Nick Robinson bored me into reading only the first half of his complaint about sites such as Wings Over Scotland who provide analysis of when media outlets such as the BBC are being misleading with the truth (to put it nicely). In the Guardian piece, he argues that politics is now more partisan and views are more polarised than they have been before.
This is true. Referendums do that to people. But Nick has to realise there is no smoke without fire. For example, I'm sure many people would agree that Channel 4's news coverage is better than the BBC's and whilst C4 will get complaints of bias from Yes/No & Leave/Remain, it's certainly not on the scale the BBC gets over the way it handles stories "impartially".
If you balance your reporting properly, you gain people's trust. The BBC's problem is it thinks "balance" means having a positive and a negative angle on every story. In Scotland this is magnified. Everything that happens here is seen through the prism of the constitution & our politics. Our Government greenlit the Queensferry Crossing, which was one of the largest infrastructure projects in decades. Yet the BBC - realising that this was a project started and delivered by the SNP (under budget) - decided that the successful opening needed negative opinion from other political parties. Why? Can we not celebrate success without kicking ourselves at the same time? Is there any other country in the world that does this to itself? As the Proclaimers sang "we boast, then we cower".
The BBC's method of balanced reporting means the opposing political party will be asked for their opinion, which will be delivered as a quick two or three sentences from a politician attempting to downplay the story or spin it around. Stories are reduced to reaction pieces without any further analysis. Viewers (and readers of the papers) are then left trying to work out which party is telling the truth. It's why we get people like Donald Trump screaming about "fake news" and journalists like Nick Robinson going further and actually complaining about websites attempting to STOP fake news.
For the Yes movement, we've had a heavy dose of the BBC's (and print media's) "impartiality and balanced reporting". We've seen the stories about how damaging the economy would be with independence & how truly awful the SNP is in Government. Our own media attacks baby boxes and successful large scale infrastructure projects. It plays down our movement when we're singing in the streets but talks up even the smallest of scuffles - and then repeats the attacks from opposition parties who in turn blame the SNP for it.
Nick can moan about the MSM getting a hard time but he should really have a look at it from our side and see why the BBC gets attacked like it does.
However... we can't keep being defensive. We won't win independence by complaining. But we also won't win it just by throwing street parties and holding marches every few months. 2014 taught us that we can't rely on the media. Every positive story on the news had to have a negative angle. Every negative story had the SNP or Yes being described as "defensive" with their response.
We have to realise that our vision was too Utopian for people to believe. We waved flags, smiled and sang songs. We promised to fix any problem people came to us concerned about. No problem couldn't be solved so long as we were an independent country. We complain about balance, but we aren't being balanced ourselves.
We need to correct this before the next referendum. Sometimes negative stories are just negative stories. We need No voters to trust us and we can't do that unless we are honest with ourselves and admit that the road to independence contains bumps along the way. Don't rubbish their fears. Don't dismiss their belief in what they read in the papers. How would you react if a No voter did it to you? It'll entrench their views and we'll have lost any chance of convincing them that next time voting Yes is the right thing to do.
Whilst The Hub is primarily made up of pro-independence groups, there are also local Conservative groups and right-leaning think-tanks on there. I've also added some Lib-Dem and Labour groups (and the Scottish branch of UKIP). You don't need to follow them, but you should read what they say, because the articles they write are what No voters read. The opinions they contain are what we need to combat. On the doorstep we can still promote our belief of a positive future for Scotland as an independent country, but we should equally be prepared for understanding why people lean more towards No and be armed with answers, not just opinions on why the other side is wrong. We all want honest politics. We should start with ourselves. We've had 3 years of being introspective and being defensive with the media. We've got to sort ourselves out. Let's stop the petty Twitter arguments & let ultra-Unionists fester in their own fury of another vote. Let's get our head in the game and re-focus.
"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle." - Sun Tzu