Derek Bateman wrote an interesting piece on Friday about everyone’s favourite subject, BBC Scotland, and the billboards that have been doing the rounds regarding BBC Scotland’s perceived lack of impartiality by many of us in Scotland.
Derek argues that BBC Scotland is part of a collective ethos, and that the employees subconsciously follow that ethos. Derek feels that the anti BBC feelings that many of us hold in Scotland is insulting to the people who work there, Derek singles out Jackie Bird for particular praise. Derek accepts that scrutiny of the BBC is legitimate but questions if the billboards are the way to reinforce it.
However, Derek Bateman also feels that the anti BBC case has been exhausted, that it sounds like beating a drum to death. Derek accepts that there is poor management and poor journalism but goes on to imply, in my opinion, that in future we will have to be nice to BBC Scotland journalists so they report positive stories about the SNP and the YES cause once opinions are moving. Derek asks what do we say then about the journalists telling us a story that suits our narrative? Are they still distorting the truth or are they now to be trusted?
I’m sorry Derek but that is bollocks.
I respect Derek Bateman’s opinion, he is a talented writer and journalist whom I can honestly say is up there with Lesley Riddoch in the trust stakes, but that doesn’t mean he is correct. As we saw during the referendum BBC Scotland were part of a campaign to misreport the facts.
The report by Dr. John Robertson of the West of Scotland University on bias and reporting in news media during the referendum found that in BBC Scotland there was an anti independence anti Alex Salmond slant in the reporting BBC and media Bias or GA Ponsonby How the BBC Stole the Referendum demonstrating how BBC Scotland was complicit in the campaign against Scottish Independence.
Now we can argue all day whether the reporting by BBC Scotland was deliberately miss-leading or just shit journalism until the cows come home. We can have a debate all day about BBC Scotland just being the Westminster Governments Pravda in Scotland, also many might argue that BBC Scotland is actually the unofficial press office for British Labour in Scotland.
The simple reality for myself is this. I will never trust BBC Scotland or the BBC in general to report the facts, to report the truth, to provide balance. Neither will I believe any journalist working for BBC Scotland to properly report any future referendum on Scottish Independence. There is such a thing as ‘The Journalist’s Creed’ which is a personal affirmation of journalism ethics written by Walter Williams in 1914 that many say they follow. This creed states:
I believe in the profession of journalism.
I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.
Now while the language may be outdated, the ideas should not be, but none of them are met by BBC Scotland and I don’t care what Derek Bateman or anyone says and I am not about to force myself to be nice to any BBC Scotland journalist in some vain hope they might print a nice and accurate story, the fact they don’t should shame them as much as my paying my propaganda tv tax shames me.