News stories are put up on the basis of public interest, like anything some stories are more newsworthy than others for various reasons.
The Scottish National Party seems to take any opportunity to accuse anyone who doesn’t dance to their tune of bias, even if it isn’t true.
To that end they have been running with a theme that the television reporting of the independence referendum has not been fair and balanced and has damaged the Yes campaign.
Does this stack up?
I would say no!
The real problem of the Yes Campaign is and remains that they produce shit and people aren’t buying shit, reading shit or want to know about shit.
Shit doesn’t sell well at all.
Professor John Robertson, author of a University of the West of Scotland report on BBC and ITV coverage of the referendum is to pop along to give evidence to Holyrood's Education and Culture Committee.
Day out for the boy and his report will probably be the basis of the stick to attempt to beat the BBC.
The committee will also hear from BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie.
Also tripping the light fantastic will be head of news and current affairs John Boothman and referendum unit editor John Mullin.
They will ‘hold the fort’ regarding the BBC’s "extensive" coverage of the referendum to date.
Dr Robertson's research found "a numerical preponderance of anti-independence statements over pro-independence statements by a ratio of 3:2 on Reporting Scotland and on STV".
The BBC charter means that by default they are required to let all the main parties put their views.
It is seen as the fairness way forward.
"One obvious explanation lies in the editorial decision to allow all three anti-independence parties to respond to each SNP statement, creating an unavoidable predominance of statements from the former even when these were kept short."
Given the parties of the Union have distinct identities it is unlikely they would give up this right to place a single group as spokes group.
Publicity in politics is very much the name of the game.
"The Reporting Scotland imbalance tends to normalise the No/anti-independence position and put the onus of the Yes/pro-independence position to justify itself”.
Well they make statements and those statements need to be addressed as to whether or not they stand up.
“In many cases, reporters would round off with a compromise assessment so as to leave the two campaigns in a kind of balance”.
So, not quite discrimination then!
"Quite often, however, a statement strongly supportive of one side would be left hanging as the final thought. This was more likely, especially on Reporting Scotland, to be an anti-independence statement”.
Well, the SNP likes to talk so they get first crack, the reply if made up on the hoof, needs to come afterwards.
"Comparing Reporting Scotland with STV News, the former seems less balanced and fair to the Yes campaign, if only in the tendency to give pro-independence statements a greater frequency of opening and closing debates”.
It could be that STV are a little less experienced at posing difficult questions!
“Overall, however, both feature a preponderance of anti-independence statements, a majority of anti-independence evidence and a heavy personalisation of the debate around the character of Alex Salmond, with the latter often portrayed as selfish and undemocratic”.
News flash, the SNP is a front for the Alex Salmond party within the SNP, that party is run as a one man band.
"On the objective evidence presented here, the mainstream TV coverage of the first year of the independence referendum campaigns has not been fair or balanced. Taken together, we have evidence of coverage which seems likely to have damaged the Yes campaign."
Well life is tough at the top; perhaps he should blame Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon for being so crap.
The ‘good stuff’ gets better coverage!
Politics in some sense is about drama!
In evidence to the committee, BBC Scotland said:
"There has been extensive general news coverage, across all of our broadcast platforms, of all of the key events in the debate so far this year, including the statements made by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, on the Scottish Government's proposed currency union; Chancellor George Osborne, backed by Labour and the Lib Dems, ruling out a formal sterling union in the event of a Yes vote; the First Minister's speech to business leaders in Aberdeen and the meetings of both the UK and Scottish governments, within five miles of each other, in the North East. All of these have proved to be major events across all output, both on BBC Scotland and on network.
"There has been rolling coverage and a number of co-presentations, most recently with the Today programme, with James Naughtie presenting from Aberdeen and Sarah Montague in London."
In a debate like this everyone should be allowed to get their bit in, whether you choose to accept their point is entirely up to the viewer.
Also I need to declare an interest in writing this piece; I got a free T shirt from the BBC today.
However that doesn’t and will not colour my thoughts.
So, at the end of Holyrood taking evidence, the SNP might conclude that they are being treated unfairly, they aren’t, but we should remember, they have other work to do and the sooner they get off their arses and do it perhaps Scotland would be a better place.
I think we have all heard enough from Scotland's 'jolly fat man' Alex Salmond to last a life time.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University