Sunday, 15 November 2009


I received this information by email this morning. I am reproducing it in full from the Newsnet mail. It is yet another example of how the BBC makes misleading statements about the SNP. Even when forced to apologise they seem to manage to do so in a quiet and backhanded way. Hopefully Newsnet will get an answer as to why the apology was not broadcast, although the misleading, well actually lying, statement was.

BBC Apologises To SNP Minister

Newsnet Scotland can reveal that the BBC have been forced to issue a personal apology to senior SNP MSP Alex Neil after an item broadcast on Sunday 18th October attributed views to the SNP Minister that he had not expressed.

The BBC’s Catriona Renton (above), filming at the SNP conference in Inverness, had claimed on BBC Scotland’s Politics Show that Mr Neil had confirmed the SNP’s desire to see David Cameron become the Prime Minister at the next general election. The recorded interview with Mr Neil that followed Ms Renton’s claim contained no such confirmation.

A source close to Mr Neil explained that the MSP had subsequently complained to the BBC and had received an apology. However, there was a feeling of frustration that, unlike the inaccurate broadcast which came in the midst of the Glasgow North East by-election campaign, the BBC had refused to broadcast the apology.

Catriona Renton is a former Glasgow Labour Councillor, who represented Kelvindale before being ousted by the LibDems in 2003. Ms Renton went on to represent Labour in both the 2003 Holyrood elections and the 2004 European elections.

Ms Renton’s background is steeped in politics having worked for an MEP in Brussels as part of her Oxford University course. Her first job after graduating was working for ex Labour MP Dennis Canavan.

Catriona Renton was recruited by BBC Scotland's parliamentary unit in 2006, where John Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer.

Questions will surely be asked as to why someone with such recent and very close links to the Labour party in Scotland has been allowed such a high profile platform within BBC Scotland’s political department and whether her professional judgement may have been compromised.

Newsnet Scotland has contacted the BBC for an explanation of why the apology was not broadcast and what editorial control was exercised over Ms Renton’s inaccurate statement....the BBC have yet to respond.

Update: I have been advised that my original picture was not of Ms Renton. I have been unable to verify whether it was or not. It certainly masqueraded as such on Google Images. If it was not then I apologise. I have withdrawn it and replaced it with another image, again purporting to be of her. As I have no idea what she looks like, I can only hope that I have got it right this time. There, that's how you do it BBC!


  1. There must be more that can be done regarding this after all the BBC is a public service. This woman sure sounds vile.

  2. They need to review their reporting staff and make sure that there is no bias in their political reporting. Anything else must be a breach of the contract of impartiality.

    And the apology must be broadcast....

  3. Chance would be a fine thing. I think jaundice is an essential for any job with BBC Scotland. That woman probably has it in spades. No need for her to fear for her person if she goes out on a dark night so she would never fit in, in Westminster better stay up here and be a failed politician.

  4. Yeah Munguin, it seems she's serial failure as a politician.

  5. What a boot. You can always tell the rotten Labour blites in the BBC. Wark is another one.

    I really would like to see the BBC privatised and taken out of Labours hands.

    For what its worth, I really would like to see Cameron boot Brown out.

  6. They really can't be allowed to use our national broadcaster to spin thier foul lies about whomsoever they see as their opposition at the time.

    I really agree with you. The time for a poll tax for one tv/radio company that is so out of touch that it is paying its CEO 4 times what the prime Minister gets, and has seen NO reduction in income because of the recession, to be stopped.

    The BBC like so muich else in Britian is not fit for purpose.

    I don't know why we sit back and let these people walk all over us....

  7. The image above is not Catriona Renton - the article is pretty damning though, what are the BBC thinking of?

  8. If this is not a picture of Catriona Renton, I apologise fulsomely, and will change it, and put a piece on the article to retract... unlis Ms Renton and her employers.

    The BBC are thinking of supporting Labour. Pretty simple.

  9. Lift the phone, contact the bbc, ask for an 'on air' aplogy and tell them that you are closely monitoring the output of BBC Scotland for bias.
    Then log a complaint on 'newswatch' the bbc viewers forum. If people are against this kind of dreadful contrived television, then speak out.

  10. OK Anon,

    Sounds good.


  11. Shocking, but not surprising!

    The BBC in Scotland are obviously anti-SNP, we just have to take a look at the lack of coverage of the Glasgow NE by-election. The small coverage they did give was always twisted to support the Labour party.

    As for BBC Scotland's journalist Brian Taylor he is an absolute disgrace as a political journalist!

    Thank you for highlighting this.

  12. Anon:

    Pleased to oblige. We should all complain. We pay for it after all.

  13. I hope that Catriona Shearer is SNP. The one with the big breasts in the morning. She's a pump. There's no way she's Liebore. It's the only thing I watch BBC news for. Catriona Shearer for SBC.

  14. Well, I guess you have to get your money's worth out of the BBC in one way or another Anon :)

  15. Personally I'm sick of it. All media outlets work to an agenda. There is nothing we can see, hear, or read that hasn't been vetted, curated, and massaged. It sucks.

  16. Yes I remember reading this on Sunday in the Herald. It is deeply troubling for me as a BBC supporter [and a firm supporter for public sector broadcasting more generally] to be confronted with clear evidence that the BBC needs to solve its inherently bias political makeup.

    What are the solutions? One is perhaps exactly what Damian Green suggested in Westminster, perhaps a future Conservative government could attempt to find ways to end the pro-labour recruitment policies [unofficially] at work [according to tory party informants].

    I accept its slightly fantiful, but at least it could force this issue out into the open, and into the full light of public scrutiny; which arguably the BBC has been historically shy of.


    p.s. Tris, I have to agree with you when you said[typed?] "The BBC are thinking of supporting Labour. Pretty simple", sadly it does appear to be this simple doesn't it.

  17. Scunnert: It seems to me that unless we witness things with our own eyes they will be fed to us by the media, necessarily someone else's eyes....

  18. Dean:

    I know you're a supporter of the BBC, but I feel that their time has come (and gone), certainly in the form in which they exist at the moment.

    There is nothing wrong with public service broadcasting in principle, but in the days of multi channel availability, a PSB which has a clear political bias and which is so massive and so expensive is surely not a reasonable proposition.

    The idea of trying to change the culture is a reasonable one, in theory, but in practice the industry attracts a rather "lefty" kind of person. The management will say that you hvcae to take the best. There is nothing wrong with that of course, but surely not on taxes, which is what the licence fee is.

    As I said to Scunnert, all that we read or watch, unless we see it for ourselves, comes to us filtered through the ideas, policies and predudices of the reporter, producer, director and management of the newpaper or station that we chose. If I don't care for the Daily Mail I don't have to read it, or pay for it. If I don't like the politics of Rupert Murdoch no one forces me to pay for Sky or buy the Times (or the Sun).

    However, unless I won't to do without TV altogether (which at the moment I do), I must pay for the massive BBC. The huge amount (£3 a week on virtually every household) that the BBC costs is surely insupportable. I wonder what else we pay for in taxes that costs that much?

    On numerous occasions the BBC has snubbed the SNP, one of the most famous examples, Kirsty Wark a close friend of Jack McConnell was so rude on Newsnight to Alex Salmond, that even the BBC asked her to apologise.

    Of course I would notice a snub to the SNP, you might say, but I don't think anyone even vaguely disputes that the BBC is biased towards Labour and away from other parties.

    I would hope that the Tory government which we must surely have in about 6 months will do something to cut back the size of the BBC and look at ways of monitoring its political output. It is all we can hope for.

    Until then, I would expect that mistakes or errors, whether made by accident or otherwise, will be reported as fulsomely as the original story.

  19. What goes around comes around, eh..?