On the 4th December, 2019, I wrote:
‘Neil said: ‘Children are dying in a new Glasgow hospital BECAUSE the water’s contaminated perhaps by pigeon droppings.’ Children ARE dying in Glasgow hospitals, but NONE have had their deaths caused by water-born infections. They have died sadly BECAUSE OF prematurity, cancer and other conditions. No competent medic has claimed otherwise.’
This appalling lie will no doubt have triggered more than a few complaints at the time.
After several apologies for the delay [two weeks is their own target], they wrote:
‘Please accept our apologies for the delay in getting back to you. We had recently been receiving unprecedented volumes of complaints and have experienced delays in being able to reply. The BBC believes political figures should be given the opportunity both to explain their thinking on matters of public concern and answer criticism of it. The job of the BBC interviewers is to then put forward the questions likely to be in the minds of our audience. On this occasion, Andrew Neil put to the First Minister points regarding her record as the previous Health Minister and the NHS in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon was then given ample time to respond. We wish to reassure you that on the day you contacted us your points were read in full and circulated to staff the next day. This is our internal report of all complaints and other comments, which we distribute each morning to programme teams and producers. They were able to read and consider both your and other reaction we received at the time. Thanks again for getting in touch. We receive many different opinions and disagreements about our output. However, this does not necessarily imply a breach of BBC Editorial Guidelines or other standards.’
I don’t need to tell you how dishonest this reply is and how it fails to answer the complaint that Neil’s question was based on demonstrably inaccurate information.
As for ‘the questions likely to be in the minds of our audience’, what evidence is there for this assertion other than, of course, the repeated attempts by BBC Scotland staff to put the idea there in the first place?
This is propaganda at its worst as one department of the state broadcaster provides fake news for another to then lie about again.