Hayley Miller and the GMS Editor at work
From reader, Contrary:
Radio Scotland GMS is the strangest thing this morning:
(Millar and Maxwell reporting)
Their reporting between 7am and 8am has been fairly SNP-positive. They poured scorn on Willie Rennie’s stance of not approving the Scottish budget until the SNP drop independence campaigning – asking if he really thinks that’s a reasonable thing to do, when independence is SNP s raison d’etre. Implying that his stance is unreasonable. Not badgering him, but fairly incredulous questioning. As this article indicates, if the SNP are proposing good progressive taxation, why aren’t the LibDems supporting, or not, on its own merits? They really are a bunch of weirdos.
Questioning Labour’s man in the Scottish Parliament – wow that man is an embarrassment, and the questions had to be repeatedly simplified for him (again no actual badgering) and he still couldn’t answer most of them. On brexit: what is Labour’s stance if they are ready for a GE – he couldn’t answer (except for the tired old trope of ‘the people voted to leave’, and he avoided totally mentioning that Scotland very decisively voted remain) – and the interviewer said ‘so, the SNP are the only party that gives an alternative to Brexit’. He had no answer to that, but did not, bizarrely, criticise the SNP.
Then there was the question about Nicola Sturgeon being pressured to self-refer to an investigation on the Alex Salmond harassment case, what would labour do if she didn’t, and how long were they giving her? He couldn’t answer either except to say ‘it will be days rather than weeks’, actually, he did say, after simplified questioning, that labour would try and get support of (Scot) Parliament to take action. The reporters did say after this interview that it should be noted that Alex Slamond denies any allegations etc. In general, it didn’t have the feel of trolling the SNP.
A temporary hiatus? Are news outlets frightened of litigation? Or in fact, do I just perceive this as ‘fair’ because their usual raving is so extreme and anti-SNP and all things Scottish, that a milder not-so-critical reporting (but certainly not supportive) seems fair in comparison. Yes, I think it’s just my perception. But therein lies the biggest problem – we are so used to hearing extreme bias, that anything even mildly neutral sounds fair. That needs consideration.
Usual misinforming reporting: let’s tackle their headlining news item ‘research shows that people who miss doctors appointments tend to die prematurely’. Strictly sort of correct, but that headline is wholly misleading – what they actually mean is ‘people with mental health problems that miss doctors appointments tend to die prematurely, usually through suicide’. In fact, regardless of the rest of the reporting that explains this, the headline is strictly wrong – they are making the wrong association between death and missing appointments. Cause and effect. Repeatedly missing appointments is likely to indicate a mental health problem that’s not being dealt with, and keeping missing appointments may lead to not receiving help & further degeneration of that mental health.
I thought Ms Miller did a fair job with her interviewing of Mr Leonard. I can recall during the independence referendum an occasion when she skewered Mr Jim Murphy to such an extent that he protested, something along the lines of ‘Whose side are you on?’ Gary Robertson has often been fairly assertive towards whomever he is interviewing.
I think there have been some improvements, certainly since the 2014 referendum, when, with few exceptions (see previous paragraph), it was pretty much, “just tell us how bad independence will be and we will not press you on the validity of your assertions. Indeed, we might thrown in a few ourselves.”
However, the interviews are only a small part of the programme which usually follows the script of reporting a list of things that frighten the horses. Professor Robertson gave us a good synopsis of today’s offering.
Thanks for the synopsis Contrary – I was listening to the programme but arrived at the carpark just as Dick Leonard was introduced – seems like I missed a real stoatir! (Hopefully the Indyref 2 site might stick up an embedded clip so I can hear Dicky boy in all his glory).
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The only thing I say and will continue to say, is that Dick Leonard is
Hologram in a red scarf.
“Are news outlets frightened of litigation? ”
If not, they really should be.
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Ah if only they did take responsibility for their actions William.
Bugger, you are far too cryptic for me. I am only on page 4 of my new Times cryptic crossword book, I’d forgotten how tough they are.
Aye it’s a pain, Ludo, when you miss bits of the radio because real life intervenes – but you just know it’s never worth it if you pause to make a special effort to listen. It was a stoatir indeed, both Willie and Richard came across as incompetent imbeciles, and the interviewer didn’t smother either with kind words this time, and even mentioned independence without flinching – they’ll pay for that of course.
Alasdair, I don’t know that I wholly agree that there have been improvements since 2014, I would say they have been worse, or maybe I just wasn’t fully aware their reporting was so bad in 2014. Again, I think it comes down to perception, if you are so used to fairly extreme bias, a small moment of vague neutrality can seem like the sun is shining. Gary is consistently robust – irritatingly so in most cases – in his questioning but I think he is the only one that is fairly so to every politician. I have even heard him been fair about independence before, but usually he throws in extreme anti reporting the next day and I just think ‘someone got their knuckles rapped,,,’. It must be pretty pish to have to work there, but then most of them seem to buy into the codswallop. Hayley is particularly bad for asking 3-minute long questions (I.e. Giving her own opinion and expecting it to be agreed with), stuttering and saying but but but a lot when she loses control of the narrative. No they do not interview everyone on an equal basis. When they ‘lose’ someone on a phone interview – they get back a pro-Union person, but leave the call of any pro-independence person – I could not believe they’d cut off the leader of the seanaid (bah, can’t spell it, the Irish Senate) and just left it there, changed the subject (he was full-on praising Nicola Sturgeon), and never mentioned it again.
John, are you sure my comment deserved a place in the blog, it is a fairly rough overview of events. Ah your whims. Cool pics btw. Thank you to the gang for commenting! 🙂 makes me look popular 😀
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