A BBC Scotland reporter asks:
How do you respond to claims that official guidance was changed a few weeks ago with the effect of encouraging a return to campus.
The source of the claim is not given. Leonard? Sarah Smith?
Provoked once too many times perhaps, the FM goes straight for the deliberate misrepresentation of the facts and provides the evidence to forensically dismantle the claim. Not a first time but quite a rare example of the kind of fightback many of us have wanted to see for some time.
In quite a long response, she says:
In terms of the earlier guidance, I’ve read media reports which I have to say, and I’ll say this mildly, is quite selective [biased] in its quoting. Guidance does, almost every piece of guidance, a government will publish and certainly this is true of the Scottish Government, will go through various iterations as we consult various stakeholders and look at whether the wording is clear enough and whether we need to amend it for whatever reason.
So, the report this morning looked at draft guidance that was issued on the 30th August and quoted this from it and basically what the story was trying to say was that on the 30th of August in draft guidance we had basically decided there would be no face-to-face teaching and that changed in the final guidance.
That’s not the case.
So the quote from the guidance that was in the story this morning was ‘work and study that could be done remotely should be done from home.’
Unfortunately the quote didn’t go on to complete the rest of what the draft guidance said which is ‘where that is not possible then physical distancing must be followed’ and then the rest of the draft guidance talks about what needs to be done.
Now the point I’m making here is that it was always envisaged that there would be some physical face-to-face teaching. That was not something that changed in the way suggested between draft guidance and final guidance and there were always protections built into the earlier drafts of the guidance about what to do where face-to-face teaching was being done.
But the guidance that was published puts limits on face-to-face teaching, quite strict limits in terms of overall numbers that can be in lecture theatres.
So, the report I’ve read today suggests something that is not actually the case.
To put this is less polite terms:
The report is deliberately biased as a result of selective quotation of only those parts, out of context, that suit the reporter’s biased intentions.