Rangers have had something of a chequered history with the BBC. Many would argue it goes back many years, but it manifested itself significantly with the Mark Daly documentaries, one of which was correct (Craig Whyte, late 2011), the other of which was borderline slanderous (Men Who Sold the Jerseys, May 2012).
Then when a BBC-covered League Cup match against Motherwell later that year on the 28th of September began with tasteless opening titles depicting a famous scene from the American series ‘Mad Men’ but putting manager Ally McCoist as the body hurtling out the window onto the crest, it was, for many fans, the final straw.
Since then the two institutions have faced off against each other and taken various sanctions on one another, such as Rangers banning any co-operation with the BBC, and the BBC withdrawing all reporters from covering anything at Ibrox.
The latter was a direct response to Senior Correspondent Chris McLaughlin’s disturbing access to the match delegate’s information regarding fan arrests at Hibernian, information which he did not have privileges to, which saw Club rebuttal ban him from Ibrox 100%.
This face off stood for a number of weeks, and the BBC even allowed a fan comment implying Rangers were ‘dead’ to be approved on their streaming coverage of the League Cup draw on Thursday.
However, yesterday Rangers released a statement confirming the ban on McLaughlin had been lifted:
“Following a meeting with the BBC the media privileges of Chris McLaughlin have been reinstated.
Rangers has received assurances from the BBC that their reporting of Rangers’ affairs will be balanced.”
Quite simply this is a victory for Rangers. For the first time, the BBC’s Pacific Quay branch have accepted and admitted, indirectly, that their coverage of Rangers over the past three years and possibly longer has been skewed, and that anti-Rangers bias has been frankly pejorative of the Club.
For a state-run broadcaster to be so anti-any one Club is unacceptable and it has to be said Murray, King and the others who achieved this victory over the BBC must be applauded for it. Rangers’ board’s job, among other things, is to defend the Club – too many previous boards and owners did not do that properly, and for Rangers to beat the BBC and more or less bash a confession from them that their coverage of Rangers has been negative is a colossal victory.
We will see over time if the BBC adhere to their own promises and assurances, but the fact that they have agreed to do so is a step in the right direction.