Small Man

Radio Scotland is interviewing an academic from Aberdeen, I think from the excellent Rowett Institute, who says that after a bout of exercise people have a bias towards low calorie food. Does Ian Small know about this? The interviewer didn’t ask a single question doubting the methodology or deductions arrived at, taking the whole report at face value when, as we know, that is no longer BBC Scotland policy. When a report comes in it is the duty of the management to challenge its provenance to make sure it meets the BBC’s high standards of analytical efficacy. What constitutes exercise? Specifically which foods did respondents prefer and how did you assess their calorie count? Did you also offer them an alternative high calorie option? What tests did you do on the pizzas to make sure they were high calorie and are they industry-recognised tests? Who validated the report? Was it peer reviewed? Mercy, the questions just keep coming. Mr Small is going to be busy.

And actually he is…because as you may have seen the Culture Committee at Holyrood is to ask BBC executives about their response to the Bias in Broadcasting report which is a victory I think for the BBC’s critics. The management sought to warn off Dr Robertson in heavy-handed fashion. Now a bigger boy is tapping them on the shoulder and asking the questions. That means hours of homework for Mr Small who may not be feeling quite so big today.

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27 thoughts on “Small Man

  1. I think you are narrowing down the area of research which is deemed flawed: there is good reason to believe that this almost exclusively relates to Scottish Independence. Look how readily the research of Andrew Hughes-Hallett and Drew Scott was disparaged.
    Many of us now thank a Saturday morning radio programme of a recently retired BBC journalist for the “Hughes-Hallett Moment”, when the indy penny dropped.
    Here’s a wee (current mot du jour) reminder of how Independence related research is automatically dismissed as “flawed”

  2. macgilleleabhar

    Fits ‘at sceerie flappin soond ah hear Mr Salmond?
    Dinna fash yersel auld yin, it’s just Unionist chuckens comin’ hame tae roost.

  3. Yes, and he’d better get his head down and complete the homework in record time for it seems the Education and Culture Committee plans to consider the issue in March and April. ” The dog eat my homework” excuse won’t wash. Got to be a full and accurate report from start to finish. So, get a move on, Mr Small. Time is short.

  4. Aye, an’ hell slap it intae him!
    The BBC standards have just taken a rocket-ride – now that we can all read the Editorial Guidelines relative to’ Public Policy and Fairness’ and for which Mr Small is the heid-honcho!

  5. Have BBC Scotland said they would appear ? They usually have issues when being asked to appear before the democratically elected politicians that represent us licence fee payers.

  6. majormacbloodnok

    I’m sure the BBC have all their own meticulously recorded data to hand (peer reviewed, of course) demonstrating no bias in their output at all and can produce said data immediately. Unfortunately the peer review involved some crapulous unelected twats in ermine, having lunched well but not wisely, sitting around on red leather benches guffawing at us puir wee scotch…

  7. After listening to James Mc Naughtie interviewing Keith Brown this morning on GMS I thought I might write to the BBC as a “No” voter complaining that Mc Naughtie is damaging the Better Together campaign by so clearly reinforcing the growing notion that there is bias in their programmes. Surely this can be done with a bit more subtlety so that the masses don’t notice it. If the common people once get the notion that the much loved and trusted BBC is just another part of our common dirty tricks press campaign they might come to trust nothing that we Better Togethers say and wee Eck could get his wild and wilful way in this damned referendum.

  8. Yes Derek I heard that item on Radio Scotland and decided only to have a wee curry and a wee red wine before my bedtime wee dram Cheers

  9. Perhaps Mr. Small could explain the following..
    7.00 am Thursday, GMS starts. Boing, English voice (unknown contributor) claims that Carney’s speech blows SNP out of the water. GMS newsreader then reads different news items not involving currency.
    7.00 am Friday, GMS starts. Boing, Baroness Goldie in H of L tells us we are better together. GMS newsreader reads different news items not involving H of L “debate”.
    So two short statements are made without any attempt to provide any balance and which are not relevant to the main news items. These obviously stand out and linger in the minds of listeners. How on earth can the BBC claim to be following guidelines when they are clearly not?
    I hope the good Doctor is still totting up these incidences to give further proof of what we all know.

    • Seanair – according to correspondence with the Electoral Commission, the BBC do not yet have guidelines, “the BBC is currently developing guidelines for the Scottish referendum” – suppose the Commission should know. So in other words, it’s business as usual, no special care being taken.

  10. Listened to a radio programme to day with Brian Taylor – The Big Debate. It came from a private school in Sreathallen.  The questions and comments from the floor were continually negative to independence and anti SNP.  Eventually the SNP member of the panel asked Taylor to indicate the numbers in the audience who were thinking if voting “Yes”. Out of 200 only 3 indicated they would vote Yes. This is complete bias by the BBC.  

  11. Agreed – Jim Naughtie was atrocious this morning. The interview was to allow a response ( according to yesterday’s GMS ) to the Lords “debate” and yet 95% was about the Carney speech which Naughtie apparently attended.

    By the way it looks like letters helped steer the Culture Committee !

    • I too was struck by the amount of time Naughtie gave to Carney’s speech on BBC GMS, when the ostensible reason for Keith Brown’s being there was the Lang speech in the House of Lords. So I, completely unscientifically, set up a stop watch to take a closer look.
      I reckoned the Carney part of the interview lasted 7 minutes, but more concerningly, Naughtie himself, the interviewer, spoke for 3 minutes 36 seconds. More than half the time.
      Was this really an “interview”, or just Naughtie stirring it?

  12. No doubt from me that your exposure of the email from Mr Small to Dr Robertson has resulted in this investigation by the Culture Committee, along with the good readers of this blog that made their feelings known.

    Without your exposure, no emails, no enquiry. Nice one.

  13. I listened with half an ear to Naughtie. How many times did he say ” you are wrong” ? Hardly demonstrating an impartial view. James Numpty would be more appropriate

  14. Hi Derek

    Would it not be possible to post a link to your blog on Facebook and Twitter?

    Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes

    Barbara Mullin

    Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 16:37:37 +0000 To:

  15. The BBC have been caught with their pants down and are using the Jimmy Saville methodology: “we are too big and important – we can do what we want – who is going to believe you – we will crush you if you don’t back down – we have important friends in high places”

    Bias in broadcasting is an abuse of power and an affront to democracy.

  16. There are three kinds of interview styles.

    The first is the prompter, who asks leading questions, does not challenge the answer in any way and moves promptly on to the next question. All they need is a large set of questions and a microphone.

    The opposite is the would-be debater who feels the need to interrupt every answer in order to “balance the interview “ by expounding the opposite views (usually at length), and finishes with either a repeat question or a new unrelated question at the end. They need a small set of questions, a full set of counterarguments and a microphone.

    The third is the real McCoy, an interviewer who asks pertinent questions, listens to the answer and challenges only parts of the answer they know to have dubious accuracy. They need a set of questions, a sharp mind, quick wits, a wide ranging knowledge of the field and a microphone.

    Which kind do you want from your public broadcaster and in which group do you categorize James Naughtie?

    I think this would be a fertile field of study for the students with Dr Robertson, but they would need to study radio as well as TV.


  18. How does one go about emailing Ian ?

  19. but you will receive an automated response directing you to BBC complaints

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