That Wiz The Week That Wiznae #Indyref Media Bias

 This week AhDinnaeKen casts its eye over the tediously dull view of too many Nationalists that BBC Scotland is proactively biased against indepedence :

“There are today many Unionists in Scotland. They are everywhere -- in factories, offices, butcher stores, on street corners, in private businesses. And each carries in himself the germ of death of freedom.” ― J. Howard MacNewsnat

“There are today many Unionists in Scotland. They are everywhere — in factories, offices, butcher stores, on street corners, in private businesses. And each carries in himself the germ of death of freedom.” ― J. Howard MacNewsnat

By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe

 ‘CRACKPOT’ WEBSITE CLAIMS BBC IS BIASED AGAINST INDEPENDENCE

NEWSNAT SCOTLAND is reportedly the most popular and widely read of the internet’s pro-independence grievance websites.

That tells you all you need to know about the current direction of the online indy debate – more than you need to know, in fact.

The Newsnat site is engaged in a sustained McCarthyite styled vendetta against the BBC. They perceive oor dear old aunty Beeb to have embarked on a heinous campaign of anti-independence bias.

This time, Douglas Fraser, the Beeb’s Scottish business correspondent, is the unwitting target of the crackpot site’s ire and disdain.

According to Newsnat’s clunky analogue reporter G.A. Ponseybody, the Beeb have colluded in some kind of sinister, Better Together coordinated, negative campaign against independence.

And Ponseybody implies that BBC reporters such as Fraser are doing their best to aid their BT political masters.

Ponseybody made the woeful accusation regarding this statement from Fraser: “Sterling is not an asset. You can’t split it up. It’s not something you get an eight point four per cent population share.”

The BBC business correspondent also added: “If the first thing you do even before you get independence is to repudiate your debt because you are having a spat with your neighbour, the bond markets may take a very dim view of it.”

Ponseybody moaned: “It’s straight out of the anti-independence campaign handbook and a line that is used by pretty much every pro-Union commentator when arguing against a currency-union.”

Ponseybody couldnae be any more crackers if you added cheese and whine. Which he does, of course, with an overegged clunkily hamfisted relish.

Given that neither Germany nor hallowed Norway nor the majority of market traders consider currency to be an asset, it’s fairly safe to assume that Fraser’s in good company by saying such.

It’s also worth remembering that Fraser is the BBC’s Scottish business editor. That means – if it needs spelling out – that he deals with high, middle and low ranking business people every day of the week. Y’know currency speculators, bond marketers, traders, directors, chief executives etc.
Consequently, it’s fairly safe to conclude that Fraser knows what he’s talking about in the field of business, debt and bond markets – unlike Ponseybody on the media.

Better Together Unionist stooge or BBC Scotland's Business editor? You decide. Answers in green ink to Newsnat Scotland.

Better Together Unionist stooge or BBC Scotland’s Business editor? You decide. Answers in green ink to Newsnat Scotland @paranoiasville.

It begs the unanswered question, why on earth would Fraser put his job and reputation on the line by acting as a spokesperson for a recently formed political campaign? He’s bigger and more professional than that.

Ponseybody’s and Newsnat’s current whining and moaning ‘grievance’, obsesses over the minutiae of an alleged ‘blackout’ by aunty Beeb of a Standard & Poors (S&P) statement published in February. The statement, amongst many other details, said that an indy Scotland would have an investment grade rating in the event of it becoming independent.

In a radio report at the beginning of March, Fraser interviewed Frank Gill of S&P who reiterated: “If Scotland were an independent country it would have an investment grade rating.

In an earlier television report on the 28th Feb, the Beeb didn’t report the S&P statement that way.

The reason was simple. The S&P statement lost out to newswroom bias. It lost out to the bias inherent of virtually every good news organisation out there – a bias which most online Nationalists display no conception of, perception of or interest in.

It’s not the type of political bias asserted by conspiracy theory crackpots like Ponseybody, but, to be fair to the crackpots, it‘s bias, nevertheless.

Almost everyone has heard of the phrase, “a good day to bury bad news”. It used to be a favourite tactic of New Labour spin doctors who, almost to a man or woman, made it their political modus operandi.

Put simply, the Standard & Poors statement was a victim of timing. It coincided with Standard Life’s announcement regarding the company’s contingency plan in the event of Scottish independence.

Ironically, S&P’s credit rating statement was published on the same day in which its ‘good news’ got buried by a much more important story – in effect, it was a bad day to get good news buried.

Ask anyone on the street what is most important to them – a conceptual credit rating for a hypothetical independent country, or people losing their jobs in a company they work for.

There’s no contest. The jobs story wins every time – unless you’re a constitutional zealot or a hate-preaching kiddy-on media monitor.

The S&P report lost out to ‘Bad News’ bias and ‘Immediacy’ bias and if you stretch it a bit, ‘Narrative’ bias:

Potential job losses versus conceptual credit rating for hypothetical independent country. Which are you most interested in?

Potential job losses versus conceptual credit rating for hypothetical independent country. Which are you most interested in?

Good news is boring. It might be harsh, it might not be right, but ‘bad news’ bias is one of the inherent biases present in virtually every good news organisation. Bad news grabs attention, it represents threat and it puts politicians on the back foot. Most news on telly is bad news.

The Standard Life story also came to light before the S&P statement which was consequently supplanted as a matter of timing. Aside from losing out to ‘bad news’ bias therefore, the S&P story was also a victim of ‘Immediacy’ bias.

News journalists compete amongst themselves, other news competitors and the internet. Given that the Standard Life announcement was the big indy story of the day, it’s no surprise that S&P lost out.

It also lost out to ‘Narrative’ bias and got itself re-appropriated as a verification stop gap for the Standard Life bad news story.

It’s the reason why Douglas Fraser has become the latest in a long line of BBC hate figures for McCarthyite crackpots like G.A. Ponseybody at Newsnat Scotland.

In the middle of Fraser’s TV report on Standard Life on the 28th Feb, he quoted S&P in the following manner: “The challenges facing an independent Scotland would be significant but not unsurpassable“.

A wee mention for verification of the potential problems facing an independent Scotland. Nae luck Ponsyebody. Yer tea's oot.

A wee mention for verification of the potential problems facing an independent Scotland. Nae luck Ponsyebody. Yer tea’s oot.

The quote was lifted directly from the last line of Standard and Poors statement – the summary – and it fitted in with both the narrative of the Standard Life story and the ‘immediacy’ of the need for a secondary trusted source.

Simples.

That Fraser then found time in a later radio report to interview Standard & Poor’s Frank Gill, is the proof which dispels Ponseybody’s scurrilous and risible accusation against Fraser of acting as a frontman for Better Together.

This feature, as if it needs said, is basic Media Studies stuff. Its main premise is dealt with more eloquently (and with less of a word count) by the estimable Alex Massie here.

But it begs the question. Just how much understanding do diehard Nationalists actually have of how the modern media works? Why do they seem to think that frothing on the internet on social media and blog sites is part of the independence zeitgeist – part of the alleged indy momentum.

They seem blissfully unaware of how much they are embarrassing themselves, their fellow Scots and, by proxy – given the context – their country.

The existence of sites like Newsnat Scotland and its ilk peddling McCarthyite style stories of Unionists under the metaphorical bed only encourages such idiotic paranoia.

Luckily, websites like Newsnat aren’t taken too seriously. They’re nothing but suppositories/repositories for Nationalist grievance merchants.

Roll on September 18.

[NB: Cutoff. I was going ramble on about the actual appearace of the BBC bigwigs at the Committee for Education and Culture – a Nationalist dominated committee which has serial question dodger and marriage wrecker Joan McAlpine as a member. But the piece is already too long.]

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4 Comments

Filed under Culture, Media

4 responses to “That Wiz The Week That Wiznae #Indyref Media Bias

  1. Michty, I see Mr Ponsonby’s upped the ante with a two-part BBC critique that makes the Zeppelin piece seem positively sober!

    Anyway, another point about the S&P’s report is that it was either not particularly newsworthy or might in fact have been detrimental to the Yes case.

    That’s because if all S&P’s is saying is that Scotland would be ‘investment grade’ then that simply means its sovereign debt wouldn’t be regarded as junk bond status. Or it just means that Scotland’s bonds would be rated at BBB- or better.

    There was another statement in the S&P’s report about Scotland qualifying for the ‘highest economic assessment’, but that seemed more about national income/GDP rather than debt and credit rating per se. Me and you could be high earners but still attract a low credit rating, particularly if we were threatening to renege on debt obligations, say!

    Indeed the FT headlined ‘S&P warns Scotland would struggle to match UK credit rating’, while Newsnet reported: ‘Credit agency confirms iScotland set for triple-A credit rating’.

    Who to believe?! I certainly don’t think any credible source has yet claimed that an iScotland would match the UK’s credit rating.

    • Michty, I see Mr Ponsonby’s upped the ante with a two-part BBC critique that makes the Zeppelin piece seem positively sober!

      I’ll need to take a look out for that. Any links?

      Who to believe?! I certainly don’t think any credible source has yet claimed that an iScotland would match the UK’s credit rating.

      Given the text of S&P report and the tables of comparisons, the best iScotland would be rated would be AA- : Very similar to New Zealand.

      Regards

  2. Alec

    But it begs the question

    Please stop.

    ~alec

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