I know we have bigger things on our mind just now but I wanted to slip this out in the meantime. I didn’t want to do it during the election. Regular readers (and members of the Bateman Blog Cult) will know that I haven’t written about the BBC for some time. I have stopped doing so for personal reasons.
There is a strand of reaction out there that I find insulting and, however thick-skinned I may be, also hurtful and tedious. To be clear, I have no objection to anyone disagreeing with me…that’s the essence of the exchange – blog and react. Nor do I worry about political opponents taking cheap shots – that’s expected.
What gets to me is people on my own side refusing to allow me my own opinion and insisting I adopt theirs.
I’ve grown tired of self-appointed thought police telling me that ‘I must know what the BBC are doing’…sick of the ‘Come off it, when are you going to admit there’s deliberate bias’…or ‘How can you expect to be taken seriously (when you don’t agree with me)’
Here’s an actual example. ‘Until you accept that it was your old pals at the bbc who decided the result of this election then there is no hope for you. Defend them all you like but they truly are the concentration camp guards who claim that they were just doing their job. Plantation quay needs to be destroyed. How, I care not. Starved of funds or burned to a crisp, either is fine.’
Even when I don’t mention the BBC, the same thing happens gratuitously. ‘Is Derek still insisting this just poor management…’ (Scoff)
I can’t endlessly defend myself against ill-informed comment. On Twitter I was accused of being a Fifth Columnist, as in a secret agent posing as a Nationalist. It’s clear that partial information has led some to think I’m a cheerleader when long-term readers remember I actually resigned from Pacific Quay so I could campaign for independence. I did accept a deal to go but I still took a significant income hit at the time. I was the first, and I think still am, the only insider who went public with very precise detailed, and named, evidence of what I saw going on. That was no mean feat for someone with over 20 years in the BBC. I haven’t darkened the door since. When Professor John Robertson had his spat with the BBC management over bias in the news, it was me who publicised it.
I have been a consistent critic of the BBC and even laid out a detailed management plan of how they should have handled the referendum and what was needed to turn things round. My view hasn’t changed. I am often left open mouthed at the output when I do hear it such is its quality, although I don’t consume it very much any more. I don’t actually blame any outsider for believing there is willful bias and indeed I know very sensible people who believe just that. It is their right. But I won’t be railroaded into believing it myself and then insulted for sticking to my guns by people who’ve never crossed the threshold of Pacific Quay.
I just don’t believe the BBC organises and controls its journalism deliberately to damage Yes and the SNP. I say that because I was there and would have known. It takes a special kind of behavior to get someone to deny what they know to be true (or untrue).
Whatever your view – and I admit mine is that much of the current affairs output is rank – the demonization of individuals is unworthy of the movement. At Newsnet we received an article accusing a named journalist of blatant anti-SNP bias in a programme. It was such that we declined to publish, leading to a fractured relationship with the author, a well-known BBC conspiracy advocate. Months later that same journalist was working in Nicola Sturgeon’s office as a special adviser where he remains to this day. Some bias…
It’s begun to feel like Lilliputian fascism…little voices constantly demanding that everyone must think the way they do otherwise they’re traitors. This straightjacket orthodoxy kills goodwill and stunts critical thinking. We don’t all have to agree all the time and we must stop when we try to coerce others. Blogs are all about opinions and I’m entitled to mine, however nuanced it is and however it contradicts those of others.
Since I don’t mention the BBC, I’d appreciate it if others didn’t distort my views and display disrespect. Messages from those who demand I ‘own up’ to being wrong about the BBC and accept their version of reality won’t appear here and I’ll block tweeters doing likewise.
Like many on our side, I don’t need to do this blogging business. If we imagine the election result was disappointing, ask what it would feel like if there were no free blogs to turn to? I want your arguments and disagreements but more than that I want your respect.by