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Are our fans right to challenge BBC Scotland?

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For those of you that are unaware, the Vanguard Bears have arranged a protest for this Saturday against alleged biased broadcasting from the BBC and, in particular, the Scottish branch of the corporation (more details below).


With this protest in mind, it has been interesting to note the response from the RFC supporting community to the proposed action. Obviously many back it but there are also plenty bears who remain cynical about such a move. After all, is this merely to show solidarity with an owner who has perhaps been less than forthcoming about his past (or indeed his intentions) and do we really have credible grievances with a national broadcaster bound by a variety of guidelines? Have we become as bad as the Celtic support - basing our outlook on paranoia rather than fact?


I'd like to be clear from the outset. I don't believe there is a media-wide conspiracy to negatively portray Rangers (or our fans) more than anyone else. Fans of every club can point to poor reporting and this occurs to all clubs across every platform. However, with regard to BBC Scotland the situation is less clear so it's certainly worth examining why our fans are so frustrated.


First of all, we have to remember this isn't a new problem just because Craig Whyte was accused of criminality by a recent BBC investigative programme. Therefore, inferences that Whyte is attempting to create a flawed siege mentality or deflect attention from him are off the mark. In actual fact, the organisers of this protest have held similar rallies over the last two years. Moreover, they also met with the BBC Scotland hierarchy to discuss these concerns. Yet the less than balanced coverage continues.


Let's have a quick look at the last 6-12months and ask just a few interesting questions of the BBC Scotland coverage:


1. Why are 'neutral' sectarianism stories presented outside Ibrox (this happened again this very morning)?

2. Why were stories about letter bombs mailed to the Celtic manager presented outside Ibrox?

3. Why was our manager made to look like a fool with regard to editing news video about sectarianism?

4. Why, in the same report, did the organisation show our fans singing alleged sectarian songs while showing Celtic fans carrying anti-racism banners?

5. Why do the organisation choose to cover some sectarianism stories and not others?

6. Why do they have 'karaoke' lyrics for offensive RFC songs but not for other clubs?

7. Why are radio/TV debates often not presented in a balanced fashion (see Graham Spiers radio documentary)?

8. Why have Rangers had three examples of editorial problems this season alone?

9. Why have certain BBC employees mocked the Ibrox Disaster on social networking sites?



Once again, as I present these rather damning examples of questionable editorial/production standards; some of us will suggest others can point to their own similar problems. Fair enough, as I've already conceded, other clubs (and supports) will be able to show negative/unfair coverage in the media.


But, and it's a big but, such critics of Saturday's protest (and the RFC ban) struggle to do so when we specifically talk about the BBC. Indeed, I've asked doubting journalists and Celtic supporting friends to show me some similar examples of such strange productions/editorial standards. They can't.


No matter though - even if they could point to similar problems that still raises the question of why BBC Scotland are failing to fulfil their own obligations to the millions of us who pay their television licence fee? If the Rangers support really are being unreasonable or paranoid, then the above questions should be easy to answer.


Nevertheless, I obviously don't expect everyone to agree with the protest or buy into some BBC conspiracy but if Stuart Cosgrove can admit to problems within the media when it comes to Rangers, his opinion is worth discussing. Yes, he may only be the presenter of a sometimes funny BBC radio programme on Scottish football but, yes he's also Head of Programmes at Channel 4 and a former director of British Telecom. I've also had some personal dealings with Cosgrove and while he's no friend of Rangers, he's an expert on a variety of relevant issues.


To conclude, I'm strongly of the opinion most footballing conspiracies are exactly that - unsubstantiated and anecdotal-only rumours about a perceived bias. For the most part, the people who spread these tall-tales usually can't authenticate them with genuine evidence of malpractice. And, often the evidence that does exist, points us in the opposite direction.


However, when it comes to the coverage of Rangers related matters by BBC Scotland, I think there is a case to answer and I think the questions in this article are worth exploring. To that end, I'm happy that our club have taken a strong line with the organisation and also, in principle, back any fan protest of the BBC. I'd urge you all to carefully consider the situation and make up your own mind.


If you disagree with the action then that is your right and I respect that. If you agree - I'll see you on Saturday at 12.30pm outside Pacific Quay.


Protest details (via link to Vanguard Bears website) available below. Please read and respect the attached protest guidelines.



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I was watching a trailer for Scotland Tonight I think it was. It highlighted Rangers and Celtic in it. The Rangers segments were jovial, and positive. The Celtic ones made Celtic look like a joke organisation.


If any Celtic fans were watching, they'd have had a case to say STV were attacking them.


My point? I think the media in Scotland use Rangers and Celtic to gain attention, to gain hits, to attract viewers. I've seen the Daily Record called the 'Rhebel' by us and the 'Ranger' by tims.


The Sun is called 'The Hun' by them - they believe the media attacks them as vociferously as many of our fans believe it attacks us. But very rarely do I ever see fans on either side acknowledge the attacks on the other side - only their own. You don't do much other than giggle when you see a negative story about Celtic.


Whyte was always going to be targetted - a new regime for the first time in 20 years? If no media looked at him properly I'd be worried.


BBC have also been massively lynching Hearts too - they could easily rattle off a bunch of examples over the years where they believe the BBC is biased against them.


My point is I don't buy into conspiracy tales, just a sensational media who latch onto any target they can.


Those who are protesting the BBC can do so, but thankfully protests are by and large a complete waste of time.



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I've already conceded every club can point to poor media items. However, I think when it comes to the BBC the questions in the article are worth asking.


Perhaps, as a critic of the protest, you can explain what seems to be clear MO from the BBC?

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Modus operandi


It seems (to me and plenty of others - including the club) that BBC Scotland feature Rangers more negatively than others when it comes to certain issues - most specifically sectarianism.


Given they are supposed to present a neutral picture of such issues that is surely worth highlighting?

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I don't believe protests like this really make much diffirence, but something has to be said as the BBC Scotland have had quite a lot to say recently.


Because I see the protest as basically a frustrated moan, it is more important than ever that there is NO trouble at this, or any sympaphy we hope to gain from it will be totally lost in the very British way deflecting every protest into a festival of violence.

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