All independence campaigners have been aware of a varying degree of bias in mainstream media (MSM) for a long time.
I think many have thought that this was a temporary situation, that things would change once the Yes campaign had assembled enough facts to feed to the waiting journalists.
However, there's no sign that things are changing. Just in the past few days, there have been three stories that showed the bias:
- An academic at the University of the West of Scotland published research that demonstrated bias in how the BBC and STV deal with independence stories. (Newsnet Scotland has the full story.)
- Another academic at the University of Stirling demonstrated that a Scandinavian-style welfare state can't be constructed purely through the tax system. In other words, extended devolution is not enough -- only independence will make it possible for Scotland to achieve this laudable aim. This research article wasn't ignored, but the MSM tried to describe it as a blow for the Yes side. (See Wings over Scotland for details.)
- The Daily Mail has launched a campaign against cybernats, completely ignoring the vile abuse that No campaigners write every day. (Lallands Peat Worrier has written an excellent blog post about this.)
To make matters even worse, it now turns out that the BBC have not been ignoring the first story at all. They have instead been trying to undermine the researcher who created it. Derek Bateman has the full story.
What this means is that Yes campaigners can't wait for the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media to drop their bias. Their recent aggressive reactions make me think it's quite likely the bias will get stronger, not weaker, as the referendum gets closer.
Many voters are getting the vast majority of their information from MSM, so it's an almost impossible struggle to convince them of the merits of voting Yes if they don't get information from other sources, too.
I know there have been numerous small-scale attempts to make people aware of some of the pro-independence blogs (such as Newsnet Scotland, Wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, National Collective, Business for Scotland, etc.); however, I think this has to become a focus in the next six months.
Whenever we speak to undecided voters, we should give them a list of URLs, and somebody should seriously consider raising money to advertise these websites on buses and in Glasgow's subway.
We know for a fact that informed voters tend to become Yes voters. We just need to ensure they get enough information to enable them to make up their own minds.