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Is it time for independence-supporting parties to unite around the issue of media bias?

Monday, October 23, 2023
10 mins

The Nick Robinson Episode

If it is true that ‘it’s darkest before the dawn’ then dawn can’t be that far away for the independence movement.

It's a struggle to think of positive initiatives right now.

We have a small suggestion which, while superficially negative, may bolster the case for ‘Scotland United’ while also helping expose the real motivation of certain individuals and groupings within the governing party.

Younger readers may not be aware of the work featured below. And not just younger readers - as mentioned in our blogpost about Yew Choob! ( Off-Topic Scotland | Yew Choob! (offtopicscotland.com) ) there was such a volume of original creative work produced in the years immediately before and after the 2014 referendum that many of us missed what others were doing or were so close to unfolding events that we couldn’t be objective about much of what was happening.

Of all the contentious and controversial incidents peppering those hectic months either side of September 2014, one of the most high-profile was a protest outside BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay HQ, where Nick Robinson was the subject of a banner calling for him to be sacked. His offence, so far as many independence supporters were concerned, was the misreporting of an answer Salmond had given to one of his questions during an important press gathering at which many international journalists and camera crews were present. 

(24) Alex Salmond vs Nick Robinson BBC - YouTube

Wings Over Scotland | Have I Got Evasion For You

Professor John Robertson produced a report which proved BBC bias. In response, the state broadcaster dismissed his work and tried to wreck his career.

(23) Professor John Robertson giving a intrepid assessment about the MSM coverage of Independence - YouTube

‘Professor John Robertson of the University of the West of Scotland said there had been collusion among Scotland's mainstream media and he condemned fellow academics for not supporting his work, saying it amounted to "thought control" in a democracy. 

Professor Robertson, a media researcher with 30 years' academic experience, is a supporter of independence and describes himself as a socialist, a pacifist, a feminist and an anti-imperialist. He rejects the SNP because it supports Nato membership and accuses Scottish Labour of being "fatally corrupt". He told a Holyrood committee: 

"I am sorry if this seems a bit dramatic, over-the-top, but it's been a very stressful month. I would like to condemn the silence and collusion of almost all of Scotland's mainstream media in suppressing my research despite its massive online presence. Its online presence is a news item which has been ignored; I have my suspicions but I don't know for certain.”

"I would like to condemn the silence of almost all Scottish academics with an interest in this field who might have been expected to challenge censorship of intellectual material. I have been personally hurt by the above combination of threats from a powerful institution, there's been no horse's head in my bed yet, I suppose that's something. I interpret the above as an attempt at thought control in a democracy and of all democracies the one I like the best and I am very upset by that."’

(24) THE BIGGER THE LIE - Media Bias in the Scottish Independence Referendum - YouTube

The evidence of mainstream media bias against Scottish independence has also been found in print media (Dr. David Patrick:   (24) WRITING OFF SCOTLAND - Press Bias in the Independence Referendum - YouTube )     

But the BBC is the single most important broadcaster resident in Scotland. It has always had huge influence and, despite the rise of social media and alternative news platforms, remains trusted by many who regard it as the most authoritative source available. 

The few examples provided above prove otherwise. 

If there is to be another independence referendum, should the BBC be trusted to conduct fair coverage and balanced debate? 

If not, why should independence-supporting political parties and organisations/businesses continue to co-operate? 

So, we raise the question and hope it will be taken up for discussion as soon as possible: ‘Should Independence-supporting parties boycott the BBC?’

If we don’t, we can hardly complain when it does the same as it did in 2013/14.  

‘The media is largely in the pockets of powerful people.’ John Robertson. (12m20s, ‘The Bigger The Lie’)

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