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:
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.
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.