Friday, 4 December 2009

The BBC and 'Climategate'

There are many reasons why I like the BBC; its extensive news and sports coverage, especially on its website, is superb. But - and there is a but - if you hold certain views it becomes increasingly obvious that its sense of news balance is not quite right.

In particular the BBC's coverage of issues like climate change - previously known as global warming - and the EU are very much one sided, although I would imagine the fact that the BBC receives funds from the EU has absolutely nothing to do with the latter whatsoever (As always, follow the money).

The Climate Research Unit also receives EU funding and is at the centre of controversy regarding the leaking of over 4000 documents and emails, which show very clearly that some of the world's leading climate change scientists, manipulated, altered and made up data in order to try to 'prove' that the climate was changing.

I've been so incensed by the BBC's (lack of) coverage of the damning and very significant nature of these CRU emails, yet covering the Copenhagen summit in a glorious uncritical way that for the first time ever I wrote a complaint. My main point centered around prominence:
This information of course utterly undermines the 'consensual' science on which the climate change theory is based. Now that the credibility of climate change has been brought into question why has the BBC failed to give this information more prominence?

Surprisingly I received a reasonably prompt response back within three days, so here's the reply in full (my emphasis in bold):

I understand you're unhappy at the amount of coverage that has been given to the Climate Research Unit's hacked e-mails as you feel it has been insufficient.

The story regarding the item on the Climate Change Unit's hacked e-mail was covered extensively on 'Newsnight' on 23 November and has also been reported on the BBC website; you can see the following article and blogs:

I appreciate you may still continue to feel that the BBC favours stories in favour of climate change and feel that this call into question our impartiality and so I've registered your comment on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

I've no idea what audience log means, the usual procedural tick-the-box nonsense I guess, but intriguingly the response didn't dispute my main point; that more prominence is given to stories that favour the AGW theory.

The first link in the reply utterly fails to mention the content of the emails, but instead concentrates on the hacking. Note also, the continued use of the word 'hacked' in the reply, something the BBC repeats here. There's no evidence hacking was involved, in fact it increasingly looks like a leak / whistle-blower

The BBC is clearly trying to bat this one away as a hacking story, strangely though this certainly didn't stop the BBC reporting in great lurid detail the MP's expenses.

I know it feels like a waste of time and not much will change, I may have been the only one to complain, maybe there were 100's. I try to take comfort in the fact it might have been many more.

One thing I learnt when I, and many others tried, and succeeded, to remove the crooks who ran the football club I supported, it doesn't really matter what form the complaint or protest takes, the trick is always the numbers.

Interestingly on the day I received my reply, the CRU emails were explicitly mentioned for the first time on BBC News at Ten, on Wednesday evening. Not bad for a major story that's almost 2 weeks old.

Update: I've just seen that Al Gore has canceled his talk at Copenhagen. Now why would that be?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the BBC gives more prominence to the "AGW theory" because it has multiple lines of scientific evidence built up over many decades behind it. Just maybe. After all, they also give prominence to commentators who support the notion that what goes up must come down, that the earth was not (after all) created 6,000 years ago or that Elvis is actually stone dead and not working as a real estate agent in Kansas.