• June 1, 2015


The BBC’s Reporting Scotland was voted as TV news programme of the year for 2014 by the Royal Television Society this month. However, its coverage of the Scottish referendum campaign last year was dogged by controversy and accusations of bias.

There was no more trenchant and analytic a critic than Professor John Robertson, media analyst of the University of the West of Scotland. Professor Robertson had earlier irritated BBC Scotland greatly by his criticism of their news coverage in 2013.

Professor Robertson continued his analysis in a series of more than 20 Newsnet.scot commentaries on that blog comparing BBC Scotland and STV coverage of Scottish politics during the first half of 2015, covering the run-up to the May 7 general election. They were written in an amusing but forensic style.

He concluded that the BBC’s use of language, selection of news stories and presentation of items continued to demonstrate a similar “bias” to their pre-referendum stance.

The BBC has ignored Robertson’s work, and has not responded to his commentary on Reporting Scotland’s ongoing coverage. An example you might say of the adage ‘there’s none as blind as those that won’t see’.

His latest academic paper – based on that 2015 research – has been published on his own site, ‘Thought Control Scotland’.

Thought Control Scotland: Propaganda or Professionalism on Pacific Quay

Thought Control Scotland: Propaganda or Professionalism

It is a lengthy analysis but well worth a read by those who want to understand how one element of the media can distort debate.

Note: Professor Robertson is not a member of the SNP, though he does support an independent Scotland achieved via democratic means.

Related link with a podcast interview with Professor Robertson.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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