Back in the days of the 1970’s when I was a mere teenager, it was common knowledge which newspapers promoted certain parties. The Express was a Tory paper, the Record was a Labour paper , and these 2 papers carried the bulk of Scottish readership between them.
My mum always bought the Express, and on a Sunday, she would buy the Sunday Mail and Sunday Post..
I never knew her to make a political utterance in her life, so I have no idea how she voted at elections, although she did have a soft spot for the Tory MP for Cathcart, Teddy Taylor, so maybe there was a clue there, but I really couldn’t say.
On television the BBC was well regarded, and promoted as the bastion of fairness and impartiality. If the BBC reported it, then it was taken as gospel that it was true.
Such were my days of naivety and innocence.
Some things have changed since these days of my youth, but not all that much, the Express is still Tory, The Record is still Labour, but their circulation has plummeted since these heady days of the 70’s.
Into the mix now are the Daily Mail , The Telegraph, The Sun, the Guardian and the Times,and we can all be sure of their political allegiances too.
All of them, are owned and run from London,and all of them irrespective of whether they are left leaning or right leaning,or Liberal leaning, are unionist leaning.
The only paper which will give a Scottish perspective is the relatively new National.
Of the regional dailys, the Herald, the Scotsman, and the Press and Journal, they will all follow the unionist line.
So with that knowledge, anyone who supports Independence can be sure to read these tomes with a large pinch of salt when it comes to their political utterances.
Likewise with our tv media, the BBC is not the British Broadcasting Corporation for nothing, it reports and slants from a Westminster perspective, and BBC Scotland is effectively run from London. Given the Labour connections in BBC Scotlands news, it is hardly surprising if they slant from that perspective.
STV appears in general to be slightly fairer in its news reporting but perhaps this is because they don’t have the licence fee to fall back on and depend on advertising.
Recent examples of misreporting or non reporting are the stories on Scottish steel works and Alastair Carmichael getting a back hander from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.
The saving of the Motherwell plants by the Scottish government was initially broken by the Sunday Post, but in breaking the story, they never spoke to a Scottish government source, but rather to a Tory, in effect downplaying the Scottish governments involvement.
It took a further 2 days before Reporting Scotland deigned to report this huge story, but they did so in such a fashion that blink and you would have missed it, they skated over it at such speed and with such brevity. Anything to avoid giving the Scottish government huge credit.
You would think that the rest of the print media would have been all over this story, but you would think wrong.
The other huge story involved the revelation on Buzzfeed that Alastair Carmichael had been awarded £34,000 towards his court fees by the JRR Trust. The story became even bigger when it was discovered that this trust was effectively a Lib Dem front, with its trustees nearly all holding prominent positions In the LibDems.
So where was this story? Buried, not mentioned in any of the mainstream press other than the National, and not a single peep from either BBC or STV on it. It is almost as if it never happened.
Even when the JRR trust came out with a ludicrous statement, including the information that they were awarding Carmichael a further £16,000, bringing the amount up to £50,000, still media silence.
Had this involved a SNP MP who had been caught wilfully lying to the electorate, they would have been outraged, and it would carry on as a major story for weeks or months.
But now we are into the purdah period, the press knowing that the government can no longer comment are deliberately misleading over the Motherwell deal, making out that the Scottish Government will have to fork out 20 million of our money to clean up the steel works.. This is not at all true according to a government spokesman, but they cannot make a direct statement on it until after the election.
Now onto the campaigning… We were informed by Brian Taylor on the night of the first debate, that the main issue of this election will be tax.
And of course the BBC can select from their invited audiences what questions they choose to take, and what questions they wont.
Why is this election going to be about tax? Because the unionist parties want to make it about tax, because they think that they can attack on this. Their problem however is that they cannot agree what the SNP is being Bad for. Labour say that the SNP are not taxing enough, the Tories say they are taxing too much. Meanwhile Labours tax plans are a shambles which their own leader cannot understand, but barely a question asked of them by the media.
And this is the huge problem which we have, the media has decided who and what they want, and will tell everyone that what they don’t want is more of SNP Bad government.
The days of the press being the 4th estate, asking questions to keep the state in line are long gone. The links between the media and Westminster politicians and parties as highlighted by the Levinson inquiry is incestuous . No longer does the media report the news, the media makes the news up, and they have endless commentary, rather than straight forward news reporting.
They decide what you should think, they decide what it is you talk about, and they decide who not to vote for. Or at least that is what they think!
People in Scotland have become far too savvy for them since the days of the referendum, and If we really want to know what is happening, what is going on, we find it on the internet and on social media where real news breaks.
Why do you think that a quarter of all twitter users are journalists? They know where to find the stories too, but they slant them to their own benefit.
They may love to think that they can still tell us what to think, but they are sadly mistaken.