16 April 2012 - 7:46am | posted by | 14 comments

BBC presentations lead news website to question impartiality of BBC presenters around Scottish Independence

A Scottish news website is carrying videos that have been released on YouTube which it claims ...“have appeared to cast significant doubt on the willingness and ability of the BBC to cover the [Scottish] independence referendum in an impartial manner”.

The leaked videos feature in-house presentations by four senior BBC presenters giving explanatory background briefings on the referendum question.

Newsnet Scotland says the target of the videos ... “is believed to be an audience of junior BBC staff.”

Newsnet Scotland, which admits strong nationalist leanings is part of its editorial policy and seeks full fiscal autonomy or independence, alleges: “The presenters, including BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, are shown attacking the fairness of the SNP’s proposed referendum question and claiming that Alex Salmond is ‘not impregnable’.

“The First Minister is also accused of wanting a devo-max option on the ballot paper in order to give him a ‘parachute’ should Scots fail to back independence.

“In the presentations, Scotland is described as being in financial deficit and requiring subsidy. Claims are also made that the SNP are ‘changing policy in order not to frighten the horses’.

“Brian Taylor is shown claiming that Alex Salmond wants to delay the referendum in order to ‘sow dissent’ amongst Unionist parties, and says: ‘He [Salmond] wants a contest as close as possible to the next UK general election because he believes that by then his Unionist opponents will be fighting each other rather than fighting independence and Alex Salmond. He wants to sow dissent among them’.

“Mr Taylor also claimed that the Scottish government’s proposed referendum question was not straightforward and simple. The BBC Scotland man suggested it was designed to elicit a positive response.

“On the proposed question: ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’ Mr Taylor says: ‘Straightforward, simple – except it’s not.

“’The word ‘agree’ according to psephologists is a welcoming word, it draws people in. People like to agree, they don’t like to disagree so the word there is good.”

“Mr Taylor added: ‘Why does Alex Salmond favour a second question, devo max, and devo plus, why not just go for independence, which is the one he has the mandate for?

“’He wants a fall-back, he wants a parachute should independence fail to win’.”

Also featured on the videos is BBC TV political commentator, Andrew Neil, a former editor of The Scotsman and the Sunday Times, BBC TV's UK political editor, Nick Robinson, and BBC TV's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders.

At the time of writing, The Drum was awaiting a comment from BBC Scotland over the matter.

Comments

16 Apr 2012 - 09:39
MarkEMacLachlan

You'll wait a while.

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16 Apr 2012 - 10:55
mickymonkey's picture

nearly right Mark - they will wait forever. BBC Scotland has no truck with democracy! @MarkEMacLachlan

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16 Apr 2012 - 10:46
mickymonkey's picture

Nice try - but you'll get no trace of democracy from BBC Scotland!

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16 Apr 2012 - 10:49
skinp18371's picture

Don't think these videos are leaked as they appear on the BBC College of Journalism's very own You Tube account.

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16 Apr 2012 - 10:52
mickymonkey's picture

BBC Scotland does not do democracy - Mark is nearly right - you'll wait forever

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16 Apr 2012 - 11:14
miked18389's picture

Thnaks for covering this. You seem to be the only mainstream media outlet touching this story. I'm not a member of the SNP or any political party (and never have been) but I do worry about the impartiality of the BBC in Scotland when it comes to the issue of independence. You are right to draw attention to the political leanings of Newsnet but to be fair to them they are one of the few pro-independence web-sites around.

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18 Apr 2012 - 10:44
Ogilvy's picture

@miked18389 Mainstream? This is an industry paper for marketing.

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Oni
16 Apr 2012 - 11:30
Oni's picture

BBC following Labour party line shocker..

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16 Apr 2012 - 11:38
mjmcf76142's picture

Right, they're not leaked, Newsnet has corrected that. But look at the videos, Neil's error-strewn and splenetic performance apart, independence issue is cynically presented as a game of chess between 2 equally cynical political groups. The profound social implications for Scots and others are not addressed. Scotland Office, Calman Commission and other Cameron manipulations are not addressed. Opinion (Salmond's supposed preference for 2 questions, devo-max) is touted as fact. The audience if young journalists are being invited to imitate Severin Carroll (Guardian), who cannot write about the Scottish government or the independence issue without a built-in sneer.

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17 Apr 2012 - 07:52
GeeveeceeDave

Twice in the space of a couple of months, BBCScotland has been exposed as biased, and in both cases Brian Taylor has been involved. Read 'Its more than headlines that have to change at BBC" http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/4553-its-more-than...

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17 Apr 2012 - 17:07
dharmabum013

The Act of Union 1703? You sure Andrew?

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17 Apr 2012 - 21:11
Richard McHarg's picture

@dharmabum013 Facts never have been his strong-point.

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19 Apr 2012 - 00:58
they cant be serious's picture

The usual bbc suspects....and the usual bbc policy! Use Scotsmen to critisize Scotland/Scottish Government/policy...divide and conquer! Oh! and don't allow them to respond!!!!

I would like to thank the Drum for listening ! You obviously missed the bbc e-mail telling you not to!!

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6 Jan 2014 - 22:41
happy67184's picture

Has the BBC replied yet? Should this story not be covered again?

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