'Conspiracy as an emergent property of organisations' like the BBC

Scottish Propagandist of the Year Award-winner in 2014

Peter A Bell

When assessing the BBC’s coverage of Scottish politics and the now undeniable bias in favour of the British establishment it would be a mistake to think in terms of a formal conspiracy. If you’re imagining a cabal of managers, producers, directors, journalists and presenters secretly conniving together to do down the SNP and the independence movement, you are entertaining a fantasy. There is no organised plot. Nor is there any need for such a thing. What, with hindsight, has all the appearance of having been carefully contrived is, in fact, no more than the incidental outcome of an ‘organic’ process with no purpose or direction.

Just as ‘misreporting’ may be indistinguishable from deliberate dishonesty, so what looks like a conspiracy may be only a mirage. It may be no more than the impression left on history by lots of unconnected, or only loosely connected events. It may be a pattern without a plan. It may be conspiracy as an emergent property of an organisation which, not being effectively managed towards its true purpose, tends towards the dominant agenda within its own structures.

All that is required for the appearance of conspiracy to emerge is that there should be a sufficient number of people; with a sufficient amount of influence; and a sufficient commonality of interest.

Conspiracy as an emergent property of organisations
https://peterabell.scot/2018/08/03/conspiracy-as-an-emergent-property-of-organisations/

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Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

5 thoughts on “'Conspiracy as an emergent property of organisations' like the BBC

  1. Peter Bell is surely right , there is unlikely to be a concerted conspiracy , a free masonry of unionist broadcasting folk and newspaper journalists plotting away to undermine the cause of independence .
    Brian Taylor and his ilk are unlikely conspiratorial types but they do know on which side their bread is buttered .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When, during the latest election, there were dubious health crisis headlines splashed all over all BBC Scotland news outlets every day for a whole week, it seemed to me that there is more to a conspiracy than Mr Bell imagines.

    Brian Taylor and all the other presenters are all told what to say, and someone in management is arranging this – the blatant bias at that particular time was so obvious and targeted that it could not have been anything other than “arranged”.

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    1. Pretty much agree with Roddy

      During run up to Indy Ref1 there were frequent orchestrated attacks from the Unionist side where The BBC and the Newspapers were all on song. Seems to me these across media attacks were organised by a central body.

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    2. The way I understand the ‘it’s not a conspiracy’ argument is that they (people working in the media and owning it) all believe it’s perfectly reasonable and normal to do these things, and that’s how all their friends think, so their beliefs and behaviours are reinforced until it becomes extreme and obvious to everyone else – but they still think it’s all perfectly normal and that’s how it should be done. They don’t need our approval, they only listen to the peer group that agrees with them (otherwise their core beliefs, how they define themselves, which is based on the union surviving at all costs, no tactic spared, would be shattered).

      When you get self-reinforcing peer approval you can normalise, within an isolated group, some pretty disgusting behaviour.

      Unconscious bias – like when say a manager only employs people that will ‘fit in’ – the manager will never get diversity in the workforce because they only employ the same bigoted arseholes that were a majority before, for example. Unconscious, because the ‘fit in’ argument is very reasonable, but they are wholly unaware of the actual consequences, or of what it means.

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  3. Somebody has to make the decision to have blanket coverage of really unusual things on a day/over two days and to completely ignore planned-for events, but I understand that those working within the BBC will just do as they are told. There were three important votes that I wanted to hear about in the HoC, and wanted to see reports on the debates, but they were blanked out in favour of things that did not seem to have much public interest value – E.g trident renewal (I went as far as to write to my MP about it) – I think we got blanket coverage of a poor toddler dying in Syria instead, or the spying laws being debated and voted on – we got an American presidential inauguration (has anyone seen one of these televised minute by minute, like a royal wedding, ever before? I’ve never noticed). But the thing is – we can watch any HoC debates or votes, so it’s not a secret, but the misdirection and distraction was palpable.

    Anyway, can we not just PRETEND it’s a conspiracy? It’s so much easier to think that way, and, really, is the end result not just the same?

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