The medium is the massage.

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nationalistrealism.jpgTwice this week we've found out more about the SNP's attitude to broadcasting. First, as the Scottish Government, they paid STV £150,000 of taxpayers' money to promote the Homecoming tartan-fest "for the benefit of the Government". 

I have some sympathy for their concerns here, and the BBC's interpretations of balance are often pretty hard to justify. For instance, "Adolf Brent" had been an MEP for less than six months before getting his Question Time invite, but despite Green MSPs having been elected to Holyrood for more than ten years none of my colleagues have ever been asked on.

Furthermore, there's no question that these debates will skew matters in favour of the three largest Westminster parties, even if they aren't shown in Scotland, given that the papers and news reports will be full of it. Nick "Anonymous" Clegg will get a stature he doesn't deserve in particular.

But the SNP response to the outcome of the debates debate is unacceptable. They're taking a single decision and using it as the basis for threatening the licence fee. Forget saving 6 Music and the Asian Network: it looks now like the whole of public service broadcasting in Scotland wouldn't be safe in their hands.

It's petty, it's childish, it's unprincipled, and it's bad politics.Taken together, these two stories suggest an SNP leadership which supports the Berlusconi model: the broadcasters should serve the incumbents, not the public.


Difficult to understand the greens attitude on this issue. Rather than see common cause - and demand impartiality your warring with the SNP. 'They're using it as the basis for threatening the licence fee' doesn't really make sense.

Comparing Salmond with Berlusconi is just childish. Do you really want to compare the media control of the incumbent govt in Italy and in Scotland? Can you name these 'controlled' media outlets in Scotland? Apart from the Sunday Herald (once, briefly) no major media outlet has supported independence.

Your point about the BNP and the Greens on Question Time is a good one. You could have used this issue as a way of demanding a more mature and democratic coverage, instead your using it to castigate the SNP.

"Apart from the Sunday Herald (once, briefly) no major media outlet has supported independence"...errr except for The Sun in early . Don't you remember the full page Saltire overlaid with "..rise now and be a nation again" in enormous letters?

They had been flagging (pardon the pun) a shift to this stance for months beforehand citing the closure of Ravenscraig , amongst other things as justification.

In the 92 election there was a relentless promotion of the SNP - and a particular focus on the Stirling constituency. I remember Gerry Fisher confidently predicting victory - he came third.

The Sun backed independence until Murdoch swung the whole news International operation behind Tony Blair in (I think) 96.

Was Jack Irvine editing the SUN at this point? - can't remember - although there would be several ironies if this had been the point when he was at the helm of Mr Murdoch's bekilted organ

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This page was published on March 5, 2010 1:43 PM.

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