Has the Scottish referendum campaign highlighted bias in BBC News reporting

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9 thoughts on “Has the Scottish referendum campaign highlighted bias in BBC News reporting

  1. creatorsnotconsumers

    I agree and Nick Robinson’s little stunt the other day with Alex Salmond was quite the boy scout job jobbed and the recent ‘no’ vote report that suddenly went off air when a ‘yes’ banner appeared should go down as a BEEB classic.

  2. Gary

    I’m afraid this is true. Its not some kind of conspiracy theory. The BBC is the state broadcaster and, as such, broadcasts news and opinion which the state permits. Looking back to last year you can see a pattern, they failed to report the anti Monsanto march, the anti-austerity march, the pro Palestinian marches, the Jarrow NHS march, the FOUR anti BBC Bias protests and the vast numbers on Scotland’s streets in various towns and cities yesterday and, on the NO side they failed to report on the 15,000 Orange men (mostly from Northern Ireland) marching through the nation’s capital, allegedly so as not to embarrass the NO campaign. You can check back through their website and confirm these, many had 50,000 at the events but weren’t considered newsworthy! On top of this there have been incidences which are genuinely too numerous to mention. The BBC hasn’t been so blatantly biased since they edited the film of the Miner’s Strike.

  3. Jeffrey Davies

    sorry for that had to scoot off but heres whot i sent wonder will they wont they act nah

    I wish to report a breach of the Trades Description Act, 1968.

    I purchased a TV Licence and tuned into to the BBC News expecting to experience fair, unbiased and honest coverage of news events that are in the public interest based on the fact that the public pays for the BBC, and also because it’s own BBC Charter and Agreement states that this is so. Indeed, one particular section of the charter, under the heading Section 3: Accuracy, Principles, stands out for me:


    The BBC must not knowingly and materially mislead its audiences. We should not distort known facts, present invented material as fact or otherwise undermine our audiences’ trust in our content.

    As a consumer, therefore, this is what I expected to get for my money.

    However, I have discovered that this is far from the case. Cover-ups and omissions are extensive in the BBC’s reporting on such vital public interest matters as: Savile, the privatisation of the NHS, Syria, the TTIP, the abuse of sick and disabled people by the DWP… the list goes on. Yet I have paid good money for honest, fair, and unbiased programs and news reporting.

    I have been compelled to raise this complaint by the latest in a serious of Charter breaches by the BBC. My complaint is as follows:

    During a report on the Scottish Referendum debate, on the 6 O’Clock news, Nick Robinson of the BBC can be seen to be clearly lying about the events on which he is reporting. In doing so, he breaches Article 44 of the BBC Trust Charter Agreement.

    The Article states:

    44. Accuracy and impartiality.

    (1) The BBC must do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output. (Link to Agreement)


    During a live Q&A Alex Salmond took a question from the BBC’s political editor Mr. Robinson. Mr. Robinson’s report shows him asking the question: “Why should a Scottish voter believe you, a politician, against men who are responsible for billions of pounds of profit”. It then cuts away to various images, accompanied by Mr. Robinson’s voiceover which states that Mr. Salmond: “didn’t answer, but he did attack the reporting of what he calls those in the metropolitan media”.

    For the edited version of events, please go to the footage of the report.

    However, the BBC also broadcast the event live earlier in the day and this shows a very different reality to the one reported by Robinson. Mr. Salmond took the question, before which Robinson clearly announces who he is. Not only does Salmond answer, but does so over the course of more than 5 minutes, during which he raised his own serious concerns about some market sensitive information released by the BBC the day before. After answering, Mr. Robinson then appears to be seeking further clarity from Mr. Salmond, who then further clarifies his original answer. The whole exchange lasts 7:46 minutes. The information presented by Salmond gives a lot of information that would be of use to the voting public.

    Here is the unedited footage from the BBC’s first broadcast of the event.

    This is an omission of the facts, a breach of the Charter and a clear example of misrepresenting the facts, at the very least.

    For complete clarity, this was the full text of what Mr. Robinson asked:

    “Two if I may. (Q1) One specifically on RBS, that you raised. Are you suggesting that the decision of RBS has no consequence or do you accept that by moving their base to London tax revenues will move to London? In other words, Scottish taxpayers would have to make up the money they would lose from RBS moving to London. 
(Q2) And on a more general point. John Lewis’ boss said prices could go up. Standard Life’s boss says money will move out of Scotland. BP’s boss says oil will run out. Why should a Scottish voter believe you, a politician, against men who are responsible for billions of pounds of profits?”

    In his BBC report, only the last sentence is broadcast. Divorced from the opening of the question, it is utterly decontextualised. Robinson then asserts, “He didn’t answer. But he did attack the report of what he calls those in the metropolitan media.” This is followed with a few choice cuts to back up this very obvious framing and editing. In this report, it seems very much like Salmond does not answer. In a response the BBC has made to complaints about this matter, it was said viewers felt that Robinson “implied” a lack of response. In fact he directly stated there was no response to the question.

    Since you have a link to the full exchange, you can confirm, yourself, that Salmond did in fact answer his points. It is too lengthy to transcribe all of what Salmond says, but I will surmise and give the exact timing within the video so that you can watch for yourself.

    Video here – http://bit.ly/1sv8Swn

    From 1:09 – 1:49: Salmond corrects Robinson’s misunderstanding of how Corporation Tax is calculated. Thus directly answering Q1 and weakening some of the aspersions in Robinson’s report. 
From 1:50 – 1:54: Salmond says “In terms more generally, of this issue. Let’s go on to the generality… ”Salmond is being explicit about the fact he is going to answer Robinson’s questions more broadly. This could not be clearer and is important. 
From 1:55 – 2:20: Salmond posits his belief that “people of Scotland have moved beyond these warnings and scaremongerings.” He also points out that the David Cameron’s business advisor had called on business leaders to make negative statements about independence. In fact it turned to be Cameron himself, reported here in the FT – http://on.ft.com/1xYmTr1. These are exactly the type of statements referred to by Nick in Q2. Therefore, by calling into question the motives of business bosses Salmond is directly responding to Q2. 
From 2:47 – 3:25 : Salmond address the RBS news by quoting directly from their statement, thus highlighting that they are not moving jobs, at all. This brings into focus the tenor of the BBC reporting and Robinson’s question. Salmond answers Q1 and Q2. Only some of this made Robinson’s report. 
From 3:27 – 4:04 : Salmond mentions the BBC story about Lloyds moving to London, saying they are already HQ’d there, and thus have no jobs to move. Again, this generally addresses the concerns of Q2. 
From 4:05 – 5:30: Salmond then comes to the issues about the RBS information being leaked by the Treasury. A matter confirmed in a report by the BBC themselves – http://bbc.in/1uACTdT. 
From 5:30 – till end: Salmond deals with the heckling of Robinson. This is merely a reiteration of the earlier points Robinson failed to understand.

    Robinson has both questions answered. Salmond has taken Robinson’s questions, answered them thoroughly and informatively and turned this into an assessment of the motives, morals and trustworthiness of business leaders, the Treasury, the PM and, in fact, the BBC.

    This manipulation and misrepresentation of the facts in itself is a clear breached the BBC Charter Agreement, Article 44. has a mp whot do you sais about this bbc tory stool pigeon jeff3

  4. robert fillies

    Excellent piece Gary, and let us not forget that their Chairman is a Tory big beast from the past. No wonder it’s now the C.B.C (Conservative Broadcasting Corporation}.

  5. Steve Found

    Totally agree with everything Gary mentioned and the BBC’s programming has also, in my opinion, shown bias towards the governments views. For example Nick and Anne where they sent people claiming ESA to work with other people and examined people claiming benefits in two separate programs. Not as blatant propaganda/ridiculing as Channel 4’s Benefits Street, but certainly biased towards trying to show that the government is correct in what it is doing.

  6. stephentamblin

    What bullsh*t the BBC are on the concervitives’ side only reporting the tory side on every bit of news I hope Scotland goes independent that will shut camoran up say yes yes yes yes Tories a bunch of liars don’t believe anything thay say

  7. Joan Edington

    They couldn’t be more biased if they tried. It says a lot about what they think of their own News 24 service though. They must have assumed that nobody watches or takes notice of it when they blatantly say that a question that had a 6 minute answer suddenly wasn’t answered by tea-time, not expecting anyone to notice.

  8. jaypot2012

    I don’t watch the BBC, I don’t watch any tv, or radio or read newspapers. I know for sure the amount of people here in Scotland that are boycotting the BBC is enormous and should continue to grow right across the whole of the UK.
    They are starting to crack, we just have to keep chipping away at them, and I for one, will do anything to see them break!

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