Just after the 2014 Referendum a book called London Calling: How the BBC Stole the Referendum was released by G.A. Ponsonby and went over in forensic detail how the Yes position was subject to negative bias by the state controlled media that is the BBC. While some of it is quite subtle there were some clear incidents where stories were spun particular ways, such as reporters led their interviewee’s into discussing particular subjects with a predefined assumption of the preexisting Union Good, Indy Bad, or where internet content was modified in ways to change the intonation of particular articles.
It is quite easy at times to get a bit paranoid about the press and broadcast media, after all, the vast majority has an editorial agenda that sits to the right of centre and by its nature will take the Metropolitan and establishment standpoint every time. But to coin a well worn expression ; just because you are paranoid, does not mean they aren’t out to get you!
Last night the Yes Stirling group hosted a showing ( the Stirling Premiere no less ) of the documentary film inspired by the book. It is not a revisit of every item in Ponsonby’s book, but using this as a framework if you like, shows how the TV beamed into out living rooms and kitchens every night was quite clearly managed to give a negative view of the independence movement and the Yes side in the 2014 referendum and made the UK Government’s case for them. Remember while the two sides had a budgetary limit I think of £2million the state had the entire resources of the BBC at it’s disposal, as well as a supportive “free” press. Some of what it reveals is astonishingly blatant to the extent you have to say they had some balls to keep a straight face while claiming impartiality, some of it will go down in legend ( the Nick Robinson “he didn’t answer the question” edit being possibly the most memorable to all on social media at the time). But there were other edits that unless you went through the raw footage, and then the broadcast output, forensically would go as being factual representations of what happened, by the viewer. London Calling both does this extremely well, but in addition does some deeper investigation in particular to the murky, “grass roots” ( the BBC’s phrase not ours) No Borders campaign that was effectively given a whole licence payer funded Advertorial hosted by Senior BBC Correspondent Gavin Esler.
The film is making its way round Yes groups and if you get the chance to go see it, do, it’s really well made, certainly up to broadcast TV standards in terms of visual and audio quality, and well ahead in terms of factual investigative reporting. Last night around 100 or so activists, campaigners and members of pro independence groups sat down to watch the film at the Smith and then took part in a discussion with Alan Knight the maker. It is a film that will open your eyes ( if you have not already read the book or noticed yourself anyway) to the state sponsored propaganda that is beamed into our homes at our own cost, all the time.
It is a MUST SEE by all especially before Indyref2 comes along.
I would like to say you will enjoy it, unfortunately that’s unlikely to be the case, you will be informed and educated, and will probably leave with that hollow feeling in your gut that YES! we were robbed.