BBC agrees “too many quotes from McAdam”

McAdam 3Two days ago we blogged about some disproportionate BBC coverage given to serial raptor persecution denier, Doug McAdam, CEO of Scottish Land and Estates (see here).

The BBC article in question was about the publication of a new SNH-funded report detailing the recovery prospects for golden eagles in south Scotland (currently clinging on by their talons).

We felt that the article was biased as McAdam was given much more space than the other contributors, and we also objected to at least one of McAdam’s statements in which he tried to downplay the effect of illegal persecution by suggesting it was an historical issue and that the latest government figures show a ‘significant’ decline – which is, as McAdam well knows, patently untrue.

We encouraged blog readers to complain to the BBC and thanks to all of you that did (we reckon, from our site stats, that over 40 of you made the effort). The BBC has now responded:

Thank you for your contact. Your comments were passed to the Editor of News Online Scotland, who has asked that we forward his response as follows:

“Thank you for being in touch about the article called: Golden eagles ‘can return to south of Scotland’ –

Our Environment Correspondent, David Miller, highlighted that a Scottish Natural Heritage report indicated the south of Scotland could once again become a stronghold for golden eagles. He included the views of Prof Des Thompson of Scottish Natural Heritage; Paul Wheelhouse MSP, The Minister for Environment and Climate Change; Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations and Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive of Scottish Land and Estates.

During our routine and ongoing review of articles published, we felt that there were too many quotes from Mr McAdam. As a result, we decided to modify his contribution to the piece. Overall, I am happy that we have reported this story in a fair and balanced way.

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.”

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints.


So, some success at least, although the modifications that were made did not include the removal of the ‘significant decline’ quote.

Wonder if the PAW Scotland committee members will be having a quiet word with McAdam about the importance of not mis-representing PAW Scotland persecution data….

8 thoughts on “BBC agrees “too many quotes from McAdam””

  1. I have just let Alan Titchmarsh know what I think of his decision to present an award to Hogg.

      1. Its an ego trip on the SGA website….”Alex Hogg (56), a gamekeeper for 40 years, will be presented with the NGO Educational Trust’s Bellamy Award by the broadcaster today (friday 19th July) at CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.

        Presenter and novelist Titchmarsh will deliver the trophy……”

  2. The establishment are killing this birds… and don’t forget the BBC are part of the establishment… They’re a tool used by the establishment and controlled by the establishment… Of course the reporting was bias… The BBC are defending these killers…`

  3. I would agree that it is disingenuous of either Doug McAdam or Tim Baynes to try to downplay the illegal persecution of birds of prey. It seems perfectly obvious that it is happening on a grand scale. Furthermore, we all know that the official persecution figures only account for detected incidents. There may be many more.

    What puzzles me is why you are making such an incredible fuss over McAdam’s statement. Even if his words were true and there was a decline in persecution incidents, this alone would not mean that we’re winning the battle against the illegal killing of raptors. We could only be sure of that when we see thriving populations in the relevant areas.

    The reports (to which you’ve provided links) don’t entirely contradict Mr McAdam’s point of view. The 2012 government report, for example, says ‘the last few years have seen an encouraging decline in raptor poisoning numbers’. Perhaps McAdam was referring more generally to poisoning incidents (which WERE on a downward trend until last year) rather than all crimes against raptors? The PAW Scotland website itself mainly talks about poisoning incidents. They only started producing maps showing all recorded crime in 2014.

    I believe you’d do better concentrating your efforts on working with landowners to combat these crimes rather than trying to whip up storms against them … or working harder to get stiffer penalties for those involved in persecution.

    I certainly cannot see any point in orchestrating complaints against the BBC. The conspiracy theories in this comments section make me despair. The idea that the BBC is some sort of mouthpiece for ‘hunters and shooters’ or that the BBC is ‘defending these killers’ is ridiculous. Yeah, right, take Springwatch. A real killer’s charter that one! It’s just so pro-hunter. And as for all those David Attenborough documentaries … Frankly, I’ve never read so much codswallop in my entire life. It seems to me that the BBC regularly covers raptor issues in a balanced, informative way – far better that any other news outlet. It was they who, only recently, hosted the debate between Stuart Housden and Tim Baynes, once again drawing attention to this important matter.

    It is by reading and hearing about these beautiful birds in the mainstream media such as the BBC that the general public becomes more and more interested in them and indeed other wildlife. It’s no doubt one of the reasons why, for example, the RSPB has over a million members today.

    So let’s maintain some balance here eh? Otherwise we’ll be thought of as a bunch of cranks and nutters.

  4. Have you seen the article in this month’s (August 2014-Vol.120 No.8, page 55) Countryman magazine yet? It is from one of their columnists ( Robin Page), and apparently Hen Harriers need killing to protect the massive amount of wildlife on Grouse moors. That Hen harriers have denuded the Isle of Man of wildlife and domestic chickens. That Hen harriers and Badgers are working together to kill wildlife and both must be killed (yes, really -although oddly enough he also says that Hen Harriers and Badgers are mortal enemies and Badgers keep Hen Harrier populations on IoM down- make up his mind), and anyone who objects is a town dwelling “hobby birdwatcher” whatever that means, who is Wrong(!). He writes also that Gamekeepers are the guardians of biodiversity but then gives a list of all the wildlife gamekeepers kill. Buzzards are apparently just flying rats, that need culled also. It is all very confusing.

    I don’t have a scanner, but if you have a postal address I can send you my copy of the magazine. It is odd, last few issues have been very pro-raptors and badgers, this bizarre rant from one of their columnists is something I’d call “clickbait” if it appeared on a website.

    Oh and he also says that large combine harvesters kill ground nesting birds and hares, and should be road taxed and subject to HGV restrictions…..well law of averages says he had to get something right even by accident.

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