IAN Small’s riposte to The National’s article (Letters, August 8) fails to address the simple fact that the BBC are losing credibility (and relevance) as an impartial reporter of Scottish news – which, based on the many examples that are available (the website thoughtcontrolscotland.com is a rich source), I see as a very positive and realistic outcome. And delving a little deeper, basically he’s saying the BBC (in) Scotland is not perceived to be as bad as the others (yet – give it anther month or so).

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There are, I’m sure, plenty of folks who engage with their light entertainment and drama output, but more and more people in Scotland have been made aware of the BBC’s remit to “promote cohesion” across the UK, and how their news and political coverage has reflected that remit. There is an excellent academic study of the BBC’s coverage of the 2014 indy referendum by Dr John Robertson, which shows how the BBC favoured the No campaign. (Dr Robertson was subsequently harassed by senior management of the BBC, who contacted his employer. Telling the truth has consequences!)

We’ve seen and heard “sweetheart” interviews of Ruth Davidson (and other pro-Union figures), where she has (and they have) been allowed to spread disinformation without challenge, and we have seen and heard “attack dog” interviews directed at leading figures in the SNP, where questions satisfactorily answered 50 times already are trotted out like clockwork.

These interviews are conducted by journalists who apparently haven’t bothered to do the research or background investigation to verify their sources before asking their questions. So either they have and are ignoring this to score political points, or they haven’t bothered and are revealing a complete lack of professionalism or worse, incompetence. I know which scenario best fits the outcome.

To put this in perspective, trust in the media in the UK is very low compared to our European neighbours. As Ian drew our attention to comparisons of the BBC with the newspapers, it’s worth mentioning a survey of the printed media conducted every year by the EU in 33 countries. It was highlighted in a 2018 BBC Newsnight interview with John Cleese, where he showed that the UK’s “trust level” was only 23% (the lowest on the chart, and diametrically opposite to the Dutch, who managed 77%).

So, do I expect the BBC and BBC (in) Scotland to suddenly aspire to the journalistic standards they claim to uphold? Of course not; they have their remit, which in time of “war”

(Boris Johnson has set the tone here!) means using the “state” media to spread disinformation, and plenty of propaganda-rich support of the state is expected. And the government “tone”, the one the BBC is supporting, is one of ongoing deceit. Similar to that practised in the 70s with the suppression of the McCrone report and the government disinformation campaign on the quantities of oil in Scottish waters. All done for reasons of national economic security, so that was OK (yeah, right)! Repeat same exercise in 2014 with suppression of the Clair oil field information until after the indy vote.

Also consider that the UK has dropped oil tax revenues to a “mates rates” level of ZERO per cent, which is also very handy when “running the numbers” and promoting the idea that

Scotland wouldn’t manage the “burden” of oil as it apparently has no “intrinsic” value to the exchequer, and would actually be a drain as the oil companies earn tax rebates. Strange how every other oil producer on the planet has managed to maintain higher tax returns? Any comment on that, BBC?

Alistair Potter
via thenational.scot