Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Well Done the BBC!

The BBC has cancelled its planned PLANET AID Day following last week's denunciation of it by the Head of News Peter Horrocks and Newsnight editor Peter Barron. They made clear that it was not the BBC's job to take a partial stance on it. Needless to say, enviornmental groups are less than pleased, which rather rpoves the point Horrocks and Barron were making. The BBC has made the right decision, but to pretend, as they are doing, that it has nothing to with what the two of them said last week is Pravda-esque. Damian Thompson AGREES.


Anonymous said...

thank god for that. its not like the bbc isnt full of eco-babble on a normal day.

Time will Tell said...

The story on BBC News is written by a Richard Black and his spin is exactly what one would expect from someone that left wing organisation. Anyone who is sceptical of climate change is automatically a right winger and therefore suspect.

Man in a Shed said...

Yep I heard one of them of R4's PM telling everyone that the scientific debate was over and that the BBC should be a advocate for the man made global warming cause.

He was being dishonest in the first assertion and optimistic with the second ( though the BBC does have form here - anyone remember the Your NHS campaign they ran ? Could have been done by the Labour party.)

They still need breaking up and privatising.

bebopper said...

Perhaps they can consider institutional left-wing bias at the BBC next. It didn't get a mention in Paxman's fulminations about the lowering of BBC standards. Neither was it mentioned on the Today Programme the following morning when Paxo had a matey chat fellow-crony John Humphries.

strapworld said...

It proves they read your blog Iain!!

The Huntsman said...

The BBC's explanation is as transparent as a May Fly's wings. They have got so used to trotting out (I use the word 'trot' with care)verbiage that they think we will believe that they no longer try very hard at the lies thingy.

This particularly egregious set of lies is as good as 'the wrong leaves on the line' and 'the wrong sort of snow' perpetrated by the railway folk a while back.

Still, they have announced some alternative programmes which will contain all the same stuff they were going to peddle anyway, so it is a case of 'reculer pour mieux sauter' as usual. Bit like GB's rotten little treaty really.

english democrat said...

The BBC will still be pushing the leftist agenda with lots of documentaries of drowning polar bears Etc Etc! They will still be pushing the failed CO2 theory like their lives depend on it and you can bet your bottom dollar that the scientists who support the natural cyclic variation theory will be excluded!
In reality the BBC has been caught red handed and they have had to stop the overt support of the eco loonies BUT time will tell just how their attitude will change!

Anonymous said...

English Democrat - you really are an ignorant thicko aren't you, if you haven't woken up and smelled the coffee on climate change. Do some research of your own, instead of sticking your head in the sand.

Looking on the bright side, those of you with your ostrich approach will at least be the first to drown when the sea levels start to rise...

Madasafish said...

Well I happen to think:
We are changing the climate
But polar bears are flourishing near human settlements...

but that's all irrelevant.

I trust the BBC's impartiality.
There is no left wing bias.
All their reporters know what they are talking about.
All their documentaries are unbiased and impartial.
They are fair and above criticism...

Absolute bollocks of course... give the BBC a Gov't statement and they parrot it like it was the gospel handed down in tablets of stone by god himself.

Anyone.. but anyone... who takes ANYTHING reported by any Government# at face value.. is a total and utter gullible idiot. Full stop.

The BBC is full of them. apparently. Judging on their reporting.

#(or political party for that matter)

mikki said...

You mean wake up and smell the CO2 bullshit don't you?

towcestarian said...

As a "believer" in human induced global warming, I am nevertheless very relieved about the BBC's decision to scrap this appalling programme. What we need is reasoned debate on the issue and how to tackle it (without destroying the world's economies). What we don't need is some pseudo-religious, consciousness-raising event that will just become a platform for every left-wing, year-zero, eco-evangelist on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Surely the impending destruction of our planet is a public service issue though?

man in a shed - have a look at the royal society website for the scientific consensus on the issue

V said...

Isn't amazing that even after reading the eco bible by the IPCC, people still don't actually get it. The sea is not going to rise over night - its going to take 1000's of years to make any noticeable change - as if a foot really is a noticeable change!

Its like owning a field in Luton in the middle ages and worrying about being on any future flight paths!

Anonymous said...

Please, do that. Sit at home and think about all the "Heretics" getting drowned by "rising seas". At least it'll keep fanatics from interfering in the real world.
Almost every shred of pro-man made global warming evidence is incorrect.
Ice cores show it was much warmer in the past, there is no scientific evidence that CO2 increases the temperature. Try and look at both sides of the argument for a change.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The decision is the right one. The explanation is an insult to our intelligence. Don't they realise they are making prats of themselves by putting out this gobbledegook?

Graham said...

You seem obsessed with BBC bias!

Interesting all the same, what is your opinion on the Comic Relief and Children in Need?!!!

Anonymous said...

There are people who think we shouldn't help the third world but the BBC did Live8/Aid. There are people who believe AIDS is a homosexual disease and that they should be left to die but the BBC has done AIDS concerts. Like global warming sceptics these are all minority views which never stopped the BBC from doing these special events in the past. I have no problem if this is a change in policy but they must be consistent or its just chaos.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! The Beeb has been ever more silly as it persistently takes sides where it should be reporting issues or promoting debate.
The evidence for climate change is undeniable. What is moot is whether that is to any large extent due to man's activities and, secondly, whether change means Warming. I would take that thought a little further and ask "How much warming"? and "Is that amount of warming harmful"?
I know really very little about weather patterns but I know a great deal about the effects of heat interchange or exchange in all of its aspects. That knowledge leads me to believe that climate change is always mainly due to sun activity levels.

However, the present inclination of Earth on its axis is not the same as it has been in the past. Any change in that inclination would have drastic local effects and may have caused many of the violent climate changes of the past.

There is no indication that we are about to experience any global changes of that size. Barring such an event one will expect Man to adapt to such changes as do occur.


Johnny Norfolk said...

After this summer the experts are now predicting that the temp. will level off for the next few years before rising again. One thing about the weather is that it proves the exprets wrong.

You have to look at weather patterns over many 10s of years.

If you look at the stats for temp. since the 1700s they go up and down all the time. what it does tell you that if it gets warmer it will get colder, again and no one knows why.

No one should panic about it at all nothing has been proven either way.

Anonymous said...

The Huntsman said...

This particularly egregious set of lies is as good as 'the wrong leaves on the line' and 'the wrong sort of snow' perpetrated by the railway folk a while back.

These were not 'lies' but perfectly reasonable explanations for train operating problems on certain occasions.

Autumn leaves on the track had always been a problem. British rail developed a system for dealing with most types but on a particular occasion the system could not cope with the type of leaves on the track at a few locations.

Similarly, they had developed a grill which could deal with most types of snow but not all types.

In both instances the systems in place were systems that were generally better than in earlier days.

Anonymous said...

"Negotiating this with the National Grid had taken over a year, as engineers feared the switch-off might overload parts of the network."

Akin to 'the wrong type of leaves on the tracfk?'

troll patroll said...

I would be more impressed by the scepticism shown on this blog on this issue if (a) the respondents had been actually trained as scientists, and
(b) could relate it to wider problems in the way climate change science is reported.

Google "Lenny Smith" and his excellently cynical and subtle comments about what it means to model complex systems including climate. Read Lee Smolin on a similar problem in theoretical physics. Spend some time on science blogs and not just politics blogs. Or, oh, I dont know, bugger it, just go and obsess about a football team and pretend you have thought about this issue during half time.

verity said...

Anonymous aka Victor - Man is puny, puny, puny and a latecomer. The sun dispersed the last Ice Age on planet Earth without man's assistance. No charter flights to Florida. Now week-end breaks to Prague.

Climate change has been going on, in fairly regular cycles, for hundreds of millennia. Even within recorded history, they used to have producing vineyards in York, when the Romans occupied England, and the Anglo-Saxons who were friendly with the Roman conquerors used to swank about in togas.

I remember in the Eighties the scare, panic! panic!, about "global cooling". (They hadn't been inspired to preface it with "man made" in those days because this merry-go-round of climate chance hadn't started to sound silly yet.) Thirty years ago the planet was going to deliver a new Ice Age to Nairobi. Now it's going to deliver the tropics to Bridlington.

Also in the late Eighties was the "world will run out of petroleum in about 10 minutes!" meme. We only, according to those who were promoting this, had another 20 years of oil reserves and the world was going to come to a screeching halt! People in Africa would die! (It's always Africa, for some reason, where mass death is going to take place in these fake predictions. Hotter, colder, less petroleum, Africans are going to die.)

Now we have proven oil reserves that will supply our needs for 150 years, and if we are still using petroleum in 150, or even 50, years, for our major energy needs, I will be amazed.

BJ said...

All of you who think the BBC should be broken up, privatised, hung, drawn, and then set on fire, will be pleased to know that the process is starting. BBC News staff (of which I am one, if you didn't know) have just been told that budgets are to bet cut by 25%. Most jobs cuts will take place before the end of the current financial year. It is possible, even probable, that many of us will have to re-apply for our own jobs.

I know I'm not likely to attract any sympathy from you lot. But I hope you're satisfied.

John A said...


No, not really. Unfortunately your colleagues have squandered any goodwill with the license payers with fatuous and preposterous stances on subjects as diverse as multiculturalism, the EU, climate change and environmentalism, economics and the extension of powers of the State.

They should stop "consciousness raising" and they should stop the eco-campaigns. They should also stop the gratuitous censorship of opposing views to their own.

But I don't think they will. When cutbacks happens, the prejudices just get retrenched and not dealt with.

Anonymous said...

BJ said...

"I know I'm not likely to attract any sympathy from you lot. But I hope you're satisfied."

Not by a long way.

I've worked at the beeb in the past. It's a pleasant place to 'work' - full of nubile young girls offering their bodies to director/producer types in exchange for exotic foreign holidays, or news documentaries as they prefer to term them.

The BBC, in effect, forces people to pay a tax for something that many, probably most, of them don't want.

In this instance the beeb has chosen a pretend retreat as its bias has become so blatant.

We will not have a day of left-wing propaganda about how the West is guilty of everything so everyone must hate America and we must believe all the twaddle from the prats at 'Friends of the Earth'.

Instead we will have hours of left-wing propaganda telling us that all the twaddle from eco-prats is true, along with 'interviews' with the prats telling us the West is guilty of everything.

The PM programme was indeed a case in point. Some ineffectual nobody bleating about how perhaps the BBC might consider being fair, together with a leftoid propagandist being allowed to trot out the same old lies.

The only acceptable solution to the BBC is for it to be privatised: leftoids can pay for their own propaganda or do without it.

'Staff' at the BBC will just have to see whether they can offer anything someone would willingly pay for.

Anonymous said...


What's happened to the facility to read past posts i.e. stuff more than a few days old?

towcestarian said...

Welcome to the real world. I have been made redundant 3 times in the last 10 years and I hope you lot in the public sector enjoy the experience just as much us we do in the private sector. Tou never know, you may be lucky and get offered a job by the Daily Mail.

Anonymous said...

I'm really annoyed about this - I was hoping that Status Quo might reform..

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

bj 1.29 AM] Sorry old man, no sympathy from me. Quite apart from questions of bias, BBC news coverage is notorious for overmanning. Every programme seems to have its own team of journalists, often covering the same story.

If the BBC is going to play big boys' games (by chasing after audience figures with "popular" programmes) it will have to play by big boys' rules. That means accepting the financial contraints the rest of us have to live with.

Desperate Dan said...

I hope News start their cuts by not booking hundreds of flights and hotels and sending hundreds of staff and executives to Pavarotti's funeral. It'll be a funeral not an occasion of world shattering importance.
And why are they being so coy about launching Pavarotti onto the world stage by BBC Sport choosing Nessun Dorma as their World Cup signature tune. Has the genius who chose it fallen out of favour.

machiavelli said...

This was the right decision; but then they shouldn't have screened Live Aid or Live 8 etc either - that was taking a campaigning role too, and didn't recognise all sides of the argument.
I'm with you on this one Iain!

Man in a Shed said...

Anonoymous September 05, 2007 8:03 PM

"man in a shed - have a look at the royal society website for the scientific consensus on the issue"

Anon - if you follow that link you get to a page that says Simple Guide. Too right it is.

The problem is that science doesn't 'say' anything. There are hypothesis that explain observations, often more than one of them.

When people are told that science is saying something - they are really simplifying the argument. That can be necessary - but it is also always misleading to a certain extent. Closing down the debate about the climate is against the philosophy of how science works - its faith, bad faith.

An example of how wrong 'science' can be lies in the recent discoveries that DNA is not be the be all and end all they thought ( and TV programs have been telling you over the last 20 years). See the Economist story here (I hope this is a free from subscription article - sorry if it isn't) which contains the phrase "IT IS beginning to dawn on biologists that they may have got it wrong. Not completely wrong, but wrong enough to be embarrassing."

Now lets sort a few things out. You cannot model the climate accurately, when you are unsure of all the processes and functions relevant - and current research doesn't have these answers. What they do have is approximations, guesses and unknown ignorance.

There are clearly some very strong non-linearities involved and also some long term changes in the environment. For example currently the earth's magnetic field is reducing at a rate of 10% since the 19th century.

Cloud formation, the role of water vapour, other buffer processes, solar and galactic variations, the chaotic nature of the earth core (remember we float on molten rock with a iron core spinning away inside. The core and some of the rock are heated by radioactive decay and also tidal effect - oil and gas comes out at 50-150'C - and the atmospheric scientists are looking for tiny variations over very long periods right now).

And there are the unknowns. We are still discovering new things about the floating solidified crust we live upon and the massive fusion reactor in the sky (the Sun).

The only truth that can be derived at the moment is that calling the debate over and closed is not science - its dictatorship that Galileo would have been familiar with.

The physics of the world doesn't work by option polls - neither should science. Frankly the Royal Society should be ashamed of itself.

mister scruff said...

Whenever I hear that there is a "consensus" regarding "man made global warming" i drag out the Carl Sagan baloney detection kit. And indeed the entire BBC advocated "consensus" completely fails this series of tests.

Here it is.

1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts

2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.

3. Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").

4. Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.

5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.

6. Quantify, wherever possible.

7. If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.

8. "Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.

9. Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, is it testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?

Gus A said...

Man in a Shed wrote: 'Yep I heard one of them of R4's PM telling everyone that the scientific debate was over and that the BBC should be a advocate for the man made global warming cause.

He was being dishonest in the first assertion and optimistic with the second". Would you are to back your assertion with a credible scientifc source?

The only good thing about this is that the BBC has not been allowd to trivialise the most imortant issue we face with the ridiculous Jonathan Ross.

As someone else said earlier, would we have covered the slave trade?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

This story has made pages 1, 2 and 3 of the Independent this morning, completely eclipsing the great German terrorist capture.

As usual, those against the BBC's decision are having a field day with the phrase 'climate change deniers'.

Man in a Shed said...

Gus A - think you should look through mister scruff's post above.

The issue isn't credence (aka Faith), but allowing the ongoing scientific process to continue and not strangling it by asserting only one answer based on incomplete information. Don't even start me on the simulations - they are informed guess work based on an incomplete knowledge of the facts (frankly they can be little else in the case of our always having incomplete knowledge and data).

Just see how often the weather forecast gets it right.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

anonymous [7.18 AM] You say: "the beeb [is] a pleasant place to 'work' - full of nubile young girls offering their bodies to director/producer types."

I am curious. Why did you leave?

BJ said...

Well, I am a "producer type". And I've never been offered anything more than a cup of coffee by anyone nubile. I'll keep an eye out, though.

Anonymous said...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I am curious. Why did you leave?

Since you ask:

Not everyone at the BBC is involved in making TV propaganda (or informative, entertaining, meaningful high-quality television, as they like to call it). Vast amounts of the computer operations are devoted to holding 'meetings' in the bar to 'discuss' how IT can assist 'creative' 'needs'. However, a small part of it (i.e. very largely the bit that pays the wages) actually does proper work (- and gets very badly treated for its trouble).

[Mind you, it was better than radio. Being male there was a crime. Vast numbers of females were sent on courses and given promotions way above their capabilities, all at public expense natch. When (mostly male) freelance staff had to be called in to actually make anything work the men were treated like shit.]

I had neither cameras nor exotic holidays to offer nubile chicks, but did have to preserve myself from the legions of gayistas. But I often overheard the babe wannabes offering themselves to producer/director types.

Poor bj must really have problems.

Oliver said...

You're off beam on the detail of this one Iain. I work in telly and it's well known in the industry that One Controller Peter Fincham thinks climate shows don't rate well. Live Earth's poor showing sealed his conviction, and he was looking for an excuse to drop Planet Aid before Edinburgh (a story consistent with the press release). I've heard from his colleagues that the bias issue was genuinely a secondary consideration.

A depressing conclusion: the BBC is not rethinking its campaigning biases, but chasing ratings.