BBC Scotland has been the subject of ridicule on social media after a documentary which featured a four year old Police Scotland report was presented as headline news.
The documentary ‘A Force in Crisis’ was presented by Samantha Poling who claimed to have been leaked ‘secret police documents’ which contained ‘claims of serious corruption and criticism of Police Scotland’s bosses’.
However the programme featured drafts of a report published four years ago when Police Scotland was under the command of Sir Stephen House. House resigned his position in 2015.
The documentary was promoted heavily on BBC Scotland News’ twitter account with clips showing Poling in a darkened room apparently poring over the secret documents, atmospheric music added to the melodramatic tone.
The clips prompted mockery on social media with users lampooning the presentation. One user tweeted: “I loved the piece on BBC Scotland showing the reporter poring over documents in a darkened room, late at night with pictures of officers in the background. Very reminiscent of “All the Presidents Men”
Others derided the clip, comparing it to a comedy show: “Who the f**k is that reporter who has only one expression who makes these wastes of resources? You know that look, a constipated faux concerned expression. Like Damian Day from Drop the Dead Donkey (contemporary reference I’m sure)”
“The lunchtime BBC Reporting Scotland advert for the ‘BBC Scotland Investigates’ Police Scotland programme was pure theatre: Dimmed lights, presenter with glasses edged over the tip of her nose opening a ‘Classified documents’ folder. Could easily believe it was meant to be comedy”
There was also anger at what some saw as more evidence of Scottish institutions being attacked by the BBC. Celebrity mountain walker, Cameron McNeish tweeted: “Knocking the Scottish Police service and the Scottish NHS, the two major pastimes of #BBCScotland I suppose it ties in with their obsession with #SNPBaaad”
The programme was the number one story on BBC Scotland News throughout the day and into late evening. It was favoured first over a serious bus crash which injured 29 people in Glasgow and then surprise backing for the Scottish Government from Scottish Labour and the Scottish Lib Dems over the Power Grab row. The documentary was also the lead item on the flagship news programme Reporting Scotland.
The documentary has now led to calls from Unionist politicians for Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson to appear before MSPs. The calls follow a failed smear campaign conducted earlier this year which sought to oust the minister. The smear campaign featured widely on BBC Scotland from January into February.
BBC Scotland’s documentary targeting Police Scotland will be seen by many as an attempt to resurrect attacks on Michael Matheson.
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