Only 18% of 16-44 year-old Scots trust BBC News not to be biased on Independence

This stunningly, embarrassingly, low figure is from a 2017 BMG Research poll, reported on in the Herald on the 11th February, into the extent to which Scots trust BBC News Reporting not to be biased on Independence. I only accessed the full BMG report yesterday but it’s worth looking at it from a different perspective to the Herald. It’s a massive rejection of a public (funded) service broadcaster (PSB) perhaps unparalleled in the Western democracies. An international review of 23 academic studies (ref below) in 2016 found: The studies reviewed tend to point towards a net positive impact of public service media when it comes to trust…’ So trust is strongly associated with PSBs and expected of them but clearly this is not the case for younger Scots and BBC News.

I could also have headlined accurately like this:

Less than 1 in 4 Scots trust BBC Scotland News Reporting on Independence

I could also have written accurately:

Only 23% of Scots trust BBC News on Independence

On the 11th February, The Herald went for this headline:

One in three Scots think BBC biased against independence

You can see the one the Herald chose is the least bad for the BBC but it’s still not good. Remember many of these people are paying for the same BBC service they clearly distrust.

Compare any of these figures with the 73% of people who trust the Scottish government just about always’ or ’most of the time’ to act in Scotland’s best interest. It’s a stark contrast between a trusted government and the broadcaster reporting on it.

The BMG research was based on online data collection so is more reliable than landline telephone data collection. There’s a reference below to an older piece explaining why. The last BMG report which suggested a very encouraging 49% Yes vote for independence prior to any campaigning was also based on online data collection.

This was the BMG method:

‘A representative sample of 1,067 Scots aged 16+ were asked: “to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? – “The BBC tends to report news that is biased against the cause for Scottish independence”.’

BMG concluded:

‘The polling gives an indication that the BBC, one of Britain’s most popular and trusted media organisations, may be facing both a political and a generational divide in Scotland. In the eyes of younger and pro-independence Scots the BBC’s reputation for unbiased and objective reporting may be called into question. With the prospect of another independence referendum still looming, the debates surrounding the BBC’s impartiality, is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.’

It’s only a matter of time.


5 thoughts on “Only 18% of 16-44 year-old Scots trust BBC News not to be biased on Independence

  1. Alasdair Macdonald February 28, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    I note that on the Radio Scotland news programmes today we are having extensive discussions about the reported ‘independence for Orkney’ trope. This was first raised in 1979, reemerged in 1997 and 2014.

    The Orcadians being interviewed are expressing far more open-minded views and exploring options, but the questioning is trying to push the discourse into the ‘separation for Orkney’ position.

    There is a genuine argument for the Northern and Western Islands and, indeed, all parts of Scotland to have greater powers and autonomy to develop policies which are in the interests of the localities, but, this is not the line taken by the BBC. The questioning is essentially: are you British? Scottish? Norwegian?

    I know that the unionist propaganda has continued since the referendum, but,is my perception that it is being ramped up recently just my paranoia?


    • Finnmacollie February 28, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      Divide and rule.


    • Clydebuilt March 1, 2017 / 9:13 am

      A.M. After one of the Orcadians had said that Orkney liked to embrace the world The female presenter suggested that implied they would want to join with Norway………this wasn’t taken up by the Orcadians…… Why would Norway be more International than Our country Scotland……. That is currently fighting to stay in the EU…….


  2. Clydebuilt March 1, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Great post John…….. I’ve noticed it’s not wall to wall SNPBaaaaaad ……… They’re diluting it……. Too (insert swear word of choice) late

    When I read stuff like this I always rember the words of the Great Ian Bell from the early days of the penultimate Indy. Ref…… ” By the end, the BBC’s reputation will be well and truly trashed” …… Well the Yoonnnns at PQ. have continued trashing their reputation for a further 2 yrs + ……. Once an organisation has trashed it’s reputation it ain’t going to regain it any time soon.

    What for you make of ITV & STV replacing their 10pm news either a chat show ……. Putting their main news and Scotland Tonight back by 30 mins….. Surely will reduce the Audience for Scotland Tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

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