Journalistic standards fall still further at the Times
By Kenny McQuarrell, Director General of BBC Scotlandshire
Editing standards in Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire have fallen to a new nadir as the Times attributes the publication of new SNP MP Mhairi Black's Westminster diaries to the wrong television station.
BBC Scotlandshire this week began to serialise Ms Black's diaries, publishing the initial entries of her journal on its award-winning website on Thursday.
The youngest ever UK MP, Miss Black has now launched a new Twitter account, @MhairisDiaries, to further document her experiences and observations as she and most of her 55 colleagues find their feet in 'the mother of all parliaments'.
However in a piece in Saturday's edition of the Times of London, while correctly attributing authorship of the diaries to the MP, the once-respected newspaper claimed that the diaries had been published by old-media channel BBC Scotland(sic) rather than BBC Scotlandshire (see image above).
BBC Scotland is a small spoof channel which parodies the State Broadcaster in a wrongheaded attempt to highlight what it claims to be 'Unionist bias' in BBC Scotlandshire's output.
The low-budget parody channel is based in a small rented office at Atlantic Quay on the Clyde, in the shadow of the local MI5 facility, and at the opposite end of the 'Squinty Bridge' from BBC Scotlandshire itself.
BBC Scotland has neither the viewership numbers nor the credibility to host such an important documentary as the Mhairi Black Diaries. This simple fact that would have been clear to the Times had even the most cursory editorial check been carried out before publication.
Despite my deep loathing of the Leveson report, I have today contacted Rupert Murdoch personally demanding he publish a full front-page correction of the story which, if left uncorrected, could lead unprecedented numbers of readers to visit the BBC Scotland website in search of original, witty and honest journalism, only to leave them hugely disappointed by what they find there.
A spokestoff for the Times newspaper has responded to my demand stating: "Mr Murdoch would like to apologise for the misattribution in the story you mention.
"Unfortunately, as the Coulson trial has just commenced in Scotlandshire, all of our editors and subbies have been fully occupied feeding the shredders at our London, Merseyside and Glasgow offices.
"We hope to resume our normal levels of accuracy once all of the offending documents have been disposed of and our hard drives properly spiked."
To add insult to injury, the Times felt the need to attack the stature of Chris Law, the newly-elected MP for Dundee West, describing him as "a tall SNP MP".
Mr Law told the BBC he was consulting his solicitor. Towering over our reporter, he commented: "I'm not big. I'm a giant among pigmies. I am the Law!"
We contacted Mhari Black herself who told us: "Ur ye kiddin? Ah wid never ay givven BBC Scoatland the rights tae publish ma diaries. That crowd's nae mair than a retirement hame fur the Labour party in Scoatlandshire!"
"#WeeRebelAlliance", she added.
BBC Scotlandshire (the genuine one) : Shades of Black: Mhairi's first days at Westminster
Due to the huge number of complaints, comments are no longer banned on BBC Scotlandshire News pages.