BBC Scotland’s criticised Disclosure team fail in bid to attract Stacy Dooley!

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After an audience survey revealed that most viewers thought BBC Scotland’s Disclosure team were a bunch of wimps, not up to the hazards of real investigative reporting, an attempt was made to attract Strictly Come Dancing winner, Stacey Dooley, with the offer of a big salary, a personalised stab vest and the role of Senior Chief Reporter with the team.

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Much of the criticism of the Disclosure team has concerned their apparent preference for just asking quiet old folk who are ill, quiet old folk who remember a tragedy, quiet old folk who were abused in a home or quiet old folk who had terrible surgery, to tell them what happened. In the one case where they were following a lorry full of wee calves with a big tough guy driving, they got mixed up, followed the wrong lorry all the way to Spain and then used the wrong film of wee calves in the final production. In sharp contrast, the at-first-sight, puny little Eastender, is a tough cookie who might have brought some steel to the team.

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Dooley was briefly attracted to the package offered but after watching some of the Disclosure series, left quickly, sniggering. She has, in sharp contrast, interviewed Ulster paramilitaries who are kneecapping local youths, Russian pimps and Mexican gang members.

TuS contacted Dooley, were referred to this link and asked to pass it on to the BBC Scotland team:

Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Practitioners sometimes use the terms “watchdog reporting” or “accountability reporting”.’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investigative_journalism

In a genuine effort to help, TuS investigative reporter Johnny ‘Mad Bastard’ Robertskovovichkov, has suggested these topics:

Radiation and Cancer, Inside Hunterston B

Dark Money and the Scottish Tories: Inside the Loyalist Money-laundering Gangs

Don’t Touch Me There: Scottish Labour Grandees and Female Interns

Unwanted Cash Donations: Exposing the coin throwers of Scottish football

He Sleeps with the Fishes: Scotland’s Mackerel Mafia Families

Readers are asked to make further suggestions below.

Further calls to shut-down this blog will be ignored,

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More on the Mediation of Alex Salmond from TuS resident contrarian, Contrarian

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Responding to the above:
Contrary December 15, 2018 / 2:30 pm

Well, well, this is interesting indeed.

Would that be the same Iain Macwhirter that said on radio Scotland just this past week ‘there’s no appetite for a second independence referendum’? Really? Nearly 50% of the population champing at the bit desperate for one translates as ‘no appetite’. Perhaps he doesn’t look at opinion polls or talks to anyone outside his social circle? Maybe it wasn’t him, but pretty sure that was the name given?

Excuses for the BBC to be shite at their job? I’m tired of it.

If the story re Alex Salmond was interesting before, and the media was fair minded and had the objective of informing the public, then this story should have been headlining all the papers. It isn’t, so we can only ask why not, and ask that media what their objective really is (they would dissemble and say is was a mere formality, too complex for us simple minded plebs, or there’s no scandal so wasn’t relevant, or you know the drill, just add your own vague beside the point weasely excuse). Why not just say ‘we hate Alex Salmond because he threatens our nice tidy status quo, and we want you to hate him too even if he’s one of the few people that gives you a chance of getting you out of the shit-for-you status quo’? Or words to that effect.

There are a lot of alternative ways this could have been reported.

I’ve just finished watching a late night discussion from 1989, not relevant to today you’d think? I found it very relevant, it is a discussion about the security services just before the new state secrets act was to be passed – closing down any future discussions like this. The open and relaxed nature of the discussion brings it home just how much open debate is stifled these days, but also how much there was already an issue with secret service accountability, competence, and who they were targeting, their politicisation, their old boys network, the ability for anyone to report illegal orders or acts, ,,, actually, there is a big list.

1989 was of course after the Falklands, and during the Troubles, and Thatcher reigned. (And Bush was US president, they have an ex-CIA man in the discussion).

I was fairly horrified when the law was passed in parliament recently (2016 or was it 2017?, how time flies) allowing the secret services unparalleled, unrestricted and unaccountable power to spy on its own citizens, with no media fanfare. What the Rt. Hon. Tony Benn says in 1989, what his concerns were, have come to pass. One thing often said, was that the secret service is there to maintain the (internal) status quo at all costs, and by all accounts were a shambles at catching foreign spies.

Also interesting were the comments made about how the automatic reaction when any of these clandestine groups make a mistake, is to lie and make up a nonsense story – so even if their action was justified they can never come clean about what actually happened. Interesting opinions on what should and should not be secret, and the journalist in the group making a good point about ‘secrecy for its own sake, instead of when relevant’. You can have scrutiny without revealing state secrets (who is the state, asks Tony Benn, the crown? Who are we answerable to, is it a state within a state?). Also, the points made about your attendance at public school influences how much you can be ‘trusted’. Who decides what is ‘for the good of the public’, how can the public make an informed decision in elections when things are kept from them, etc.

There is a lot in this, rather long, programme – and these are people with links and knowledge. Only one conclusion really regarding Alex Salmond, the security services need to take him down to maintain their status quo, and are doing what they always do (interesting comments from Mr Benn regarding misinformation peddled about him – as a politician he has a platform to speak out and fight back from – while others were at the mercy of vindictive defamation). I am always suspicious of any sensationalist reporting myself. There have been some bizarre ones recently too. But it’s no wonder the SNP keep closed ranks and squeaky clean images – they will be targeted.

You might have been quicker watching (over 2.5 hours), than reading my comment though!!

Fascinating 1989 After Dark chat about security services just before new secrecy laws come into effect

As Tony Benn says, too, ‘we did not allow the excuse of ‘I was ordered to do it’ in the Nuremberg trials, and we should not allow that excuse in the secret services’ (I’m paraphrasing)

I would add that I think the staff of the BBC should not be allowed that excuse either. Or the people striking in the GMB union strike fiasco. Not a popular opinion I know, but we each have to take responsibility for our own actions, but at the same time there should be understanding that we can all make bad decisions and can be conned. Admitting a bad decision or not can make the difference between respect and disdain.

Another interesting word that started being bandied about in the above discussion was ‘vindictive’. That word describes the impression I have of the English public school classes, I see it as the main describing feature of any future negotiations for an independent Scotland, we see it in their attitude towards Ireland even now – but that doesn’t stop decent trade deals and initiatives being made, so it just needs us to stay determined. (That is, expect it, but don’t bow to it)

I really think that out of all the nations of the U.K., it is England that most badly needs independence, not from the eu because they don’t have a say constitutionally, but from the uk. Their national identity seems to be wholly focused on the British empire and somehow without it they’d be nothing. What rubbish, England is a rich and vibrant country with a huge variety in culture and environment – why aren’t they celebrating that, instead of the weirdo need to only judge their worth by how many other peoples they can subjugate? It’s not healthy. But while they struggle with this, I think the best we can do is get Scotland to be an independent country again, constitutionally, financially, culturally, and we’d be doing a favour for their good, and our good.

Scottish Qualifications Authority acts fearlessly to keep up standards

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Not-too-relevant but fascinating US graph from http://www.gradeinflation.com/

In 2008, 25.3% of All English A-level passes received an A grade. This triggered a call for readjustment to avoid accusations of unjustifiable grade inflation. In Scotland, the then Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, appealed for the Scottish system not to be dragged into the annual row about exam standards in England.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/aug/06/alevels.schools

This year, we see:

‘Attainment in Higher exams has fallen for the third year in a row, new figures have shown. Scottish Qualifications Authority statistics show A-C passes at Higher are down marginally by 0.2 per cent between 2017 and 2018. The figures, updated from August to take account of issues such as appeals and late results, show there were 55,083 band A passes at Higher this year, 48,592 at B and 44,274 at C.’

https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/attainment-in-scottish-higher-exams-falls-for-third-straight-year-1-4843440

According to the Labour Party’s education spokesman in the North Britain (Scotland) region, Iain Gray: ‘The SNP should be utterly ashamed of these figures.’ Gray called for additional resource to further inflate the results.

However, renowned authority on criterion-referenced assessment and former visiting research fellow at the University of the Best of Scotland, Professor, Doctor, Herr Johann von Rubrikson has accused Gray of being a dummkopf who doesn’t know his Harris from his Elba. In 2015, Prof Rubrik demanded that the Scottish system act to preserve its reputation, at least in Baden-Württemberg, as being the next toughest, after that in Baden-Württemberg, where only 4% of students get an A pass. Rubrikson has commended the efforts of the SNP to push A-passes down for the third year in an attempt to protect the reputation of the Scottish system, in sharp contrast to the English system, where according to Prof Rubrikson’s research team, Richard Leonard  got a C pass in GCSE Arithmetic.

 

 

From the Demonising to the Diminishing of Alex Salmond’s story

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There it is, down at the bottom left of the screen after scrolling down from headlines about the weather, tinned fruit and old film of the M8, an actual ‘news’ story about the Alex Salmond legal case:

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It’s there but small or down the page on the Record, Scotsman and Herald websites. Readers might let us know where it is in the paper versions. I can see no sign at all of it on the Guardian or Telegraph sites yet both were very interested in the accusations. Why is a success in his defence not worthy of a headline when the initial accusations caused repeat drooling headlines?

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For one journo, the reason is simple:

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That leaves unanswered the question ‘Why Alex Salmond so much and so viciously?’. Is it because he, like Ken Livingston, dares to bite back at media bias?

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Unlike the current SNP leadership, Salmond’s all-too-human behaviour, sharp wit and willingness to fight fire with fire, casts doubt on the mainstream media’s delusional sense of professionalism and ‘journalistic’ standards. They especially don’t like his mocking tone. His preparedness to use Russia Today, when the UK MSM will not give him space, is despised, despite the hypocrisy of their position. It infuriates them.

The accusations against him were all over BBC Scotland reports for days beyond any then current news value. Let’s see if their much-vaunted balance is in evidence now.

State Broadcaster teases Nats with glimpse of fair reporting on rough sleeping in Scotland then remembers its purpose*

 

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Perhaps as her Christmas present, Sally McNair headlined a short piece on rough sleeping which was fair, accurate and even compared Scotland favourably with England and Wales! There’s always been something disturbingly likeable about Sally compared with Jackie or Glenn.

Anyhow, here’s what she said at 06:26 am:

‘Fewer people are sleeping rough in Scotland this winter compared to 5 years ago according to the homeless charity, Crisis. It says figures obtained through research at Heriot Watt University show a 6% drop in the number sleeping on the street between 2012 and 2017. That’s in stark contrast to the situation in England and Wales where increases of 120% and 63% were recorded over the same period. The Scottish government says it has made rough sleeping a priority and recently published a new action plan backed by £50 million in funding.’

I suppose door-stepping Kezia or that heartless Tory woman for comment is asking too much?

Let’s see if it’s repeated the usual six times this morning and whether it makes it to Reporting Scotland as the headline story and still as essentially good news.

  • Haha by 08:26am they’d added this to start off the report: ’16 hundred people will sleep rough in Scotland this Christmas!’

 

Big increase in number of women GPs is excellent news for Scotland

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https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/General-Practice/Publications/2018-12-11/2018-12-11-GPWorkforce2018-Summary.pdf?18748110533

There are now 75 more GPs in Scotland than in the previous year and less than one third of them are over 50. However, the major growth has been in the number of women in the profession. This is very good news as there is convincing evidence that women doctors tend to be more effective than their male counterparts.

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First, in a Canadian study of GPs:

‘Female doctors provide a better quality of care than their male counterparts, according to a new study. Canadian research found that female GPs tended to spend longer with patients, were more likely to prescribe recommended medication and referred more patients for further examinations.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2465797/Women-doctors-provide-better-care-men-male-GPs-productive.html

Note: The Daily Mail is the preferred source, bedtime reading and guide to writing for BBC Reporting Scotland staff.

Second in a US study of hospital doctors:

‘Patients treated by women are less likely to die of what ails them and less likely to have to come back to the hospital for more treatment, researchers reported Monday. If all doctors performed as well as the female physicians in the study, it would save 32,000 lives every year, the team at the Harvard School of Public Health estimated.’

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/female-doctors-outperform-male-doctors-according-study-n697876

Third, with particular regard to the treatment of older patients:

‘In a study that is sure to rile male doctors, Harvard researchers have found that female doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge. Previous research has shown that female doctors are more likely to follow recommendations about prevention counseling and to order preventive tests like Pap smears and mammograms.’

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/12/19/506144346/patients-cared-for-by-female-doctors-fare-better-than-those-treated-by-men?t=1544691564237

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Fourth, in the bloody domain of the, sometimes, narcissistic, risk-taking, macho surgeon:

‘But in the latest report, it turns out that the patients of female surgeons tend to have lower death rates, fewer complications and lower readmissions to the hospital a month after their procedure, compared to the patients of male surgeons.’

http://time.com/4975232/women-surgeon-surgery/

 

As NHS England hits winter crisis early State Broadcaster’s Reporting Scotland team challenged to make up similar crisis here

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Last year, by this time, the State Broadcaster’s Reporting Scotland team had predicted a winter crisis for NHS Scotland. None came to pass. There is no definitive evidence that some reporters and presenters prayed for increased injuries that year.

Renowned media analyst and visiting research fellow at the Vidkun Quisling Centre for Critical Collaboration Studies, in Oslo, Professor John Robertson, has challenged the State Broadcaster’s team to come with up a campaign of misinformation designed to suggest a crisis in NHS Scotland this winter.

The evidence for a crisis in NHS England is already apparent and the State Broadcaster’s team in England has already launched its campaign:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46514094

Though BBC 1 News at 1.30pm yesterday misled by suggesting 87.6% of A&E patients were seen within 4 hours, the number seen in the Type 1 departments, those actually comparable to Scottish departments, saw only 81.1% in that time. This is a regular ‘mistake’.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/Statistical-commentary-November-2018.pdf

In November 2018, the average for Scottish A&E departments was 90.15% seen within 4 hours.

https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Emergency-Care/Publications/index.asp#2317

Further, NHS bed occupancy has entered a critical situation early:

‘Hospitals in England are so overcrowded ahead of Christmas care is being put at risk, experts say, with some places having to turn away ambulances because they cannot accept any more patients. NHS England’s first weekly report of the winter shows nearly 95% of beds are occupied. Anything above 85% is unsafe.’

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46514094

There is no sign of a comparable crisis regarding bed occupancy in Scotland. The more advanced social care arrangements in Scotland may be preventing this from happening. If there was a crisis, we’d know all about it. Indeed, there is evidence, at this stage of NHS Scotland having enough beds to subsidise NHS England capacity problems. See:

NHS Scotland compensating for serious bed shortages in England

Should a genuine crisis emerge in NHS Scotland, comparable to that in England, Professor Robertson, following Scotsman guidance, will make a small apology at the bottom of page 14 of the print edition of TuS.