Scotland’s Main Stream Media [MSM] is in dire straits. When I say Main Stream Media, I am referring to the political sections of newspapers and broadcast media.
Today [Sunday] I woke to find myself staring at a newspaper front page in disbelief. The Sunday Herald had contrived to place an image of Nicola Sturgeon with a swastika daubed on it on its front page. The image accompanied a headline that read ‘Jews are ‘actively considering’ leaving Scotland over anti-semitism, warns community leader‘.
The article looked like tabloid clickbait. Indeed a read through it revealed that the number of Jewish people actively considering leaving Scotland was five.
Asked by The Herald on Sunday how widespread the emigration view is in the Jewish community in Scotland, Borowski pointed to SCoJec research from 2015 in which one-third of respondents explicitly talked about a heightened level of anxiety, discomfort, or vulnerability. He also said that, as part of the survey, five people told SCoJec without being prompted that they were considering leaving Scotland.
What had a vandalised image of Nicola Sturgeon to do with anti-semitism? I have no idea. The swastika daub was presumably the art-work of an extreme British Nationalist.
If The Herald had genuinely wanted to highlight the rise of anti-semitism and Nazism in Scotland there were far more appropriate images it could have used.
Those though may have highlighted an uncomfortable truth as to the political make-up of those harbouring such extreme views.
The Sunday Herald front page was merely the latest example of the dearth of quality political output from Scotland’s MSM. On the same day as the Sunday Herald was distancing itsef from accusations of quality journalism, BBC Scotland was doing the same.
The top story on the BBC Scotland website was a mixture of tabloid sensationalism and lazy hackery. The story Schools ‘unable to find staff they need, was no more than an embellished Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Lib Dems. [The other story highlighted is the Sunday Herald clickbait article.]
This Scottish Lib Dem FOI request featured in news bulletins on Radio Scotland throughout the day. Whatever it is it isn’t quality journalism.
The FOI request is fodder for lazy hacks. It requires only that a party obtain a number from an organisation on anything from vacancies to hospital operations.
Once obtained, the aim is to politicise the response and find a news outlet so desperate for a story that they’ll publish it.
The question is, why is Scotland’s MSM so keen on these type of stories?
Sadly BBC Scotland is falling back on this type of clickbait/sensationalist journalism more and more. Stories are being carefully manipulated and sensationalised in what appears to be an attempt to make them more dramatic. The aforementioned Schools ‘unable to find staff they need being a case in point with the story presented as though every school in Scotland was in some kind of teacher recruitment crisis when they aren’t.
The Glasgow based broadcaster found time to promote the Sunday Herald’s clickbait article, with BBC Scotland News tweeting a link to the newspaper’s front page.
These are just two examples of the falling standards within Scotland’s political news media. In truth the sector is saturated with it. Statements from organisations with a clear agenda routinely form the basis for headlines.
Party political press releases become headline news with no contextual background to the story or an explanation of how the issue arose.
Even factual information requiring no embellishment receives a sensationalist makeover. Last week’s announcement of a 2.8% increase in Scottish rail fares was seized on by the Scottish MSM and presented as though people were being asked to re-mortgage their homes in order to purchase tickets.
The RMT union was given airtime by BBC Scotland in order to push its own political agenda, although the clip below of RMT official Mick Hogg suggests the attempt wasn’t as successful as it might have been.
Newspapers employ the most bitter political bigots to draft commentary pieces. Lies are presented as debatable opinions instead of demonstrable and proveable fabrications. Political agendas are pushed.
In short, Scotland’s political main stream media misleads, misrepresents and misinforms. It is as far from the tenets of journalism as it is possible to get.
How bad is Scotland’s political main stream media? It’s bad and getting worse. The Scottish newspaper sector will struggle this year as it did last, and the year before. Trust in journalism, broadcast and print, will continue to fall north of the border. I expect at least one major title to disappear.