The Media Cannot Be Trusted

When the BBC’s Roger Harrabin arranged a set of questions recently for Phil Jones, the unjustly smeared head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), I just wish he had asked for advice from an expert on countering Climate Change denier tactics before answering :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

The questions made my Public Relations nerves twitch with embarrassment for Phil Jones. The trajectory of events was entirely predictable.

A friend or colleague with experience of having to face down the Climate Change deniers would have strongly advised Phil Jones to answer the questions with extreme care, especially the first one, and demand that anyone who quoted his answer quote him in full, in context.

It was so obviously a “trick question”, constructed in a way that would give Climate Change deniers the ideal opportunity to inaccurately summarise and warp the reply, and use the spin to continue putting Phil Jones down.

Of those Media organisations that reported the BBC interview, here are a selection of those outlets that have misquoted Phil Jones :-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/158214

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/15/global-warming-insignificant-years-admits-uks-climate-scientist/?test=latestnews

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/02/17/lorne-gunter-they-re-finally-admitting-the-science-isn-t-settled.aspx

There are more, but it makes for laughable, and yet simultaneously depressing, reading, so I sha’n’t continue to cite the links.

What I will do however is ask the question : isn’t it about time that Climate Change scientists gave a categorical blanket refusal to discuss matters of science with any of the Media organisations that misquoted Phil Jones ?

Clearly, a large part of the Media cannot be trusted on the matter of accurate reporting of Climate Change science, so they should be refused interviews, any news stories or Press Releases.

Only those Media outlets that have taken pains to understand and accurately report the words of Phil Jones should be contacted in future, I would suggest.

Speaking generously, in the set of Media outlets who could be considered trustworthy in future, I would include those who make the effort to investigate and retract any inaccurate report they have made about the BBC interview with Phil Jones.

There are clearly biased Climate Change deniers influencing a number of Media outlets, or actually writing/filming for them. It is important to identify who these people are, and which Media outlets are swayed by their invalid arguments, and refuse to talk to them in future.

More worryingly, from my point of view, is why Roger Harrabin of the BBC constructed a list of interview questions for Phil Jones, whose answers could so easily be twisted to corroborate the fake narratives of the Climate Change deniers.

The fact that some of Roger Harrabin’s interview questions were so clearly posed by Climate Change deniers, and the speed with which the interview with Phil Jones got mangled and bounced around the Deniersphere “echo chamber” making it to the top stories in major news outlets in record time, indicates to me that maybe the BBC cannot be trusted either.

I suspect that the BBC have people working for them who are plugged into the Climate Change denier networks : what else could explain the uniform and rapid misquoting of the interview by Climate Change denier journalists around the world ?

I would recommend a BBC blackout until such time as the BBC can guarantee their employees are trustworthy.

One thought on “The Media Cannot Be Trusted”

  1. It’s fairly pathetic that the head of the Climatic Research Unit can’t handle questions from a climate skeptic.

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