BBC bias: Righteous indignation is a comfort blanket for grown ups


By Iain Bruce

I don’t expect many Newsnet Scotland readers will disagree with me that BBC Management in Scotland are sailing perilously close to new levels of institutional arrogance and political manipulation and in creating the impression of operating beyond the control of the Trustees.

In so doing the Trustees are failing in their duty in particular to maintain the highest editorial standards of impartiality, accuracy and fairness in the delivery of factual information on the developing issues in the referendum dialogue on Scottish Independence.

It probably didn’t start with the Farage farrago, it just seems like that, but readers of Newsnet are very well versed in the inequities of BBC Scotland.

What did they do about Dennis Healy’s revelations of day light robbery?  What did they ask Alistair Darling about funds received by Better Together from Ian Taylor?  Did the BBC news-hounds offer commentary on the subsequent bullying of National Collective?  Don’t mention Call Kaye and of course there’s their own survey evidence that we Scots don’t think that our ‘national’ broadcaster is up to the mark.

Then we have last week’s story of selective memory from the editor of Reporting Scotland.

Now it has to be said that all’s fair in love and war and if you’re in the Project Fear camp you pays your money and takes your choice of media organs but even the Scotsman permits Jennifer Dempsey to assert that Scotland deserves better from the Beeb.

Jenny Hjul in last week’s Sunday Times repeats Raymond Buchanan’s nonsense on the “leaked report” that the Scottish Government want to wean us off fossil fuels and sell our abundant renewables into the biggest local market.  Now I’ve paid a collective £3.70 for their received wisdom and in the kidology that I like to know what the opposition is up to.

However the BBC subscriber is altogether different and is entitled to expect the organisation to be governed by the rules set down for it and overseen by the BBC Trust quite apart from any sense of aspirating to the highest journalistic standards.

Now the Edinburgh Agreement specifically calls for “agreement between the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the BBC, requires the BBC to broadcast referendum campaign broadcasts and provides that it is for the BBC Trust to determine the basis on which these are broadcast”.  On the basis of current evidence then the Yes vote is a lost cause already.

And what to do about all this? Well I’m afraid withholding the license fee is a non starter as the referendum will be dead and likely buried before half of us appear in court.

The on-line community most certainly seems to represent the majority of the Yes vote but it’s the Don’t Knows we need to help win the day. 

So my simple answer is for the great Scottish disaffected to make individual complaints to the BBC Trust not in the expectation of a considered and reasonable response but at least there’s a good chance we’ll have gummed up the complaints process as a minimum and, god forbid we get gubbed in the referendum, then there will be evidence of the highest quality of political interference and manipulation by a once august organisation.

My opening paragraph is my own complaint which has been acknowledged and received for attention.