The BBC Gets It Completely Wrong Once Again

Hat Tip : George Marshall, ClimateDenial.org

In my humble opinion, Andrew Neil is completely beyond redemption. He has recently invited Global Warming sceptic Nigel Lawson onto the Daily Politics show. Nigel Lawson is no scientist, apparently, and so cannot really be expected to have a learned view on Climate Change, so why was he asked to “debate” with Professor Bob Watson, a proper scientist ? A certain lack of equality in the value of their views, there, I think. Why give equal weight to both, Andrew Neil ?

Back in Febriary, Andrew Neil invited arch-sceptic Fred Singer onto the Daily Politics show. Doesn’t Andrew Neil know anything at all about the history of this man’s involvement in anti-science lobbying in the United States of America ?

It is reported that Fred Singer “bullied” a researcher, Justin Lancaster with “unwarranted” lawsuits :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/04/nobody_should_trust_s_fred_sin.php

http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-promotes-singers-sleazy-attack-on-al-gores-mentor

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

Plus, Fred Singer has been documented by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway as having taken part in long-term anti-science communications with the public :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/10/merchants-of-doubt-distorting-science-while-invoking-science/

James Hoggan’s “Climate Cover-Up” book makes other aspects of the tale clear :-

http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review

Is this Fred Singer’s main mode of public activitiy – lawsuits and denial ? Doesn’t he do any actual science any more ? Or is he just a widely-travelled after-dinner speaker funded by various industrial special interests ? It’s “plausible”, a word he himself uses in denying the last 30 years of Global Warming. So why is Andrew Neil inviting him onto his TV show as an authoritative voice ? It’s ludicrous !

So back to the recent past and the introductory film for the Daily Politics show featuring the “debate” between Professor Bob Watson and Global Warming sceptic Nigel Lawson. To my mind at any rate, the BBC film was appalling. Narrated by the young Adam Fleming, it was dripping with Climate Change sceptic thought. Here’s what I wrote to the Crisis Forum :-

“Dear Crisis Forum, This is a really appalling re-write of recent history from the BBC :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503 “Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims” : I counted at least 10 inaccuracies in a piece of film shorter than an ad break. Surely some of you have some energy left to complain ? http://www.joabbess.com/2010/10/19/bbc-licence-to-manipulate/…”

Here’s what Bob Ward wrote in response :-

“20 October 2010 : I think this was broadcast on The Daily Politics yesterday and was followed by a “balanced” discussion, chaired by Andrew Neil, between Bob Watson and Nigel Lawson – it is worse than the introductory report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11576013. While I have high regard for the BBC’s coverage of climate change, The Daily Politics frequently exercises double standards by uncritically promoting the views of ‘sceptics’ while being fiercely critical of mainstream researchers. This approach appears to reflect Andrew Neil’s own views on the subject, as can be seen through his blog (eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/2010/01/the_dam_is_cracking.html). I think it is worth drawing attention to the coverage of climate change by The Daily Politics for Professor Steve Jones’s review of the impartiality of the BBC’s science coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/march/science_impartiality.shtml : Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science ”

Here’s what George Marshall, of ClimateDenial.org, had to say in reply :-

“21 October 2010 : On youtube there is ANOTHER dreadful interview on the Politics Show with Bob Watson and Fred Singer. The whole preamble and Andrew Neil’s handling is from a sceptic perspective :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF2hley0SGA
. So I have a few questions. One is why Bob Watson keeps agreeing to go on this show? I realise that he wants to represent the science, but, to be honest, he does not do so well enough and seems to be poorly prepared and briefed to go against these people. In any case, by appearing he is accepting and condoning the phoney debate. It does make me wonder whether there are grounds for a specific approach to The Politics Show but (as we’ve discussed Bob). Certainly I am all in favour of people ringing them up and complaining. Overall though, I think it is better to have an overall strategy for dealing with this than launch into a single skirmish – but don’t want to discourage Jo or anyone who is seeing red. George”

So my appeal is this : Adam Fleming, young reporter for the BBC – what do you actually think about Climate Change ? I know you had to narrate an appallingly inaccurate script over the Daily Politics show film, but what do you personally think of the issue ? Tell us that you’re sane, and have read something about this. Recant from the sceptic BBC position. “Come out of her my people”, and be redeemed into scientific sanctuary.

7 thoughts on “The BBC Gets It Completely Wrong Once Again”

  1. Jo, you do have such a high regard for your “humble opinion”. Who on earth are you, a mere student of climate change, to proclaim that “Andrew Neil is completely beyond redemption”? You, like Nigel Lawson, are “no scientist, apparently, and so cannot really be expected to have a learned view on Climate Change,” yet you give the impression of expecting others to take your word as gospel, as though you have had the truth revealed to you.
    The BBC is renowned for its bias in favour of The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis. Up until recently it would frequently use a picture of a cooling tower pouring out that essential life-supporting substance water along with its climate change programs, trying to give the impression of filthy pollution pouring into the atmosphere. At long last, but long overdue, it is starting to give some time to the sceptical argument. What we need is more of that and less of the propaganda about our continuing use of fossil fuels causing catastrophic global climate change.

    Andrew Neil’s show is called “Daily Politics” so it is reasonable to expect politicians to appear on it, especially politicians, such as Lord Lawson, having a keen interest in and good understanding of the state of scientific uncertainty about the processes and drivers of those different global climates,. He has been actively involved in this issue for years, whereas you have only been studying the subject for a short time.

    Professor Watson is a scientist who shares Lord Lawson’s recognition of those uncertainties. As he said in 1998, “I would like to say at this stage that there are significant uncertainties in our understanding of climate change”. This is still the situation today. Professor Watson’s career shifted away from scientific research towards management and advising on policy-making about 20 years ago. “Professor Watson’s areas of expertise include managing and coordinating national and international environmental programs, research programs and assessments; establishing science and environmental policies – specifically advising governments and civil society on the policy implications of scientific information and policy options for action; and communicating scientific, technical and economic information to policymakers” (Note 1).

    As for Professor Fred Singer, he “is an Austrian-born American physicist and emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia.[1] Singer trained as an atmospheric physicist and is known for his work in space research, atmospheric pollution, rocket and satellite technology, and as an outspoken critic of the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. He is the author or editor of several books including Global Effects of Environmental Pollution (1970), The Ocean in Human Affairs (1989), Global Climate Change (1989), The Greenhouse Debate Continued (1992), and Hot Talk, Cold Science (1997)” (Note 2). Professor Singer appears to be one of many suitable sceptical scientists to be invited to appear on Andrew Neil’s show. I look forward to plenty more being given a fair hearing.

    The thing that is far more ludicrous than Singer appearing on Neil’s show is your closed mind towards the sceptical arguments. This is not a healthy attitude for a would-be scientist! Adam Fleming is to be commended for his presentation of “Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims” (Note 3) and the BBC is to be commended for at last giving an airing to the sceptical arguments. My appeal to the BBC is for more of the same.

    BTW, I’m a patient man so am happy to wait until you have satisfied yourself that you owe me an apology for disclosing in this article of yours the full contents of the “Private & Confidential” E-mail that I sent you.

    NOTES:
    NB: http://www. removed from 1) & 3) and http:// from 2).

    1) see sms.cam.ac.uk/media/746045;jsessionid=7E30915682DAD21B375EFB34377EF5FC
    2) see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Singer
    3) see bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503

  2. Could you remind me what exactly the scientific qualifications of Al Gore or George Monbiot are? I seem to have missed them in all this noise.

  3. Al Gore has a First Class Degree in Hypocrisy, I would have you know!

    Bob Ward has a Professorship in Reeling, Writhing and Fainting in Coils.

    George Monbiot has hung up the the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play in respect of man-made global warming ( he has Phd from Rattery U. in Leaving-the-sinking-shipology.) Henceforth he shall be mostly banging on about “Biodiversity”.

    Lets face it, Jo. You just cannot BEAR to see or hear anyone, anywhere who does not agree with you on this subject. Fine. But why dress it up with ad hom rants like the one above?
    I have not seen Lawson in action yet, but I am willing to bet he wiped the floor with Prof.”Bumbling Bob” Watson.
    Must rush off and watch. If it is as good as I hope I will email it to all my friends. Every little helps and thanks for the tip!

  4. Good to see this clip going the rounds again.

    And I agree with Jack above – Lawson will wipe the floor with any Alarmist – let alone the spluttering Bob Watson.

    Whose only defence of the email content was that there ought to be an enquiry into how they were “stolen” – when they were not – they were leaked by a brave insider who saw the fraudulent use of data and the ignoring of the legitimate FoI requests and said enough is enough!

    A brave person.

  5. Fred Singer [allegedly] spreading lies again. Still, he’s [allegedly] well practiced as he was [allegedly] doing the same for the tobacco industry. Hmm, just like Lindzen [allegedly] did once.

    Andrew Neill always [allegedly] gives people a hard time over global warming. Nothing exceptional about this one. It makes the accusations against the BBC about being biased a moronic one.

    Al Gore, unlike pretty much every denier’s guru on the planet, did study climate for a short period while he was at university, by the way. His interest pre-dates any of the [alleged] shills and [alleged] charlatans who jumped on the climate bandwagon in the past decade.

  6. Nice switch from Andrew Neil to Roger Harrabin, Jack, especially given that Neil’s views don’t tally with Harrabin’s at all. Got any more sideshows and tricks?

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