imageSimone Charlesworth looks at the reaction to the founding of Sputnik’s UK office in Scotland and what it says about how we judge and value media.

This weekend much of our media seem to have been impersonating a gaggle of elderly aunts as they clutched their pearls and proceeded to have fits of the vapours.

And what caused such histrionics?

Are we talking about submarines sneaking their way up the Clyde as prophesied by Brian Donohoe (ex-MP for central Ayrshire) as he desperately tried to justify Trident in January 2015. Seriously, how is effective a deterrent is Trident if Russian submarines are in danger of entering central Glasgow? If they are the only thing between us and the Russian navy taking Buchanon Street shouldn’t we have nukes on every estuary? A year later and that level of stupidity still rankles.

Was it about actual incursions into British territory; for example when in July this year there were reports of a submarine off the Scottish coast just days after two of their aircraft were spotted in “a British area of interest” (not actually our airspace, but close enough to get an RAF escort.)

No it wasn’t.

The cause of dismay was that Sputnik – an online news and radio service – has set up in Edinburgh as part of its aim to produce international news in 34 countries. Numerous articles have already been written proclaiming it is a Kremlin mouthpiece designed to spread dissent in the west. This paragraph in the Evening Times seemed to me to be a prime example of the level of reporting.

“It’s insulting when the media treats its readers and viewers like uninformed children. I’m pretty sure that most people will have a good idea of what slant Sputnik will be running and take that into consideration.”

“Sputnik, they believe, is a crude attempt to act as apologist for Kremlin policies on gay rights and Ukraine while cynically encouraging alternative views of Western powers, such as those of some Scottish nationalists.”

Really?

It’s insulting when the media treats its readers and viewers like uninformed children. You must listen to us, we know best. I’m pretty sure that most people will have a good idea of what slant Sputnik will be running and take that into consideration.

Can anyone point to a news agency that isn’t pushing some sort of agenda? And don’t say the BBC. It defends the establishment whoever is in power.

The BBC’s World Service is the world’s largest international broadcaster – it is broadcast in 31 languages and believed to reach an audience of around 210 million people a week. It was funded until 2014 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which I’m sure they did purely out of the goodness of their hearts and not to promote British interests at all.

Sputnik is a baby compared to that level of influence.

“Seriously, how is effective a deterrent is Trident if Russian submarines are in danger of entering central Glasgow? If they are the only thing between us and the Russian navy taking Buchanon Street shouldn’t we have nukes on every estuary?”

Followed on from this was what I believe to be an atrocious article in the Sunday Herald. It attempted to smear Sputnik’s presenters Jack Foster and Carolyn Scott over their funding of an alternative Scottish early evening news show last year.

What this has to do with rent-a-gob MSP James Kelly, I cannot say as no public funds were used. His opinion was totally unnecessary. It was a crowdfunder and people gave because they wanted an alternative to what is currently produced. Unfortunately the project failed. These things happen. I guess it’s because we in Scotland find equipment such as cameras far too complicated to operate.

There has been no outcry from those who donated to the crowdfunder. As far as I’m concerned the two of them could have spent the money bathing in prosecco, they did what was set out in the crowdfunder and that’s all that was asked of them. I would imagine they both would be happier running an alternative Scottish news outlet than fronting someone else’s operation.

As I am not a journalist and I wouldn’t want to be, there was comforting news as according to Ipsos MORI the only groups that trusted less are estate agents, Government ministers and politicians.

“All media has bias – ALL. Those that deny it seem to be the ones that don’t understand why they are losing influence.”

When I ramble away you get all my prejudices, I’m not going to hide them. I’m a female English, left-wing, pro-Indy, SNP member who grew up in the middle of nowhere (Lincolnshire) and you get all the baggage that comes with that. This is cheaper than therapy.

I believe if you have an opinion you have a bias. You’ve already chosen which sources of information you trust.

All media has bias – ALL. Those that deny it seem to be the ones that don’t understand why they are losing influence.

People are omnivorous as they accessing many different sources for their news, maybe it’s time certain Scottish journalists asked themselves why don’t people trust them anymore?

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