BBC Complaint : Biased Reporting

“Established science is excluded from account”

It appears to me from the following blog post :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/climates_magnetic_attraction.html

that Richard Black is either (a) entirely ignorant of the relevant science or is (b) deliberately not including the relevant science.

He does not include the well-known counterpoints to Piers Corbyn’s theories on Global Warming.

He poses a challenge to Climate Change scientists that has already been answered in the literature.

In order to restore accuracy to the piece, people would need to contribute comments that informed Richard Black of the relevant science, that he should know about anyway, and should have cited.

Richard Black is thus wasting peoples’ time in my view, either intentionally or accidentally.

He has a position as a senior environmental writer for the BBC Online team, and so in my view, he should have at least some understanding of why Piers Corbyn’s theories are not mainstream science, and how they have been already discredited.

If he does not know this kind of information, he should at least be conscious that it might exist, and he should at least make an attempt to find out, and report his findings.

I remain perplexed that people without any relevant scientific training are writing for the environmental reporting section of BBC Online.

They are good writers, but they appear to lack a depth and range in their knowledge of the state of the science.

I am surprised that Richard Black bothered to attend the presentation by Piers Corbyn, as he should have easily been able to find out why it could be counted as pseudo-science.

My demand is that environmental writers for the BBC Online should undertake a course in Climate Change science, so that it is clear that they understand what they are reporting on, and recognise which views are non-science.

The section I am concerned about is this :-




…Now, doubtless many of you will have views on the science and everything else in this post, and I look forward to reading them.

But the responses I would particularly invite are from working scientists – physicists, climatologists, and those in related fields.

At the beginning of this post, I suggested working scientists might like to read to the end – and here’s why.

Piers Corbyn hasn’t given you a scientific paper here but I hope I have relayed the main elements, and you can see his presentation for more details.

So please – have a look around. Some of you know about this stuff – orbital precession, solar cycles, Fourier transforms, magnetic dipoles – far, far better than I do. When you have a free moment or two, don’t turn to Tetris, but have a play with this box of toys.

The datasets Mr Corbyn used are publically available, as is information on cycles of lunar nodes and such like.

Do the numbers and mechanisms stack up? Is the theory plausible? Compelling? Completely nuts? What do you think?

As of now, does it even qualify as a theory?

I’m certainly not qualified to pronounce judgement – but some of you may be.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with… and so, I’m sure, will everyone anxious to make sure that negotiators in Copenhagen are armed only with the best scientific evidence.




Although Richard Black asserts that he is not qualified to pronounce judgement, which appears unbiased, he has not made an attempt to explain alternative viewpoints or report them.

He is also laying out for the reader the position of Piers Corbyn, and asking the reader to put some effort in to either confirm or deny this.

However, a simple perusal of the literature would show that Piers Corbyn’s views on Global Warming are easily challenged, and have been done so quite regularly and successfully.

Thus, this blog post for me is biased, unreasonable and provocative and I would call it unacceptable.

4 thoughts on “BBC Complaint : Biased Reporting”

  1. ‘I remain perplexed that people without any relevant scientific training are writing for the environmental reporting section of BBC Online.’

    How old are you Jo? 12?

    Most adults are aware that the BBC is just like any other news source, not the fount of all correct, expert and unbiased knowledge it so often procalims itself to be.

  2. “Thus, this blog post for me is biased, unreasonable and provocative and I would call it unacceptable”.

    Describes your own blog perfectly Jo !!.

  3. Jo,

    You say of Balck’s article:

    “The section I am concerned about is this :-

    …Now, doubtless many of you will have views on the science and everything else in this post, and I look forward to reading them.

    Although Richard Black asserts that he is not qualified to pronounce judgement, which appears unbiased, he has not made an attempt to explain alternative viewpoints or report them.”

    But you yourself do something more reprehensible than you accuse Black of. You have the audacity to pronounce judgement on Corbyn and on Black, but you have not made any attempt to explain alternative viewpoints or report them.

    Thus, this blog post for me is like a Monty Python sketch with your lines being read by John Cleese, and with Michael Palin and Eric Idle standing in for Black and Corbyn, respectively.

    Like many people, I’d like to know whether Corbyn is on to something or not. And given that his general long-range forecasts have proven far more accurate than those of the Met Office for some years, it’s only natural that he is gathering increasing interest. You seem to know that his theories don’t stack up, but you don’t say why this is so, Jo.

    You say that his positions are easily challenged, but you make no effort to challenge them. Without such an effort, the above post adds up to nothing more than a long-winded half-baked innuendo. If the challenge is so easy, then by all means do it with one hand while playing Tetris with the right.

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