My complaint to BBC re bias in their report on Business Confidence

Location
Scotland
First half of UK Postcode
KA7
Type of complaint
BBC News (TV, Radio and website)
Which news service is it about
TV News
Channel
BBC One
Programme title
Transmission date
11/01/2017
Broadcast type
When it was actually broadcast
Incident time
06:30
Complaint category
Bias
Contacted us before
No
Complaint title
Imbalance in report Business Confidence Scotland
Complaint description
The report was: ‘‘Most of Scotland’s small firms expect conditions to deteriorate according to research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses. It found that business confidence was at a lower level in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. A separate report from the Bank of Scotland suggests falling levels of entrepreneurship and a decrease in the number of new start-ups here.’ This had three negatives and no positives yet the Bank of Scotland report was much more positive overall. Here’s an extract from another report: ‘‘Scotland has managed to withstand a sharp decline in the number of start-up businesses in the last five years. The findings of a Bank of Scotland study reveal that 3% fewer new businesses were started in Scotland in November 2016 compared to November 2011, while the UK figure dropped by 19%. (See table 1) Regionally, the data from BankSearch shows that Wales has seen the largest decline in new start-ups, falling by over a quarter (26%). England has also been hit hard, declining by a fifth (20%). As this is where the greatest volume of new start businesses are launched, this equates to nearly 100,000 fewer new businesses created in 2016.’ and: ‘In contrast to England and Wales, the view in Scotland is much more encouraging, with almost half (14 of 32) of Scottish regions seeing growth in the number of start-up businesses over the last five years.’ Clearly the BBC report was highly selective with regard to the Bank of Scotland report leading viewers to hear a biased/imbalanced report. :
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9 thoughts on “My complaint to BBC re bias in their report on Business Confidence

  1. Finnmacollie January 11, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    I await with interest the usual pro forma reply stressing impartiality and accuracy – in fact I’m quite sure you could write the reply yourself by now:)

    Also last night on Reporting Far North of Britain they ran with “critics” of the baby box scheme saying that the money could be better spent elsewhere. The “critics” turned out to be a Times reporter with a proven anti SNP background (see GAPonsonby)

    Just out of interest I wonder how many Scottish Government /SNP press releases are ignored in favour of ones from opposition parties. No point doing an FOI request to find out.

    Like

    • johnrobertson834 January 12, 2017 / 11:25 am

      Thanks Finn but it’s been a while since my last one. I hope it pisses them off.

      Like

  2. Clydebuilt January 11, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    Can’t fault your clear logic, an open and shut case. The reply will need a bit of creative writing.

    Keep up the good work John……. Top Scottish Blogger 2017……

    Like

  3. Col January 13, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    I have to say from watching first minister’s questions the other day the bias started immediately with two unionist commentators twisting proceedings out of all recognition.
    The subsequent reporting from Pacific Quay edited proceedings to paint a wholly different picture also.
    I believe from reading a comment on another pro indy blog that the radio was no different in pushing the agenda.
    I wonder if any of our friends from Europe could help us take down once and for all the British propaganda that denies us our democratic rights which surely are written into law somewhere.
    Are they even aware that Westminster tightly controls what we see and hear on a daily basis?

    Like

    • johnrobertson834 January 14, 2017 / 9:41 am

      Actually they’re even written into the BBC Charter but they feel free to interpret balance and impartiality using ‘editorial values’ which they don’t define.

      Like

  4. johnrobertson834 January 25, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    Their reply: Dear Professsor Robertson

    Reference CAS-4171612-Z1HZY6

    Thank you for getting in touch. Your comments were passed to the Editor of Reporting Scotland, who has asked that I forward his response as follows:

    “Thank you for being in touch about the programme at 0630 on 11th January.

    The report to which you refer lasted 20 seconds – that’s 60 words in broadcast bulletins. In these 60 words we reported the points most emphasised by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Bank of Scotland. That is wholly consistent with fair, accurate and impartial reporting. Online also carried that day a report which offered more information on both reports than can be contained in a third of a minute on air. It can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-38570414

    You provide quotes from an unnamed report which run to about 55 seconds – almost three times as long as our story in the early morning television bulletins. Again, the point is clear: you get more information if you have more time or space.

    We do not judge stories by the number of ‘positives’ and ‘negatives’ in them, insofar as you can ascribe absolute values to these terms: for example, a fall in interest rates is ‘positive’ for mortgage payers but ‘negative’ for savers.

    I therefore cannot agree with your assertion that “the BBC report was highly selective” leading to a “biased/unbalanced report”.

    Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

    Details of the BBC complaints process are available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

    Kind regards

    James Kelly

    BBC Complaints Team

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

    Like

  5. johnrobertson834 January 25, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    My second complaint: Reference CAS-4171612-Z1HZY6: Second Complaint: You wrote: ‘The report to which you refer lasted 20 seconds – that’s 60 words in broadcast bulletins. In these 60 words we reported the points most emphasised by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Bank of Scotland. That is wholly consistent with fair, accurate and impartial reporting.’ With particular regard to your claim that ‘we reported the points most emphasised by the Federation of Small Businesses and the Bank of Scotland’ this is patently untrue with regard to the latter. I repeat: ‘The Bank of Scotland report was much more positive overall. Here’s an extract from another report on the Bank of Scotland report (http://dailybusinessgroup.co.uk/2017/01/scotland-withstands-start-up-setback/): ‘‘Scotland has managed to withstand a sharp decline in the number of start-up businesses in the last five years. The findings of a Bank of Scotland study reveal that 3% fewer new businesses were started in Scotland in November 2016 compared to November 2011, while the UK figure dropped by 19%. (See table 1) Regionally, the data from BankSearch shows that Wales has seen the largest decline in new start-ups, falling by over a quarter (26%). England has also been hit hard, declining by a fifth (20%). As this is where the greatest volume of new start businesses are launched, this equates to nearly 100,000 fewer new businesses created in 2016.’ and: ‘In contrast to England and Wales, the view in Scotland is much more encouraging, with almost half (14 of 32) of Scottish regions seeing growth in the number of start-up businesses over the last five years.’ Clearly the BBC report was highly selective with regard to the Bank of Scotland report leading viewers to hear a biased/imbalanced report.’ In line with your Royal Charter you are expected to be balanced. Taking one negative out of the BoS report which was full of positives was not balanced. Finally your excuse about 20 seconds does not stand up. If the story required longer to be balanced give it longer.

    Like

  6. johnrobertson834 January 27, 2017 / 9:09 am

    These thoughts shared with permission from an email to me from ‘C. Worth reading’:

    First thanks for being a front runner in exposing the state propaganda machine – SBBC.

    The most recent thing missed perhaps by yourself is the UK trade with Scotland – its bias , and the omission of data on the BBC both in the nightly news this week , and long term via the website is deliberate , especially when not asking “experts” when promoting edited facts.

    This weeks running has been to prove that RUK exports are 4x that of Scotland to the EU – will be true as its based on SNP Holyrood data.

    However this makes no reference to other data worthy of repeating for balance.

    1. Its a biased trade , in return RUK imports into Scotland are more than 20 percent higher than exports.
    2.Scottish Trade with lack of clear routes to the EU have to use English ports – subsidizing English jobs.
    3. Trade is controlled by Westminster not Holyrood – so the reason why EU trade is so low.
    4. Said bias and extra costs are similar in the trade with EIRE , ie weighted in UK favour , as well as using same said ports thus increased costs.

    Though nothing is made of the FACT that EIRE is well quite successful in its trade deals and other than with the UK with it being balanced with its partners. And that with independence comes the levers of trade – as well as the economic mechanisms.

    The time is here for ASKING Holyrood to intervene into lies in the papers , a proper press complaints body , and then while we are still in the EU onward to the ECHR with the evidence of preventing democracy. Failing that crowdfunding for an individual to do it.

    The irony is that the same bluster on trade , on tariffs , led to the Act of Union itself – yet 310 years later the same ammo is being used – and we pay a licence to hear it.

    Thanks.

    Like

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