Media academic Robertson launches book that publisher ‘ignored’


By a Reporter

Newsnet’s armchair reviewer of TV News, Professor John Robertson of University of the West of Scotland, has self-published a book about the role of the Scottish and UK media in the Scottish Referendum Campaign.

The book – Scotland’s Propaganda War – is based on his own research, which triggered a heated dispute with BBC Scotland, a summons to the Scottish Parliament and a storm of debate in social media.

It presents research by other academics and gives explanations for the findings from prominent theorists such as Noam Chomsky.

Referendum TV news analyst Prof John Robertson
Referendum TV news analyst Prof John Robertson

His decision to self publish the book stemmed from an unexplained failure by Welsh Academic Press to publish as planned earlier this year. Welsh Academic had originally contracted with Prof Robertson, but he says that the publisher appears to have stopped communicating with him on the issue.

In a statement, he commented: “The book is now released into the public domain after several infuriating delays and barriers of an inexplicable nature. This account of media bias in the coverage of the Scottish referendum campaign goes beyond more journalistic impressions, from practitioners within the industry, to explain why it was so.

“It does this by revealing the true nature of influences on our media which are the result of unequal access to education and the interlocking of the resultant elites in finance, in ownership, in commercial directorships, in media directorships, in senior post-holders in journalism, in university leadership including professors, and, uniquely in Scotland, in the elites leading the Scottish and UK Labour parties.

“Did MI5 get at my publisher to slow things down? I know it may just be a cock-up. Am I important enough to suppress – NO says Mrs Professor,” joked the Prof.


STOP PRESS: A response from Welsh Academic Press

Ashley Drake, managing director of Welsh Academic, contacted tonight with the following statement:

welsh_academic_press“It is a great pity and that Professor Robertson has felt compelled to self-publish his study but we accept his decision.”

“When we initially approached John, in the aftermath of the referendum, and offered him the opportunity of publishing his research as an academic book, it was because we felt his findings shed light on a key aspect of political discourse; the impartiality or otherwise of the broadcast media,  and needed to be read widely across Scotland and internationally. We were delighted that he accepted our offer.”

“After the original manuscript was revised, we then progressed to the in-house editing process as is standard publishing practice. However, due to a major re-structuring of the company this summer, due to our significant recent growth, this took longer than expected, which frustrated both parties. This was a situation which caused John great concern as he wished to see his book in print as soon as possible. This period also impacted our communications with John, which certainly exacerbated the situation, and for which we have apologised to him.”

“We would like to assure all those concerned that we always fully intended to publish his book, have not purposefully attempted to prevent publication or reneged on our agreement. John has now decided to self-publish his research and we genuinely wish him well with that.”

“Welsh Academic Press celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014 and we are proud to have published several important Scottish history and politics titles over this period. We are about to announce a number of new Scottish titles, scheduled for publication shortly, and we will now focus on them.”


Scotland’s Propaganda War, The Media and the 2014 Referendum Campaign; Prof John Robertson. This is a downloadable PDF, and will work on ebooks.