Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

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Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Durham on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:56 pm

‘Well, you’re arguing facts against opinions. OK, I mean, the fact that the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has rocketed up since the Industrial Revolution, and continues to rocket up, is a fact. Now, it’s so much a fact that even the climate change deniers look away from it and don’t deny it.’
— Professor Steve Jones, Feedback, BBC Radio 4, 18 October

Have a look at that last sentence. It represents such a cherishably stupid, rude, fatuous, crabby, bigoted, ignorant, petulant, feeble, fallacious, dishonest and misleading argument that if it turned out the speaker in question was a professor of logic or philosophy you really might want to shoot yourself in despair.

Can you see what the problem is? Let me explain. This angry professor character wants us to believe that there are people called ‘climate change deniers’ who are so far outside the pale of reasonable discourse that even when they are right it’s another sign of just how wrong they are.

Atmospheric CO2 has been rising since the Industrial Revolution, Jones is telling us, but those pesky deniers are so slippery that they refuse to deny this fact. If they did, presumably, it would make Jones’s job a lot easier because then he’d be able to provide a clear example of these wrong ‘opinions’ deniers supposedly hold. Apparently, though, Jones is unable to produce such a clear example. So instead he has to fabricate one and — in the very next breath — to discount it by conceding that actually this is a point on which ‘even’ the ‘deniers’ agree.

Am I being too harsh on Professor Jones? His field is genetics rather than atmospheric physics, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if he sounds here like a rather desperate man flailing well beyond his pay grade. Had he been quizzed on his specialist subjects — drosophila and snails — I expect he would have been absolutely first-rate. We can hardly blame poor Jones the Snail if the BBC asked him to pose as an expert on an area about which he would seem to know less then bugger all, can we? Well yes, actually. I think we rather can.

You see Professor Jones is no common or garden snails expert. He also happens to be the author of a 2011 report for the BBC Trust on the BBC’s science coverage. The report was commissioned partly in response to complaints by those pesky climate ‘deniers’ that they don’t get a fair hearing from an organisation supposedly committed by its Charter obligations to impartiality.

Jones’s report was adamant that they shouldn’t. ‘Denialism’, he argued, is typical of a range of belief systems, such as that ‘AIDS has nothing to do with viruses, the MMR vaccine is unsafe, complex organs could never evolve, or even that the 9/11 disaster was a US government plot.’ The evidence for ‘global warming’ was now so ‘overwhelming’, he concluded, that it would be quite wrong for the BBC to imply that it was a two-sided debate by giving swivel-eyed climate ‘deniers’ airtime.

When the report came out I remember being gobsmacked by its chutzpah. (As too was Christopher Booker, whose magisterial demolition of both Jones’s report and the BBC’s climate coverage generally is well worth reading on the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s website). Here, I’d naively imagined, was the perfect opportunity for the BBC to ’fess up to — and remedy — over a decade’s worth of inexcusably one-sided climate coverage. Instead — in the fine tradition of the Climategate inquiries — it had denied all culpability with a ‘move along, nothing to see here’ snow job.

But that was two years ago, since when there have been many new scientific developments not necessarily to the advantage of the alarmist view so doughtily championed by the likes of Jones the Snail. As Matt Ridley noted with characteristic verve and charm in last week’s Spectator cover story — ‘Panic Over!’ — the case for catastrophic man-made climate change theory grows weaker by the day. Why then, does our biggest media organisation persist in pretending otherwise?

An answer, of sorts, was provided by last week’s edition of Feedback, in which apparently ordinary, typical BBC listeners queued up to complain about World at One’s coverage of the new IPCC report. What had upset them was that the main ‘expert’ quoted by Radio 4 was an Australian ‘denier’ called Bob Carter and not a ‘qualified climate scientist’.

There were several details that Feedback curiously neglected to mention. One was that at least one of those ordinary, typical complainants runs a green energy company. Another is that ‘Bob Carter’, whom it described as a ‘geologist’, is in fact a distinguished professor whose specialist field — marine palaeoclimatology — puts him in a rather better position to comment authoritatively on climate change than, say, some Johnny-come-lately geneticist.

Not, of course, that we should set too much store by the Appeal To Authority. If someone has his facts right on climate change, then he’s still right regardless of whether he’s a geneticist, a marine geologist, or the bastard offspring of Adolf Hitler. If, conversely, he has his facts wrong on climate change then no matter how great his credentials — even if he’s Regius Professor of Global Warming at the University of Climate Change — his facts will remain stubbornly wrong.

Here’s what Professor Carter was quoted saying: ‘Climate has always changed and it always will. There is nothing unusual about the modern magnitudes or rates of change of temperature, of ice volume, of sea level or of extreme weather events.’

Funny, I mused, how not a single one of the experts marshalled by Feedback — not even the great Jones the Snail himself — felt capable of challenging this proposition. Hmm. I wonder why that could be.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 26 October 2013

Tags: BBC, Bob Carter, Climate change, CO2, denialism, Feedback, Professor Steve Jones
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  mattiducatti on Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:16 pm

THe bbc can't be impartial on anything as they have a political agenda.
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:48 pm

@mattiducatti wrote:THe bbc can't be impartial on anything as they have a political agenda.

As do all news sites, what is important though is to recognise that they all do.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  mattiducatti on Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:02 pm

But the bbc is bound by it's own rules to be impartial.....
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Flap Zappa on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:13 pm

Didge wrote:
@mattiducatti wrote:THe bbc can't be impartial on anything as they have a political agenda.
As do all news sites, what is important though is to recognise that they all do.
except the BBC is a tax funded public service whos charter says it should be impartial.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Bert Assirati on Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:33 pm

Now and again you speak wise words Durham, green given.  Bravo

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Durham on Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:19 pm

Ulrich von Liechtenstein wrote:Now and again you speak wise words Durham, green given.  Bravo
I speak mostly common sense Keith.....its my chosen language!!

But i thank you for your kind words

Thumbs up 
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Flix on Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:00 pm

Didge wrote:
As do all news sites, what is important though is to recognise that they all do.


I watch Al Jazeera on occassions and they seem to just deliver the facts or at least the news facts, like the Beeb was famous foe once upon a time but maybe I've just been lucky and they haven'y had a paticular interest in what they were reporting.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:09 pm

@Flix wrote:

I watch Al Jazeera on occassions and they seem to just deliver the facts or at least the news facts, like the Beeb was famous foe once upon a time but maybe I've just been lucky and they haven'y had a paticular interest in what they were reporting.
Even they are biased Flix, they were caught out being very biased towards the new military Government and pro Muslim Brotherhood. Sadly all news outlets favour what is politically more important to them, hence why I believe the reality of reporting honest news died long ago.
Now reporters are more interested in being stars, than telling real news, it is now about them and always a political view

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:11 pm

Flap Gallagher wrote:except the BBC is a tax funded public service whos charter says it should be impartial.
How naive, what does that matter, people are human and will always be biased towards what they believe. Seriously is your view people should be honest because you expect them to be when the reality is you have not been honest at some points in your life?
Take a reality check here, who cares if they are biased, everyone else is, it is not an exclusive club, don't watch them if it bothers you so much!

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Flap Zappa on Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:51 am

@Flix wrote:
Didge wrote:
As do all news sites, what is important though is to recognise that they all do.

I watch Al Jazeera on occassions and they seem to just deliver the facts or at least the news facts, like the Beeb was famous foe once upon a time but maybe I've just been lucky and they haven'y had a paticular interest in what they were reporting.
I like al jazeera, as it is about the only english news channel I can get here without paying.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Flap Zappa on Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:52 am

Didge wrote:
Flap Gallagher wrote:except the BBC is a tax funded public service whos charter says it should be impartial.
How naive, what does that matter, people are human and will always be biased towards what they believe. Seriously is your view people should be honest because you expect them to be when the reality is you have not been honest at some points in your life?
Take a reality check here, who cares if they are biased, everyone else is, it is not an exclusive club, don't watch them if it bothers you so much!
IT matters because it is in their charter.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:01 am

Flap Gallagher wrote:IT matters because it is in their charter.
Really? To you maybe, not to the fact all are biased, because what you fail to understand is all people are biased.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Bert Assirati on Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:46 am

Didge wrote:Really? To you maybe, not to the fact all are biased, because what you fail to understand is all people are biased.
Does this include religious views and race?

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  gerber on Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:54 am

Didge wrote:Really? To you maybe, not to the fact all are biased, because what you fail to understand is all people are biased.
Who says so ?

I am not biased.
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:46 am

@gerber wrote:Who says so ?

I am not biased.
Hi gerber

Everyone is biased towards their own views

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Lord Edmund Moletrousers on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:07 pm

Didge wrote:Really? To you maybe, not to the fact all are biased, because what you fail to understand is all people are biased.
Sorry, Didge, but the BBC operates under a Royal Charter which  expressly forbids party political partisanship in its broadcast output for the simple reason that it is compulsorily funded by those who own TV sets (it was radio sets in Lord Reith's days) and that as mandatory paymasters they should not be obliged to fund the promulgation of political views with which they might vehemently disagree.

Even more importantly it was held (rightly in my opinion) that de facto support and endorsement of the policies of one political party over those of others would be utterly inappropriate given that the BBC is the recognised national broadcaster and international voice of the United Kingdom.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind (and I have more hours of both radio and TV broadcasting under my belt than I care to remember) that the BBC is, as former Director General Mark Thompson admitted, "massively Left wing" and that the imbalance of hard and even aggressive news and current affairs interviewing in favour of Labour and to the detriment of the Tories is an absolute scandal.
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  Bert Assirati on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:26 pm

Bring back the Grumbleweeds I say.

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  gerber on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:38 pm

Ulrich von Liechtenstein wrote:Bring back the Grumbleweeds I say.
They were suffocated by the Japanese ragworts.....
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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  guest... on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:43 pm

@Lord Edmund Moletrousers wrote:Sorry, Didge, but the BBC operates under a Royal Charter which  expressly forbids party political partisanship in its broadcast output for the simple reason that it is compulsorily funded by those who own TV sets (it was radio sets in Lord Reith's days) and that as mandatory paymasters they should not be obliged to fund the promulgation of political views with which they might vehemently disagree.

Even more importantly it was held (rightly in my opinion) that de facto support and endorsement of the policies of one political party over those of others would be utterly inappropriate given that the BBC is the recognised national broadcaster and international voice of the United Kingdom.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind (and I have more hours of both radio and TV broadcasting under my belt than I care to remember) that the BBC is, as former Director General Mark Thompson admitted, "massively Left wing" and that the imbalance of hard and even aggressive news and current affairs interviewing in favour of Labour and to the detriment of the Tories is an absolute scandal.
Sorry me Lord you cannot say people are not biased no matter if there is a charter, they still will be which is the point being missed. Again each news outlets is very biased towards its political beliefs and thus people are able to chose what they watch and read, yet I know like me you like to see all views as you like to be fair and open with views, but we are still both biased on things

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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  mattiducatti on Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:34 pm

PEople are able to choose to pay for what they wish to watch or read, not with the bbc which is paid by all regardless and bound by it's own rules to be impartial.


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Re: Why cant the BBC be impartial in the climate change debate?

Post  gerber on Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:39 pm

@mattiducatti wrote:PEople are able to choose to pay for what they wish to watch or read, not with the bbc which is paid by all regardless and bound by it's own rules to be impartial.


 You will listen to what we say and believe in all we say.  You will pay for our service or we will fine you and if still you do not pay you will go straight to jail, you will not pass go
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