BBC screws up

I don’t approve of taxpayers having to fund big sporting events but I am glad that Glasgow has won the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Better that our money be spent on infrastructure than most other state boondoggles.

And one of those beneficiaries of the state is the BBC.

Isn’t it astounding that the Beeb managed to screw up Glasgow’s big moment?

BBC Scotland last night apologised after missing the moment of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games victory

Come on now – it’s not like it’s every day that the Queen gets invited to Celtic Park.

Blair may have gone but the Blair Broadcasting Corporation is still spinning

Blair may have gone but the Blair Broadcasting Corporation is still spinning:

The Scottish Executive is to be rebranded as the Scottish Government, it has been confirmed.

No – it’s already been rebranded, as we can see from the photo and as we can read about in the very same article:

A new Scottish government sign has been put in place outside its Victoria Quay building in Leith, replacing the existing Scottish Executive sign.

I always hated the Labour government’s policy of leaking news to friendly journalists who could then write: “The minister will announce today…” How did they know that the minister wouldn’t be struck down by a bolt of lightning before making his pronouncement? I suppose the weather’s been nationalised just like the BBC. When journalists say that something will happen, the event should be in the future and should definitely occur.

Scotland hasn’t yet become independent

Despite reports in our local newspaper, Scotland hasn’t yet become independent.

One of those who wish that we were independent is Mike Russell MSP. I’ve met Mr Russell once or twice and think that he’s one of the good guys: he doesn’t believe that everything should be done by the state, an opinion that’s far from universal in Scotland.

Earlier in the year Mike took part in a BBC programme about the Union. He wasn’t entirely happy with Britain’s “national” broadcaster:

Yet even so, the whole thing was undoubtedly skewed in favour of the status quo. The choice of non-speaking guests depended heavily on the Scottish establishment who are far from representative of Scottish opinion.

But Mike doesn’t come down too hard on the Beeb:

Those problems can be put down to ignorance , and moreover an ignorance that is excusable , even if one would expect that by now the BBC would be aware of such pitfalls and take steps to overcome them (for example by drafting in to any London based production in Scotland some Scottish broadcasting advisers.)

So, if the bias isn’t deliberate, what is really going on here? Here’s Mike’s answer:

Knowing many journalists and broadcasters as I do, however, I think that it is an institutional bias that is at fault. The BBC as a corporate body is part of the British establishment and its thinking is based on the continuation of that establishment as it is. The organisaton simply cannot envisage the validity of other choices, and consequently its actions are dictated by that intellectual blind spot.

Precisely. And that’s exactly why the state shouldn’t be involved in broadcasting any more than it should be running newspapers.

So will all be hunky-dory when Scotland is independent and that Icelandic building really is an embassy? Not necessarily. Here’s Mike again:

I have also made it clear that my own experience as a programme maker left me in no doubt that the BBC was – at one stage – the best and most creative broadcasting institution in the world. Taking its programme making values and enshrining them in a newly energised Scottish Broadcasting Company, which could access the best of British and world output but present it and add to it from our perspective has long been a cherished policy aim of the SNP and remains so

Now I agree entirely that the Scottish license fee payer gets a raw deal from the BBC. Scottish broadcasting output is way below our contribution to the “national” kitty. But that’s par for the course in centralised Britain. The question is, though, should we expect a Scottish state broadcaster to be any different? Indeed, a broadcaster with only 5 million home customers might well be even more in thrall to its own local establishment than is the Beeb. And an independent social democratic Scotland certainly would have its own establishment that wouldn’t be representative of Scottishopinion.

Mike writes this:

And the real jewel in the crown – the guaranteed impartial, honest and high quality broadcasting service on which we should rely, and for which we are each as citizens prepared to pay – becomes tarnished , brittle and then broken.

But the BBC’s not “impartial”, is it? There is no guarantee. Why should we expect a Scottish state broadcaster to be any different? I’m certainly not “prepared” to pay for one voluntarily. If Mike really wants Scotland to be an example to other countries why doesn’t he campaign for a totally free market in broadcasting? Let’s have a hundred Scottish Broadcasting Companies.

18 Doughty Street

Over on Iain Dale’s site he mentions a BBC report about the forthcoming Internet TV station, 18 Doughty Street.

According to the BBC the new station will be:

“… a sort of British version of Fox News, which is Rupert Murdoch’s news channel in the United States. Fox is attacked for being politically partisan and that of course is not allowed here.”

“Not allowed here”!

I had to pour myself a wee dram.

The BBC is setting up a rival to al-Jazeera

The BBC is setting up a rival to al-Jazeera and this is what it promises:

“It will maintain the BBC values of accuracy, editorial independence, impartiality, while balancing a wide diversity of views.”The BBC yesterday said its new television service would be “free from commercial, political and religious affiliations or pressures”.

I suppose it’s possible that some BBC people really believe this nonsense. I’ve watched the Beeb for long enough. Will they refund my licence fee so as I can try the competition for a while?

Now, they’re getting it!

Up here in Scotland the BBC is concerned about possible bias:

Wark was subjected to long-term behind-the-scenes scrutiny by her own managers, a team of broadcast executives, who checked out her performance on air for anything which might give rise to accusations of bias.

Let’s think about this. Is the Beeb concerned that Ms Wark could be a secret admirer of David Cameron? Was she seen campaigning for the LibDems in Dunfermline? Is she thought to be a closet Nat?

None of the above, I’m afraid:

Concerned corporation governors put Wark under “review” amid fears that her relationship with the First Minister, together with her closeness to former Labour leader Donald Dewar and her role in the Holyrood parliament building, could be damaging to the image of the BBC as an impartial broadcaster.

Labour! Who’d have thought it?

Your taxes at work:

My parents gave me a watch for my twenty-first birthday and it’s still in use all these years later. Now and then it gains a few minutes so when I got up this morning I thought that I’d do a time check with the BBC’s teletext service before changing the watch and all of our clocks to wintertime. Imagine my shock when I eventually worked out that the Beeb was still on summertime! A few minutes ago they were showing 1338. The rest of the country was at 1238, including those capitalist channels 3, 4 and 5.

From the horse’s mouth

It’s a pity that this story about the blogging revolution is hidden behind the subscription curtain at the Scotsman. From my printed edition I offer this extract:

At their best, they provide an authentic new source of first-hand information. They break stories. They challenge professional reporters to get it right. They keep the media honest. They increase the flow of information. In that context, it doesn’t matter that most of them are rubbish.

Now who could that be? Glenn Reynolds perhaps? The folk over at Samizdata maybe? No, it’s none other than Bob Eggington, former editor-in-chief and creator of

(Cross-posted to Freedom and Whisky.)

And still they claim to be unbiased!

If anyone doubted the BBC’s bias before they’ll surely be having second thoughts today:

The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.

I do think that the Conservative response is far too mild. If I were Michael Howard I’d announce that no Tory would appear on any BBC programme or answer questions from any BBC journalist until after the election. Would the BBC be legally allowed to cover othercandidates in such circumstances?

There was a fascinating letter

in yesterday’s Scotsman. It concludes:

Further evidence of Beeb blinkers was the fact that story of its own 176 job cuts was the lead on Reporting Scotland last Monday. On the same day, Babcock at Rosyth announced 320 job losses and this didn’t merit a mention. Is this the kind of quality journalism that Mr Low seeks to maintain?