Concerns over BBC Scotland’s severe weather ‘confusion’ claim

61
3611

By a Newsnet reporter
 
There are concerns this morning that the BBC in Scotland is preparing to use today’s severe weather in order to claim that people have been ‘confused’ by advice given by the Scottish government.
 
First indications came in a Radio Scotland interview this morning when Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faced claims from BBC presenter Gary Robertson that the Scottish government had caused confusion over advice given to local authorities.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
There are concerns this morning that the BBC in Scotland is preparing to use today’s severe weather in order to claim that people have been ‘confused’ by advice given by the Scottish government.
 
First indications came in a Radio Scotland interview this morning when Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faced claims from BBC presenter Gary Robertson that the Scottish government had caused confusion over advice given to local authorities.

In the interview Mr Robertson repeatedly tried to suggest that information and advice given to local authorities on areas such as school closures had caused “confusion”.  He cited as ‘evidence’ text messages apparently received by the BBC from people angry that schools had been closed at short notice.

The BBC presenter asked if a blanket school closure might have been a better way to proceed.

Nicola Sturgeon explained that local authorities had been updated through the night as the weather reports themselves were updated by the Met office.

Later this morning, a link appeared on the BBC Scotland online news claiming “Scottish school situation confused”.

However the video piece and short article linked to made no mention of any confusion and said only:

“Schools across much of Scotland are closed this morning and motorists are being warned driving could be dangerous as severe gales are forecast.

Storm-force winds are expected to sweep across Scotland and northern England and the Met Office has issued its strongest warning: a red alert.

The BBC’s James Cook reports from Glasgow.”

Strangely the “Scottish school situation confused” link disappeared shortly after 11:30 am.

In a preview of the John Beattie show the same ‘confusion’ claim was made amid apparent anecdotal stories of people making their way to work unaware that their child’s school had been closed.

The interview claims and the appearance of the strangely worded link will prompt fears of a similar campaign to that waged by the corporation last year after heavy snowfall closed many roads in the central belt leaving cars stranded for hours.

Claims by the state broadcaster that it had accurately forecast the snowfall eventually led to Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson resigning.

However a forensic examination of BBC weather reports and bulletins by Newsnet Scotland showed clearly that the severity of the snowfall had not in fact been forecast.

Newsnet Scotland will be monitoring the BBC closely to see how the effect of the severe gales is being reported.