‘In the public interest’, one dead baby, two more babies allegedly treated like ‘lab rats’, a killing and an understaffed prison: ‘The News where you live’

Lab rats!

On BBC Reporting Scotland yesterday at 1.30

First: ‘A ten-month-old baby has died after choking on food at a nursery in Edinburgh.’

BBC Guidelines: ‘We operate in the public interest – reporting stories of significance to our audiences and holding power to account.’


The full report offered no further information of any kind that could be in the public interest. This was, once more mere morbid titillation of a base tabloid form. Reporting Scotland could not even find a dubious link to any wider phenomenon such as the licensing of nurseries or the training of staff, yet it was the headline story.

Second: ‘An anonymous witness has told the blood inquiry he believes his identical twins were treated as lab rats after being infected with HIV through contaminated blood products at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital. The man known only as Mr AB said one of his sons was given a trial drug AZT for HIV while the other son was given a different treatment. The family were not consulted.

BBC Guidelines: ‘This means all BBC output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, and corroborated. We should be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation. Any proposal to rely on a single unnamed source making a serious allegation or to grant anonymity to a significant contributor making a serious allegation must be referred to Director Editorial Policy and Standards and Programme Legal Advice.’


I’ll ask if the Director was consulted. Lab rats? This report is about as down-market as you can get.

Then there was a murder and an understaffed prison to round off your day.

Note: This reminds me of the story that psychologists are no longer using lab rats but rather they prefer to use journalists in their labs. They found they were getting too attached to the rats and there are some things even rats won’t do!

Note: The above joke can be sued with other groups such as Tory MSPs.



9 thoughts on “‘In the public interest’, one dead baby, two more babies allegedly treated like ‘lab rats’, a killing and an understaffed prison: ‘The News where you live’

  1. tcrosbie20 July 12, 2019 / 7:33 am

    Great piece john concise and on the button again, the BBC must hate you. You would think a media organisation the size of the BBC would at least substantiate some its evidence its so amateurish and sloppy or is that the agenda ?. We must be entering full scale negativity and unionist propaganda mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Legerwood July 12, 2019 / 11:31 am

    In fairness the anonymous witness was giving evidence to the inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970s -1980s therefore berating the BBC for reporting that is somewhat wide of the mark. If the inquiry accorded him anonymity then they would do so with good reason and the BBC reporting on what was happening/said in court would not be in breach of their guidelines.


    • johnrobertson834 July 12, 2019 / 12:23 pm

      I’m berating their editorial judgement to pick this out and headline it given their published guidelines.


      • Legerwood July 12, 2019 / 4:15 pm

        The BBC were reporting what had been said by one of the witnesses at the inquiry – a witness who had been granted anonymity by the inquiry which the BBC et al are bound to respect. Such a situation does not fall within the guidelines. If the person had approached the BBC out of the blue with this story then yes it would fall within the guidelines.

        The BBC and other media routinely report the evidence given by witnesses in trials and inquiries who have been granted anonymity. It is for the trial/inquiry to render judgement on the evidence.

        The BBC and others have been reporting almost nightly on the evidence given to the inquiry. What is being revealed is very much in the public interest – the loss of medical records, the failure to inform patients of the diagnosis etc. All of that will be weighed by the inquiry when it reports.

        If the BBC had initiated this story as a one off then its guidelines apply but reporting it in the context of an ongoing inquiry they do not apply.


  3. Alex Montrose July 12, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    Usually I watch STV news from Aberdeen but that is now almost as biased as the BBC, it’s becoming unwatchable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ludo Thierry July 12, 2019 / 5:39 pm

    I try and look at RT site news when I get a chance – that led me to this wee gem regarding a gent from Edinburgh going viral with his most excellent song about BoJo. A comic version of ‘Living Next Door To Alice’ it is becoming a bit of a sensation by all accounts – doubt we’ll hear anything about it on beeb? – Worth a wee watch – couple of swerries but nothing too graphic – amusing and highly catchy – Watch out BoJo – this one will follow you around! Link below:



  5. steelewires July 13, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    I don’t get my news from the BBC or STV or ITV or Skye. I watch AlJazeera. It too has its biases, including some anti-Scottish independence bias, but it’s more bearable than the English stations.


  6. Robbo July 15, 2019 / 9:33 am

    I am convinced the ethos that drives the Scottish media especially the BBC is to ensure that even when the sun is shining it is their ‘public interest’ to show there is doom waiting just around the corner. So too is the weather on BBC ‘red button’ always it seems they take the most pessimistic forecast just to ensure that you will not enjoy your day. I do wonder sometimes if the Meteorology sources have any monitoring units outwith London. It seems almost as if they take the temperature in London then deduct at least two degrees for Scotland. Have been monitoring the weather here in Fife with what they predict and it is almost persistently wrong so it is a pointless exercise..

    Finally John I don’t always make inane comments but with your dedication to the getting the truth out there I often use your posts to educate the unwashed.

    Keep up the good work it is very much appreciated and necessary.


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