A BBC Scotland reporter has become embroiled in an online row after appearing to play down Holyrood opposition support for the Scottish government’s ‘Power Grab’ stance.
Nick Eardley attracted scorn when, following news that three out of Holyrood’s four opposition party leaders announced they backed Nicola Sturgeon’s Power Grab stance, he posted a tweet apparently downplaying the news.
Eardley reported: “Scottish Government gets some backing over Brexit powers stalemate”
The reporter was immediately taken to task by users of social media who took issue with what they believed was his attempt to play down the significance of the news. Many asked why he had chosen to phrase his tweet in such a benign fashion.
One person tweeted: “For goodness sake Nick, “some” backing?!? So, the Geens, Labour & the Lib Dems backing the @scotgov is merely “some”? … really?? The backing is clearly ‘overwhelming’! What is it with you @BBCScotlandNews reporters & journalist neutrality & integrity?”
Others contrasted the tweet with the eagerness with which BBC Scotland reported Nicola Sturgeon had been “isolated” and “under pressure” over her stance.
One said: “How is this “some backing”? The facts….every political party in Scotland, except Ruth Davidson’s Tories. Time that you interviewed Davidson to explain her party’s ‘isolation’ on not wanting to protect Scots Parliament from UK Govt’s obvious ‘Power Grab’ ”
Eardley was also taken to task by SNP MP Peter Grant who tweeted: “When every party except the Tories supports the Scottish Government’s position, the BBC can still only call it “some” backing.”
The MP’s tweet was described as “daft” by the BBC Scotland reporter.
MP Grant added: “Come on Nick. If it had been the other way round would the BBC have restricted their comments to “some” opposition to SNP plans? No chance.”
However the BBC reporter hit back, saying: “Yes. Idea this shows some sort of conspiracy is for the birds.”
The SNP MP replied: “Only one of us has used the word “conspiracy” in this thread. Or is every criticism an accusation of conspiracy?”
Eardley’s claim that the BBC would be consistent in its reporting of the issue was undermined when the news of backing for the Scottish government failed to make it onto that evening’s Reporting Scotland. The failure to report the significant development was in stark contrast to the previous week when BBC Scotland reporters claimed the Scottish government was “under pressure” and “isolated”.
Senior BBC Scotland reporters have also tried to play down the Power Grab issue by presenting it as a technicality of no significance and one which the public is not interested in.
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