The supposed effrontery of BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson in asking an allegedly “difficult” question of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond got many "Yes" supporters so worked up that they marched on the Beeb’s Scotland HQ brandishing a banner passing severely adverse comment upon Robinson’s judgment.
Yeah, I joined the Yes campaign after a skinful, sod it, no, careful consideration of the wine, shit no, facts. After opening my brandy, bugger it, no, mind, to the possibility of achieving a state of alcoholic derangement, bollocks no, independence. From getting nicked. Oh sod it
The BBC, as is its wont, dutifully reported the criticism of itself, although it stopped short of telling that the hostile crowd had voiced opinions such as “you can stick the license fee up your arse”. The Maily Telegraph had no such qualms; for it, and the rest of the right-leaning press, this was an opportunity to play both sides of the field, laying into the Nationalists and the Beeb equally.
Laying only into the Beeb, though, one commentator who has recently experienced a Damascene conversion to the Yes campaign was keen to underscore his belief that the Corporation really is biased, probably because it does not give sufficient televisual opportunities to Himself Personally Now. Yes, step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes.
The Great Guido provides a background ramble, taking a pot at the likes of Alastair Campbell and Baron Mandelson of Indeterminate Guacamole, before musing “The suspicion of an imperial [!] BBC amongst Yes supporters is pretty much universal and has become focused on Robbo after he asked a tricky question of Alex Salmond based on a briefing from the Treasury”.
So far, so routine, but then comes a ramping up: “The personalisation [spelling corrected] aside, the feeling is that the BBC is a partial propagandist is inevitable given the British Broadcasting Corporation is seen as institutionally biased in favour of the British status quo. The clue is in the name”. Really? That the Beeb should represent the whole of the United Kingdom? Come off it.
And then he lets it slip: “Journalists are remarkably thin-skinned when it comes to being on the receiving end of what they dish out – that is why they invariably hate unfiltered comments below their articles and the feedback of the mob on Twitter and the streets. Tough, freedom of speech is for everyone, not just journalists”. The hypocrisy hooter is sounding long and loud.
The Fawkes rabble are the stuff of legend when it comes to being thin-skinned. And the Fawkes blog is also well-known for censoring comments that hit too close to home: anyone trying to allude to drink-driving will know that. Free speech, when it is inconvenient to The Great Guido, can provoke a viciously unpleasant backlash.
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