political rally in Barcelona

Scotland doesn’t have a normal media

This is  how the media works in a normal European country. But Scotland doesn’t have a normal media. 

There is a tried and tested media strategy on the European continent. A political party organises a rally. Supporters of the cause and the media turn up. The media point their cameras at the stage and then the crowd. The day’s events are then broadcast.

To make sure the true feeling of the event was captured the cameras came on to the stage.

It doesn’t really matter the size of the audience, there were only a few hundred people at this one, or the particular cause. If a party that has elected representatives organises a rally it is news worthy.

The speeches at this particular rally included attacking the Spanish state for its stance on Civil Rights, the Barcelona mayor’s “support” for UBER and the presence of Mobile World Congress in the city again this February.

Small crowd but still worthy of media coverage

You could have a debate around “newsworthiness” of these types of rallies. ButI would like to see a debate around another concept: democracy.

How else are apolitical organisations or political parties able to edge onto TV screens if they don’t run rallies and have them covered? The state is not a functioning democracy if rallies like this are not covered by the media.

What else is a broadcaster doing if not this?

It is no stretch to say that, with media a reserved matter in the UK (it is not reserved in Spain by the way), Scotland is not a true democracy. Much that is discussed is not shown on our main TV channels or in the main newspapers in Scotland. This is not normal.

The media blanking of rallies (small, medium or large) is the much bigger picture. We should be focusing the debate on what is not in the media, not what is in the media.

Camera. Almost outnumbering the speakers on the stage

Following Thursday’s latest BBCQT fiasco many of the independence minded commentators (and the various indy supporting new media channels) have been whipping up a storm about the audience. If it’s not the QT audience that gets people going, it’s the QT panel. Both are worthy of disdain and comment but I often wonder if we are falling into the classic trap set by the establishment using the main stream media? Noam Chomsky put it like this:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate”

I wonder is this the establishment game? Use its flagship shows to ‘noise up’ the dissenters so they don’t focus on what the media isn’t covering? Keep the area of debate around panels and audience and maybe we will lose focus on what they should be covering and crucially what others are saying. And the reason behind this?

Demos, rallies and street protests will play a major role in the independence campaign that lies ahead of us. The campaign may also involve civil disobedience. However, don’t expect it to come to a TV screen near you. You would need to live in a normal country with a normal media for that to happen.

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