Published on 11 March 2014, Newsnet Scotland.
This is the afternoon session where BBC Scotland Chiefs appeared in front of the SG Culture Committee to answer questions on broacasting, with particular relevance to the recent report by Professor John Robertson which appeared to suggest serious bias in the reporting of news by BBC Scotland.
Four individuals faced a series of questions from the cross-party committee - (as opposed to the single representation from Professor Robertson that morning). Their opening speeches totally discredited the validity of the data recorded by Professor Robertson.
As expected, the team of four had their story pretty much down to memory and gave a bullet proof series of monologues proclaiming their professional and extremely reasonable conduct in the whole affair. The Unionist members of the committee gave them no real worries, in fact the Conservative member was very sympathetic to the attitudes and policies outlined from the four executives, complementing them on how they handled such important issues in an even-handed way.
At no time were any of the four asked what their politics were and which side they supported in the forthcoming referendum. Clearly, they were Unionists which made that particular subject an irrelevance to the Unionist members on the committee. Only the SNP members asked questions that were awkward to answer and the true nature of the politics on dispay were revealed (if only very slightly). One very telling fact emerged that the BBC would not release information concerning the number and content of the complaints they recieved from the public. They also claimed they did not categorise the complaints recieved and would have no way of reporting the specific complaints concerning bias.
With four BBC members, the answers were forthcoming by passing the response around between them, taking up time and expanding the topic into areas that suited the agenda of the BBC and took the focus away from topics they would prefer to avoid.
At no time did any of the four receive the level of personal questioning that the professor endured in the earlier session.
Here are some comments that were posted when the topic was published back in March 2014. There were no points made that expressed satisfaction with the way the BBC Executives answered their questions.
"Its a bit rich of BBC to demand ALL OF Prof Robertson's raw data and yet refuse to provide ANY of their own BBC Scotland Complaints data!"
"McQuarrie's contempt for the elected government of Scotland, which he purports to 'serve' is palpable. To explain, McQuarrie and his cronies refused, three times, to appear before this Committee - arrogantly confirming that BBC Scotland is not accountable to the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish people but is only accountable to the UK govt. McQuarrie's scorn says more than anything else that the BBC is actually entrenched against the Scottish people's political aspirations and settled will of the people. e.g. 75% of Scots want devomax at least. The BBC ignores this fact daily. On the Scottish govt complaining to the BBC Trust, regarding McQuarries's three refusals to appear before the Scottish Parliament, the BBC Trust advised McQuarrie to appear, which he then did at the request of HIS paymaster, not the elected govt of Scotland... "
"Why didn't Mary Scanlon ask the head of BBC Scotland if he supports an Independent Scotland, as she did with Prof Robertson - or does she already know the answer?"
"There is obviously an imbalance because most of the news regarding independence is BAD NEWS. Don't blame the BBC because the SNP have made no case for Independence."
"I pay my TV license, the fact that the BBC would not provide its complaints number is OUT OF ORDER! Then we have the ability to answer questions without answering them AT ALL. I am French, not British, and I can see the biased of the BBC, the things they 'forget' to mention, the way they miss-interpret some information (like the standard life report). It is sickening the way they LIE to the general public in order to help the NO campaign."
"The University report is based on analysis of the main early evening news programmes over a full year , were it to be based on the edited versions for the late evening news the BBC would be guilty as charged . The bias evident between early and late evening reports is beyond doubt. The BBC Scotland management team are displaying a decree of arrogance which we have grown to expect from that organisation. Discerning viewers of the Independence Debate know who is being a little economical with the truth."
"This is an abysmal performance from the BBC, revealing the deep establishment bias of what is supposed to be a 'public service' broadcaster. Very sad viewing."