London Calling


old-bbc-news-logo-549I’m sorry. Really, really sorry. Not for anything I’ve written (although maybe I should be). No, I’m sorry about the BBC, the organisation I was proud to work for. So much of what has gone wrong with its news judgement is a failure of effective management and the toxic public feelings now widespread have not been addressed by the BBC, leaving journalists to take the brunt of the opprobrium, mostly without justification – James Cook being a case in point.

But this morning I cringed as the main UK news programme, Today, rehearsed the Nicola-prefers-Cameron story by saying (words to the effect): The memo may by completely untrue and she may never have said any such thing, but could it be true anyway…!

In other words they know the memo was a fake and all participants have denied it and it could be a deliberate smear in an election campaign, but, hey, this is fun. So let’s stick it to them one more time. Nothwithstanding, it’s all rubbish, Stewart Hosie, don’t you actually prefer Cameron anyway?!

That is exactly how propaganda works – you start by floating the idea, put it in people’s mind and then contrive ways to milk the lie until it lodges. I wondered at first why the SNP was participating by putting up the deputy leader for interview but of course what else can the SNP do? Non-appearance looks like guilt and they’d run the item anyway only using someone whose message might not be what you want because by definition, it would outside the party.

Hosie did a straight and effective job denouncing the whole idea and proving that this SNP has never had so much political talent as it has today. The interview descended into a cringeworthy trawl for a sliver of anything to cling to including a question on what HE thought of Miliband as Prime Minister. He correctly answered it was up to Labour who led the party and if Ed was leader then it was possible he would be in Number 10. (Blindingly obvious)


The interviewer wanted him to admit he didn’t see Ed as PM material as if to confirm the leaked memo line – but who on God’s earth does think Ed is Prime Ministerial material? You might as well ask: when did you stop beating your wife?

We then got the Question of the Year so far that had me rolling out of bed in laughter. So out of touch are these London numpties that she was able to ask him (an SNP MP) who he thought should be leading Labour…eh? And would he prefer – wait for it – Jim Murphy! After ‘Sturgeon Prefers Cameron’, it’s ‘SNP prefers Murphy’…

I’ve been trying to unravel the purpose behind this Christmas cracker joke question and can only deduce that Poppy and Venetia in the Today planning team were left without an editor and had to come up with searching questions on their own for this ‘SNP-thingy.’ Poppy, whose dad goes fishing on the Tay once a year, thought Scots didn’t want Ed ‘because he’s from Hampstead’ and they didn’t like the English. Venetia suggested they’d prefer a Scot – like Gordon Brown – and they giggled. Who else did they know who was Scottish? Jim Murphy! He’s one of them. They’ll want him in charge so they can do business with him…they’ll be friendly because they’re part of the Tartan Mafia.

What mindset does it demonstrate that professional programme-makers could seriously ask an SNP MP if he’d like Murphy to lead Labour? I’m one of the kinder elements towards Jim who, as far as I can see, is deeply loathed not just by the SNP but inside his own party – the degree of contempt is eye-popping. Hosie laughed it off like an April Fool but could reasonably have delayed and then said: ‘Are you serious, Sarah? Have you any idea what you’re suggesting?’ (Also, can you imagine, say the Chancellor, being asked who he’d prefer leading the SNP? They wouldn’t dare)

Alistair Cooke Broadcasting on BBC

Nothing daunted, of course, the Beeb then had an item in the subsequent news bulletin mentioning that the SNP has been less forthcoming about what they think of Ed as PM…What did the reporter Norman Smith expect them to say exactly? ‘We think he’s an outstanding candidate for national leadership. We disagree with every other commentator and opinion poll and Ed’s our man?’

You really are left feeling you live in a different country sometimes and how ironic that you discover that from listening to the national broadcaster.

(I’m glad to see the Scotland Office came up with a good answer to the leak. Carmichael says it was a mistake…that’s all right then)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

52 thoughts on “London Calling

  1. I’ve stopped consuming the BBC. I rely on people like you who still do so to keep me abreast of their howlers. My blood pressure and the ears of the neighbours are not up to me listening to or watching BBC news and I listen to the radio via my smartphone and I don’t want to damage that in frustration and putting your foot through a flatscreen telly doesn’t the same satisfaction as with a cathode ray tube job. If you tried it would just fall on you, perhaps fatally. So it’s best to view the Beeb second hand.

    • By the time you get it, is third or fourth a bit like the memo

    • Indeed, I have lived Licence Free since last September and could never ever pay again for Unionist propaganda to be piped in courtesy of my direct debit. Now I consume what I choose to consume via catch up and little of that, is from the State Broadcaster.
      A £145 gesture maybe but my alienation from and disgust of the BBC is complete.

  2. Take the point that they’ll proceed with the article anyway but it’s less credible without them given that they’re now just making up scenarios. Having dealt with the substance the SNP could legitimately move on and refuse to cooperate with a fantasy angle being developed. They’re only ever going to be used for bear baiting in these circumstances.

  3. ianpatterson2014

    I’ve given-up on nearly all UK news broadcasts (and newspaper reports too), regarding the bulk of it as unedifying bilge and not worthy of my attention.

    However, I find I do appreciate the BBC World Service programmes, including its News Hour service etc, where I think I’ve probably learned a lot about ‘news’ from/about other countries (eg, the recent broadcasts about Yemen have seemed helpful in this regard). Presumably, the World Service is under a quite different editorial team – though i must say I’m rather ignorant about that.

    • I used to think that too, ianpatterson 2014 until I came across ? London tonight , London something or other with Gavin Esler.
      I was sitting thousands of miles from home, the experts on his panel were all professional , we’re all weel Kent and trusted faces/ voices. They have to be they’re on the BBC right?
      Except they were discussing the Referendum . It hit me like a ton of bricks , if they could waste half an hour , discussing in essence tittle tattle from commentators , rather than the issues, if they could completely ignore facts such as early deaths due to poverty, if they were allowed and encouraged to spew their limited and bias views on a topic they obviously did not understand so close to home , what about outside the UK,
      Yet for anyone outside the UK watching , with even a remote interest in the referendum , this panels view would be what informed them and it must be right, there were no dissenting voices AND it was on the BBC.
      I found myself wondering when the BBC was reporting the terrible events in Paris, is the French correspondent actually telling me the facts or is she too reporting from an agenda? If the BBC here is slanted , why would any correspondent they hire not be slanted?
      That is not a good place for a national broadcaster to be .
      Anyway, my motto now is don’t watch the BBC and never watch/ listen to anything with Alistair Campbell in it !!

      • Ps . James Cook as a professional should have asked NS for a quote FIRST before running with the story on national TV.
        I was told second hand by a man with a dog, who handed me a piece of paper , he didn’t .

  4. The whole ‘ Frenchgate’ business proves how rattled the establishment is at even the thought of an SNP stiffened backbone in a centre left government.

    Does anyone remember the claims that Harold Wilson was a KGB agent because he kept us out of Vietnam?

    Or the ‘Zinoviev Letter’ in the 1920’s.

    We just need to keep pushing as the whole edifice is rotten from within and will crack from top to bottom.

    • I also remember the many calumnies heaped on the miners during the miners’ strike and the way in which the miners were traduced throughout the media then. Film of the Orgreave picket was reversed to make it appear that the miners had charged police lines first, stories which the miners told of being attacked in their homes were rubbished until much later it emerged that all court cases against the miners during these incidents had been quietly dropped. The whole narrative was in the control of the media and that narrative still stands in the minds of the public. I have encountered people who firmly believe that narrative to this day.

      The media techniques are still the same – whoever commands the narrative wins the game and will drown out the truth. No wonder these presenters all give out the same message. It’s safer for their careers to be on that side. I lost all trust in BBC news a long time ago but all the news media are the same. All of them carry the same message which, of course, only makes the message more robust.

      The other night, on Channel 4, for instance, while announcing right at the beginning the memo which was alleged to show NS wanted Cameron as PM, the presenter could not resist adding that, of course, wasn’t it the brutal truth that no matter the denials, this was actually the position of the SNP? You see, exactly the same as all the others. Forget whatever the SNP says, this is the truth.

  5. I am often left gobsmacked by the BBC Today team when it comes to talking about the election and the SNP. They don’t get it!
    The SNP is treated like some strange but fascinating upstart entity, the uninvited guest who has the gall to eat all the canapés and sits in the host’s chair. I think Stewart Hosie has their measure and very ably handles all their nonsense, and does it with humour.

  6. Likewise on Five Live this morning Stuart Hosie was being asked that surely the SNP WOULD prefer a Cameron led Tory Govt as that would ensure a quick 2nd referendum. The determination of the interviewer to get him to agree to siding with the Tories was embarrassing. Stuart, categorically stated that in NO circumstances would the SNP have anything to do with the Tories. I’m afraid the English media just dinna get it. As for the BIG plonker Carmichael coming out and saying it’s just one of those things in regard to the LEAK…dinna get me started.
    Thank you Derek fo your great blog and bringing to our attention the machinations that go on behind the scenes in the now mucky world of journalism

  7. Surely the BBC should be retitled a ‘Narrowcaster’ seeing as it is by London, for London.

  8. At least it was covered on Radio 4 and on several occasions. I particularly enjoyed Norman Smiths report at 08:40 where after several minutes of message shaping he said “I’m speculating slightly”.

    Radio Scotland – a small piece at ten past seven, a bit in the papers review (couldn’t really ignore it) and then radio silence descended. Really poor editorial decision making. Again.

  9. You exonerate James Cook, yet he came out with exactly the same stuff whilst interviewing Sturgeon at George Square.

  10. Derek, for almost a year now I’ve enjoyed your writing and broadcasting but enough now with being an apologist for journos. They’re grown ups who know exactly what they’re doing and one not being as bad as the rest doesn’t make him automatically “good”. When they don’t do what they should then they should be and will be roundly criticsed for it. Their bleating post #indyref cuts no ice.

  11. Well done Derek! As I have said on several blogs, we no longer listen to any BBC “news” or, to give it a more accurate description, propaganda. If you watch RT you will be surprised at both the high standard of presenters and the quality of their guests. You can see why the BBC is worried. When you watch journalists at work you realise what is missing from our state propaganda machine. Of course no station is perfect, they have to have a clown somewhere, and George Galloway duly obliges

  12. There will never be any improvement in the beeb until they sort out their complaints system, they are completely unaccountable to the people they are supposed to serve. Add that to the fact that they are not subject to market forces and not covered by FOI legislation and you get the broadcaster that we have today.

  13. Alyson Thomson.

    It is utterly sickening that Scots are obliged to pay the BBC for a TV Licence.

    • Alyson, you are not obliged to pay BBC for a TV licence. It is fairly straightforward to cancel it on the website but you do need to be patient with it. If there is anything you want to watch then you can without charge by using catch-up on the iPlayer – the only thing that is not legal is watching a live broadcast. When you cancel also write to the controller Mr McQuarrie at BBC Scotland, Pacific Quay, Glasgow just to let him know what you think of their anti-Scottish, anti-SNP biased/fabricated news coverage. You will get a hilarious reply from a minion (Mr McQuarrie regards himself as too high and mighty to respond personally) shocked that you could suggest such a thing.

    • Don’t pay for it. I don’t & many thousands like me don’t pay either.

      I wrote a complaint to TV licensing & said that I’d seen the clear bias of the BBC displayed at Indyref & beyond. That as I had no intention of paying for the privelege of being lied to, I had cancelled my direct debit & that BBC would not be getting another penny from me.

      They accepted that & I just got a reply saying they would check back with me in 2 years to see if the situation had changed. Well they can try but it won’t do them any good as I’ve found writing that complaint therapeutic & a BBC/state propaganda free life undeniably preferable to the constant drip, drip of their insidious lies.

      • Why do you think the BBC is pushing hard for removing the licence fee and replacing it with a NON-discretionary poll tax on every household, irrespective of whether they receive a signal or not? They are sh!tting themselves that the train is leaving the station and the BBC’s funding is being decimated.

        I would love to know how many people have cancelled their license in the final year of the campaign to date.

        • The BBC makes a fortune exporting its programmes abroad. I don’t see the need for a licence fee set at the current level, and I will fight tooth and nail against a general tax on the entire population.

          Imagine! Being forced to pay for poisonous state propaganda directed against your community!

          The Chinese make Tibetan families pay for the bullets used on their executed loved ones and it’s somewhere on par with that level of contempt and cynicism.

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          That is the situation in France, but you can declare that you don’t watch TV and opt out. Trouble is, all internet subscriptions here include TV access. Internet only does not exist.

  14. Someone said, Make the BBC a subscription service in Scotland, and then we will see who listens to their bile. I for one have blocked it since their bias one sided approach during the referendum.

  15. On the day that the Scot Govt launched the White Paper, Norman Smith on BBC news channel was reporting from Downing Street, IIRC.

    He pretty much said that inside No 10 there are more powers being added to a ‘devo max’ offer that the govt is feverishly working on.

    I thought what a fraud and charlatan this man is. I tried not to feel my intelligence had been too insulted.

    I haven’t watched BBC news since.

  16. I listened to ‘Morning Call’ this morning for five minutes and then turned to Radio 4. There I had to endure a discussion of artificial intelligence, Amazons, Greek myths, wolves—and sadly not a phone-in on the question of whether the English are all drunks.

    But then having read your article, I listened to the R4 news on iPlayer! The Jim Murphy question was indeed a stoater.

    Obviously in London they start their knockabout stuff much earlier than Radio Scotland. I hope someone’s kept a note of Poppy and Venetia’s nincompoopery to date, I’ll certainly be glued to Radio 4 ‘Today’ from here on in.

    (Though at around 20 minutes into ‘Start the Week’, which I went back to listen to on iPlayer, there’s a reference to the fact that in Sarah Hall’s ‘The Wolf Border’, there’s an independent Scotland. And interestingly, she refers to a Finnish word in connection with the title—I think, it’s rather unclear—which means ‘everything outside Helsinki’.

    I thought that was very funny. I suppose in London terms it means ‘north of the Watford Gap’—the sort of place such non-Amazonians as Poppy and Valentia wouldn’t consciously know anything about.

    So, I have ordered the book… from Amazon. I see it’s up for the Booker prize. You won’t get much comment on that in ‘Morning Call’. As if. Ha.)

  17. I can kinda understand BBC London making a mess out of our news. In their ain wee bubble. They Don’t understand Scotland or indeed we Scots. The really dinnae get it.

    But PQ is totally different. They know exactly what they’re doing. James Cook,who I used to think was one of the better guys did himself no favours at the weekend. Joined the merry band without checking his FACTS. Cardinal sin for a journalist.The way that he spoke to Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, was disgraceful.

    The fact that he should have asked these questions before running with the made up story, is his fault, and his fault alone. Hell mend him if the sky fell on his knapper.

    As for Carmichael, well it’s not okay it’s just the election. To him it might just be a game, but he made the major mistake of involving the Ambassador and Consul General of France. They BBC & MSM have all tried to make out that our First Minister and the two French diplomats are telling lies. That is serious.

    Anyway, Carmichael says he knows who did it, but he’s no gonnae tell us. Some ither pair sod is gonnae be thrown under the bus. Naw, ya big numptie, your the man in charge, it happened on your watch. You have to shoulder the blame.

    Rant over.

  18. I’m not sure what Alistair Cooke’s photo is doing there. Letter from America was always interesting and informative.

  19. Dear Derek
    Seriously, thanks and take care of yourself.
    Mind you, I’m getting some of the same feelings of sadness and despair with my current ‘home’ of Fees, stop and search.

  20. Another London called me as a youngster – it was the Who, The Small Faces, the Kinks and later Billy Bragg.

    Watch this and weep for the real Londoners

  21. Derek, unless you live South of Carlisle, you do live in “another country”. Scotland is another country from where Today is broadcast. I suspect your point was that you have a mindset that is foreign to many within the BBC and elsewhere particularly in the SE of England. With that I could not disagree.

  22. The more you push a story that has “smear campaign” written all over it, the more you look like you were in on it. Mr Cook being a case in point. Even when he knew there was probably no truth to it, he kept pushing for some other angle: “I have spoken to many SNP members who privately told me they’d prefer a conservative government as it would hasten independence”. At this point Cook crossed a line from reporting the news, to making it up through insinuation. (“If member A thinks this, then it is plausible that Sturgeon thinks this also, therefore while the memo is false the story can be portrayed as being true.) This is of course so fantastically stupid a thing to do, especially when you, your employer and the most the UK media are held up as being brazenly dishonest by those who switched to the SNP.

    Its obvious to me that this is a further attempt to drive a wedge between the SNP and labour, and had been arranged through No. 10 employing the Scottish Office as its cut out man. The topicality of the story however, made it suspect in light of Sturgeons performance in the debates. A fourth hand story with no approach made to the principals, with no attempt to check its provenance? Any sensible journalist would have had alarm bells ringing, particularly when it was obvious that Scottish labour had been “briefed” before the leak. Once it was established that there were serious doubts about the story – they should have went back to the source. None of the above was done. They just went for it and yes, Mr Cook finds himself holding a jobbie on the stick courtesy of the Scottish Office. What does he do? He plays the “I am a victim of cybernats” card. Quite possibly the worst thing he could have done at that point.

    People who voted yes, and that includes all those folk who shifted to labour, have had to endure 4 years of being smeared, sneered at, mocked, and attacked by media commentators, including the BBC. Any attempt to defend themselves and the attackers portrayed themselves as victims. It was so galling and just heaped further insult to injury. The media now seems to be collectively playing this victim card again. It didn’t work last time, why in gods name do they think it will work this time.

    They have smeared themselves. I am trying to think of a time when the entire UK media and political establishment in Westminster (with very few exceptions) had collectively pissed in the well they have to drink from…I think this maybe the first.

    If they want to redeem themselves, they need to start eating crow and then start asking hard questions of those connected to it being leaked. The telegraph, No. 10, and Alistair Carmichael.

    • Again with the topicality the day after Nicola’s “emergence onto the wider UK scene” via her TV success, I think there’s another element to be pointed out.

      To us Scots, the French are a friendly neighbour. But in the Anglo world? My god! That’s the awful SNP treating with thedreadfulFrenchwhowehate! How it must play to the southern audience.


  23. I’m at the point now where I would start to question the SNP media and PR policy.

    As far as I’m concerned, they should have picked a fight with the BBC back in 2011 when they announced the referendum and the BBC closed only the Scottish blogs for comment. That was the perfect moment for an active and robust questioning of the broadcaster.

    The SNP play the game, they fear bad press and try to be as accommodating as possible to journalists. Unfortunately the journalists don’t reciprocate and now the SNP have become easy targets. They say what they like as they know the SNP will not fight back. Absolutely no one holds the BBC to account – therefore the longer this continues the worse the situation will get.

    Hosie this morning should have been saying:

    ‘ after the denial of such a conversation ever taking place by Nicola and all the French counterparts, the extremely sketchy way in which this memo has been fabricated by fourth hand accounts and the fact that it’s author even included reservations of such a statement being said, shouldn’t the spotlight be on the UK civil service conduct and breaking ministerial code, that of a right wing journalist writing for a publication currently mired in scandal for selling out journalism in favour of advertising revenue and the frankly half hearted comments from Carmichael that ‘these things happen.’

    He should then have gone onto ask questions to the BBC presenter along the lines of :

    ‘have you contacted the Telegraph for a comment ?’
    ‘have you contacted Simon Johnston for a comment’
    ‘what questions have you put to Carmichael regarding the clearly political stance being made by the civil service and if that is breaking the ministerial code ?’

    The media had a huge influence on the outcome of the referendum, it will continue to do so in a negative way unless an active questioning takes place.

    Nothing will change until this happens.

    • I’m just exasperated now. Three hours of Kay Adams nothing. An hour and a half of John Beattie and not a word other than the promise of politics to come. Literally incredible.

      I agree Tartanfever and I am furious that, thus far, there seems to be a total reluctance to see this is as the sort of behavior expected in a banana republic and an insult to the oft stated notion of how great our democracy is.

      Subversion of an election FFS – and the minister in charge says “it’s an election these things happen”. I still can’t believe he said such a thing.

      Why did he not get his angry face on and condemn such behaviour, say he would be doing everything in his power to assist in the investigation and support the harshest possible treatment within the law of anyone in his dept found complicit?

      It’s damaging to political discourse, damaging to the civil service and now becoming, in my mind, damaging to the reputation of journalism.

      I’m beginning to wonder which is a greater threat to our democracy – the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and radical Islam (©T Blair) or the nexus of professional political spin doctors and lazy and supine journalism. Imagine a world with no internet and we may as well be in North Korea. If I read one more time that the original story was a great piece of journalism I’m going to have to kick the dog.

      Given that Carmichael stated that he knew who was responsible I’m hopeful that some of the damage to the civil service reputation at least can be undone with a speedy conclusion to this whole mess by Sir Jeremy Haywood. Here’s hoping.

  24. This encapsulates why James Cook got it in the neck. Yes supporters generally like him because he is balanced and a superb journalist. Unfortunately, he has set himself very high standards that he unfortunately fell short of in his Bairns not Bombs rally interview with our First Minister.

    I was aghast. I’d gone to bed the previous night singing his praises and noted that he himself had received French consular confirmation that the Telegraph story was false. The next day his interview with Nicola Sturgeon was great – until he started pumping her for comment on what he had already confirmed was a false premise. He was implying that uncorroborated statements from SNP officials suggested that the underlying theme of the Telegraph story was true; that many SNP officials, if not the FM herself, would prefer a Tory government as a lever to hasten Scottish independence. It was a cheap shot and it did several things:

    1) it gave credence to a discredited story
    2) it suggested the SNP care MORE about independence than social justice
    3) it deflected attention away from the purpose of the rally, although he did mention the anti-Trident nature of the protest at the beginning of the report

    This was not what we’d come to expect from the excellent James Cook and perhaps why the reaction was fierce. I criticised him on Twitter but stuck to the reasons I felt deserved criticism. Anyone who hit him with knee-jerk personal insults is lower than a snake’s doo-dahs and does the independence/SNP cause no good whatsoever.

    Another part of James’ report that I found biased was unconnected to his interview; he stated that for many the protest was a continuation of the independence referendum. While this is undoubtedly true, it is hardly balanced. For lots of people, the reason for voting Yes was to get rid of Trident, i.e. the anti-nuclear stance came first and was a catalyst for voting Yes. James’ report seemed to suggest that independence supporters were showboating and attaching themselves to an anti-nuclear protest as a means of furthering a different agenda. I felt this was an insult to those protesting, the broader anti-nuclear movement and another, more subtle smear.

  25. The outcome is positive and will have increasing benefits
    Our lady impressed more than any other leader in the rUK debate (28% on one UK pole, though here in Scotland we only have 8.4% population). On speaking all could see she was not she was not wrecking ball Nat ant-English Scot as they had been feed by MSM, but instead a warm caring person for the people. The media and Gov depts were soon exposed as corrupt and complicit (something the rUK knows very little of), They may now be reluctant to dismiss all Alex Salmond’s claims as some kind of Conspiracy Theory clown Natter (again as perpetuated by MSM). The rUK wouldn’t be as tuned in to doubting the precious BBC, WM, Treasury, Home Office etc, they can now have good reason to doubt. I think their illusions will be by some measure shattered. In the future all UK will be looking for political reasons for apparent timing, leaks and stories, also as the uncovering of this high level lie takes its course all will find out how the systems structure is organised and how its used to influence public opinion.

    All will be the better for this. Special thanks to James Cook who eventually uncovered the story, unlike all others.

    THAT’S WIN WIN – till next time (y)

  26. Gavin.C.Barrie

    The enquiry into the leaked memo will proceed at Chilcot pace, certainly a report will not be issued before the election, yet – is the memo handwritten, or typed in the old way, or tapped out on a computer? Three ways to write a memo and with each way a means to track down the user. By computer via the hard drive, and whoever has said computer assigned. Does the Scotland Office really still use a typewriter, and who in the office uses it? Finally handwriting analysis. Investigation can be done in days.

    And of course there is the management way. Gather the staff in a room and request whoever did it to own up, or else, “If we are forced to waste energy and time”, employing one of the methods described above.

    The position of First Minister of Scotland demands respect. Carmichael states he knows who is the culprit, go on Jeremy Heywood insist that Carmichael tells you and so demonstrate due respect to the First Minister of Scotland, and to a perfectly decent person, Nicola Sturgeon.

    The position of Secretary of State for Scotland demands respect, and demands integrity of the incumbent. Carmichael by his behaviour is unsuited to the position. He must resign now.

  27. Derek I am glad to see that there is still someone in the media south of the border with some integrity. The English Government wonder why we want to separate from the UK when you listen to all this rubbish and your treated like second class citizens and continually lied to is it any wonder that those second class citizens want separation after being treated like idiots for so long

  28. More of the “you couldn’t make it up” media ignorance. How much do these interviewers get paid because it is far too much?

  29. Andrew Kilmore

    Derek. New to this Twitter thing. Your post today has truly enlightened me to the continual nonsense that is being dished out from BBC. So disappointing. Thank you.

  30. Derek – what did you make of the BBC Scotland bluster that ‘Cybernats’ are making poor, defenceless James Cook’s life hell?

    Fine, Mr Cook at least checked the ‘Frenchlettergate’ story and found out all the main players were saying it was a load of baloney and just ‘dirty tricks’ – yet his BBC Editors still allowed him to major on the ‘Scotch Labour’ propaganda line of the SNP wanting a ‘Tory Government’ which flew in the face of every official statement the SNP have made on the issue, including making very clear they would take all legitimate options possible at Westminster to prevent Cameron having a second term.

    Is it simply the BBC now taking the editorial line that all politicians lie, so Ms Sturgeon must be lying as well?

    They did the same over the SNP red line of ‘No to Trident’, basically saying Ms Sturgeon did not really mean what she said and pretending the Trident replacement was open to negotiation.

    Mr Cook may be taking what he feels are ‘undeserved pelters’ over Frenchlettergate’ but he needs to ask himself just what is wrong with the organisation he works for and their editorial line, if their only defence for him, in this situation, is claiming it is the work of ‘Cybernats’ rather than a growing section of the Scottish electorate sick to the back teeth with the BBC Scotland’s mendacity.

  31. Nothing will come of this inquiry – unless we force it. We need a petition – and fast – demanding Haywood reports promptly. Of course, we could demand Carmichael fully accepts responsibility and falls on his sword by not standing for re-election. The man has proved himself to be a total moral dyslexic of the first order and should be removed from politics.

    As regards Cook – he clearly understands the BBC line that it must be seen to be impartial but can still be entirely partial by reprising partial articles in the press. It’s an old trick and one the Beeb has got away with for too long. It permits journalists to behave as hack reporters with no requirement to be either investigative or objective. As the old adage has it, fish rot from the head, and McQuarrie has form. Cook, sadly, has rendered himself toxic in acquiescing to this corruption of journalistic standards and it is deeply worrying that ex-employees of the BBC, by speaking up for his lapse from professional standards, still can’t bring themselves to accept this to be the case.

  32. Well I for one would like to see us demand to see this memo and for Nicola to take a libel action against the Telegraph. Obviously at the monent she has bigger fish to fry, and the political necessity has receded as the lie has meanwhile collapsed before it has had time to gain any traction, but bigger issues remain in the long term.

    I was studying again the video clip that was posted on Wings a few days ago (‘la verite’) of the Sky interview with M. Coffinier on his doorstep on Saturday morning by reporter James Matthews. And after exhaustively interrogating the Consul General for fully about five minutes exploring every possible avenue of misunderstanding, and finding nothing, the report returns to the Sky studio and the presenter and Matthews then proceed to discuss the interview. Matthews then reveals something very interesting, which is that M. Coffinier had offered to show him his notes of the meeting, which Matthews confirms he has accepted, and having viewed them (off camera) affirms to the presenter: ‘and there’s nothing’.

    Blink, and you’ll miss these three short words, ‘and there’s nothing’, as Matthews quickly discards this bit of vital information and resumes his attempts to find an angle to make a problem for Nicola in order to keep the lie rather than the truth going, but it does confirm that the false memo has originated somewhere between the Scotland Office and the Telegraph.

    Matthews has seen the Consul General’s notes of the meeting.

  33. The BBC has, of course, sold itself body and soul to the Labour party in Scotland. It happened many years ago, when you were still working for the BBC.

    You distanced yourself from it, and deep respect to you for your ideological move, but other, competent and morally ethical journalists did not, and continue to toe the current corporate party line.

    There must come a point, surely, when it becomes indefensive to continue to defend the indefensible?

  34. It was pointed out to me , that Donalda McKinnon is now calling for restraint by social media on BBC Scotland reporters.
    While some of the comments can be OTT and no one should ever be threatened doing their job, I take it Donalda never heard the Beebs broadcasts last year where Gordon Brown scared the living daylights out of pensioners , Scotland would be more susceptible to attacks and by wanting to share the pound , we’d all end up as paupers ?
    oh irony …

  35. Well said PQsPCRteam.

  36. I have no TV license, and I rarely bother with Iplayer. The only STV I see is accidental in stores where TVs are playing.

    I listen to Radio 4 in the early morning solely to find out what propaganda London is pushing. If anything interests me I check it out on the internet.

    I assume that the facts are being manipulated to give me a distorted picture or they are outright lies.

    I do not buy any newspaper except the National and the Sunday Herald – and I check out what is in there too.

    I am not alone in that attitude, so what does that say about the media?

  37. It says the media are an appalling bunch of lickspittles. I too don’t have a tv and haven’t for nearly 40 years. I listen to GMS for news and ignore the Labour propaganda as much as I can. The Saturday version is much better (it was even better when Derek was on). In the evening I listen to R3.

    I read the FT on Saturday, again, mainly for news reporting. However, it is firmly entrenched in the neo-liberal economic consensus so it requires care. I used to buy the Guardian on a Saturday as well, but stopped after it drifted to the right and Unionism during the Referendum debate.

    Wings, Derek, Newsnet, Commonspace is my main source of comment and analysis now. I read books attacking the neo-lib position and exposing the obscenity of austerity (on my Kindle – ouch! But I’ve stopped buying other stuff from Amazon)

    Currently reading that old-fashioned lefty Tariq Ali’s The Extreme Centre – a breath of fresh air and a very good description of the Referendum renaissance, contrasting sharply with the usual metropolitan condescension, ignorance and hostility.

  38. Derek, I don’t know if you’ve just watched this morning’s Sunday Politics programme, but dear God that was an omnishambles of a show. It was nothing less than an ambush.

    Awful viewing.

Leave a Reply