By a Newsnet reporter
A new satirical web site, which lampoons BBC Scotland news coverage, has caused a mini online sensation with its 'unique' take on the Glasgow based broadcaster.
The site, called BBC Scotlandshire, was launched last week, with a single story entitled “Andy Murray must now become English, says Cameron”. Since then it has received thousands of visitors each day, becoming something of a phenomenon on Facebook and Twitter.
The opening article, written in the style of a BBC Scotland item, claimed that David Cameron was offering a new Honour to Andy Murray, but only if he agreed to a set of preconditions which included him representing England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A second article, posted 2 days later, suggested that MPs planned take over Holyrood while Westminster palace is being refurbished, displacing the sitting MSPs to the nearby Dynamic Earth.
This article, entitled, “Cameron gives green light for MPs to relocate to Holyrood”, featured a fictitious quotation from Labour MP Ian Davidson, which quickly appeared on a Facebook poster causing indignation amongst many who, having not seen the original article, assumed the quote was genuine.
The team behind the new site say they created it to highlight the often ridiculously partisan BBC Scotland reporting in favour of Unionism and the constitutional Status Quo. They aim to publish several stories per week on topical subjects.
Although fictional, each article is written in such a way as to parody real BBC Scotland reports by taking the customary BBC 'journalistic licence' just a little bit further and by making the stories just a touch more preposterous than the genuine articles.
“The trouble with the first couple of articles”, one author on the site told Newsnet Scotland, “is that we got the style so close to the real thing that many people didn’t spot it was a spoof. But with BBC Scotland covering stories about losing the pandas, annexing the Northern Isles and bombing our airports, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that.”
He added, “The most worrying aspect of the reactions to the site so far is: if some people are unable to tell that these exaggerated spoof stories are fictional, how many others are taken in by all the real propaganda and biased reporting that characterises the Scottish media. That is a truly frightening thought.
“Our aim is that new readers should get about half way down an article before they work out it’s a spoof – anyone returning to the site should not be fooled a second time, but will hopefully find the articles amusing and perhaps enlightening. First and foremost we aim to be funny.”
The site has a disclaimer on every page which declares, “This site contains news items which are often ridiculous, generally ficticious, entirely ill-informed and simultaneously biased in favour of the status quo and against the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Government and Scottish Independence in particular. Any similarity with other national broadcasters is entirely unfortunate.”
Just like the real BBC site it lampoons, comments are banned on BBC Scotlandshire, but the site has just launched a Twitter and a Facebook account where comments (including story suggestions) are very welcome.
The latest article, entitled “STV chiefs may face jail after 'Boogate' complaints”, exposes the truth behind the booing of the first minister in Glasgow. The site can be read at www.BBC.Scotlandshire.co.uk,
If you enjoy a good laugh, we suggest you take a look soon before it is forced off the internet for good.