STV journalist’s promotion of Wings Over Scotland puts ‘impartiality’ remit at risk

When does editorial stop being editorial and become plain old promotion? Maybe  STV’s Stephen Daisley should be asking himself the question. AhDinnaeKen investigates Daisley’s most recent STV sponsored advertorial, written specially for Wings Over Scotland:

Only on Whiskas? Hmm. Can we really be sure?

Only on Whiskas? Hmm. Can we really be sure?

By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe

“We have to have, from a regulatory perspective, no opinion and we have to be unbiased and give both sides a fair chance. And that’s what we do.” said Bobby Hain, Director of Channels for STV in a pre-referendum interview with the Drum magazine.

It appears to be a remit that STV journalist Stephen Daisley has forgotten.  Or chooses to ignore – something STV has form with when it comes to Nationalist sourced funding. But more on that later

Whatever Daisley’s motivation, his most recent Wings advertorial  on the STV website entitled “How much has the Wings Over Scotland appeal raised so far?” invokes the wrong type of answer.

Who really cares?

The time for the next Daisley styled Wings fundraiser report should have been when the mendicant appeal was finished – not a week after its launch.

Daisley already told us in  last week’s embarrassingly  gushing promotion of Wings that the fundraiser appeal had been launched. He also informed us elsewhere that it broke its target in less than six hours. So what extra information do we really need to know a week on which, even remotely, serves the public interest?

And, what does Daisley hope to achieve with such ad nauseum love-in styled editorial?

It’s hardly as if the Wings appeal is in a good cause. So why the tedious repetition?

The appropriate time for the next Daisley on Wings’ fundraiser gushathon should be when the appeal ends and the total has been independently verified by a neutral third party. Otherwise it looks as if there’s an ulterior motive behind such editorials – we’re fairly sure that can’t be the case.

The STV Twitter feed has 168,000 readers. That's a lot of exposure for something which isn't news. Hmm.

Promotion, sponsorship or advertorial? The STV News Twitter feed has 168,000 readers. That’s a lot of exposure for something which, technically speaking, isn’t news or newsworthy. Hmm. Fragrant it ain’t.

Last week AhDinnaeKen challenged Stephen Daisley to investigate a vexatiously defamatory blog written by Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland entitled “The Personal Touch“.

Daisley, of course, was under no obligation to read it, but, to not have done so would have been negligent considering the claim raised against Wings integrity and its relation to  Daisley’s journalistic credibility.

Campbell is already facing what could be criminal charges by the Electoral Commission over his failure to deliver a campaign expenditure return. As a “responsible” person in his role as an official Yes campaigner during the referendum, Wings Over Scotland was named by the Commission as having “failed to submit spending returns.” – a serious breach of the electoral rules.

That raises some serious questions on Daisley’s motivation for promoting a fundraiser by  a person like Campbell when a potentially criminal charge regarding expenditure hangs over him. It also potentially brings STV’s journalistic remit for impartiality and integrity into question.

And that’s something STV can’t really afford to happen.

In 2010 STV was investigated by broadcasting regulator Ofcom which found that with eighteen television programmes broadcast between 2008 and 2009 “STV had sought programme funding to create programmes that were effectively vehicles for the purpose of promoting the sponsors’ interests.”

In this case the sponsor was the Scottish Government.  In relation to Salmond’s embedded Nationalist government, Ofcom found “STV‟s responsibility and editorial independence had been impaired” and STV were “in breach of sponsorship rules”.

When STV allegedly attempted to write off Ofcom’s findings as “technical” mistakes,  the television company was rebuked by Ofcom whose spokesperson said: “It’s not a technical breach, it’s a serious breach. There’s no such thing as a technical breach.”

AhDinnaeKen is sure that there’s no such editorial ‘breach’ between Daisley and Wings Over Scotland’s relationship. It’s just that it doesn’t look that way. And, as with politics, perception of journalistic independence and impartiality can be everything.

Last week, in relation to  AhDinnaeKen’s complaint aimed at Daisley, we said: “If Stephen remains silent or, at least, doesn’t report something on Campbell’s vexatious defamation then he’s no better than a cheap nasty partisan propagandist like the Wings man himself.

Sadly, it looks like Stephen’s joining the ranks of “cheap nasty partisan” propagandists. Any journalist worth their salt reading the first three pars of Campbell’s “The Personal Touch” can see that it goes beyond mere vexatious defamation. It is also, technically at least, a potential criminal breach and perversion of the course of justice.

To ignore the complaint embedded in AhDinnaeKen’s analysis last week bordered on criminally stupid by Daisley.

We’re still considering whether to complain to the relevant people.

Readers can make up their own mind.

In terms of prominence and urging to click, there's something not quite right about this we think.

Clicking the link takes you to the Wings Over Scotland fundraiser page so that you can donate. Consider the prominence, size, position, wording etc. Do I smell a ratboy.

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3 Comments

Filed under Opinion, Wangs Watch

3 responses to “STV journalist’s promotion of Wings Over Scotland puts ‘impartiality’ remit at risk

  1. Paul

    Maybe he’ll buy an iron for those smart black shirts he likes so much?

  2. Jings

    Stv were always on the side of yes. Especially in the infamous stair heid rammies where the feckless Rhona might as well have lain down on the floor and licked sturgeons dinky little shoes clean.

    Further how convenient it is that campbell can’t find the receipts for all of his disciples donations. I suppose the one good thing for him is that thanks to his rather unique looks I don’t think they will be queuing up behind him in the pokey showers if he drops the soap.

    • I’m not so sure about STV being on the side of Yes, I didn’t see anything I would have called clear bias.

      Certainly there was less scrutiny, incisiveness, research and scepticism than we’ve come to expect from the likes of the BBC’s Gary Robertson or Gordon Brewer.

      Bernard Ponsonby should have had more time on Scotland Tonight. He’s virtually as good as a standard BBC presenter.

      The “rammies” were just an embarrassment to broadcasting. They very publicly exhibited the weakness of STV’s presenters and the stupidity of letting politicians shout at each other unchecked. The poorest political television of the Neverendum.

      Will be interesting to see what course of action the Electoral Commission investigators decide upon regarding Campbell. He’s been riding his luck regarding his borderline potential criminality, so maybe the EC will be the body to finally prosecute where it’s required.

      Regards

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