Truth is, Daisley’s editorial impartiality was compromised
In England, people tweet journalists demanding they hold government to account.
In Scotland, people tweet journalists demanding they don’t.
— (((StephenDaisley))) (@JournoStephen) May 31, 2016
The above tweet is just an example of why Stephen Daisley may not be the most impartial news editor in the world but we will come to that later. First, you may have noticed this headline today in the Herald.
Journalist ‘gagged’ by broadcaster after pressure from SNP
I’m all for holding government to account but the article to which the headline relates is a classic SNPBAAAD piece. The first giveaway is the use of inverted commas around the word gagged which basically highlights that the report will follow the standard template.
What comes next is just speculative rambling followed by some rent-a-gub condemnation quotes by the likes of Jackson Carlaw. Finished off by the accused being given the opportunity to confirm there is not a shred of truth to the story. This rebuttal always comes at the end where it will only be read by the few who have managed to avoid drifting into a coma. Interesting that the Labour SNPBAAAD quote in this aritlce comes from an anonymous source, which basically means it’s Jackie Ballie but even she’s embarrassed by how much of a blatant lie this is:
The SNP have a track record of intimidating journalists. It’s very concerning the party of government continues to attempt to silence any criticism against it.
As a non SNP affiliated independence supporter I find the notion that the SNP try to silence journalism is laughable. The sheer volume of poor quality reporting of supposed SNP failing actually helps them. The SNP do a lot of things that are worth holding to account but good criticism gets lost in the deluge of phantom outrage so they would be mad to try to stop it. Even if they wanted to stop negative reporting, the level of such anti-SNP rhetoric in the media is so high that they would have more luck attempting to ban midgies from the Highlands.
The Herald article is spuriously padded out from two unconnected facts. One is that some senior people from the SNP have complained that Stephen Daisley is biased which seems well within their rights. The other is that Daisley has not published an opinion piece on the STV news website since mid July. There is no attempt in the article to provide evidence that the two things are in any way related. They may be but unless further evidence is provided then this is a non story.
I think Daisley can be quite a good opinion writer. I often read his pieces and although I don’t often agree with him I usually think they are well written and sincerely argued. That said, you don’t need a government backed conspiracy to understand why he may have been slapped on the wrist by his bosses. He has over the years compromised his position as an editor by publicly demonstrating he is far from impartial.
The public should not know that Daisley is a interventionist neocon Hawk. We should not be aware that he is an honorary fellow of a self congratulatory and blinkered unionist social media circle jerk. We should not be aware that his output has a strong pro Israeli slant. We should be oblivious that he is pro-life. It is not proper that we know he has strong views on Corbyn, Labour and anti-antisemitism.
Well, maybe it is good that he informs us of these things but in doing so he undermines his day job. A more balanced, discreet worldview should be a prerequisite of anyone who has the words ‘news’ and ‘editor’ in their job title.
I have read and enjoyed a lot of his pieces and never doubt his sincerity and he is entitled to all of those views. However, he has such strong opinions on divisive issues and has had those opinions disseminated so widely that he has compromised his impartiality. The bottom line is you can’t be a good editor and a good columnist as the two roles clash. Opinion pieces are not editorials.
STV and Daisley have probably came to the common sense conclusion that he should do one job or the other. The strange thing is that they have gone with the editor/journalist role. Perhaps that pays more? However, he can’t hide his past and his neutrality will always be under scrutiny from now on. It would have been far better to have kept him on as a provocative, quality click bait generator. I would much rather read his thought provoking opinions than the unsubstantiated drivel that passes for journalism nowadays in Scotland.
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