Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

“Professor Trevor Davies, UEA’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, received a letter, as reproduced below, from Mr Stephen Mitchell, Deputy Director and Head of News Programmes, BBC News.”

“Prof Davies said: “I am grateful to Mr Mitchell for this careful and considered letter. UEA is pleased to accept the BBC’s apology.” …”

What I find amazing is that the BBC never once questioned where the Climategate e-mails came from – in other words – who had “liberated” them from the University of East Anglia, and what possible motive they may have had for doing that.

I think the BBC should apologise for not showing the proper level of inquisitiveness about the provenance of the Climategate e-mails, and the purpose behind their distribution.

While they’re at it, why don’t the BBC apologise for what I consider to be an appalling Panorama programme in June, fronted by the cheery “mania” of Tom Heap :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/28/bbcpanorama-on-climategate/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00swp0k

The BBC should apologise, in my view, for pitching Climate Change deniers against Climate Change scientists in any setting, in any format, in any one programme, as it gives the impression there are “sides” to a non-existent “debate”, like this cringeworthy (in my opinion), Radio 2 Jeremy Vine programme, setting Nigel Lawson against Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre :-

http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/audio/kevin-anderson-debates-global-warming-nigel-lawson-jeremy-vines-show

And while we’re on the subject of apologies, how about The Guardian apologise for putting on the “Climategate” panel event in July ? :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/07/26/tim-holmes-wrong-on-balance/

How they ever agreed to put Steve McIntyre and Doug Keenan on the same platform as real Climate Change scientists, beats me.

And why don’t The Guardian publish a full retraction of the “Right to Reply” they allowed Richard North – giving him a platform to continue his reportedly “fabulist” campaign against science ? :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/jun/24/sunday-times-amazongate-ipcc

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/jul/29/richard-north-response-george-monbiot

http://climatesafety.org/richard-north%E2%80%99s-problem-with-reality-or-how-a-climate-change-denier-trashes-his-own-professional-reputation/

The Media in general have proved themselves incapable of reporting on the real Climate Change narrative, in my opinion.

What the World needs is a total transformation in the way we produce and use Energy, how and whether we mine the Earth, and the way we use forests and land, and produce food.

There are some people, particularly those who have a financial interest in the continuation of the current situation, who have been documented as seeking to overthrow the robust conclusions of 150 years of science.

They have put up spokespeople at all manner of conferences, on library shelves, and arranged interviews for them with the various kinds of Press. There have even been films made about Climate Change denial, backed by those with the same vested interests. This is all documented. It’s not a theory about a conspiracy. It’s a real conspiracy.

When you interview Steve McIntyre, my view is that you are getting the views of someone who is seeking to protect the value of his mining stock pension :-

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Steve_McIntyre

When you publish the views of Nigel Lawson, my opinion is that you are airing the position of those who finance what I consider to be anti-science organisations such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation – probably the same laudable association of people who financially support the so-called Renewable Energy Foundation, which is, I am given to understand, a bunch of anti-wind power lobbyists :-

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/06/lawson-still-wont-come-clean-about-sceptic-foundations-funding/

When you interview Richard Lindzen, you are, in my view, hearing the convincing power of Oil and Gas money, according to RealClimate and others :-

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek/
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Richard_S._Lindzen

When you quote John Christy, I think you are getting the views of somebody well-connected to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Independent Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute and the Cato Foundation (according to various sources) – all known for supporting the rights of the “free” market to continue mining and burning Fossil Fuels :-

http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=903

Where’s the investigative journalism, BBC ? Where’s the recognition of how powerful pseudo-science cultural narratives are, Guardian Newspaper ?

A request of the Media in general : how about a few more apologies for not being consistent in your science reporting ? Why did you ramp up the reporting on the obsessive, haranguing, angry views of the Climate Change “sceptics” when the Climategate e-mails were “liberated” ? What on Earth made you think that the Science had changed ? Why did you think that a trumped-up scandal about some private e-mails meant that the whole of Science was compromised ?

As Fiona Harvey has said, if I’m quoting her correctly, “Climate. Still changing”.

Come on gentlemen and ladies of the Press – get a grip on the reality of the situation and stop getting sidetracked by the filibustering nonsense from the anti-science mob.

Want a bit of history on anti-science that shouldn’t tax your over-burdened minds ? Try reading “Merchants of Doubt” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Eminently readable and highly informative.

The book summarises many of the fights over Science and Technology since the Cold War, and how the same people were basically behind the push for “Star Wars”, against regulation on the tobacco industry, denied the science on stratospheric ozone depletion, agricultural pesticides, acid rain and now, Global Warming, too.

It’s an encapsulation of all the environmental threats from “market failures” and a summary of all the Media capitulations to arguments from the rich and powerful.

For me it brings back strong memories of old struggles over getting the right information to ordinary people, and how much energy it takes to fight propaganda and cynical opposition to science, and how many people have had their careers destroyed because they sought to stand up to disinformation by rich and powerful interests, and how, sadly, the Media have joined in with the political “game” of crucifying the scientists :-

Fred Pearce versus Ben Santer :-
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/

“…A recent story by Fred Pearce in the February 9th [2010] online edition of the Guardian (“Victory for openness as IPCC climate scientist opens up lab doors”) covers some of the more publicized aspects of the last 14 years of my scientific career. I am glad that Mr. Pearce’s account illuminates some of the non-scientific difficulties I have faced. However, his account also repeats unfounded allegations that I engaged in dubious professional conduct. In a number of instances, Mr Pearce provides links to these allegations, but does not provide a balanced account of the rebuttals to them. Nor does he give links to locations where these rebuttals can be found. I am taking this opportunity to correct Mr. Pearce’s omissions, to reply to the key allegations, and to supply links to more detailed responses. Another concern relates to Mr. Pearce’s discussion of the “openness” issue mentioned in the title and sub-title of his story. A naïve reader of Mr. Pearce’s article might infer from the sub-title (“Ben Santer had a change of heart about data transparency…”) that my scientific research was not conducted in an open and transparent manner until I experienced “a change of heart”. This inference would be completely incorrect. As I discuss below, my research into the nature and causes of climate change has always been performed in an open, transparent, and collegial manner. Virtually all of the scientific papers I have published over the course of my career involve multi-institutional teams of scientists with expertise in climate modeling, the development of observational datasets, and climate model evaluation. The model and observational data used in my research is not proprietary – it is freely available to researchers anywhere in the world…”

Lawrence Solomon versus Justin Lancaster :-
http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-promotes-singers-sleazy-attack-on-al-gores-mentor

“…When the paper was published, [Roger] Revelle was embarrassed by the content and optimistic that the small readership of the Cosmos journal would save him further attention. But after Revelle’s death, Singer started quoting the paper widely as Revelle’s work. A former student of Revelle’s, Dr. Justin Lancaster, then challenged the paper’s contents and made disparaging statements of Singer and his tactics. Singer sued and, facing a court battle he could ill afford, Lancaster backed down, promising not to release the details of a settlement for 10 years. Then Singer spent that decade (and the years since) telling everyone that Revelle was ultimately a climate change skeptic, and using Lancaster’s acquiescence as additional proof. Well, the 10 years have passed. Now, Lancaster’s detailed chronology and evidence are all available on his website, demonstrating Singer’s role. And that means there is no excuse for Larry Solomon to be touting Revelle’s mythical opposition to climate science as fact. The controversy is well-known. Indeed, others get to it pretty quickly. If this was Solomon’s first “mistake,” it would be fair to assume that his misreading of this story is a result of inadvertence or inexperience in the field. But there is a pattern here that suggests that he is not learning any lessons as he pursues his agenda…”

Jonathan Leake versus Simon Lewis and the whole IPCC :-
http://scienceblogs.com/classm/2010/06/oops_the_sunday_times_apologiz.php
http://www.desmogblog.com/uk-sunday-times-retracts-bogus-%E2%80%98amazongate%E2%80%99-story-apologizes-simon-lewis

James Delingpole versus Stephen Schneider :-
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100048085/i-come-to-bury-schneider-not-to-praise-him/

Christopher Booker versus the whole of the IPCC (again) :-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7883372/Amazongate-At-last-we-reach-the-source.html

Are you picking up a trend, here ? What would Ben Goldacre have to say about all this Bad Science in the Media ?

One thought on “Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises”

  1. Hi Jo,
    The widespread bias in the media reflects innate resistance to change and also of course the campaign by Exxon IMHO. But the BBC is surely a weak link because it has to answer it’s critics and as a broadcaster has to maintain a semblance of impartiality. I note your source for the apology is Deltoid, which gets it’s source from BCL and in turn the UEA, has the BBC made a public apology over this I wonder? I can’t find anything on the BBC website.

    [ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : NATURALLY ENOUGH, I CHECKED WITH GO OGLE MYSELF, AND I COULDN’T FIND ANYWHERE THAT THE BBC HAS PUBLISHED ITS OWN APOLOGY, EITHER. STRANGE ? SHAMEFUL ?

    THE DAILY MAIL HAS GAMELY STOOD UP TO THE PLATE, THOUGH :-

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1301256/BBC-says-sorry-Climategate-unit-grilling-John-Humphrys.html

    ON MATTERS OF FEAR OF ACCUSATIONS OF BIAS, I THINK THE BBC SHOULD RETAIN “IMPARTIALITY” WHEN IT CONCERNS MATTERS OF FACT-BASED, EVIDENCE-BASED POLITICS AND ECONOMICS. THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO SOLVE CHILD POVERTY, CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, ENERGY WASTE AND EDUCATIONAL PAUCITY, FOR EXAMPLE, SO THE BBC SHOULDN’T PROMOTE ONE OVER THE OTHERS.

    THE BBC SHOULDN’T SHOW “PARTIALITY” OVER CULTURAL ISSUES EITHER – RELIGION, FASHION, DESIGN OR RETAIL CHOICE. RED IS RED, BUT BLUE IS BLUE, AND EVERYONE’S ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN FAVOURITE COLOUR (AS LONG AS THE PRODUCTS ARE “GREEN”).

    BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THE BBC SHOULDN’T BE “IMPARTIAL” WHERE SOME OF THE PARTIES ARE DOCUMENTED AS BEING ENGAGED IN LIES, SNAKE-OIL SALESMANSHIP, DISTORTION, MANIPULATION, TECHNOLOGICAL FAKERY, PROPAGANDA OR CORPORATE-PAID-FOR BIASED LOBBYING.

    READ “MERCHANTS OF DOUBT” BY NAOMI ORESKES AND ERIK M. CONWAY FOR THE HISTORY OF ANTI-SCIENCE AND WHO FUNDS IT AND WHY.

    REFLECT ON WHY LARGE CORPORATIONS HAVE BEEN SEEKING TO ENTER INTO “PARTNERSHIPS” WITH GOVERNMENT BODIES AND UNIVERSITIES.

    DO JOURNALISTS AT THE BBC ASK THEMSELVES, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT AND WHO ARE BEHIND PRESS RELEASES AND STUDIES ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS ?

    DO THEY ASK THEMSELVES WHO AND WHAT ARE BEHIND THE “CAMPAIGNS” ON ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION (THE “BAN MOBILE PHONE MASTS” AND “MOBILE PHONES GIVE YOU CANCER” PEOPLE) ?

    IT HAS TO BE ASKED WHY THE BBC JOURNALISTS CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT THE NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY HAS BEEN NETWORKING LIKE CRAZY TO PUT FORWARD THEIR BUSINESS FOR A “GREEN STIMULUS” OR RATHER “BAILOUT”.

    AND DO BBC JOURNALISTS ASK THEMSELVES WHO AND WHAT ARE BEHIND CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICISM AND DENIAL ?

    THE BBC APPEARS TO BE PREPARED TO PITCH THE WHOLE OF THE VERY WEALTHY, HIGHLY SUBSIDISED OIL, GAS AND COAL INDUSTRY AND THEIR GRAVY TRAIN DRONES AND VARIOUS “HANGERS-ON” WHO DO SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS TO SELL DREADFUL, INACCURATE BOOKS, AGAINST A RAGTAG BUNCH OF GENUINELY HONEST BROKERS, ACADEMICS, CLIMATE ACTIVISTS AND “GREENS”, AND CALL IT “BALANCE”.

    IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, THE BBC JOURNALISTS SHOULD GET AN EDUCATION.

    SURELY IT CAN’T BE TOO MUCH TO ASK THE BBC TO GET THEIR FACTS STRAIGHT, READ THE SCIENCE, FOLLOW THE DISCOVERIES, GET TO KNOW THE CONTEXT THAT FEEDS THE ANTI-SCIENCE NARRATIVES, AND FIND PEOPLE TO REPRESENT THE DATA WHO CAN DO REAL SCIENCE INSTEAD OF PARLOUR MIND GAMES ?

    DENYING ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING IS LIKE DENYING THE MOON LANDINGS, OR THAT HIV CAUSES AIDS, OR THAT ADOLF HITLER WAS PART OF A MOVEMENT THAT KILLED LOTS OF JEWS, GIPSIES, HOMOSEXUALS AND INVALIDS.

    EVEN PAT MICHAELS, FAMOUS, LONG-TIME GLOBAL WARMING SCEPTIC/SKEPTIC WITH A TALENT FOR WORDSMITHERY NOW FREELY ADMITS THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS TAKING PLACE, ALTHOUGH HE SAYS IT’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, WHICH I THINK SHOULD MAKE EVERYONE QUESTION HIS POSITION.

    LOOK AT HIS PAST FORM. HE DENIED GLOBAL WARMING WHEN GLOBAL WARMING WAS ALREADY EVIDENCED. HE IS NOW DENYING THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS A BIG PROBLEM, AND YET THE EVIDENCE WE HAVE IS THAT IT IS ALREADY A PROBLEM…JOIN THE DOTS. FOLLOW THE TREND.

    LET’S NOT FORGET THE LESSONS OF HISTORY – “BAD SCIENCE” ARGUMENTS SHOULD BE RECOGNISED AND DEFUSED :-

    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/snc52c00;jsessionid=3438FCAE7AFF7942912E2C39B3529365

    http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2074143969-4221.html?zoom=750&ocr_position=above_foramatted&start_page=1&end_page=254

    RECOGNISE ANY OF THE LINES OF REASONING ? ALL FAKE. AND ALL RECYCLED IN THE GLOBAL WARMING “DEBATE”.

    ALL THE BBC JOURNALISTS ARE SMART ENOUGH TO DO CRITICAL THINKING. WHY DIDN’T JOHN HUMPHRYS APPLY CRITICAL THINKING WHEN IT CAME TO CLIMATEGATE ? IN ANSWERING THAT QUESTION, YOU MAY ARRIVE AT THE REASON WHY THE BBC HAVE BEEN SO CRITICISED OVER THEIR CLIMATE CHANGE REPORTING. ]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *