Are we just paranoid? Do the BBC, ITV, newspapers et al, think that they are presenting a balanced view of the issues affecting Scotland?
Sadly, there’s too much evidence to the contrary view i.e. that the BBC is indeed focussed on presenting the view of the ‘state’, where any Scotland v the UK scenario is involved; or that of the Labour Party in Scotland, when the target is our Holyrood Parliament and the activities of the SNP are under scrutiny.
And where is the evidence for this?
Much of the best analytical work has been done by the University of the West of Scotland’s Dr John Robertson who ran a year long study of how the BBC in Scotland reported the referendum debate. His results were pretty scathing of the BBC who, unsurprisingly, didn’t report them.
Much of the reporting of his study was in the alternative media i.e. via twitter and various blog posts. A useful summary of his findings can be found here:
The BBC sought to denigrate the academic study and even went as far as ‘threatening’ Dr Robertson when Ian Small, BBC’s Head of Public Policy, attacked the conclusions and chose to copy in the University principal Craig Mahoney. Fortunately, the University fully backed their team and refused to be cowed.
Meantime, as we face the run up to the Holyrood elections, Dr Robertson continues to monitor the media and his reports are being aired on the excellent Newsnet.scot site. Here’s an example:
Equally vociferous in his criticism, and the producer of an excellent book on the subject was GA Ponsonby. His “London Calling” e-publication was crowd-funded initially and then available for download at a minimal £1.99 before being made free to download. This was a brilliant expose of all things anti-independence in the media… each turn of the page bringing yet more examples of how cleverly news items and discussions by ‘experts’ can be twisted to present the views of the state and seek to maintain the status quo.
Download for yourself here:
Fortunately, Ponsonby continues to pressure the media, and the BBC in particular, from his Ponsonby Post blog. Catch it here:
It’s finally worth mentioning that Herald columnists Iain Macwhirter’s excellent book “Disunited Kingdom” provides what many might consider the best “I Was There” insight into the referendum campaign in Scotland. The sub-title “How Westminster won a referendum but lost Scotland” says it all.
The issues at the BBC in particular are deep rooted with an extensive network of connections to the Labour Party in Scotland. This was neatly pulled apart in the excellent blog by LenaTheHyena!
And I haven’t even considered the newspapers above! With the exception of the National, there’s no newspaper in Scotland that could be considered anything other than hostile to the SNP and what it’s trying to achieve for Scotland. At one time, the Herald might have been considered reasonably even-handed and its Sunday Herald stablemate even supportive but that’s less and less the case now.
Wings Over Scotland provided an excellent catch up on the newspaper media blog which left nobody in any doubt as to their anti-SNP leanings:
So, what can we conclude?
Simple, seek out alternative media if you really want to understand what’s going on because what you’re reading and watching day in day out can be very bad for your understanding of what’s really going on.