By a Newsnet reporter
Suggestions that the BBC has been helping promote the anti-independence campaign Better Together have been made after a BBC Scotland news broadcast showed what it claimed was Better Together campaigners handing out leaflets to passing members of the public.
The news item, which appeared on the BBC on the same day as thousands of people took part in a march and rally in support of Yes, heard a BBC reporter tell viewers that the campaigners were "using leaflets to spread their message".

The item showed a campaigner handing leaflets out to people who were portrayed as ordinary members of the public who just happened to be passing by.

However, online site Wings over Scotland has called into question the claims of the BBC reporter and has described the event as "bizarre".  According to the site's editor, Stuart Campbell who has obtained a recording of the news item, the episode has all the hallmarks of having been stage managed for the cameras.

He wrote: "These members of the public conveniently make up a box-ticking demographic mix of two men, two women, various ages and ethnic minority representation.  Nobody else is visible for 200-300 yards down the street,"

Mr Campbell added: "But on watching it several times we can't shake the feeling that a performance is exactly what it was - a setup faked for the cameras, in which the state broadcaster must have colluded."

The item was filmed on the same day that tens of thousands gathered in Edinburgh for a march and rally in support of Yes.  Estimates suggest around twenty thousand took part in the rally which culminated in a gathering on Calton Hill. 

The disproportionate amount of resource alloted a mere handful of pro-Union leafleters by the BBC was in contrast to the lack of coverage afforded the huge pro-independencegathering and will fuel speculation that the broadcaster deliberately set out to provide positive media coverage for Better Together which cannot command the same numbers in a public rally.

The suggestions that BBC Scotland has deliberately set out to collude with the Better Together campaign follows serious allegations levelled against the head of News and Current Affairs at the Scottish broadcaster.

Earlier this month former BBC Scotland presenter Derek Bateman revealed that John Boothman had attempted to influence the content of political programmes after being contacted by the special advisor to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.

Newsnet Scotland understands that the BBC is currently dealing with a complaint related to Mr Bateman’s allegations.

In a response seen by Newsnet Scotland, the BBC dismissed the initial complaint and said:

"As Head of News and Current Affairs for BBC Scotland, Mr Boothman is in regular contact with members of all political parties and campaigns in Scotland. This is part of his normal journalistic activities."

We understand that the complainant has refused to accept this response and is pursuing the matter.


# Ayes On The Prize 2013-10-29 19:23
If there is a single scrap of hard evidence that points to malpractice by the BBC it must be submitted to an Independent regulator-immediately.

I just wish a rival or even an overseas network would take a look at the BBC's coverage so far. Any kind of heat on them would be most welcome.
# Breeks 2013-10-29 19:33
Pity there's a shortlist for National Television Awards. We could nominate BBC Scotland News for best comedy or fictional drama series, then do a 'Jim Baxter' as the Tartan Army did with the poll to name Wembley's new footbridge.

That would be a chuckle.
# BetterTogetherForWho 2013-10-31 14:20
Love it Breeks! A youtube channel with their greatest comedy clips would work well. Fictional drama, an accurate assessment.
# X_Sticks 2013-10-29 20:02
The coverage of the rally was just as bad on STV as BBC.

Makes me think the order to suppress coverage maybe came from further up the establishment chain. You can make your own guesses as to where who and how.

I'm sure Iain Banks would have loved the irony of a Scottish rally for independence getting better coverage on Russian and Iranian news than BBC and STV.

Would I be right in saying that this is the (only?) BBC News that never appeared on the iPlayer? Strange that.
# clootie 2013-10-29 20:04
Oh I believe it OK.

What about tonights BBC Reporting Scotland "story" on lockerbie / USA official interview / photographs of Saltires in Lybia (which the British embassy gave out) etc - now that was a contrived story
# Hillside 2013-10-29 20:59
Bit of a pattern developing here:
- 'Yes' camp have a rally attended by thousands, so the BBC 'balance it' by giving equal coverage to a handful of 'No' campaigners handing out leaflets.
- Alex Salmond, elected First Minister of Scotland, gives a major speech at his party conference so the BBC 'balance' it by giving equal coverage to an interview with Blair Mcdougall, and unelected spokesperson for the 'No' campaign.
This is clearly 'balance' union style!
# From The Suburbs 2013-10-29 21:33
Scotsman taking CCPR and IFS figures as gospel and going on about Scotland's black hole.
# rabkae 2013-10-29 21:35
"We understand that the complainant has refused to accept this response and is pursuing the matter"

This complainant is now withholding his licence fee payments in protest at BBC Scotland's blatantly biased coverage (BBC).

Please feel free to join me. You can start by stopping your direct debits and informing J Boothman and K MacQuarrie at the BBC's Scottish branch as to the reasons for your doing so.
# taimoshan 2013-10-29 22:08
BBC Scotland and Labour in Scotland - an affront to decency and democracy!!
# call me dave 2013-10-29 22:21
O/T Scare of the day!
At least she didn't come North to whisper in our shell like. Megaphone stuff from London
What are they like?
# 1scot 2013-10-29 23:13
it appears that Better Together, fear factor branch, is not working. A 4 point swing and YES will be in front. Hence the reason for the big guns being called out.
Just watched Scotland Tonight. Amateurish is too kind. Kenny Gibson wiped the floor with them. I detect a gloves off by the Yes campaign, timing is good.
# springster 2013-10-29 23:27
By and large I like Scotland Tonight. They sometimes go for the easy BBC style punditry with the usual suspects, but the last two shows have been pretty good. I get the feeling they are trying.

Ian Davidson added another few Yes votes on Monday and Kenny Gibson was a good contrast to Alistair Darling's doom and gloom.

The show at least gives the SNP the last word now and again, which is something the BBC more often than not don't.
# Independista 2013-10-30 00:18
The jury is still out on STV. Why did John MacKay, constantly accuse the former policeman of being naive, whilst not daring to touch the so called academic. No harm in hard questions, as long as it is even handed. In this case - not at all.
Having said that, I thought the copper came out on top. I liked Kenny Gibson's rebuke in the following piece though!
# WRH2 2013-10-30 00:19
I've watched this clip a few times and what I noticed was that when the MP was talking to the camera, four of the No's were standing around doing nothing. No one in sight and no leaflets being given to anyone. I think the whole thing just made them look pathetic. Even going by BBC's silly estimate of 8000 Yes marchers, showing 4 people accepting leaflets isn't a great comparison. On 18 Sept I saw two No's attempting to give out leaflets at a railway station. They weren't doing much in the way of business that day as everyone seemed to be refusing the leaflets.
# willie boy 2013-10-30 05:58
No good ever comes out of state controlled media manipulation.

Not here, not in China, not in ex communist bloc countries or anywhere.

Censorship and bias feeds resentment and does so here.
# mountaincadre 2013-10-30 07:10
I don't know enough about tv production to comment on Scotland tonight being amateurish but one thing they are not is bias, since its start up it has in my opinion been nothing but fare, remember as well that a lot of those viewing it will be in west central Scotland and are old style labour voters then it has to be a good thing.
# jdman 2013-10-30 08:03
Look at the jive walking guy, number two in the march past and then look at this guy
courtesy of Ken C's post on wings over
clear case of misrepresentati on by the British Brainwashing Corporation

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