Producers of the evening news programme Reporting Scotland have been accused of deliberately manipulating two separate video clips in order to make a former SNP MP, who has been cleared of wrongdoing, appear guilty of fraud.
During the introduction to Tuesday night’s flagship news programme viewers were presented with a short preview of key stories. The second preview related to former SNP MP Michelle Thomson who it had earlier emerged would not be facing police charges after an investigation.
However the clip of Ms Thomson was immediately followed by a clip of a judge who said: “What you did was truly reprehensible.” The juxtaposition of both clips made it appear as though the former SNP MP herself was the target of the judge’s remarks.
There was fury on social media following the broadcast with many people accusing the BBC of having deliberately spliced the two clips together in order to give the appearance of guilt on the part of the former MP.
One angry twitter user said: “Seriously malicious edit here from @BBCScotlandNews. Even added dissolve to frame judge as part of Michelle Thomson story. Incredible.”
Another insisted the edit was not accidental: “Editorial team choose the stories, the running order, the clips to back up the stories. Accidental? No – subliminal.”
Others accused the BBC of trying to make it appear as though the former SNP MP had been found guilty: “Here is Reporting Scotland editing two unrelated clips together to make Michelle Thomson appear guilty.”
The broadcaster had come under fire earlier that day after it reported the “fraud case” against the former MP had been dropped.
Critics pointed out that, given the former MP had neither been arrested, interviewed under caution or charged then there was never any ‘case’ in the first place.
BBC Scotland correspondent Nick Eardley issued a correction on social media following similar challenges.
Despite confirmation from prosecutors that there is no evidence of wrongdoing, the former SNP MP’s political career is now in ruins. Ms Thomson voluntarily resigned the party whip in September 2015 when the story first emerged. The resignation automatically meant she was suspended from the party.
Her supporters insist that the subsequent political smear campaign launched by the SNP’s opponents and the media storm, including innuendo laden news items broadcast by the BBC, meant she was denied the opportunity to defend the seat she won in 2015.
The BBC news report below is from October 2015.