Honestly, there are times when it seems the media are truly on a propaganda exercise and have given up on anything resembling journalism, fact-checking and investigations. Today in the Independent we have them repeating these words from Alistair Darling
“He hits back at Mr Salmond’s claim in yesterday’s Independent that Mr Cameron is playing “European roulette”, in which Scotland could be dragged to the EU exit door in his 2017 referendum. Mr Darling replies: “It is Alex Salmond who is playing roulette with the EU. The average time it took countries to join the EU in the last 20 years is about eight years. The last thing Scottish firms need is that uncertainty. It would be entirely self-inflicted.”
And in the Herald today we have the headline about Italy assuming the Presidency of the EU and stating categorically that it will be neutral. It says:
The country’s European Affairs minister, Sandro Gozi, warned anything said by Brussels officials could be manipulated and said the vote should be up to Scots. His remarks, couched in diplomatic language, mark a clear departure from the stance of former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who said it would be difficult if not impossible for Scotland to rejoin the bloc. Mr Gozi, a former EC official and diplomat, said: “We are not worried by the referendum in Scotland and we have no position on it because they are responsible for deciding their own future.
So who is right? Which newspaper is being honest with the Scottish people (in fact, with the people of the whole UK)? Is it any wonder that many people are getting turned off from thinking about which way to vote when there’s such a complete lack of decent reporting in the media. Over on his blog, Derek Bateman hits the nail on the head again –
“And the level of so called journalism makes me cringe when I hear the highly dubious and unconfirmed claims that ministers intimidate businessmen being canvassed by the media. What do the same dim wits think removing contracts, closing yards, sacking workers and insulting them by making them foreigners amounts to? If that isn’t intimidation, what is? We will put up a border with guards…we will refuse to buy your electricity…we will deny you access to your currency…we will bar you from membership of NATO…each one a direct public ministerial threat to the Scots. Does our august media report it that way? Of course, not. Balance, perspective and intelligence are the last attributes we should expect.”
Here’s the worrying part of this. Regardless of whether there’s a YES or a NO vote in the referendum it seems to me that the media has lost all credibility. The genie of truth,lies and spin is out of the bottle and can’t be put back in. If the vote is YES, then all bets are off as the new nation sorts out the media it needs. That’s probably a risk to the operations of newspapers based outside of Scotland. (aside: I wonder if that’s in their annual reports as a risk – just like the words Stagecoach used). If it’s a NO vote then although the media may think it’s back to business as usual I’m not so sure that will be the case. So either way, the media has probably already lost the referendum of public trust.
It’s enough to drive you to our national drink…… oh wait, they’ve been bullied and threatened. Really? Says who? The media which can’t seem to find consistent facts that’s who.