A friend of the Tusker sent me this from Private Eye. My gob was well skelped but then I remembered writing this in September:
THREE EXAMPLES OF DOUBLE STANDARDS: COMPARING THE BBC IN LABOUR WALES AND THE BBC IN SNP SCOTLAND
On Monday 21st, MSM_Monitor spotted the BBC double standards, in only BBC Scotland and opposition parties seeing the need to ‘politicise a health briefing during a pandemic‘ and effectively ‘provide a platform for the new Scottish Tory leader.’
BBC Wales did not do the same to their Labour FM and there was, to my knowledge, no pressure from the pro-independence opposition demanding the right to provide ‘other voices and perspectives‘ as Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland director claimed were needed here.
Yesterday, we could see evidence of the same double standards in action.
In Covid-19 in Wales: What do the stats tell us? we find this:
We seem to be bombarded with different measures, but what do they mean and how does Wales compare with other parts of the UK?
The point is clear: Compared with much of England, Wales is doing not too badly.
On the same day, BBC Scotland offered us Coronavirus in Scotland: Where are the latest cases?
The word England does not appear at all. To my knowledge BBC Scotland does not indulge in such comparison.
When I make such comparisons, as I often do, to highlight relatively better performance in Scotland, accusations of statistical meaninglessness, schadenfreude and whitabootery arrive.
So when I write:
Look, over the six months of the pandemic, the infection level has been 35% higher [5 849 per 1m in England compared to 4 315 per 1m in Scotland] and the death level has been 45% higher [658 per 1m compared to 458 per 1m].
‘You can’t compare England and Scotland. They’re too different’
‘None of that matters. Scotland is still not good enough.’
And in July, this:
HOW BBC WALES OFFERS US CLEAR EVIDENCE OF BBC SCOTLAND’S ANTI-SCOTTISH BIAS
In the wake of BBC Scotland’s Disclosure series misrepresenting the deaths in Scotland’s care homes:
the excellent MSM_Monitor has drawn attention to the clearly different agendas of BBC Wales under Labour and BBC Scotland under the SNP.
I was reminded of previous examples and the value of building up a portfolio of the evidence to counter the defence of it being accidental.
So, working backward, see this from April 1st 2020 and note the choice of image they have chosen to associate with the covid-19 deaths:
Depoliticised in Labour Wales.
Politicised and demonising in SNP Scotland.
On the 30th October, BBC Wales reported on a Norovirus outbreak closing four hospitals and two care homes like this:
Depoliticised in Labour Wales but in the previous month in Scotland:
The classic example of politicised and personalised reporting by BBC Scotland.
Then earlier in September 2019, on a different topic, drug gangs, bias by omission:
While BBC Wales reported:
Police forces across north Wales, Merseyside and Scotland have launched a series of dawn raids targeting “county lines” drugs gangs. Searches were carried out at 24 properties at 07:15 BST in Flintshire, Conwy, and Anglesey in north Wales, and in Liverpool and Scotland. North Wales Police said more than 300 officers from three forces have taken part in the operation.
and Police Scotland had been reporting the problem from January that year:
The charity Crime-stoppers is today 14th January 2019 launching a campaign to highlight the pain and suffering that criminals from English cities are inflicting on vulnerable people in Scotland’s rural and coastal towns.
BBC Scotland did not touch the story.
Returning to BBC Scotland’s troubled Disclosure series, in December 2018 they were pursuing their preferred quarry, old folk who will tell sad stories to camera:
BBC Scotland’s team, fresh from following the wrong lorry of calves to Spain, had taken considerable risks by accessing the online waiting list target data from the NHS Scotland Information Services Division and then interviewing old folk over a cup of teas and an empire biscuit.
In sharp contrast BBC Wales Investigates had exposed the secret mountain village location of a cell of violent thugs whom the Home Office wants to ban:
Contrasts with the reporting of BBC England’s reluctance to even mention ministers, far less use a photo of them is covered here in November 2019:
BBC SCOTLAND’S PROXY WAR AGAINST THE SNP IS NOW IN ELECTION MODE AND THE HEALTH SECRETARY IS FIRST IN LINE
As the Guardian breaks ranks with the other media, prompted by my correction, to reveal that NHS England A&E is a staggering 20% less effective than NHS Scotland with only 74.5% as opposed to 89.2% seen in 4 hours, BBC Scotland ignore the facts and go for two single cases of alleged failure.
The child infection death story is an unsubstantiated case from 2017 fed to BBC Scotland by a Labour politician. Hospital-acquired infection deaths are, of course, much lower than they were under Labour administrations but longer-term trends, of clear public interest, are not mentioned. The editorial decision to use the picture of the Health Secretary, to call her ‘Freeman’ and to suggest personal failure in the wording recalls the image of the First Minister and the Health Secretary on 12th September clearly setting them up as the heads which must roll based on the comments of a Conservative politician. The story of ineffective treatments is about NHS England.
The politicising of NHS Scotland is made abundantly clear just by comparison with the work of BBC England and BBC Wales where the background presence of Tory and Labour administrations means that politicians’ heads never have to roll there, and ‘guilty’ faces need not be associated with headlines.
Though I tend to question the need for conspiracies generally, you have to wonder if the rejection of real news of NHS Scotland’s success and the regular headlining of scare stories of dying children, pigeon-infected hospitals and women in pain does not suggest one, in the offices of BBC Scotland News.