Whine to the Daily Mail

Subject: Request for a minor correction

Dear Daily Mail online,

I wonder if you could do me a top favour and post a tiny correction about a piece I found on your deliciously cheeky website, that, to my utter surprise, mentioned little old me :-

“The BBC became a propaganda machine for climate change zealots, says Peter Sissons… and I was treated as a lunatic for daring to dissent”

“…A damaging episode illustrating the BBC’s supine attitude came in 2008, when the BBC’s ‘environment analyst’, Roger Harrabin, wrote a piece on the BBC website reporting some work by the World Meteorological Organization that questioned whether global warming was going to continue at the rate projected by the UN panel.”

“A green activist, Jo Abbess, emailed him to complain. Harrabin at first resisted. Then she berated him: ‘It would be better if you did not quote the sceptics’ – something Harrabin had not actually done – ‘Please reserve the main BBC online channel for emerging truth. Otherwise I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated.’”

“Did Harrabin tell her to get lost? He tweaked the story – albeit not as radically as she demanded – and emailed back: ‘Have a look and tell me you are happier.’”

“This exchange went round the world in no time, spread by a jubilant Abbess. Later, Harrabin defended himself, saying they were only minor changes – but the sense of the changes, as specifically sought by Ms Abbess, was plainly to harden the piece against the sceptics. Many people wouldn’t call that minor, but Harrabin’s BBC bosses accepted his explanation.”

In my view, and of course, this is only my humble opinion, so you will probably feel entitled to discount it in the grand scheme of things, what is written about me seems to me quite unresearched.

I wince when I say that, because I know Peter Sissons is a great and towering tower of journalism, and we all love him and respect his output.

I’m afraid to say it, but the reasons and rationales given for my words and behaviour are somewhat contrary to the way I felt and acted at the time, and the interpretation of the events and those taking part is not really exactly as I remember them. Sorry. Sorry for being such a moaning little whinger, but I’m sure you agree with me that it’s important to get matters straight.

Would you be so good and kind as to issue a statement of correction on this section of the piece ? It is hard looking back on historical events and getting them accurate, but Peter Sissons has never asked me about what happened, so I’m sure you can understand why I could be justified in feeling a little peeved about his interpretation.

If Roger Harrabin is willing, I would be happy to work with him on writing something about the current state of global warming evidence for you, and I have a sneaky suspicion that that would be more appetising to your readers than what looks like a raking up of poorly reported muck from the past.

Yours in earnest, mildly-mannered sincerity,

Jo Abbess

One reply on “Whine to the Daily Mail”

I think you’ll need to be very specific about what Sissons got wrong and what the correct version of events should be if you want a “correction”. Just saying that what he wrote did not accurately reflect what you felt and the way you acted is unlikely to cut it with a national newspaper.

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