BBC’s Tricky Nick Robinson’s Misreporting of Alex Salmond on Scottish Independence

Mike over at his blog has frequently discussed the repeated misreporting and, indeed, deliberate censorship of left-wing demonstrations against the government by the BBC and the other mainstream broadcasters. Apart from the usual tactic of deliberately giving the number of protestors as smaller than there were in reality, the BBC has also totally omitted several major demonstrations against the government from its television news. Instead, some minimal coverage was grudgingly given to them on the radio and on-line. Several of Mike’s readers and commenters, including Mike himself, have complained about this. They’ve been brushed off with a standard reply about the limited amount of space available, and the necessity of skipping or omitting some items in favour of more important news. The Beeb has then smugly declared that it’s duly investigated the case, and found that everything was done properly and appropriately.

So that’s alright then, as Private Eye says when an organisation or authority guilty of misconduct similarly exonerates itself by giving the exact same reply.

The debates over Scottish independence, leading up to the referendum last Thursday, threw the BBC’s pro-government bias into sharp relief. The Corporation’s reporter, Nick Robinson, selectively edited and then completely falsified his report on a question he asked Scotland’s then First Minister about the possible damage independence might have to the nation’s finances. This was then edited by the Beeb to claim that the First Minister had attacked the treasury. Robinson stated that several of the banks and insurance companies, like the Royal Bank of Scotland, had stated that in the event of Scotland gaining its independence, they would move their headquarters from Edinburgh to London. This would, suggested Robinson, lead to a massive loss of corporation tax for the Scottish government.

Salmond disagreed. He gave the opinion of other leading financiers north of the border that there would be no significant loss of tax revenue, as corporation tax was paid in the country where there a corporation had most of its economic activity, not where it had its headquarters. The banks and other financial institutions may move south to London, but they would still end up paying the same amount of corporation tax. I noticed that the I newspaper made a similar claim. I also wondered how the Royal Bank of Scotland could possibly continue under its name, if it very unpatriotically pulled out of its home country.

This, however, was not the answer Robinson wanted. When Salmond moved on to answer questions from the other reporters present, Robinson heckled and continued to demand an answer from Salmond. Salmond returned to the point, gave a full answer, and pointedly stated that he knew the BBC would report it in its scrupulously unbiased reporting. He then tried to move on to questions from the foreign press. This wasn’t good enough for Robinson, who asked the same question, and got the same answer.

When the BBC reported Robinson’s question and Salmond’s reply, they selectively edited the footage so that it looked like Salmond was attacking the British treasury, and praising the BBC. In fact, as the original footage makes clear, Salmond had been making a veiled criticism of the quality of the BBC’s reporting. Later still, on Newsnight, Robinson claimed that Salmond had not answered his question at all: a bare-faced lie.

As you might expect, Scottish Nationalists are massively unimpressed with this blatant falsification by the BBC, and there are several videos about it on Youtube. Here are two I found that make the case particularly well.

This video, The BBC Is Killing Democracy, gives footage of what really happened when Robinson asked his question. It then gives Robinson’s own highly selective report, pointing out how it has been altered and edited to present the answer Robinson wanted, rather than the one he got. It then moves on to Robinson’s final report, where he lies and states that Salmond didn’t answer the question. It then concludes with a brief resume of Robinson’s and Salmond’s careers, pointing out that Robinson was first head of the Young Conservatives in Macclesfield, and then national head of the organisation.

This video, Dodgy reporting from BBC News Editor – Nick Robinson 11/09/2014 goes further, and gives the relevant passages in the BBC’s charter that demand impartiality, and which the BBC’s reporting of Robinson’s question to Salmond broke.

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There were protests against the BBC’s biased reporting of the independence campaign outside the BBC’s headquarters in Scotland on the 1st and 29th June 2014. This video below, Protest Against BBC Scotland Referendum Bias shows pro-independence Scots discussing the Beeb’s bias, and their disillusionment with the Corporation.

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One of the women speaking is actually an English person living in Scotland. She states that she is voting for independence for Scotland because she is worried about the Westminster establishment’s destruction of the NHS and tuition fees. She states her daughter will not be able to afford to go to uni, and the only people that will, will be the elite.

Robinson’s deliberate falsification of Salmond’s answer is important far beyond the immediate debate about Scots independence. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of that particular issue, it should concern everyone worried about the Beeb’s pro-establishment bias. It’s clear and undeniable evidence that the Corporation has blatantly lied in order to serve the interests of the Tory Westminster elite. It also shows how Tricky Nick Robinson really is little more than a Corporation apparatchik spouting propaganda, and that the BBC is now well and truly the establishment’s equivalent of Pravda and TASS, the state news agency in the Soviet Union or the various state-controlled newspapers and broadcasters in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

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7 Responses to “BBC’s Tricky Nick Robinson’s Misreporting of Alex Salmond on Scottish Independence”

  1. stilloaks Says:

    Reblogged this on Still Oaks and commented:
    We should not worry too much, the Beeb have investigated themselves and everything is above board. We can all get back to Strictly come dancing now.

  2. BBC’s Tricky Nick Robinson’s Misreporting of Alex Salmond on Scottish Independence – Beastrabban’s weblog | Vox Political Says:

    […] Political Editor – Nick Robinson and his misreporting of Alex Salmond. Here’s Beastrabban on the […]

  3. BBC's Tricky Nick Robinson's Misreporting of Al... Says:

    […] Mike over at his blog has frequently discussed the repeated misreporting and, indeed, deliberate censorship of left-wing demonstrations against the government by the BBC and the other mainstream br…  […]

  4. Dave. Says:

    Oh come on. Are you seriously surprised that the BBC lies? It always has and always will. Remember their report of Orgreave in the 1984 miner’s strike? Lies, lies, lies, and widely accepted to be some time afterwards. But of course, by then the public had lost interest and gone back to shopping. It also uncritically reported the cops lies about Hillsborough (as it does with anything cops do) and has escaped scott free from its role in that awful event.
    The BBC is both a product and servant of the vile and murderous system that is capitalism and will continue to behave as it does while ever we are under that oppression.

  5. jaypot2012 Says:

    With Independence would have come a news channel with real news about Scotland and beyond.
    We can actually still do something like this and get rid of the BBC – they receive over £360 million per year with the licence, yet spend roughly £86 million on Scottish TV.
    Time for the licence to go in Scotland (and many have cancelled it), and for something else to come forward.
    In the meantime, we are supposed to listen to their total bias for the next 8 months leading up to the general election!

  6. jaypot2012 Says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    The bias against the referendum was so bad that even no voters questioned it…

  7. WOMEN'S PENSION 60. AGAINST TAX ALLOWANCE LOSS 65 / PENSION LOSS WIDOWS, HOUSEWIVES, POOR WORKERS Says:

    A Scottish MSP from Glasgow gave a speech I caught the tail end of on the Parliament channel on Freeview.

    The gist as I recall of what the lady said was that the No Campaign told lies to pensioners that they would have their state pension stopped, if Scotland became independent.

    However the Pensions Minister in London had told the Scots that the ring fenced National Insurance Fund was full, not having needed a top up from tax for decades. As the NI Fund is not a tax it cannot be emptied to pay off naitonal debt, and any money taken is a loan for specific things and not general expenditure.

    By Scotland not going independent, Scottish women will indeed lose their state pension by the Scottish parliament not being able to repeal the Pensions Bills 2010-2014.

    The Flat Rate Pension in 2016 will deny a state pension to all women born from April 1953 and reduce pension for men born from April 1951.

    By rising the retirement age, such women will get no state pension for life as:
    – housewives, divorcees or widows

    – And men and women with less than 10 years NI credits.

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

    Over three quarters will get less state pension by:

    – rise from 30 to 35 years needed NI credits
    – End of Pension Credit
    – End of State Earning Related Pension
    – End of State Second Pension

    The No Campaign also threatened people on the doorstep that they would lose their benefits.

    Yet at the beginning of the Tory Conference, the Tories said they would cut benefits even more to pay for apprenticeships, that should be paid not by the taxpayer but by business direct.

    Starvation is the result of benefit cuts and hunger has risen over 70 per cent since the Tories came to power in 2010.

    97 per cent of benefit goes to the working poor and poor pensioners, with only 3 per cent to unemployed that include people dumped onto Jobseekers yet disabled / chronic sick.

    The SNP could have offered The Greens 2015 manifesto pledge of a universal Citizen Wage, non-means tested and non-withdrawable, to replace the cruel benefits regime that is causing death by starvation with benefit sanctions.

    We will see if the promised Devo Max comes to pass for the Scots, which included the abolition of the Bedroom Tax (known to cause suicide through research by the United Nations in the UK).

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