Thursday, September 18, 2014

The press and the Scottish independence vote

Now that we Dish subscribers can easily see what the BBC has on its mind 24/7, it is sometimes easy to conclude that their political perspective is essentially a politically-correct, oxbridge-accented version of Fox news.  The class bias is astounding and the arrogance breath-taking.  Deep down inside, there still beats the heart of the Empire.  Cecil Rhodes would be so very proud.

So as we close in on the Scottish vote for independence and tempers are getting a little raw, we see the BBC coverage of events becoming one of the issues—as well it should be.  After all, it doesn't take a lot of insight to see that for the BBC, a Yes vote is quite literally, unthinkable.  It would be an expression of the crudest form of pre-civilized behavior.  What could possibly be wrong with anyone who would even consider leaving the UK?

Not surprisingly, that attitude has not gone over well with the nationalists and they have resorted to forms of personalized protest.  So now the voice of the British Empire screams "intimidation."  The louts who would vote for independence are really just bad-mannered, you see.  You simply cannot call a journalist a "liar" even when in fact he is one—it's simply not done.

Note to the British upper classes (and upper class wanna-bees): This Leisure Class strategy is getting really old.  Complex manners made for and enforced by the idle rich are nothing more than cultural imperialism.  Yes, you folks will keep that one handy because it is still remarkably effective.  But not so many people are fooled anymore.  BBC—meet the Internet.  Lots of people out there who detest your arrogance and they now have alternative sources of information.  A Yes vote in Scotland would be many things including a repudiation of the Empire's voice.  Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch!

‘End intimidation of journalists covering Scottish referendum’ – trade union leader

RT September 16, 2014

Journalists must be allowed to cover the Scottish referendum debate without fear of intimidation, a trade union leader has said. The remarks follow public outcry against the BBC’s alleged anti-independence “bias.”

Pro-independence Scots rallied outside the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters on Sunday to protest the public broadcaster’s allegedly slanted coverage of the referendum and to demand the resignation of political editor Nick Robinson.

The BBC attracted criticism after Robinson produced a report that wrongly claimed Salmond had ignored his question during a heated press conference in Edinburgh last week.

Paul Holleran, Scottish organizer for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said that while people had the right to protest, journalists in Edinburgh and Aberdeen had been “abused over the weekend when simply turning up to report on events organized by both sides” of the referendum campaign.

Others in the media had been “on the receiving end of a range of abuse and intolerance on social media, some of which has been logged and may be reported to the police,” said Holleran.

“Robust debate is fine. Pointing out when journalists get their facts wrong is expected and welcomed. But NUJ members believe in a free press, a fair media, with journalists allowed to do their jobs free of intimidation,” Holleran said.

“We hope the politicians and campaigners, and those who follow politics, take this on board and act with a bit of maturity and understanding of the role of journalists in holding those in power to account.

“What is totally unacceptable is the use of threats of violence. The NUJ has a history of acting on this type of behavior and Police Scotland has been supportive and has intervened when we have previously pursued such action,” he added.

The BBC has defended its referendum coverage, calling it “rigorously impartial and in line with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality.”

Nick Robinson also took to twitter to defend his integrity against claims he was a “liar.”

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael claimed “Yes” campaigners were using “intimidation tactics” and called on First Minister Alex Salmond to act.

“You've got a mob outside Pacific Quay, the BBC headquarters in Glasgow, trying to influence their reporting of this referendum. These are serious, serious tactics to be adopted and really, the person who could stop it all and pull the heat out of this is Alex Salmond. But time after time, despite every invitation to do so, he just ignores it.”

Salmond has accused the BBC of being “absolutely” biased for the Union. His Scottish National Party (SNP) has proposed replacing BBC Scotland with a Scottish Broadcasting Service after independence.

The Yes campaign, however, condemned the abuse of journalists and urged supporters of independence to dedicate their energy to securing a “Yes” vote.

“We are very clear that Yes supporters should spend the next few days campaigning for something, not protesting. All abuse is of course to be condemned, and we agree with Paul Holleran,” a spokesman for Yes Scotland told the Press Association.

“The reality of this debate is that it is overwhelmingly a vibrant celebration of democracy, and we shouldn't allow the few badly behaved people on either side to mischaracterize an event that the people of Scotland are very proud of.”

“Cowardly and irresponsible”

Commentator Gail Sheridan, wife of socialist independence campaigner Tommy Sheridan, told the Glasgow Evening Times that threats and intimidation were perpetrated on both sides of the referendum race.

“The term intimidation has been bandied about by the No campaign against the YESers,” said Sheridan.“I have witnessed less than acceptable behavior from both sides.

“Tommy, Nicola Sturgeon and other prominent Yes crusaders like Jim Sillars have been subjected to personal abuse in person and online. They have received death threats. But they haven't run off to the police and enlisted a sympathetic media for cheap coverage.

“Whatever the outcome on Thursday we all have to get on with our lives and live together. Bridges have to be mended. Abuse is unacceptable from any side.”

Sheridan accused banks, companies and supermarket giants of being “cowardly and irresponsible” in their attempts to “to punish us if we democratically opt to become independent.” She accused Prime Minister David Cameron of abetting their threats.

“That is nothing short of intimidation and makes a mockery of his talk of 'fairness',” she said.

“Going to face a bullet”

Meanwhile, Respect MP George Galloway claims he was told he was “going to face a bullet” by a heckler at a pro-union event, just weeks after he was attacked in London.

Galloway, who also presents his own TV show on RT, “Sputnik: Around the World with George Galloway,” had been speaking at a rally held by the “No” campaign in Glasgow on Monday.

“In the last 30 minutes I have been told I am going to face a bullet,” said Galloway. “I take these matters seriously because I am on painkilling drugs and a walking stick when I am not on stage following an attack in London.”

As the referendum date approaches, abuse, vandalism and threats of violence have accompanied both the “Yes” and “No” campaigns.

All police leave has been canceled for Thursday’s referendum, when 3.5 million Scots are expected to cast their votes. Polling staff have been warned to expect “confrontational behavior.” more

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