By G.A.Ponsonby

Alex Salmond is in the USA this week.  The First Minister is meeting businesses and giving speeches and interviews.  He’s promoting Scottish business and culture and of course his visit coincides with the annual Scotland Week celebrations in the USA.

But Mr Salmond has struggled to grab the headlines over here.  One reason was a speech given by former Labour MP George Robertson.

Robertson was all over the newspapers, radio and TV.  What had earned the former Labour MP top billing in the Scottish media was a speech in the USA.

Scottish independence, said Robertson, would be “cataclysmic for the West” and would be welcomed by the “forces of darkness”.  The rhetoric was extreme, and clearly nonsensical, but the Scottish media applies no drivel filters when it comes to attacks on independence.

As ever, at the front of the now familiar media-conga was the BBC in Scotland.  The corporation has a reputation which, if not gone already, is fast dissolving.

The corporation’s Scottish branch is almost unrecognisable to what it was set up to do, which is to inform, educate and entertain.  Instead what we now have is a broadcaster that has shut itself off from criticism and refuses to accept it has very serious issues.

There are so many things wrong with BBC Scotland’s handling of the referendum that a book is now inevitable.  Whether it makes print before the ballot in September remains to be seen.

Yesterday morning, moments after having repeated Robertson’s incredibly obnoxious and insulting claims, Good Morning Scotland carried out an interview with the editor of Bella Caledonia.  Gary Robertson, who is fast losing credibility, confronted Mike Small with the latest incarnation on the ‘Cybernat’ accusations.

Small was measured and controlled as he dealt with the BBC’s ubiquitous presenter who had clearly rehearsed his loaded questions.

The thrust of the interview were that people were being abused by pro-independence online contributors.  It followed more accusations from figures associated with the anti-independence campaign as that campaign flounders.

The ‘cybernat’ interview from Gary Robertson was broadcast on the same day it emerged an SNP MSP had been physically assaulted in a pub after debating with a Unionist.

The wall-to-wall coverage afforded Lord George Robertson mirror similar coverage given to the Weir Group after the business claimed independence would cost more.  Robertson of course is a director of the Weir Group.

In October 2012 I wrote an article ‘The Echo Chamber’ in which I chronicled how the BBC in Scotland had helped contrive a campaign against Alex Salmond.  The article centred around a notorious interview between Mr Salmond and Andrew Neil around the EU and whether Mr Salmond had received advice.

BBC Scotland has not changed, despite one high profile presenter resigning prior to being found to have misled viewers over that same key referendum issue.

The broadcaster misses no tricks in order to promote stories which harm independence.   Some (not all) of its presenters are also guilty of using gratuitous asides, as we saw when James Naughtie, reporting from New York, informed viewers that nobody was shouting “independence” from the sidewalk.

The BBC presenter failed of course to clarify whether there were cries in favour of the Union.

BBC Scotland is now in the same position as the official anti-independence campaign in that it is losing credibility at a rate of knots.  Its stock has never been lower.

Scots licence payers were promised improved coverage of the referendum which, we were told, would begin at the end of last year.  Thus far what we have is James Naughtie displaying his very clear pro-Union credentials and Gary Robertson popping up on almost every political programme showing off his crisp, humourless and charisma free delivery.

The BBC in Scotland is now beyond saving.  It is little more than the go-to place for anyone with a gripe to have a go at the SNP and/or independence.


2014-04-09 18:46

At the risk of repeating my “rant” about the BBC, back when Newsnet Scotland was in it’s infancy – I can’t think of a word to describe a state broadcaster which costs Billions to run, spends all it’s time telling us that the likes of Johann Lamont, Anas Sarwar and Jim Murphy are the best the Labour Party (North British Branch) has to offer against the (newly named) dark forces of the SNP.

The Better Together lot can sit back with a wee dram and let the BBC carry the load for them; but wait! isn’t that what good old Auntie Beeb has done since day one. James Naughtie and Alistair Darling are the new “Scottish Cringe” soon to be joined by George Robertson who makes the other two look like third raters.
2014-04-09 21:55

Quote article “The BBC in Scotland is now beyond saving. It is little more than the go-to place for anyone with a gripe to have a go at the SNP and/or independence.

Their morning phone in with Louise White
“Morning Call” should be renamed “Morning Moan In
2014-04-10 10:34

Completed my second survey about the BBC Scotland news web site in two weeks (is this a record? ) and made many of the points raised above. Particularly referred to their treatment of Robertson’s speech and the energy report.

Don’t suppose anyone will pay any attention to my response, but they’ve been telt…again.
2014-04-10 15:38

I don’t think it is a coincidence that all the recent political noise about the BBC (senior staff salaries; the Saville affair to name but two) has subsided to the point where it has all but disappeared. Given just how anti-BBC the Westminster political establishment was until recently, and indeed how blood-thirsty some of the Tory grandees were about the alleged left leaning tendencies of the corporation, this is surprising.

Maybe I am just getting old and sceptical but could it be that in return for peddling a unionist agenda the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems have agreed to turn down the heat until 19 September. And who knows; if the vote goes their way maybe the BBC will get to keep its licence fee after the next UK general election in payment for service rendered.
2014-04-10 19:08

The BBC are a disgrace.

Thankfully none of their channels ever brighten (should that be darken?) my TV.

It is unlikely I will ever watch the BBC or listen to any of their radio stations ever again.

They shall not be missed.

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