Oh. Not Again!

Oh alright…I have been avoiding the old media debate because we should be concentrating on winning. On the other hand, it is still live and I did rather start it, or at least joined the party, when I took on the BBC a year ago.

My first point is that people unhappy with any outlet of news, or any public organisation, if they feel strongly enough, should exercise their right to demonstrate and to boycott.


What on earth is threatening about that? It is an extension of market forces – I don’t want your product, it’s not good enough so I’ve come along to tell you and I wont be buying any more. It is, I think, a free country.

The journalistic voices who look at this and claim sinister intent are the same self-regarding opinionated agenda-setters who never cease telling us what to think of what to be frightened of. They expect the immunity of old where their job was to pontificate and ours was to consume and if, appropriate, fume silently. These guys need to catch up with the agenda. Just as their news organisations failed to keep up with readers’ tastes and the digital era, so they too are stuck in an ivory tower past.

The BBC is a major player in the case for and against independence and should have known it would be scrutinised minutely. The management didn’t get it. They didn’t prepare. They didn’t budget. They didn’t listen. They didn’t lead. They didn’t manage.

The written Press is now the rotten Press. What used to be a proud tradition of newspapers in Scotland is exposed as a scabrous bunch of uncritical hacks swallowing a PR man’s agenda and, with honourable exceptions that we know about, didn’t understand that the job entails asking questions, challenging assumptions and shaking the tree till the apples drop. Scottish journalism is tired, un-enterprising and frankly backward in its approach to the massive challenge and exciting prospect of national independence.


However, in the case of the BBC, the journalists are let down by the management. Of course there is poor decision-making, inexplicable scripting, warped priorities and puzzling omissions. There always is. But this is a sensitive time when every word, every image, every nuance is a potential grenade and that requires intelligence and experience to handle. Ask yourself: Has Brian Taylor put a foot wrong? Allowing for my own self-imposed purdah from BBC output, I do catch some of it and see and hear only professional neutrality from him, sometimes painfully so. He must be tempted late at night in yet another live two-way to just say: ‘Of course they’re lying…they’re politicians in a campaign. What did you expect?’

If I have any criticism it is that I think he should as political editor be leading the coverage by checking scripts and terminology. It sounds to me as if no one is doing that.

Some reports have been execrable. In one of the endless ‘brave wee Jim Murphy’ items we heard a full story about how he was surrounded and about the jostling and the eggs. At the end, the very last line of copy said… ‘ meanwhile a man has appeared in court in connection with an abusive message sent to the First Minister’, or something similar. To my knowledge the man had been convicted of threatening to assassinate Alex Salmond. Yet that wasn’t mentioned and it was clearly not the story narrative – Murphy’s Egg Armaggedon was.

Was a reporter instructed to do that? Not a chance. I know of no one who has been told to write copy or cover an event or omit news for a partisan reason. I DO know people are told to ‘make sure somebody gets a hard time’ in order to balance a previous interview. But ask Lesley Riddoch or Iain McWhirter if they were told to be biased for or against one side…

People ask if the BBC really can be that bad and the answer is Yes, it can.


I don’t hold with campaigns to have people lose their jobs. I don’t agree with banners calling individuals liars and I don’t think Nick Robinson is one. At the same time, some of those complaining used to march themselves and carried all sorts of Fuck This and Fuck That banners which were designed to shock. And, Nick gets to impose on us his interpretation (or rather Downing Street’s) every night so he’s hardly in a position to moan about the exposure. He is front-of-house, richly rewarded and, I suspect, able to take it. If it is true he connived with Number 10 to leak market sensitive information about RBS, I’m afraid his reputation will be rightly damaged. He might even be convicted! What I don’t like is what seems to be a rush to broadcast political propaganda to frighten the Scots – that is not the BBC’s job and we need to tell them so. They are another of the failed institutions of the crumbling UK.

What is revealing is who is complaining. First Charlie Wheelan…yes, the man who was Gordon Brown’s shit-kicker for years, leaking government information to journalists, destabilising his own side and manipulating the media – and he doesn’t like some Scots objecting to the BBC’s coverage. Rich, isn’t it?

Then our old friend now under intense pressure – because he’ll never get another Labour gig – Blair McDougall. On radio today he went from sensible spokesman to sinister and scary spitter of contrived innuendo. Alex Salmond orchestrated the protests…How? By ‘insulting’ Nick Robinson, of course. That was the demo’s cue therefore it is, yet again, the demon Salmond wot’s to blame.

Bear in mind this comes from a man who is running, by common consent, the worst campaign in political history based on frightening voters with implied threats based mostly on myth.

I have consistently argued that the BBC has failed the test as national broadcaster this year and I have laid out in detail what I think should have been done instead. I believe major personnel changes are needed on the executive board (and I believe they will come) and in the management of news and current affairs. But one thing I learned in my years there was how poor professionalism or bad reporting is immediately viewed as wilful or deliberate by some of the audience. I have painstakingly explained to listeners in writing why I said what I did or why I omitted something and it is clear that often they have, naturally enough, strong opinions of their own which they thought I was offending – deliberately. In the heat of a campaign, this is magnified and newsrooms are not always happy places to be as the parties and their outsiders pile in with the accusations.

This was all predictable by anyone with knowledge but was completely missed by the rabbits-in-headlights at Pacific Quay. When things began to go wrong they failed to respond, taking the line of least engagement so the licence fee payer was not informed of their plans of the effect of budget cuts which, of course, they claimed had no effect on quality. They compounded failure by threatening their academic critic John Robertson, confirming their aloofness from reality.

We should express our anger and disappointment at a public organisation gone wrong but we need to remember that journalists too are victims – of cuts, intimidation, lack of direction and low morale. I have contact with people inside and some are angry and embarrassed at how low the BBC has fallen in this time of national debate.

I don’t mean people aren’t above criticism – I was brutally honest about a newspaper journalist whom I don’t think matches up to the historic standard of his paper. Named commentators and presenters can take it. But just as you wouldn’t shout in someone’s face in a discussion, a measure of civility is called for. Like everything else, this is a question of degree and after Thursday a determined but respectful approach to the critical area of broadcasting will be needed. Like the Labour voters needed to win the referendum, BBC journalists do not need to be alienated – they aren’t going anywhere. It may be that we will hear soon what has been happening inside from those that know.

I think (I say again!) that we are about to win. When we do, a good Scots degree of grace and magnanimity will be required while we step forward on the road of national reconstruction.

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85 thoughts on “Oh. Not Again!

  1. Magnanimous and respectful for those that voted no I will be.

    But after we win Yes on Thursday I shall not rest until the nest of vipers in Pacific Quay have been cleared out completely. We all know who they are.

    Their coverage and treatment of the Yes campaign has been a disgrace. The whole BBC have left their international reputation in tatters over their bias and downright lies regarding the independence campaign. You only had to hear the applause from the international media for Alex Salmond at the press conference last week.

  2. If it was only happening because they are useless, some of their uselessness would benefit the YES side too, and I haven’t seen much of that. I am convinced there are good journalists there, but it is also painfully obvious some have an agenda and have been allowed to pursue it.

  3. Bugger (the Panda)


    Just as the BBC is finished post the Yes, it does not mean that we have to throw the baby out with the dirty bath water.

    We all know the names of the miscreants, top to bottom, and these are the ones who should not be allowed near a national broadcasting corporation again, ever.

    The thousand and one worker ants should be absorbed easily into an SBC. In fact a lot more could be employed in the creative, entertainment, news and information sections, and it would be more representative of our licencing fee than is the present arrangement.

    We also a need some system of holding to account the new SBC to uphold impartiality and true journalistic ethics; not the time servers who so mimiced (is there a K in there?) the three Unionist political parties yellow brick road of Uni-Spad-PA-Researcher and PPCandidate. Cleg. Miliband and Cameron are the latest crop of that failed genetic/political experiment.

    Onwards, to rewrite the book of democracy.

  4. Sorry Derek, I don’t buy this BBC staff as victims business. There have been too many examples of blatant bias, and it has gone on for too long. They have had plenty of time to up their game, but in fact it has just got worse. Last week must have been the absolute nadir.

    I can understand why the likes of yourself, Lesley Riddoch and Iain MacWhirter have a residual loyalty to your old employer but none of you worked on a story like the referendum campaign when you were with the Beeb. Apparently somewhere in Lord Reith’s notes there’s a margin comment that “they [Westminster presumably] can rely on us [the BBC] to not be impartial on the really important issues.” The dissolution of the British state is surely such an issue and they are pulling out the stops to serve their real masters.

    I am finished giving the BBC the benefit of the doubt; in fact I am finished with them altogether as I cancelled my licence fee on Friday, purged my digital radio of its BBC stations and unsubscribed to all those podcasts I used to listen to on ITunes.

    I don’t know what I am going to do for my diet of news, sport and music, since I have relied on BBC radio (much more than telly) for these things. The commercial channels are no real substitute for either TV or radio but I’m sure I’ll survive, especially the internet has really taken off during this long campaign. That has been one of the real bonus points of the #indyref and that gives me hope for the future (keep up the good work, by the way). What I do know is that I won’t be going back to the BBC. It’s bad enough being asked to swallow state sponsored propaganda, but I am sure as hell not going to pay for it.

    • YES John totally with you on this one. It is up to every individual to make sure their behaviour is acceptable in public. Cancelled my fee a long time ago and banned BBC from our house. I am amazed how much I felt like a veil had been lifted and now I seek out my own news like you from the internet. I am sure at this time the two most spoken about countries in the world is Scotland and the Ukraine. It is also enlightening if you translate the news from other countries because you see more fully from a world point of view. Some of it very recognisable as regurgitated BBC feeds. The point is you have a choice and know what people in other countries are being told about what is happening here. (And the Ukraine) Some of it is truly shocking but you learn which are best and which are just copying the BBC.

  5. You said:
    They are another of the failed institutions of the crumbling UK.
    And they need to be fixed pronto. It is up to us to insist that they are .

  6. If they were generally incompetent, why does it only happen for one side?

    That aside, I do believe the BBC has been biased, but their very bias has not served their masters in the Establishment well.

    They have simply reflected Better Together propaganda back at them. That is why it took the paymasters in London so long to realise how badly their campaign was going.

    There is a story about the 2012 election in the US. A Republican media specialist had spent so much time watching Fox News that he just couldn’t believe the results as they came in.

    Fox News broadcast Republican propaganda.

    So he had actually been watching his own propaganda. He had to send his secretary to another office to check the results he was watching were true.

    I think this is the problem the No campaign have. The mainstream media has uncritically run stories provided by Labour in Scotland, as they always do. But Labour are obsessed with their hatred of the SNP and the FM. Something which most Scots don’t share, just as Americans don’t share the Republicans’ hatred of Obama.

    I don’t want a pro-Yes media. I have seen where that corruption leads. I would have liked an impartial media, and the BBC has failed us there.

  7. Whether by design or incompetence it matters not. Too many BBC journalists, along with their TV, radio and print media colleagues, have simply failed to do the job that their training, their titles and the needs of democracy demand of them. The have failed to scrutinise, seek out the other side, find the evidence that confirms or refutes the story and then presented it thus. If they were teachers or doctors many would have been struck off by now for failing to reach basic professional standards.

  8. I think you are too generous by far to the BBC but you see it from insider eyes. I can only see it through ‘outsider’ eyes. In many ways the Scottish public is in debt to the BBC. Their bias has allowed the scales to fall from our eyes and has educated us, quite unintentionally. We understand now, the relationship between ‘events & information’ and the conduits of same. We know now how information can be manipulated and spun into propaganda. e.g. 2 million Spaniards demonstrate for a referendum on freedom; completely unreported by the BBC as it encourages confidence in the YES campaign. All of the huge YES crowds in Glasgow went unreported this weekend. If this had been going on anywhere else in the world, (spontaneous demos against regime power), the BBC would have been there filming. Instead the BBC Scotland cameras and crews failed to record history unfolding in Glasgow, in its own backyard. What a betrayal to all the BBC is meant to stand for.

    Glasgow 100 years ago: mass crowds protesting in 1919 against rent rises in George Square, tanks called in, machine guns inside the townhall, Scots troops confined to their barracks (locked in) and English troops sent up by Churchill. Going by its current performance, BBC Scotland would not have filmed any of this history either. You can wrap it up anyway you like Derek, but the BBC are a shower of unprincipled bastardos and we will never forget exactly what they did and what they are.

    • “If this had been going on anywhere else in the world, (spontaneous demos against regime power), the BBC would have been there filming.” Except the Catalonian demos and the demos in Spain against the monarchy. Also, their reporting of the war in Gaza was very one-sided.

    • Nice post but I think you mean ‘2 million Catalans’!

  9. Still not good enough. The BBC and EVERYBODY who works for them is an enemy of democracy. They choose to take part in propaganda. They choose to keep silent. They choose to steal my money and insult me to my face with their lies. Humans have free will. You choose the wrong side then you should suffer the consequences.
    The end of BBC Glasgow can not come quickly enough. They are the reason the polls are still at 50/50 and not 80/20 for Yes.

    • I was wondering what the polls would look like if the media, especially the BBC, had been honest, impartial and objective. Personally, I think the end of the entire BBC cannot come quickly enough.

  10. A good example tonight – Mr Carmichael calls on AS to condemn intimidation of No supporters. What’s the evidence? And if there is any how is it AS’s responsibility? Is it Darling’s responsibility that a pregnant Yes supporter got kicked in the stomach or a Yes shop in Newington got trashed and covered in graffiti? Why did the journalists not ask Carmichael these questions? I am no journalist but I would like to ask them. Assuming a journalist cannot be less competent than me is it not easy to see why people see the acquiescence as deliberate?

    • Just listened on YouTube to an American journalist’s report on the Scottish Referendum. He was highly critical of the UK MSM and managed to understand exactly what is going on so, BBC bias must be intentional. The clue is in the title.

      I have done without the BBC for some months now and have missed nothing. But I look forward to the SBS with you, Derek, giving the new organization the benefit of your experience.

    • @Steve

      BBC Scotland have let Murphy and others in SLAB build up this ludicrous idea that Salmond controls everything and everyone in the Yes campaign, and he is behind so called intimidation. This should have been robustly challenged by BBC Scotland because it is a disgraceful smear. Instead they let him away with his poisonous and irresponsible behaviour.

      Derek, I have a lot of respect for you. However, Nick Robinson clearly did lie about Salmond not giving him an answer to his question. The problem for Robinson is he did not get the answer he wanted. I am afraid the conduct of others in BBC Scotland has been awful. They constantly interrupt Yes spokespeople, and allow No politicians to answer without interrupting them. Why does this continually happen to only one side of the campaign? In addition, James Cook said in relation to Spain, during an interview with an Irishman on the EU: they are also currently fighting their own separatists! The video is on Wings and he definitely said this. How can you defend that? By the way, I actually think Cook is otherwise a good journalist. John Beattie has done a good job, and Gordon Brewer is fair as well.

  11. ‘Incompetence’ – the growth industry to end all growth industries

  12. Not to mention that weird projection used even in Scotland as a weather map of the British Isles.

    (Mind you since it’s smaller than we think, as well as getting less rain, it’ll cost less to defend against terrorism.)

  13. My take on it is that the vast majority of the recruits to BBC Scotland news department came from within the Labour ranks as we now know.

    BBC London didn’t give a toss as long as unionists parties were voted in, so they didn’t question the appointments.

    They got away with misinformation as it had little impact on the SE.

    It’s only now when the situation has reached this stage that BBC London must be ‘astonished’ at the complete incompetence of BBCS.

    If we get a Yes on Thurs/Fri, we must put in place a programme where there has to be a complete mix of party support, gender, race, sexual orientation in the new SBC.

    We must never again allow the media to be taken over by one set of beliefs.

    But the bunch of liars that are there at the moment, need to get their jotters.

    It was unfortunate that the protest against the BBC on Sunday had that poster re Nick Robinson as it was obvious this would distract from the focus of the protest which was the WHOLE BBC news dept.

    However that is not to let BBC London off the hook.

    They should have stepped in when commenting on political articles in Scotland was banned – that was discrimination but it has backfired spectacularly as we would have wasted our time and energy criticising there and all the new internet blogs would not have blossomed.

    Where would we be without the likes of WoS, Newsnet, WGD and your good self.

  14. I think I’m correct in saying” I was only following orders is not accepted as an excuse”, so I ask why should we be asked to accept it? I thought these people were all members of a Union, surely en mass they hold the power

    The bosses cannot control the tone of your voice or your facial expressions which often said more than the question itself

  15. God loves a trier Derek, and I commend you on your perseverance with the BBC.

    Maybe when a TV journalist can actually ask a question on camera to a politician we might start having a bit more faith, but this continued reading of press releases or letting politico’s make the most absurd statements without question or fact is beyond the pale.

    Politics in Scotland has suffered greatly because of an ineffective public broadcaster not taking people to task.

    When a news organisation has lost the fundamental ability to have journalists ask questions or ask for evidence, it is time to get rid of them.

    After the Yes vote, the first BBC journo that comes out telling us how terrible it all was should be roundly ridiculed.

  16. Steve Bowers 74% win

    Flogging a long deceased cuddy there Derek, they had many many chances to change to what we all expected. I for one was just looking for simple unbiased reporting on the whole sheebang, I will never trust the BBC on a single thing again, they failed to report the streets of all our major cities and towns filled with happy YES supporters over the weekend, they failed to report the NHS march in England, they failed to report the 1.8 million marching in Catalonia at the weekend and all the other things we didn’t get shown. Fersh start, fresh crew required in PQ

  17. The BBC are protected by a Trust and they know it which is why complacency at the top has been allowed to fester into we are untouchable. The same can be said for Labour in Scotland as the BBC became their protection agency with some exceptions which couldn’t be kept under wraps.

    The OO march was called a march of unionists from all over Britain rather than a uniformed one with drums and whistles. The first thing that the SG should do after the result is known is demand that broadcasting decisions are transferred to Scotland ASAP.

    Netroots Radio.

  18. Well Derek, if you were head hunting for a newly formed SBC, would any names spring to mind as solid, forward thinking management? I mean since we’re all pretty much agreed a major management clear out would be necessary.

  19. Pretty much agree with all the comments here, Derek. I can understand that you are trying to rationalise how the BBC, particularly BBCScotland have become such a transparently biased organisation. I can even allow that much of your rationale does make sense, and that some, maybe even a small majority, of journalists are simply caught up in the 24/7 nature of the job with minimal resources that it’s easy to take the soft option and “go with the flow”.

    I am sure there are genuine reporters who will look back on the last 2 years and wonder how they allowed themselves to go what they did. The managers starved news and currency fairs at the time it needed boosting – that is not only irrational in basic news business, it shows a deliberate attempt to stifle real debate and a predisposition to one side only, the Status Quo.

    BUT …

    … even if the “norms” of the BBCScotland are predominantly Labour oriented (see the close relationships between key BBC figures and key Labour figures), and even if these “norms” do not need to be explicitly stated for them to be enacted, these reporters are unable to hide their obvious bias and have failed their profession at the most important time in Scotland’s history.

    As Margaret points out, you can’t hide body language, you can’t hide a particular tone of voice, you can’t hide the differences in interviewing style with a YES interviewee as opposed to a NO one. And it is becoming even more obvious.

    The BBC has been shown up for what it is, the mouth piece of the Establishment. It;s time is also over.

    Vote to get our country back.

    Tony Little

  20. Apologies for the typos!

  21. Bugger (the Panda)

    Agreed, and the typos were intelligible.

  22. Problem is, they keep doing it.
    We would expect by the law of averages, they would get a good proportion of the stories pro-independence in some way.

  23. You are wrong on this one Derek. I have worked in a number of places and all of them had rules of conduct and a culture that demanded certain personal standards, as well as performance against job descriptions. When someone seemed to fail to meet the standards required the issue was investigated and a hearing was convened. If it was a serious matter, the person involved was suspended from duty.
    In any event the matter was dealt with quickly, and 3 days is about the norm. We all know that Nick Robinson lied in saying AS did not answer his questions; the proof is on Youtube.
    Had Nick Robinson claimed that AS had not answered the questions in a manner satisfactory to Nick it would have been a different issue. Reporters are not really there to judge whether a response is adequate or truthful as we do not want their opinions. Jackie Bird has been particularly vicious.

    Nor do we need all of these English based reporters trooping up to Scotland as they did for the Commonwealth Games. Too big, too rich, too significant to leave to Scottish based reporters, so even unknown bimbos have been sent North on expenses to cover the story.

    I agree with the majority of posters on this item that the BBC needs to be cleansed as it has become the Augean stables of broadcasting. The offenders can go South. The reality is that some people have gone beyond the pale. When AS says that Alistair Darling will be welcome in a Scottish Parliament I trust that he says it tongue in cheek, or that he hopes that we can impeach Darling for his brazen lies.

    • Cleansed? Do they have any self-awareness at all? Look at the farce of the front-runner for the job of Trust chairman – banker acquaintance of Cameron who won’t even give up her day job to take it on.

      What world does the UK’s main information provider actually live in?

  24. I feel I’m through the looking glass here.

    Nick Robinson is a liar. I watched the PC with the FM, he answered both parts of Robinson’s question, and was polite, beyond requirement, when the man heckled him.

    The subsequent piece on the news contained Robinson stating that the FM did not answer the question, but criticized the reporting.

    In my book, that makes Robinson a liar.

  25. He won’t thank me for suggesting this, but wouldn’t Paul Mason of Channel 4 be an excellent choice for Editor of News and Current Affairs in the proposed SBC. He, at least , has tried to understand what is going on in Scotland and has reported fearlessly and impressively. He’s nobody’s lackey. An outstanding journalist.
    I also agree with Derek’s take on Brian Taylor (I expect a chorus of hisses and boos for saying this), but I think he has tried to be fair to both sides in his coverage. Anodyne, but fair.
    The important thing though is that the BBC’s management has seriously misjudged its coverage of the referendum. Irrespective of the result, that will neither be forgotten nor forgiven. The BBC cannot expect to retain the Scottish nation’s respect, when it is widely seen (even by some No voters) as a propaganda tool of the British establishment. The perception may be unfair, but, when so many hold it, the BBC has to recognise it has a serious problem.

  26. On Sunday while thousands marched and were ignored
    Bt leafleted every house in this area
    Then later labour did the same
    With every vote esp labour vital
    Who used there resources the best?

  27. Derek, I think you are being far, far too lenient on your fellow journalists. Like police officers banding together to protect the reputations of police officers and doctors covering up the mistakes of other doctors, I fear you are (unconsciously?) trying to lessen the blame on the journalists of the BBC. I am completely sure that your comments about the BBC management are on the button but journalists have a privileged position within our society because their role which is supposed to the asking of probing questions and the reporting of facts rather than propaganda. They are allowed extraordinary access to events and individuals in a way that few others (bar emergency service workers) are because ‘the public has a right to know’. If we end up not being able to trust a word of a journalist, where does that leave us? Telling the truth in certain quarters is seen as one of the most crucial corner stones of our society. Look what happens to you if you lie under oath in court? Journalists may not be under that level of scrutiny but they are associated with honesty. Or should be.

    You appear to be allowing the BBC journalists the defence of ‘I was only following orders’ and I think we all know how that one ends. If these individuals were true to their profession they would be raising a stink about this and making sure the reporting of the referendum was more even handed. You don’t want Nick Robinson called a liar but the effect his report had was to lie to the viewers. You might not want to condemn, personally, the likes of Jackie Bird but it is her interviewing of the likes of Salmond or Darling which shows her bias. Surely she is senior enough to resist a manager insisting she ‘give Salmond a hard time and go soft on Darling’? And surely she is not so senior that a manager couldn’t instruct her to be more even handed next time around? Two wrongs in my view, neither of them making a right.

    I know how hard it must be for you, personally, to condemn people you know and like for their extraordinarily poor show on this issue. As an ex-police officer I know how hard I would find it to condemn a former colleague for something they did wrong because I would have memories of the many right things they will have done in the past, possibly alongside me. I know that I would want to protect the reputation of the police as a whole because I passionately believe in the important role that organisation plays in society and would want to protect my former friends and colleagues who’s reputations might be smeared by association with a bad egg. I acknowledge this in the full knowledge that there are bad eggs in the police and their presence do the force and the public at large so much damage and have the potential to outweigh all the good done by the vast majority of officers. It is an internal struggle I will probably have for the rest of my life and I also know that I will always stand up for what is right (and legal) and not what is simple the best way to protect me friends and colleagues.

    I have never been an institutionalised team player when it comes to right and wrong. Wrong is wrong, whoever is doing it. And your former colleagues and your former employer are wrong in so many ways.

  28. Even though some folk were at the demo, most of these same people are also out canvassing so I’m not sure if you are crticising people on here.

    What area are you talking about?

    The point is that the MSM allow the lies in the BT leaflets to go unchecked and there is nothing we can do about that.

  29. I’m not sure how it is possible to absolve Nick Robinson of being a liar when he incontrovertibly lied when he claimed that Alex Salmond had not answered his question. Everybody who watched that press conference heard the First Minister respond to Robinson at length.

    I would wholeheartedly agree that we will require a “good Scots degree of grace and magnanimity” after a Yes vote. But we will also need a good Scots degree of realism. We cannot expect any measure of grace and magnanimity from the British state and those who, over the course the referendum campaign, have shown themselves to be absolutely committed to the preservation of the old order and the old ways.

    What we need to ask ourselves is whether, as we set out to build anew this nation of ours, we want to carry over remnants of the social, economic and political system we are hoping to leaving behind. At the very least, we need to ask ourselves if we want people who considered it acceptable to lie to and threaten the people of Scotland in positions of significant influence.

    • Robinson is trying to say that Salmond didn’t answer the “question about trust”. He certainly did answer it, by showing that the behaviour of the banking lobby was untrustworthy. However, leaving that aside, consider the nature of the questioning.

      The first part was more factual, and that was the part Salmond responded to explicitly. Most certainly he replied to that. The second part sounded like an afterthought, of the “have you stopped beating your wife, answer yes or no” variety. The essence of it was covered, sure, but did it have to be? If a journalist asks a question like that and then complains he didn’t get an answer, how honest is that?

  30. Cag-does-thinking

    When Rupert Murdoch tweeted about the bias in the BBC for the No campaign the game was up.

    From then on there was no reason for any paper or media organisation to hold back, his own included except for the selfish reasons of their owners and backers. If it hadn’t have been for Wings we would never have known about it.

    When we get coverage from Russia Today which is more accurate than the BBC then something is catastrophically wrong with journalism in the country and public anger will follow however the result goes. Robinson’s big mistake was to misrepresent (or has been called here in Scotland tell a lie) that the FM had not answered his question when a large portion of the country had just watched the live press conference which dedicated some three minutes to his question. It was a terrible error of judgement but a judgement he made in constructing his piece. In many media organisations it would have finished his career and I say that without malice about him. He may be a Tory and an establishment figure but it was a self inflicted wound for the BBC amongst so many. The “old” media is in terminal decline. Papers that should have gone on line have failed to make a product that is worth paying for or a business model which is succeeding. I read the BBC website because it’s free, I abandoned the Herald and many others because they think I should pay to even read what they think. It’s not worth knowing what they think if we can all work it out for ourselves.

    • It’s childishly simple to read as much of the Herald as you like, without paying them a brown ha’penny, you know.

      • Yup. I do it all the time

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          Me too, except on Sundays when I but the on-line version via PressReader on my iPad, probably available on Android Tablet at €0.89 per copy. The download is fast and the representation is identical, I think, to the inky fingered version.

          PressReader also does a wheen of World newspapers on their system, including the Daily Heil for expat racists.

  31. Comments say it all Derek.

    I have seen a lot of folk terrified by the BBC, People who believed totally with out question the BBC for impartiality and fairness. These folk suffered and are a bag of nerves still now. I know one old guy who thinks we will be invaded. He saw the propaganda of the vietnam wars, Ireland and Iraq. We are next. My friends are much better informed but there are people out there scared to bits about a YES. And the BBC is “the word ” to them.

    If No wins this country will not be quick to reconcile. The disappointment will shatter folk. The cuts will come and we will go through this all over again. A YES is the only thing the country can go on from. We are all Scots and without the BBC and MSM we would be walking this. Even the unionists would see the empty promises and they would be reminded by every YESSER they sold they’re country for jam that was never on the table.

    I will never trust the BBC ever.

    Sit through 24 hours Derek. Count how many times you see blatant lies and mis direction. Try it , It’s equal to the North Koreans. . How bad does it get when we feel like that.

    cant agree this time Derek but that’s real democracy and we like that.
    Your other stuff has moved me to tears and had me crying with laughter . Your one of the best anywhere.

    I will let you off with this one . 😎

  32. Derek when you refer to the BBC you are talk about BBC Scotland but this is much more deep rooted and yes as James Cook divulged the treasury sent out the e-mails but Robinson went beyond the asking question and how can you answer a question about other peoples trust in you, if AS answered that the media would have framed it as ‘he’s so big headed he thinks he speaks for everybody in Scotland ‘ it was a rhetorical question.

    The coverage has been abysmal, tire, condescending to insulting some of the programmes were verging on kicking the neighbours cat territory. While the whole country was involved in the debate we got the same Question Time format the afore mentioned James Cook had a good referendum but the make up and structure meant yet again that we were bogged down with the usual currency , EU membership schtick, these are issues but the debate only touched on it only to return it got tedious until it was totally exhausted.

    I know we are referencing the indyref but to understand the shortfall to journalistic failure you have to examine the other stories elsewhere to assertain whether the indyref was an isolated case, it wasn’t how many protests, marches and other significant stories nationally were given for a better phrase the bum’s rush. Where is the BBC in the child abuse scandal ? where is the ramifications of TTIP on the NHS, the prison system, the DWP, all of these are monumrntal failures but I see no appetite to investigate.

    If we do go for a SBC whose model do we follow , how do you retain neutrality and impartiality away from political interference thats the questions I want answered. I see within the BBC Scotland a rather worrying connection with one party, that is not healthy. We have talent what we really need is a proper model to follow.

  33. There is actual video of Nick Robinson nodding in agreement with Alex Salmond when after repeating his answers Alex said I think you will agree I have given you a comprehensive answer. I should be able to dig it out if needs.

  34. eight mins twenty secs in to video

  35. This is really weird it is now 8 minutes in.

  36. Derek, you state and I quote “we are going to win” blogged on 14th Sept, you state and I quote “I think (I say again!) we are about to win, blogged today, slightly different emphasis there Derek or is it just me?

  37. Derek. You set a very high standard with your blog and the comments above reflect that – thoughtful and insightful.

    I agree with most posters that you are too lenient to the BBC and seem obsessed with blaming poor management. I am sorry but you are wrong and perhaps you are just too close to it to see it.

    The BBC are a disgrace and there has clearly been an orchestrated attempt to undermine democracy among most senior figures in management and on our screens.

    Brian Taylor is no exception – he sits on the fence and fails to critique the narrative sufficiently, lacking the energy and will to look under stones – happy it seems to revel in his ‘command’ of fanciful prose. Tiresome to read, he may not be overly biased but he is lazy and therefore a stooge of his controllers. He has definitely not stood up to the plate during a political process with should have given him a chance to shine.

    In my view after independence the Scottish Government we do not need a publically funded organisation like the BBC or even an SBC!

    Instead we should establish a new fund that provides public money to any broadcaster (TV, Radio or internet) that provides a public service using a bidding system. This will ensure quality and avoid institutional capture by vested interests as has happened with the BBC.

  38. As i was one of the people who asked you to comment on the BBC and Nick Robinson in particular, I am pleased that you have done so. However, I, like most of the other posters have to disagree with you. Nick Robinson asked the First Minister the questions, and he did answer fully, and in front of the international press. I and many others know this because we actually watched it. To then broadcast later that the FM did not answer was blatantly untrue ie. it is a lie. Now Robinson may not have liked the answer that he received, but that is his problem, but to stand there and say he had not received one was is reprehensible.

    To most of we ordinary folk the BBC is a complete and utter lying propaganda machine. Lies the whole time, either by its correspondents E. Bradford is a prime example, or by omission. They have to go, a complete clear out top to bottom. Nothing less will do. To treat your fellow countrymen with such disdain is beyond the pale.

  39. Derek, would be interested in any thoughts you might have on how a future Sccottish public service broadcaster should be structured and regulated. The BBC model has clearly failed.

  40. Derek,
    when you suggest that PQ rallies are bad tempered ( aka swearing etc) well that would mean we have no right to be angry in regards to the BBC campaign against Scottish Democracy. If a few sweary words in this regard seem wrong to you, then I would question your reasoning.

    These are the people who the BBC are tramping all over with their bias, so if we do not make public complaint, who will, if not us then who?, if not know when.? after the referendum?, when their evil will have dented our cause with no response from the people, sorry what has happend is mild ( no vandalism, no arrests ) and needed to be done.BBC Scotland needs dismantled as they are openly shameful, and are an arm of the British state trying to rob us of our votes.

  41. Here’s the reply from the BBC Complaints Dept – so no bias there then.
    “The BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson asked Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond two questions at his press conference on Thursday 11th September. The first question centred on the tax implications of RBS moving its legal headquarters to London; the second on why voters should trust a politician rather than businessmen.

    Nick Robinson’s report showed the second question on trust, with a script line noting that Mr Salmond had not answered that point.

    Mr Salmond’s answer on tax was lengthy. Since it was not possible to use it in full in a short news report, a series of clips were included making his central points – the job implications of the re-location of RBS, the accusation that the Treasury broke rules by briefing market sensitive information and his request that the BBC should co-operate with an enquiry. In addition Nick Robinson’s script pointed out that the First Minister said there would be no loss of tax revenue.

    The BBC considers that the questions were valid and the overall report balanced and impartial, in line with our editorial guidelines.”

  42. For the record.

    The BBC’s conduct during the referendum debate

    was foreshadowed by it’s performance during the Rangers saga

    in which BBC Scotland displayed

    all the faults and failings of it’s treatment of IndyRef.

    To this day BBC Scotland will not support

    Scots Law on Insolvency

    in the matter of Rangers FC (In Liquidation).

    The BBC is part of the core of the Scottish Unionist Establishment

    and as such displays all of that Establishment’s defining characteristics,

    and staunchly supports, protects and defends

    all other members of the aforementioned Establishment

    including the Orange Order, Loyalism

    and the entire anti-Irish / anti-Catholic movement,

    as well as the anti-SNP-Independence brigade.

    In a new Scotland we need a new broom.

    A very large one.

  43. Just a thought Derek, if a YES vote, will the BBC have to be reformed right away? Surely it owes its allegiance to London so therefore would not be credible for them to report on negotiations and such in Scotland.

    Oh and do you think Gary Robertson sounded a bit over the top with the FM this morning on GMS? Seems that Unionist hysteria is everywhere at the moment as their world starts to crumble around them.

  44. Sorry Derek, I have to agree with the posters above, the BBC is nothing but an establishment propaganda mouthpiece. It is not lazy reporting to fail to report massive YES crowds while cropping a picture to show a small NO group as if they were bigger than YES.

    Many have compared the BBC to Pravda; this is false. In the Soviet Union, everyone knew that Pravda was printing government propaganda, and made allowances for this.In the UK, on the other hand, the BBC is still regarded by many as the gold-standard of journalism. Of course this is false, and has been for years, witness the reporting of the Israeli/Palestine issues, but nevertheless it is in fact much worse than Pravda, because many people believed what the BBC said.

    No longer is this the case in Scotland. When you can see with your own eyes the misreporting and propaganda you question all the output of the BBC, and rightly so. For example, what is the situation in Ukraine? We certainly will never know from the BBC.

    Not long to go now. Keep on campaigning and ignore the MSM’s desperate attempts to convince us to vote against our better interests.

  45. Bugger (the Panda)

    Would, should or could control over broadcasting be the first right to be transferred to the control of the Scottish Parliament soon after the 18th Sept after a Yes vote.

  46. dennis mclaughlin

    Personally I would ask the journalists to leave ,lock the doors and set fire to the whole rotten edifice …making sure the hydrants were all locked off.

    The Soviets destroyed Hitlers bunker,we should emulate their actions here.

  47. Would not agree that any national broadcaster should be “controlled” by any government. Should certainly be accountable to it’s licence fee payers however and to the people it broadcasts to, who have been betrayed by the current BBC.
    An independent board should be established in Scotland, which includes members of the public to oversee, audit and regulate the new organisation, to ensure that standards of conduct are written and maintained.

  48. Bang on the money, Morag.

  49. Perhaps, in the frenetic campaigning period, it is worth remembering that news and current affairs make up a small proportion of what the BBC does. (And yes, I do have an interest, both as an employee and as a BECTU – the main broadcasting union – lay official.)

  50. Katherine hamilton

    Right now BBC 24 hour news showing Brown speech live from Clydebank. Derek it’s never ending.

  51. The bias is staggering with the live brown speech is the snp or the yes side getting equal time i dont think so all day its been threats lovebombs disaster doom and the other side of the referendum debat doesnt get to share its views this is disgraceful the BBC has lost any standards of ethical journalism that i have ever seen in my life the corporate media fully supports foodbanks austerity savage cuts to the poorest among us and we get to pay for the privelige this coordinated UK propoganda attack on the scottish indpendence movement is a slur to democracy and to all the people of the UK the media is openty trying to manipulate the people of scotland so that the vote against their own best interests how can this goverment claim to be democratic then use the media to attack that same right to self determination that they say they are so proud of themselves we should show these paid liars and decievers that we the people are the masters not the westminster elite that cares only for itsself, i hope that we show them on the 18th that we are NOT AFRAID.

    Vote YES for real change vote NO for more austerity and more foodbanks and more inequality.

  52. As a rule of thumb

    you reap what you sow.

    On that basis

    The BBC has no future in Scotland.

    Ken McQuarrie & John Boothman take note.

  53. Testing testing
    For some strange reason my post above has bits missing from it on my desktop, but on my tablet there are no bits missing. Sorry if my repeated attempts to add bits that seemed not to be there confused folk.

    The posts still have missing words when I look on my desktop but not on my tablet. Never had anything like that before.

    Will also add that, again by the mystical wonders of cyberworld, the bit in the video I wanted you to see starts at 8 min 20 s on youtube but is about 8 min 2 seconds on the imbedded version above.

  54. Newsnight last night was another case in point. Quite apart from Wark’s palpably disproportionate hectoring of anyone remotely Yes-inclined, it showed in the EDITORIAL DECISION to interview, of all people, the Spanish Foreign Minister on Scotland’s EU admission credentials, presumably in the hope that casual viewers without knowledge of the Catalonian question would take him for an impartial, neutral observer without a dug in the race. Left to refute was Stewart Hosie who, despite doing a very good demolition of the minister’s skewed claims of the need for a protracted application from outside, is, by definition, a partial voice and hence deemed ‘less credible’. Instead of Hosie being selected to offer up the counter claim, why couldn’t it have been a figure like Pat Cox, the ex-EU president who only last week stated that realpolitik would intervene and a smooth transition would be provided for Scotland?
    The only sensible reading of this sordid little set piece is that it was a deliberate attempt to cast further doubt on the whole EU question.

  55. The BBC’s uncritical willingess to send an OB unit to spend 15 minutes BBC News channel live output on two workies putting a flag up — this is what reveals the BBC as not just helping but substantively being the Better Together campaign.
    For 18 months, 95% of BT’s campaign would not even have existed without the mainstream media’s free advertising — and the BBC has provided the bulk of that, and driven the news agenda for other boradcasters and for the Press.

    I can never trust the BBC again — it just isn’t possible any more.

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