be a short series of articles designed to remind people of what I would describe as the corruption that took hold at BBC Scotland during the independence referendum campaign.
The articles will feature recordings of BBC Scotland programmes from as far back as 2012. Some of the broadcasts will have long been forgotten.
Please promote these articles widely and reproduce them if you please.
The ‘Scottish’ Media
The independence referendum was a watershed moment for the Scottish media. From the moment the SNP won the 2011 Scottish election in a historic landslide, an independence referendum was a certainty.
The Scottish media, Unionist to its core, was forced to reveal itself. With the Union under threat, newspapers could no longer pretend to be politically impartial. History will show that not one daily newspaper backed independence and only in the latter stages of the referendum campaign did one Sunday newspaper declare its support for independence.
Newspaper coverage of Scotland’s independence referendum was appallingly one-sided. In my book ‘London Calling – How the BBC stole the Referendum’, I chronicled some of the worst examples of political reporting by BBC Scotland. The corporation had an appalling referendum. Its reputation has been left in tatters as a result.
Good Morning Scotland
One of the more subtle methods for the broadcaster to promote pro-Union arguments is the newspaper review. The newspaper review appears on the flagship morning radio programme Good Morning Scotland. It has also recently begun appearing in the main online news section for BBC Scotland. It is essentially an advert dressed up as news as you can see from the image below which is from Wednesday April 27th.
Such is the overwhelming Unionism within Scotland’s newspaper industry, that these reviews and promotions are little more than political bias by proxy. Indeed on Wednesday April 27th there was a very clear example of just that bias when the Good Morning Scotland team reviewed that day’s headlines.
Newspaper headlines that day were dominated by one story – Hillsborough. The exoneration of Liverpool fans by a jury saturated most of the newspaper front pages, and rightly so. However two Scottish editions bucked the trend. The front pages of the Scottish Express and the Scottish Daily Mail focused on Scottish politics, as can be seen below.
One has an anti-SNP headline dominating. The other has an anti-Labour headline dominating. Both front pages were ‘reviewed’ on Good Morning Scotland. The recording below contains each review in full.
If you listened to the clip above, you’ll note that the Mail’s ‘Labour Chaos’ headline was completely ignored by the Good Morning Scotland presenter who instead read out the Hillsborough banner at the top. However when the Express was reviewed, it was the anti-SNP headline that was read out despite a similar Hillsborough banner to that of the Mail being prominent. This is as clear an example of double-standards as it is possible to find.
The worst example involving newspaper headlines that promoted a political agenda happened one week before the independence referendum. The recording below was broadcast by Radio Scotland on September 11th 2014. It’s truly gobsmacking.
The referendum campaign [de-facto and official] spanned almost three and a half years from May 2011 until September 2014. Throughout this time BBC Scotland continued with the practice of promoting pro-Union newspaper headlines and occasionally summarising the stories. Below are a couple of examples of the kinds of newspaper headlines that found their way onto the airwaves of the BBC.
September 2012 – CBI
February 2013 – Treaties
There are, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, literally scores of similar recordings. There’s just not enough time to include them all.
From newspaper to airwaves
It should be noted that many of these newspaper headlines were the catalyst for news stories that appeared on the BBC during the referendum campaign. The recording below was broadcast by Good Morning Scotland on December 6th 2012. It was based on a front page story published by The Scotsman newspaper.
The item actually led straight into that day’s newspaper review as you’ll hear.
The story featured on Good Morning Scotland’s sister programme Newsdrive as you can hear from the recording below.
There was however a major flaw in the story. The European Commission had sent no such letter.
The truth was only discovered after online outlet Newsnet Scotland contacted the Commission for a response to the story. The Scotsman newspaper was subsequently forced to issue a correction. BBC Scotland never did.
BBC Scotland continues to promote politically motivated newspaper headlines. This Scottish election campaign has had more than its fair share. Below are a few of the more ridiculous smear stories that have been published by pro-Union newspapers and that have found their way onto the airwaves of BBC Scotland via the newspaper review.
Why BBC Scotland promotes newspapers known to be politically partisan during key political campaigns is unclear. Scotland’s media is so biased in favour of Unionism that it would be impossible not to promote either a pro-Union or an anti-SNP agenda.
The remedy though is simple. Stop promoting politically motivated stories from newspapers known to be politically partisan. The licence fee should not be used in order to promote or advertise these newspapers, especially during an official campaign period. Oh, and that includes The National.Views: 8303
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