Friday 18 September 2020

Wee Nippy Happy Again


Donalda MacKinnon

It was only a week ago that the BBC announced that Nicola Sturgeon's daily coronavirus press briefings were no longer going to be shown live every day on BBC One Scotland and BBC Scotland, only when "editorial merit" demands. 

Opposition parties in Scotland were happy; the SNP government wasn't

I ended my previous post on the subject by asking, "Will Tim Davie's BBC hold its nerve or U-turn under SNP pressure?" 

Well, this appears to be the answer, courtesy of a headline in The Times

Briefings on virus will be screened, says BBC

Yes, the BBC has performed a three-point turn and will now broadcast all of Nicola Sturgeon's daily coronavirus press briefings live, just as before, for the foreseeable future, as (they now say) "there are clearly strong editorial reasons for continuing to do so at the moment".

This is the statement from a BBC spokesman quoted in The Times a week ago...

We will continue to provide extensive coverage of the government press conferences across our news services, including live streaming online. We will of course consider showing press conferences live when any major developments or updates are anticipated.

That certainly sounded as if Ms Sturgeon's live press conferences were going to be only on an 'as and when' basis - which is just what the newspapers reported last week - but now BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon is saying (in an email to BBC staff):

We did not say that we’d stop coverage of the briefings... 
We’ve said now that we’ll look at the briefings in the round — meaning we’ll broadcast them live on TV when we are in a period of the pandemic when there is significant public information being shared.

These seem to me to be weasel-words. It's true they didn't say they'd "stop" coverage of the briefings, but they did say they weren't going to broadcast all of them "live on TV" from now on

I think Ms MacKinnon is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes here. 

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