Wednesday, 4 March 2020

BBC regurgitates a press release from the temperance lobby again

Here we go again. The minimum pricing campaign created a template in which temperance groups funded by the Scottish government promote SNP party policy while the Scottish media and the BBC regurgitate their press releases without reply from those who have a different point of view.

With minimum pricing in place, the SNP are pushing for bans on alcohol advertising. This is a pet policy of Alcohol Focus Scotland and SHAAP, both state-funded campaign groups. It is difficult to tell who is pulling whose strings at this point, but the pressure groups are effectively doing the PR for the SNP again.

Alcohol Focus Scotland have today put out a press release calling for a ban on sport sponsorship by alcohol companies, a policy that would give many small sports clubs, including pub teams, serious financial problems. It cites 'new research from Institute for Social Marketing and Health at the University of Stirling' which concluded:

The findings show that alcohol producers and distributors do sponsor some professional football and rugby union teams/organisations in Scotland.

Eye-opening stuff, I'm sure you'll agree, but the study was published in January so it is neither new nor newsworthy.

The press release contains a quote from Alcohol Focus Scotland's Alison Douglas and a quote from SHAAP's Eric Carlin. Both quotes are included in the BBC's coverage of this non-story. The BBC also included a quote from the SNP's minister for public health, sports and wellbeing who wants to restrict alcohol advertising. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has read the Scottish government's Alcohol Framework, published in 2018. The SNP is desperate for an advertising ban.

Alas, the BBC did not include a quote from anyone who opposes the policy, not does the article include any arguments against it.

Yet again, the BBC is in breach of its own editorial guidelines on impartiality which state:

We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring that the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected.

In applying due impartiality to news, we give due weight to events, opinion and the main strands of argument.

We must always scrutinise arguments, question consensus and hold power to account with consistency and due impartiality.

The BBC gets a lot of stick from people who believe it is politically biased, but their journalists would never dream of covering party politics in the flagrantly unbalanced way they cover 'public health' issues.

PS. Meanwhile, look at this rubbish that is relieving taxpayers of £400,000.


The BBC has now added a quote from somebody at Scottish rugby. 

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