The Power of Invisibility

Let’s play a wee game shall we? ‘Odd One Out’, perhaps?

See if you can pick out the news story that doesn’t belong in this list:

Terrorist attack in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya
Men are charged with pinching money from Barclays Bank
The German general election
The murder of an 18yo in Birmingham
Results for the Formula 1 Grand Prix qualifying session in Singapore
The last flight of the RAF’s last two VC10 planes
The nominations for Royal Institute of British Architects ‘Stirling Prize’
A near nuclear incident in the USA in the 1960s
Ed Miliband walked along Brighton beach in a grey jumper
The UKIP annual conference of fascist nutters
A regional vote in northern Sri Lanka
Women’s football result
Men’s football results
David Hay, the boxer, has a cut
The release of the Taliban’s highest ranking prisoner in Pakistan
A march and rally in support of Scottish independence, with 20k+ attendees
A typhoon around Taiwan and the northern Philippines
A Canadian phone manufacturer has financial woes
A plane that had to land at Stanstead, rather than Heathrow after a non-terrorism incident
A cuddly toy
A man in social services has resigned from his new job
People who had been queuing to see Wallace & Grommit statues in Bristol weren’t able to see them
The Syrian chemical weapons deadline passing
The release of the computer game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’

Ha ha, I got you with the old cuddly toy, eh! Yeah, pretty easy I guess.

But there were actually two that didn’t belong there, because this is a definitive list of what was reported on the BBC News channel this afternoon and the BBC One News at 6.30 tonight. I know, because I recorded it all, and have just finished sifting through the whole lot. Call me a cynic, but I had an inkling that it could be worth it.

The other thing that’s managed to sneak onto that list? Only the biggest mobilisation of pro-independence supporters that the country has seen, gathering for a peaceful march and rally in Edinburgh. No biggy!

There were of course several very serious and obviously newsworthy stories covered. But not even the briefest of mentions for the rally. Why bother to report that on UK-wide news when you have to squeeze in a story on Wallace and Grommit statues…

I also recorded the BBC’s Reporting Scotland.

The independence rally was at last being reported by the BBC! And it was indeed the lead story, lasting for a whopping one minute and thirty-six seconds!

Fifty-five seconds of that were talking about the rally and Yes Scotland. The piece also included thirty-three seconds devoted to ‘Better Together’ leafleting – something they no doubt do every week. As do we. The remaining time was bagpipes.

Now, I’m not saying that both sides shouldn’t get equal news coverage, of course. In fact, when ‘Better Together’ entice their devotees out en masse, rather than the usual two or three miserable looking lonely souls in cagoules, it’ll be absolutely fine to report that properly. When is that happening again…?

The police estimate of ‘more than 8000’ was the only attendance figure given, unsurprisingly. The BBC did have at least one camera crew there, so I’m sure they could’ve had their own educated¬†¬† ‘guesstimate’. Even some unionist campaigners have conceded that Yes Scotland’s official estimate of 20,000+ is more accurate. Yet Auntie Beeb couldn’t possibly say…

Fifty-five seconds out of a whole afternoons news.

Interesting too to see the next story, which was about the consecration of the new Archbishop of St Andrews.

As the newsreader mentions his disgraced predecessor, the camera cuts to a close up of Alex Salmond in the audience: “…formally took over from Cardinal Keith O’Brien…” she continues. Then the camera’s back on the whole audience: “He stood down in February after admitting sexual misconduct”.

This must’ve just been a coincidence, surely? I mean, it’s not like they showed Salmond with O’Brien every time when the story was first emerging… Oh wait, yes they did!

Apparently, no other footage exists of the UK’s then most senior Roman Catholic, other than when Alex Salmond has been in shot.

Aaah, the BBC… How lucky I feel to have such an impartial and objective national broadcaster.


2 thoughts on “The Power of Invisibility

  1. I didn’t see the O,Brien part but my husband was not at march today and urged me to watch news tonight. I don,t know who was more astonished that it wasn’t,t even mentioned! Disgraceful!

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