My BBC Complaint met with adolescent fibs

BBC Scotland’s response to the above complaint is below with some remarkable statements and/or adolescent fibs in bold:

Dear Prof Robertson

Thank your forr contacting us. Your comments were passed to the Editor, Reporting Scotland, who has asked that we forward their response as follows:

“Thank you for being in touch about the lunchtime edition on 3rd August.

The intro accurately stated that patients in chronic pain said they were being abandoned and were being forced to travel in agony for costly treatment in England, because they could not get access here. Pain relief services, it said, were put on hold four months ago to ready the NHS for the Covid-19 response. It added that the Health Secretary said that pain services would be resumed as quickly as it was safe to do so.

In the report, two patients who were suffering were featured. They were representative of a number of people who were asked about their experiences. In a report lasting just a few minutes in a lunchtime bulletin you would not expect more than “only two” people to be featured. These representative case studies were backed up by the stories we heard from others, many of whom did not want to go on camera. That does not invalidate the information they provide to a reporter or reporters following up a story.

The Scottish Government acknowledged that patients travelled to England. The national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, knew that patients travelled to England: he said on our programme “I do not want people to have to spend their own money or to go private or have to travel – I want the correct care for the correct people to be given in each health board in Scotland”.

A statement by the Health Secretary was read out, lasting 15 seconds, and there was a 27-second clip of the national clinical director – so the Scottish Government’s position was well represented: there were repeated, unsuccessful requests to interview the minister – hence the statement. The Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon MSP spoke for 20 seconds about reimbursing travellers for their costs.

I am not sure how relevant a person’s alleged party loyalty might be when they are a patient in great pain. The phrase “well-known activist and associate of the Scottish Labour Party” tells one little. I should add that Ms Lennon had to tweet out that one of the patients – presumably the one to whom you refer – was not a family member as was being claimed on Twitter. This is an example of where great care has to be exercised in interpreting events and actions.

I cannot therefore agree with your contention that the investigative method was unethical: people make stories, we talk to people, they tell us their stories, we tell them to you. The Scottish Government had no complaint to make about the way in which we approached this story. Indeed, they clearly recognised that it was important, if you listen to what they said.

To describe the two contributors as “samples” of what you claim is a million chronic pain sufferers which are not “reliable” is, I believe, fundamentally to misunderstand what we do. We talk to many people, patients and clinicians, and build a human story. We tell many other stories where proportions, percentages, statistics are the main topic. This was not one of them.

Thank you again for your interest in our output.”

Kind regards,

BBC Complaints Team

I can’t be bothered marking this one. Readers?

12 thoughts on “My BBC Complaint met with adolescent fibs

  1. You got a response and it was delivered in a relatively short time. The response has addressed the issues raised, although perhaps not in the way hoped for. However, the complaint was useful in that it evoked and explanation Having had to respond over the years to a number of complaints against my organisation – almost all invalid – the fact of having to respond occasioned us to consider factors in our way of conducting ourselves that might have been proving unsatisfactory in conveying what we were trying to do.

    So, your fortitude is justified. Well done, Sir!

    The reply makes several mentions of social media. Particularly since lockdown, I have noticed that on GMS, increasingly , tweets and texts are read out live and also sought as immediate reactions to news stories. These are, in effect, ‘vox pops’ and, as such are not objective and can be selected to be supportive of a particular point of view – usually hostile to the SG or favourable to Rangers.

    Liked by 3 people

    “THE SUN”



  3. Although it may at present seem complaining to the BBC is a waste of time (based on this type of response) these will form an important part of historical record of the complicity of the BritNat State Broadcaster in Scotlands colonial subjugation in the 21st Centenary.

    Well done.


  4. For me a key phrase in the response is this one: “They were representative of a number of people who were asked about their experiences. ” The word ‘representative’ has important meaning – as the BBC’s own editorial guidelines make clear.


    On polling opinion: ‘With any methodology it is worth remembering that sample size is no guarantee that something is representative. Tens of thousands may respond to a text vote or a questionnaire – but it will still not be robust. Unrepresentative methods of seeking opinion do not become representative because a high number respond – there is no “threshold” to legitimise them.’

    And on vox pop type methods of opinion gathering: ‘On politics and other matters of public policy, vox pops can be used to illustrate a range of views or – occasionally – a single view. We can either use a spread of opinions, reflecting different strands of argument, or, where clearly signposted, present a proportionate reflection of those whose opinions we have sought. Either way, we must not imply the samples are representative and we should be explicit in describing their purpose and limitations.’

    So which method of opinion gathering/research was used in this instance? The guidelines make clear that the term ‘representative’ should be used with care in the context of different opinion gathering/research methods. We are no wiser as to the research method/s used to gather opinion.

    Moreover, what justifies the use of the (loaded) term ‘representative’ without accompanying justification in this considered response, contrary (arguably) to editorial guidelines?

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Quite simple
    Do NOT pay the licence fee for ABC
    The only thing that hurts colonial masters is depriving them of money
    They have already sold their souls to the Devil
    So make them pay the price for doing so

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apparently:

    “The BBC has commissioned a programme called “The Alex Salmond Trial” to be shown next week. Just as the enquiry gets under way. Guess who is fronting this programme. – Kirsty Wark. A woman who has made no secret of her dislike of Alex Salmond and Independence. A woman whose own boss apologised for her “rude and dismissive” interviewing with Alex before the referendum.”

    This is the same Kirsty Wark who was placed on probation by worried BBC chiefs as a direct result of her controversial holiday with Jack McConnell when he was FM!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. It’s not the response that matters but the “Thank you again for your interest in our output”, adequately conveying their irritation at knowing their scam has not only been spotted but has been discussed openly beyond their control.
    Propaganda by it’s very nature requires subtlety and repetition to become established fact, Brexit took close to 20 years and squillions in England to build up a head of steam.
    ABC are at the low-budget end of this, increasingly taking a dump with the toilet door wide open, once seen cannot be unseen sort of thing.
    Mis-Reporting and Good Moaning Scotland have become a game show for many viewers and listeners, what angle are they trying to convey now, what did they omit, what did they include which bums up the opposition, and frankly the more that perspective builds, the harder it gets for them to ply their game, and they just don’t get why they should close the toilet door.


    1. ABC does not close the toilet door because they want their stink to spread far and wide as they strain upon the anal sphincter muscle


  8. Badged with a Union Flag, I believe.

    Hi Jack will be sooo proud of them. “One of us”, as Maggie might have said.


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