Via Twitter, I've learned that Richard Walker said this at the Scottish Independence Convention earlier today -
"The National, the Sunday Herald, Bella Caledonia and CommonSpace all came under fire during the Holyrood election campaign for the sin of giving space to pro-indy parties such as RISE and the Greens, because we were accused of allegedly encouraging voters to give their second votes to those parties, and therefore eroding the SNP majority."
With all due respect to Richard, that gives a somewhat misleading impression of the nature of the criticisms that were levelled. It's true that some people had a general complaint that wildly disproportionate coverage was being given to RISE in particular, which was and remains a fringe party that never had any realistic hope of winning even one seat in parliament (the fact that they didn't come close even after the lavish coverage they received tells its own story). But there was also an entirely separate and much more specific criticism of Bella Caledonia and, for one weekend only, of the Sunday Herald - namely that they misled their readers about the workings of the voting system, giving the impression that SNP list votes were not required for a majority, and that SNP supporters would therefore be foolish not to give their list votes on a tactical basis to RISE or the Greens, with the pie-in-the-sky objective of simultaneously electing a majority pro-independence government and a pro-independence opposition.
It's disingenuous to imply that the latter type of criticism of Bella and the Sunday Herald amounted to an objection to RISE or the Greens being given any coverage, or even very generous coverage. It would have been perfectly possible to give those parties lots of space to pitch for list votes on the basis of their own policies, as opposed to the endless distortions about the voting system and the "tactical" possibilities it supposedly offered. It's impossible to know for sure whether the pro-tactical voting editorial line in Bella and the Sunday Herald contributed in any significant way to the loss of the SNP majority, but as the SNP actually made gains in the constituencies and lost their majority entirely on the list, the possibility self-evidently cannot be excluded.
Note that this criticism does not extend to The National - I can't recall them ever publishing anything misleading on the tactical voting issue, and indeed in the run-up to the election they splashed with a very fair piece by John Curtice that set out at least some of the arguments in both directions very clearly. Although CommonSpace were pushing RISE quite heavily, I can't clearly remember what line they were taking on tactical voting - I do recall that at one point they posted both the Phantom Power video I appeared in, and Stephen Paton's own pro-tactical voting video, to allow people to make up their own minds. So there was perhaps less of an all-out propaganda campaign going on at CommonSpace than there was at Bella.