Newsnet Scotland: Are they thick or deliberately deceptive? Or both?

THE BBC reported on the NHS waiting list findings of Audit Scotland yesterday. The independent watchdog’s report didn’t make great reading for the NHS, the SNP or Alex Neil the Health Secretary. Given that Audit Scotland is independent, with no political axe to grind, AhDinnaeKen investigates the attitude and reporting of ‘alternative’ newsgathering website, Newsnet Scotland, on the issue. We* can only conclude Newsnat have done nothing to throw off the label of ‘crackpot’ coined for them by Daily Redcoat editor Davie Clegg:

Ponseybody might smell a rat. AhDinnaeKen smells shite. And it's coming from Ponseybody's keyboard.

Ponseybody might smell a rat. AhDinnaeKen smells shite. And it’s coming directly from Ponseybody’s keyboard.

By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe

AUDIT SCOTLAND, the BBC, the Labour party and STV are conspiring in unison against the Scottish Government according to Newsnet Scotland.

The laughably crackpot accusation was raised by the site yesterday in response to the BBC’s reporting of Audit Scotland’s latest A&E waiting time findings.

And, to further compound their paranoia, Newsnet Scotland also claimed that Audit Scotland were deliberately misreporting waiting time data to discredit the SNP.

According to Newsnet reporter God Awful Ponsonby (G.A. Ponsonby) not only were STV, the BBC and Audit Scotland in on the conspiracy, so were the Labour party.

God Awful garbled: “But as ever when it comes to NHS waiting times, the Scottish media – especially the BBC although STV were in on this one as well – then things aren’t ever what they appear.”

Interpreted into the Queen’s imperial English, we* think Ponseybody means that both broadcasters were acting in concert to undermine the reputation of the SNP.

Not content with pointing the finger at the TV outlets, God Awful also let loose with both canonical barrels on the SNP’s nemesis, the Labour party.

He raged: “Yesterday we had the latest attempt by Labour and their media cronies to present the NHS in Scotland as somehow in crisis and at breaking point.”

And, just to make sure that there was no doubt that this was a heinous, bordering on despicable, conspiracy against the SNP, God Awful also turned his forensic analysis on the source of the report, Audit Scotland.

Referring to Audit Scotland’s previous report on waiting time figures, God Awful pointed out a “rather odd anomaly”.

The older report – linked to in God Awful’s piece – “contains a diagram showing clearly that 2006 has been used.”

At this stage, AhDinnaeKen was expecting the grammatically clunky Ponseybody to phone the polis in a fit of pique.

But no, by having used a graphic containing this guilty diagram, Audit Scotland clearly has to answer the question raised by Ponseybody: “why has the new report claimed 2008/09 was the previous baseline when the text and diagram suggests it was 2006?”

While he awaits the response “with interest” from Audit Scotland, we* think that the answer is already there in the older report itself.

On the summary page of the report the second line says: “In 2008/09, the equivalent of around 1.4 million people attended an emergency department.”

Paragraph 3 of the summary background states: “In 2008/09, the ambulance service transported over 400,000 patients to hospital…”

Paragraph 4 states: “In 2008/09, NHS 24 referred just under 75,000 …”

As if to compound Ponseybody’s ignorance, the graphic referred to by him also clearly shows that 2008 was the period when waiting times hit their target of 95% of A&E patients being seen within a four hour waiting period.

It seems fair to conclude – for that reason alone – that 2008/09 would be the obvious baseline to choose from which to measure future performance.

As was found by the independent watchdog, there’s clearly work to be done. And, as directly referred to by Audit Scotland: “The Scottish Government launched the National Unscheduled Care Action Plan in February 2013 in response to the deterioration in performance against the four-hour standard.”

It shouldn’t need pointed out, but the four hour waiting time target was reached in 2008/09. It hasn’t been maintained and that’s what was highlighted by the report. Basic stuff.

All worth reporting by the BBC, STV, MSM et al because, in anyone’s language – even Ponseybody’s – it’s newsworthy and in the public interest.

Not for Ponseybody though.

Clearly clutching too hard at the 2006 graphical straw man, he then proceeded to give that straw man the thrashing it deserved to prove beyond doubt that Audit Scotland was out to get the NHS/SNP, in cahoots with the Labour party, the BBC and STV.

AhDinnaeKen is still laughing.

It only leaves the question – to be answered by Newsnight’s producers – why are the BBC plugging this arrant nonsensical website at the end of Newsnight?

Appeasement only leads to further embarrassing concessions.

Scottish Review was plugged alongside Newsnet recently. The difference between the two is like chalk and cheese.

The Scottish Review is high quality, informative and thought provoking.

Newsnet is mostly none of those things, other than when the likes of Hassan, Torrance, or Riddoch get paid to write for it – and even then…

Earth calling Ponseybody. Yer tea’s oot!

Reporting on the findings of an independent body. How bloody bias can you get. In an independent Scotland the news will be much more government friendly if the likes of Newsnet get their way.

Reporting on the findings of an independent body. How bloody bias can you get? In an independent Scotland the news will be much more government friendly if the likes of Newsnet get their way.




Filed under CyberNats, Media, Opinion

10 responses to “Newsnet Scotland: Are they thick or deliberately deceptive? Or both?

  1. Dear Longshanker

    I got abuse on Newsnet Scotland, only when I complained and challenged these people was it taken down.

    Although I have their site on my blog list for my readers to see, I don’t consider them a news source, they appear to write nothing critical of the SNP ever.

    After getting abuse because of my comments on the BBC Big Debate, I had to point out to the ‘less than bright’ that Nicola Sturgeon was nodding her head to what I was saying.

    The SNP then did their U turn on Nato.

    George Laird right again and ahead of the SNP.

    Newsnet Scotland being so bias to that extent they are shows they can’t be taken seriously.

    To be credible you have to be willing to criticise your own side.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

    • Indeed George.

      Newsnat and Wings are birds of a feather in the credibility stakes – though Wings Is a much better written form of pro-SNP propaganda. Ponsonby’s prose is so clunky it’s like being hit over the head with a Minecraft shovel.

      Bella is much better in that regard, I like quite a bit of that James Maxwell chappy’s stuff. He’s not afraid to criticise where it’s due.

      I don’t think I’ve ever read a full feature on National Collective before I got bored and moved on to another site. Not quite Mussolini’s cheerleaders but I can see why they’re called that.


      • Alec

        Have at look at Tychy’s assessment of NC. Bone-biting.


      • Yes.

        Saw it some time back. Excoriating stuff and bang on the button.

        Several of the National Collective blocked me on Twitter some time ago without me ever having communicated with them.

        Zoinks, as I believe a creative cartoon cliché might say. 🙂

        So much for imagining new political landscapes.


  2. Have only seen one of the new Newsnicht alternative headlines round-ups, but think that featured Wings and Bella-ache. Which is a bit off, because even Wings has made clear he’s not a news source, and Belly-ache self-evidently isn’t either. Of course, it’s a plausible enough argument that the Scotsman or Telegraph ‘news’ headlines are projecting a certain agenda. However, Wings is normally one man’s opinion, and Belly-ache isn’t a lot different. So for consistency and balance shouldn’t Newsnicht be punting the likes of Alan Cochrane’s column, or Brian Wilson’s?

    • Indeed.

      But, as Ken MacDonald of RS Headlines said, the BBC decide what is a news source.

      It’s why I used the word appeasement in the piece. Their internal turmoil has obviously led to a lack of clear decision making/confidence. I suspect Bateman still has a bit of clout amongst his former working colleagues – which would only be natural.

      In that regard though, I can’t understand the BBC punting Newsnat. The crackpots were positively euphoric at claiming Raymond Buchanan as a scalp after the alleged ‘bias’ reporting of the Irish premier’s EU comments.

      Buchanan was a great reporter and had no choice but resign at the BBC’s capitulation to the conspiracy theory set.

      Belly-ache (like the name) do cover wide areas of the debate, so I suppose they fit the bill. But, like most of the Nationalist nuts, they still refer to the BBC as Pravda which, despite all the BBC’s faults, is just crackpot.

      Like your idea of Brian Wilson’s column being punted. His abrasive and excoriating impatience certainly winds some of the more extreme Nat set right up.


  3. Alasdair Sutherland

    This site is just anti-SNP hatemail.
    There is no information here, just a diatribe against everyone in the SNP and everything they stand for. It is just a purely negative campaign indistinguishable from the Daily Mail/Telegraph/Express/Record etc etc.

    Newsnet Scotland is one of the few sources that do not just spew out the Westminster propaganda ad nauseam. It adds a little balance. One can just bear in mind that they are biased the other way.

    The SNP has grown so strong, not because they are wonderful, but because the LibConLab alliance Establishment is so, so vile.

    • This site is just anti-SNP hatemail.

      Anti-Nationalist/Nationalism maybe. I voted SNP in 2007 and 2011. Though, since Salmond got all lickspittle and supine with Murdoch, I regret that vote.

      The SNP has grown so strong, not because they are wonderful, but because the LibConLab alliance Establishment is so, so vile.

      Mostly correct. But my enemy’s enemy is not always my friend. You can end up jumping into bed with your enemy’s enemy only to find that you’re in bed with another enemy.

      Oh and Newsnet is a joke – a “crackpot” site. Since Bateman took over it’s improved markedly, but PonseyBody is a blinkered clown who rings the site dry of any credibility – except when David Torrance writes for it of course.


      • willie

        Pollls indicate that the majority of voters are voting SNP whilst Labour and the Conservatives slip below 20%.

        This suggests that people are satisfied with and trust the SNP whereas Labour and the Conservatives are rejected and untrusted

        Repeatedly however we are being told by Labour and Tory politicians that people should realize that they are not making the right choice and that they are wrong in their choice.

        I find this Tory and Labour line offensive. People are more than capae in deciding who they trust and who they should vote for. They do not need rejected politicos to tell them that they are wrong and that they know better.

        The SNP are winning because people choose them and it is an arrogance of the Unionists to tell them that they’re wrong.

      • Thankyou willie

        “This suggests that people are satisfied with and trust the SNP…”

        Correct. And it’s very depressing. It’s stretched my faith in the Scottish electorate.

        I find this Tory and Labour line offensive.

        Perversely, it’s usually the opposition who have the most truthful things to say. Once the opposition gain power, then the roles are reversed.
        So I wouldn’t discount everything that useless Labour and the rotten Tories have to say.

        The SNP are winning because people choose them and it is an arrogance of the Unionists to tell them that they’re wrong.

        It’s not arrogance. It’s their job. And, in politics, you’re statistically more likely to get something resembling the truth from the opposition than you are from those holding power. It’s just the way power works.

        My biggest suspicion of the Scottish Nationalist Party is that they’re not fussed about doing what’s best for Scotland so much as doing what’s best for themselves to gain more power over the country. Both goals obviously overlap with certain issues, and that’s where the SNP reside for maximum political advantage. It also part explains their current popularity.

        If you don’t buy into it – which I obviously don’t – then it can be depressing to see such obvious tactics hold sway over so many people. But that’s politics and there’s nowt as queer as folk.



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