Here is the Unionist News

The BBC tends to reproduce a Conservative, Eurosceptic, pro-business version of the world, not a left-wing, anti-business agenda.



Sound like Professor John Robertson? I’m afraid not. In this case it’s Cardiff University Lecturer Mike Berry of the School of Journalism, yet another academic who has studied BBC output and found a bias.

It doesn’t mean it’s a deliberative and/or political bias but it does demonstrate yet again that without constant internal monitoring of output, work practices, assumptions, attitudes and prejudices of staff, the BBC like all organisations, can distort the information it delivers.

The research was systematic and carried out in 2013, complementing similar work from 2008.

One detail struck me as salient to us in Scotland. He says: In coverage of the UK’s relationship to Europe, the EU was frequently framed as a problem, and from the vantage point of British national interests.

That’s because the majority political voices (Tory and Labour) deem it so and the BBC merely follows what the politicians say – or, to put it another way, what the backroom fixers and spin doctors want them to say.

If we replace Europe with Independence in the BBC Scotland context, you begin to see how a slavish pursuit of known sources of authority (Labour traditionally and Unionism more widely) dictates what is broadcast. The BBC recognises the authority of the SNP government but also reads its main policy as a ‘problem’ in that it is an unorthodox issue in the UK and takes time to explain in any detail. Since many journalists also don’t understand well enough what it means and don’t get informed by the BBC itself, the default position is to see independence, like Europe in England, as a negative.

Therefore even when the SNP is eight years into government, the national broadcaster is still ready to assume that its central tenet is too tricky for viewers to comprehend, making it automatically ‘a problem’.

A satellite transmission dish is seen behind housing near BBC Television Centre at White City in London

Just how the BBC interacts with the State and the people is examined here by the son of a former director general

And for good measure, there is a section on the BBC coverage of the financial meltdown showing how the news department turned massively to City sources to explain the crisis – like asking the thief how he did the crime. Here opinion was almost completely dominated by stockbrokers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers and other City voices.

No wonder the bankers and financiers get away with it.


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13 thoughts on “Here is the Unionist News

  1. Might call myself an academic or professor ‘coz I’ve known all this for years!

  2. Derek, good piece. There are more and more studies and articles being written on the dire state of the UK media. This article by Glenn Greenwald at The Interecept may be of some interest:


  3. I no longer trust anything the BBC puts out. I only listen in the early morning to see what the latest propaganda line is.

  4. The very reason any broadcast from whatever source should be taken with more than a little skepticism.

    They slavishly repeat the narrative of others, or in the BBC’s case their government paymasters. If the orthodoxy is the yardstick then any idea outside of the orthodoxy is a threat to be dealt with.

    Some would say depressing. I would say forewarned is … etc.

  5. Kirsten Easdale

    The first link says ‘can’t find the server’

  6. Gavin.C.Barrie

    Like it Mogabee, I like.

    The BBC is no longer in my sphere of existence.

    Westminster too I suppose.

    Rugby is heading that way too unless common sense over the objective of the sport is objectively examined. Big heavy guys banging into each other to gain centimetres of advancement; 3 points for kicking over the posts from some 50 metres away; guys endangering others by jumping up for the ball knees pointing out towards their opponent; referees on an ego trip.

    Just hope my grandson is keen on tennis. Few injuries, loads cash, clear rules.

    Time we actively encouraged and supported our own press and broadcasting.

  7. Media manipulation needs to be directly challenged on a daily basis,just like their daily lies.
    It’s time for everyone to get on it bigstyle.
    This is beyond some small mistake ,this is offensive disinformation on a sickeningly huge scale.
    Time to slay the beast.

  8. A useful piece, so far as it goes. For me, this “natural” bias is manifestly the result of simplistic, fearful, lazy journalism on the part of those employed within the media. However, when the proprietors are brought into the equation, we get a more deliberate prejudice, with self-interest at the root of it.

  9. Fair comment, Derek, but we have been subjected to this for years. Now that the pressure is rising the propaganda is becoming more strident and hysterical. Any vestigial attempt at balance and objectivity is being abandoned. The “news” department at Pacific Quay is like a second rate variety show with support for the swithering dithering Scottish Labour Party as its default position and everything appearing to melt before their very eyes, If stuck for a lead story Eleanor Bradford can be relied upon to present any NHS Scotland in as unbalanced a way as possible. It’s either that or yet another report on the troubles at Ibrox. Scotland’s very own house journal the Daily Record can be relied upon to t present it’s news in the best traditions of the Daily Mirror and while inflating ant- Scottish NHS stories on its front pages and burying apologies for shoddy and inaccurate news reports in miniscule print in the depths of the paper

  10. “Since many journalists also don’t understand well enough what it means and don’t get informed by the BBC itself…” can easily be extended to most media employers in the UK: the standard of journalism in the UK is very low.

    In many cases, supposedly expert journalists in any particular field just happened to have an interest in that field at some time, but actual expertise or qualifications are scant. The furore that arose after Nick Robinson’s mishandling and misinterpretation of a question-and-answer session with Alex Salmond is a case in point: no Scottish-based journalist would have been so inept, even if they were opposed to Alex Salmond’s aim.

    However, this is far from the worst example: reporting on science is at times redolent more of the Middle Ages, such is the paucity of accurate science reporting, with “boffin” simply a word to replace “alchemist”.

    The way in which the broadcast media depend on the print media for information about politics, and vice versa, makes political news provision in the media overwhelmingly self-referential, to the extent that it is little more than the tittle-tattle of the many bars in Westminster. This is woefully inadequate service to a voting public, which needs to be kept informed to make judicious decisions before voting.

  11. I’ve stopped listening to GMS, Newsdrive and Reporting Scotland etc. Just don’t trust them any longer. Derek, I can’t open the New Statesman piece.

  12. Yes, I’ve been thinking lately that the “business” section on both GMS and Today invariably depend on investment brokers to comment on industry news. Where is the range of opinion, where the balanced journalism here? Why not have people representing a range of think tanks or academic economists? Because it’s all about playing the market and making the quick buck, and the boys and girls from the investment world are the ones to help listeners with that. Looking for unbiassed analysis of the business “news”? Look elsewhere.

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