Figures released yesterday indicated that the number of full-time teachers employed in Scotland had risen by 253 over the past year, despite budget cuts imposed by the UK government’s austerity programme. This obviously presented the Scottish media with a dilemma: how could such statistics be presented as an “SNP BAD” story?
Luckily, we’re dealing with experienced professionals here.
The BBC and STV both led with the fact that numbers had decreased in a minority of local council areas, relegating the fact of the overall increase to lesser prominence.
(The former, embarrassed by an outcry over the headline, went through at least FOUR variants in the course of the day, each slightly less negative than the previous one. At the time of writing, STV still have the original negative one.)
In case anyone still wasn’t sure that this week’s SNP BAD theme in the media was going to be an attack on education, the Scottish Daily Mail this morning weighed in with a thunderous “SCHOOLS CRISIS!” blast, comprising a blaring front-page headline, the standard clutch of distorted and spun figures, and an apocalyptic column by Carole Ford, who the Mail identified as a former headteacher.
But oddly they neglected to disclose another fact about her, that readers of the sort-of newspaper might have considered pertinent in the context of a political attack.
Ms Ford trailed in a poor FIFTH in May’s general election, with fewer than a tenth of the votes of the SNP’s victorious Sandra White, so we can see why she’d want to keep attention away from her political side.
(She also leaves her Lib Dem affiliations out of the Nat-bashing letters she regularly bombards the press with, and recently posed as a member of the public – expressly NOT a politician – in a video interview published by millionaire-funded hardcore nutter Yoon collective Scotland In Union.)
It’s slightly harder to come up with an excuse for the Mail hiding the fact from its readers. But when even supposedly neutral national broadcasters are willing to drill down into positive figures until they can find SOMETHING negative in them to lead their coverage with, the subterfuge looks increasingly like a waste of effort anyway.