Sarah Smith: BBC Scotland's Labour Correspondent

“Everything that has ever happened to me has been a complete accident.” Aye right Sarah. so it has.

Reacting to Sarah Smith’s gleeful analysis of the Derek Mackay incident and opportunistically lying about Scottish education on Politics Live yesterday, Alasdair Macdonald remembers seeing her among her ain folk:

By chance, I happened to be in the same location as a Labour Party event during the recent General Election. When I arrived at the place where I sometimes undertake voluntary work, I could hardly get in because of the congestion due to the number of media vehicles and media people. All of the faces we see on the Scottish and UK News bulletin reports were there. Although the BBC had the full complement of those who usually do the BBC Scotland reporting, Ms Smith was there, too.

When the Labour campaign bus arrived, most of the reporters remained inside leaving the camera people to film and take photos. However, Ms Smith was at the front at the foot of the steps of the bus, and as the various Labour people descended, she greeted them with embraces and took a number of selfie-type photos with her phone.

She was clearly among friends, which is not surprising given her late father’s long career in the Labour Party and her mother’s continuing involvement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such friendships and warmth, indeed, it shows a human side.

However, it raises a question about why she was there and in what capacity. Was she there in a personal capacity? If so, that is completely acceptable? But, if she was there in a BBC capacity, especially as the BBC had a significant presence there already, we are entitled to ask why. Given the cordiality of her relationships with many of the Labour team present, is she able to give a balanced and impartial report?

If, as you show above she has reported something false, and which is obviously false, and since this is not an isolated occurrence, then, I think her objectivity and that of her organisation is compromised.

Published by johnrobertson834

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

2 thoughts on “Sarah Smith: BBC Scotland's Labour Correspondent

  1. It’s always good to hear first-hand stories – hearing about what goes on behind the television cameras that give us the sanitised version.

    I read this, rather long, piece yesterday. Where the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture is interviewed on his findings after investigating the Julian Assange situation. It is disturbing to think that such grubby underhand dealings seem to be the mainstay of many governments – this grubbiness will not go away just because Scotland is independent of course, so it is something to keep in mind – ensuring safeguarding against untrammelled power of any government and careful selection of security services and their associations.

    Below is the link, and I’ve extracted some of the quotes – mainly the ones emphasising how accusations of rape are a classic use of hostile governments to reduce the influence of someone; Britain’s strong links with illegal torture; how torture is used to threaten freedom of speech; his view on the consequences. Do read the whole thing if you get a chance, it really puts in perspective exactly how different a story can be when we hear it from controlled media as opposed to the reality (assuming a fair and objective investigator).

    UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on Julian Assange
    https://www.republik.ch/2020/01/31/nils-melzer-about-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange

    “Imagine a dark room. Suddenly, someone shines a light on the elephant in the room – on war criminals, on corruption. Assange is the man with the spotlight. The governments are briefly in shock, but then they turn the spotlight around with accusations of rape. It is a classic maneuver when it comes to manipulating public opinion. The elephant once again disappears into the darkness, behind the spotlight. And Assange becomes the focus of attention instead, and we start talking about whether Assange is skateboarding in the embassy or whether he is feeding his cat correctly. Suddenly, we all know that he is a rapist, a hacker, a spy and a narcissist. But the abuses and war crimes he uncovered fade into the darkness.”

    “I have never seen a comparable case. Anyone can trigger a preliminary investigation against anyone else by simply going to the police and accusing the other person of a crime. The Swedish authorities, though, were never interested in testimony from Assange. They intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and by the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges had ever been filed.”

    “Yes, the British, or more specifically the Crown Prosecution Service, wanted to prevent Sweden from abandoning the case at all costs. Though really, the English should have been happy that they would no longer have to spend millions in taxpayer money to keep the Ecuadorian Embassy under constant surveillance to prevent Assange’s escape.”

    “We have to stop believing that there was really an interest in leading an investigation into a sexual offense. What Wikileaks did is a threat to the political elite in the U.S., Britain, France and Russia in equal measure. Wikileaks publishes secret state information – they are opposed to classification. And in a world, even in so-called mature democracies, where secrecy has become rampant, that is seen as a fundamental threat. Assange made it clear that countries are no longer interested today in legitimate confidentiality, but in the suppression of important information about corruption and crimes.”

    “Today, the U.S. has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, and neither the «Collateral Murder» massacre nor the CIA torture following 9/11 nor the war of aggression against Iraq have led to criminal investigations. Now, the United Kingdom is following that example. The Security and Intelligence Committee in the country’s own parliament published two extensive reports in 2018 showing that Britain was much more deeply involved in the secret CIA torture program than previously believed. The committee recommended a formal investigation. The first thing that Boris Johnson did after he became prime minister was to annul that investigation.”

    “Julian Assange has been intentionally psychologically tortured by Sweden, Britain, Ecuador and the U.S.”

    “A show trial is to be used to make an example of Julian Assange. The point is to intimidate other journalists. Intimidation, by the way, is one of the primary purposes for the use of torture around the world”

    “Four democratic countries joined forces – the U.S., Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burned at the stake without any outcry. The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press.”

    “We give countries power and delegate it to governments – but in return, they must be held accountable for how they exercise that power. If we don’t demand that they be held accountable, we will lose our rights sooner or later. Humans are not democratic by their nature. Power corrupts if it is not monitored. Corruption is the result if we do not insist that power be monitored.”

    “As the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and, before that, as a Red Cross delegate, I have seen lots of horrors and violence and have seen how quickly peaceful countries like Yugoslavia or Rwanda can transform into infernos. At the roots of such developments are always a lack of transparency and unbridled political or economic power combined with the naivete, indifference and malleability of the population. Suddenly, that which always happened to the other – unpunished torture, rape, expulsion and murder – can just as easily happen to us or our children. And nobody will care. I can promise you that.”

    Like

  2. Impartiality is gone , wash it actually ever there .
    We are being subdued by England and BBC Scotland is a big part of the propoganda used against Scotland.

    We are at war with England the only thing missing is guns.

    Like

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