By G.A.Ponsonby
BBC Scotland has come under more fire over its reporting of an interview given by Irish European Minister Lucinda Creighton, after Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop highlighted an accusation by Ms Creighton that the broadcaster had “misconstrued” her comments.
Following the interview in Dublin, broadcast last Friday, it has emerged that the Irish politician has claimed variously that her comments were “misconstrued or perhaps manipulated by some quarters” that they have been “spun” and “seem to have been presented or taken out of context.”

The accusations followed several BBC Scotland reports that suggested Ms Creighton believed that an independent Scotland would no longer be a member of the European Union, and would have to re-apply.
However, speaking on the Sunday Politics Show, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I think it’s unfortunate for the BBC that a minister from another government has stated that the BBC has misconstrued her position.”

The comments from the Scottish Government Minister is an indication of the growing anger over the reporting of the interview where Ms Creighton was asked to give her views on the hypothetical situation should Scotland become independent.

Responding to a question from BBC Scotland reporter Raymond Buchanan, the Irish Minister was heard to say that “Scotland would have to apply for membership” and that “there would be an application and a negotiation process”.

The interview led to bulletins on BBC Scotland throughout Friday which focused on the membership application issue.  These were followed by sustained attacks on Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon by the Better Together campaign who claimed Ms Sturgeon had been “humiliated” by Ms Creighton.

However, following questions by Newsnet Scotland and others, the Irish Minister complained that her comments had been “misconstrued or perhaps manipulated by some quarters” and that they “seem to have been presented or taken out of context.”

In an email to Newsnet Scotland, Ms Creighton added: “I certainly did not at any stage suggest that Scotland could, should or would be thrown out of the EU.”

In a blow to the BBC’s interpretation of her words the Irish Minister also made it clear that in her view Scotland would be taking part in post-referendum negotiations from a position within the European Union.

Ms Creighton said she agreed with SNP MP Angus Robertson who said that: “Negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence”

The Irish Minister also said that Mr Robertson had summed up the situation quite well, when he said: “The EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries”.

The accusations against the BBC by a senior Irish Minister are embarrassing, but have thus far resulted in no news reports from the Scottish media.  Yesterday, the BBC’s stance was defended by BBC Scotland presenter Andrew Kerr who hosted the Sunday Politics Programme.

According to Mr Kerr, Ms Creighton had referred to Scotland having to “apply” for EU membership twice during the interview.  Mr Kerr also highlighted a lack of any reference to membership application in a subsequent clarification email to Nicola Sturgeon.

However, Newsnet Scotland has now been forwarded several responses sent by Ms Creighton to concerned Scots seeking clarification on her views.  In the emails it is clear that the Irish Minister’s views are at one with those of the Scottish government – and not, as claimed by the BBC with Scottish Secretary Michael Moore who believes an independent Scotland will find itself “outside the EU having to negotiate its way back in”.

In several clarification emails, Ms Creighton appears to suggest that the ‘application’ she spoke of was a reference to the negotiations that will take place immediately after a Yes vote – a time when Scotland will still be part of the UK, and technically a member of the EU.

Another correspondence makes clear Ms Creighton’s view that an independent Scotland will be welcomed as a partner by all current EU members:

“I did go on to say that a newly independent Scotland would be welcome as an EU partner (and I think that applies to all EU member states including Ireland).  My understanding is that the Scottish Government has already committed to a negotiation with the EU between 2014 and 2016, if you vote for independence in 2014.

“If my interview suggested something other than that, this was not my intention.  I think my comments have been misconstrued or perhaps manipulated by some quarters.  I sincerely regret this.”

Ms Creighton repeats her claims that her words were not reported accurately, saying: “I regret that my words seem to have been spun or taken out of context.”

The dispute will have done little to quell growing fears that BBC Scotland is ill equipped to cover the independence debate in anything approaching the kind of quality driven in depth manner required.

The rift will also call into question the motives of some editors and producers at BBC Scotland who exhibit a tendency to cherry pick and headline those aspects of an interview many might deem unhelpful to the pro-independence campaign.

There is sure to be pressure on BBC Scotland bosses to back up recent boasts that they would send reporters “anywhere, anytime to any place” in order to ensure the referendum debate is covered properly – a clarification interview with Ms Creighton would be welcomed by critics.  The ‘anytime, anywhere’ boast was made by BBC Scotland Head of News and Current Affairs, John Boothman.

Dim lights
Embed Embed this video on your site

Mr Boothman had previously cited Raymond Buchanan’s trip to Dublin as evidence of BBC Scotland’s quality coverage.

Dim lights
Embed Embed this video on your site



Mad Jock McMad
2013-01-27 23:19

The Unionist media’s biggest player in Scotland caught telling porkies – why am I not surprised?

I wonder how all the baying pack of UK politicians who went with the BBC Scotland spin are going to do a U-turn … silly me, they will not ….. after all she’s only a woman and an Irish one at that.
2013-01-27 23:25

I would have thought that STV would want to take this up and humiliate it’s floundering competitor. The BBC caught miscontruing – delicious !!
2013-01-27 23:28

I think it is true to say that we are all sick and tired of the bias BBC coverage of all things Scottish.
Roll on SBC !
2013-01-27 23:28

Good article. Indeed it is time for the fight for unbiased reporting on the BBC to be absolute, unremitting and strong.

Not just from us, though we can help to support this, but from the SNP and the Scottish Government, and any other party group. I can understand why the YES campaign might keep a distance for now – perhaps it should continue.

The importance of this is highlighted by the Times Panelbase poll reported in the Herald. I think it’s a good survey, but it shows the effect the NO campaign has had with its disinformation campaign.

Strangely it hasn’t worked with the EU, but it has over defence jobs, North Sea oil running out (laughs), and Scotland being worse off – and that in spite of Danny Alexander’s recent relevation regarding £1 a head worse off over 13 years! Maybe the poll was taken before that.

The message needs to get out there, and we need to force the BBC to do its job and get that message out there for us.
2013-01-27 23:34

I often wonder why the BBC sends the journalists to these events now. With modern CGI techniques they could create an interview that matches the prepared text without leaving the office.

This would be a significant step up from the poor quality cut and paste jobs that we have to endure daily.

The technical issues with sound quality/sound synchronisation etc etc

I’m only looking for balanced journalism – why did they enter the profession?
2013-01-27 23:48

I’ll tell you precisely how the Unionist SayNo gang will reply to this exposure of BBC bias. They will release their attack-dogs once again to warn the BBC off NatNight-Scotland becoming impartial in it’s editorial reporting.

This morning’s BBC radio Scotland reviewing Sunday’s papers was another new low for the quality of Scottish journalism at the ailing station, as it claimed “Salmond’s lead in the popularity polls was further evidence that Scots don’t want HIS constitutional upheaval”? If only I had a penny for each time the word independence was spitefully replaced with the word “SEPARATION”!

Lunatic reportage supported by the fact that all broadcast media licensing is controlled from outside of Scotland for the continuation of that control from outside of Scotland.
Old Smokey
2013-01-27 23:58

I think previous intervews bythe BBC, such as the one with the Czech foreign minister that was also used to attack the Yes Campaign should los be reviewed,as I suspect that tooo ay have een ‘manipulated’ by the BBC…/…
We may be seeing a pattern by te BBC of setting up interviews, which they manipulate to support the Westminster Government and are used by unionists to attackth independence campaign. I would go furthr and suggest, not only should the views of EU member states be saught,but each should be warned that anyapproach they get from the BBC for an interview shoul be treated as hostile and perhaps have someone else present, recording the inteview independently
2013-01-28 00:14

It would be interesting to know what Buchanan, Campbell etc. believe whats in it for them as they knowingly prostitute themselves to the NO campaign
2013-01-28 00:25

I know that broadcasting is a reserved matter, but as the justice system is not, would the Scottish Government be warranted in decriminalising the non payment of the BBC licence fee?
Old Smokey
2013-01-28 01:14

I good idea would be for each EU government be sent a copy of the Treaty of Union 1706 that created the United Kingdom so they have a clearer idea of what the UK is about as I would beleive that many of them are not aware that the UK was created by treaty and unfortunately rely on the crap that comes out of the Westminster goverment which implies wrongly that Scotland some how joined the UK and it now wants to leave the UK as apposed to the reality and truth that Scotland was one of the Kingdoms that created the UK in the first place and that independence is about Scotland ending the UK. Get that point over and educate the EU and go over the heads of the unionists. Its alsoimportnat that any time some unionist talks of ‘leaving the UK’ they should be corrected and told its about ‘ending the UK’!
2013-01-28 03:11

Let us judge if the editorialised comments are accurate or opinionated.
I tweeted Buchanan and asked if he could please play the whole thing so we could judge how accurate his comments were. Silence. Clearly the beeb without duress will not write stories about oil lasting 100 years or advise the true economic position of Scotland.

Covering Faslane accurately, its real number of local jobs, whatever it is, and the likely new jobs an independent Scotland would offer needs to be discussed at some stage.
Not in a biased editorial 2 weeks before the vote!

The issue of the Queen being Head of State has still not been explained well on the MSM, I am quite certain many people think a vote for indy is a vote to remove the monarchy. I like the Queen so I will vote NO etc…

The fear campaign works, remember that, we need to demand fair coverage or decriminalise non payment of the beeb fee until that happens.
2013-01-28 07:08

Mr Buchanan has clearly provided both the SG and the YES campaign an open goal. What puzzles me is Fiona Hyslop’s mild response. Perhaps a contrast and compare moment with Mr Davidson? Trying to bring the Beeb onside? Or just trying to set a better example in the face of an actual case of misrepresentati  on?

Either way that particular reporter has left his employers with a severe case of egg on face. He may have a particularly bad Monday morning at work.
2013-01-28 07:27

The Herald has a small line on Its EU article this morning regards the BBC ”misconstruing” but the BBC stand by their piece!
I suggested that The Herald, in the interests of clarity, may wish to contact Ms Creighton themselves so that voters are clear on her position.
2013-01-28 08:41

Macart are you sure it was a mild response. Poor old Cocher’s sounds as though he is going to have a heart attack or a stroke just because Fiona Hyslop questioned the BBC’s integrity. He has turned the story into a nationalist all out attack on a fair and balanced media . I have been laughing so much at that, that my rib’s are killing me.
2013-01-28 10:11

@ Silverytay – I’ve just had a read at Mr Cochrane’s cartoon rant. It actually left me with a smile on my face. I think we really know who’s getting desperate. 🙂

So when Ian Davidson calls out the beeb on a current affairs programme using, shall we say, intemperate language, its calling it like it is. When Fiona Hyslop uses terms such as ‘unfortunate’, well how very dare she.

@ thomsor – I’m old fashioned, so I’m going for the reporter is responsible for the content of his report. Still you’re right, many a slip between editorial suite and viewers. As for BBC Scotland management? Is there such a thing? Or are they just BBC management.

2013-01-28 09:08

Totally agree Macart, However I am not sure about where the responsibility of a reporter starts or ends. Do reporters edit their reports prior to them going out or are they edited by a spinmaster in chief? Either way the BBC is a disgrace for allowing a politicians comments to be twisted for the benefit of the no campaign. The current BBC Scotland management has no concept of fairness or democracy.
2013-01-28 09:14

The news editors on BBC Scotland (radio and tv) have some serious questions to answer on the content and balance of the main news programmes. Some of the presenters are no more than that; some have good analytical ability and use it to good effect (Derek Bateman and Isobel Fraser). Others have barely-concealed bias or aggession towards those who support independence.

Oh look, another hedgehog has just been rescued.
Leader of the Pack
2013-01-28 09:22

Pressure should be now be put on Barroso and Creighton to publically condemn the BBC for deliberately misreporting their statements and deliberately drawing the wrong conclusions from their interviews or these deliberate manipulations of misreporting and deliberate misinforming will go on and on and on. What will also occur is that the BBC will only highlight any interview they can manipulate to the favour of unionism and NOT report any interview they cannot manipulate in favour of unionism. Only a very public and noted condemnation by the victims of this deliberate manipulation can put and end to them.
2013-01-28 09:34

I know I’ve been saying this for days but did she or did she not say the quote below? I realise people think it was in some way spun etc, at the end of the day any reporter will go for a topline, she gifted that topline, and as far as I can see has not addressed it directly. I did e mail her to ask that specific question, no reply. @thomsor I’d say RB edited the package, certainly will have been responsible for the scripting.

“If Scotland were to become independent, Scotland would have to apply for membership and that can be a lengthy process, as we see even with the very advanced and well-integrated countries like Iceland, where I’ve just come from.”
2013-01-28 09:54

I think we need to see an entire transcript of the interview, including the questions as asked, not the questions edited into the clip.
2013-01-28 10:08

Here’s the web story which gives a fuller account of the interview …. as I’ve said before I don’t think either side comes out well in this BUT given that everyone is debating Scotland post a YES vote, in or out, apply, not apply, then it doesn’t surprise me that was the topline line ….. after all Ms Creighton gave this intervew before Sturgeon’s speech, she could have refused to do it all. If Ms Creighton wants a right of reply on the BBC let her get on with it. IMO the media and politicians are close bedfellows.…/…
2013-01-28 12:02

Surely the important thing, whatever was said or not said, Ms Creighton has now made her position crystal clear.…/… She basically agrees with the SNP position. Why has the BBC not reported this?
2013-01-28 12:13

Has she taken it directly to the BBC? Has she demanded a retraction etc etc. You see I doubt it, I think she knew what she was saying, and is somewhat taken aback at the reaction from keen media watchers.

2013-01-28 09:36

You’re missing a trick here. You shouldn’t be concerned about
the mis-reporting from an SNP point of view, but from a British public perspective. Let’s face it the rest of the UK isn’t going to care if the SNP are mis-represented but you should be asking if the BBC is willing to betray its own charter in this instance then it stands to reason it will easily do so for any future UK events that suit its political agenda.
Can the BBC demonstrate that it can be trusted for such future events. Do the British public deserve a broadcaster that mis-represents the truth or do they deserve better regardless of the answers it gets?
The point being if it can do it here it will do it elsewhere in the UK.
Jim Johnston
2013-01-28 09:43

How come the BBC don’t have the Electoral Commission “leak” covered as per the Herald and Scotsman ???? Or have I missed it.
According to the rags, the commission will propose “Should Scotland be an Independent Country ?”. Far too many words and totally negative. If you can’t say “Scotland should be”, then neither can you say “Should Scotland be”. Why should Independence be presented as a negative proposition.
Electoral Commission has been got at.


Take your bloody pick son.
The Union is pathetiK, with a bloody K !!!
2013-01-28 10:24

I think, from looking at Herald/Scotsman websites it’s not in their hard copy editions? That could be a reason it wasn’t worked up as a detailed item,also and again I may be wrong, I’ve a feeling I heard it somewhere in the BBC Scotland bulletin during GMS.

2013-01-28 09:51

Come on lets make news.

Please formally ask each EU country

1 Would Scotland be welcomed as a new country to the EU?
2. As current Scottish citizens’ of the EU would we be thrown out of EU should Scotland vote Yes for independence?

Should the results be negative then maybe we should say cheerio–however I am sure the answers would be positive for Scotland and it’s citizen’s
2013-01-28 09:53

This article adds to the list of detailed and high quality articles Newsnet has produced on the BBC and their attempt to influence the course of the debate on Scottish Independence. The BBC are an utter disgrace.

The situation with BBC Scotland is like Honeker’s Easy Germany where the facts and truth is so obscured, denied and perverted that it almost makes you feel you are going mad. That it should happen in a so called modern western democracy is very scary.

I think its time the Scottish Government take a stand and make a public ultimatum to the BBC and start holding a parliamentary inquiry on bias and call witnesses. Report back and start legislating on de-criminalisation of non-payment. Its them or us now. Continue to ignore it THEN WE WILL LOSE. This is war.
2013-01-28 10:18

What is missing, or I’ve haven’t paid enough attention, is the question put to Lucinda Creighton that brought her response quoted above by Albalha – “If Scotland were to become independent…”. etc.
That the UK government is not prepared to pursue a clarification on an independent Scotland, and the rUK’s continuing membership of the EU surely is not astute nor friendly towards a partner country of the UK?
2013-01-28 10:33

Since Pathetic Quay was built with our money, we already own it. But with so much of Scotland’s wealth going south we would probably be told that it was ‘owned’ by London and off limits to us timid Scots.
2013-01-28 11:13

no.Its not the time.
Just now,20 odd months from the referendum,is the time for gently and queitly raising awareness among people that the BBC sometimes fall short in its reporting.To encourage people to think about the question of independence rather than believe everything they read and here in London controlled media.
2013-01-28 13:10

bbc Scotland allowing comments on large hedges!…/…

I notice it is under their political page, so it must be so they can claim to allow comments on political issues.

Whit are they like, eh?

2013-01-28 15:44

And now closed them off again. Handful of comments on hedges but unsurprisingly most bemoaning the inability to comment on business and political blogs and taking the opportunity to comment on this topic.

Presumably they can now justify closing it for comments as so many were off-topic.
2013-01-28 15:44

BBC Scotland dying from the roots up.

2013-01-28 14:31

I’m OK with softly softly just as long as it has a public profile somehow. We don’t need to attack but we do need to sow doubt about the BBC.
That’s why Cochrane has been helpful. Gets it out in the open without Salmond or Sturgeon saying anything.
2013-01-28 15:35

Thousands of young Europeans living and studying in Scotland are eligable to vote in 2014.
This is nothing like a new membership application and the Scottish Government must shout from the rooftops until they get answers from these young peoples Governments.
In the event of a close vote in 2014,I’d hate to think independence was lost to young Poles,Spaniards etc being frightend into voting NO as their Government refuse to comment,leaving our bias media to spin and scaremonger unchallenged.
2013-01-28 17:24

@ X_Sticks

Glad you managed to get that comment on the hedge blog before they closed it, just another fine example off Suppressing debate or distorting the truth as above, a wee question, has the BBC ever reported a positive story regarding independence ?
I don’t think I have ever came across one.
2013-01-28 21:12

O/T – but this just about sums up high-Speed rail for me:…/…
2013-01-28 23:48

Isn’t there a legal obligation for broadcast media to remain politically neutral?
2013-01-28 23:57

Well, things didn’t go too well for wee Glen on the newsnicht debate!

Both he and Ruth Davidson were looking decidedly uncomfortable on a number of occassions.

Hamza Jusef did a sterling job completely nailing Davidsons unionist scaremongering.

I don’t think that one went quite to plan.

@Shooie-B – I can’t think of positive independence story either, but then I wouldn’t expect that, just a fair playing field would suffice.

In their defence though, there has been some good stuff recently such as the Derek Bateman interview with David Sheffer.
2013-01-29 00:16

Ruth and Glen, what a Unionist team. Scaremongering at it’s best.

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.