Censorship now rules at the British publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC.
On a current affairs programme in February of this year, Lord (Nigel) Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) was brought in to debate Sir Brian Hoskins of the (ultra alarmist) Grantham Institute, home of the odious Bob Ward.
Subsequently, a Greens activist (naturally) complained that the BBC was guilty of giving ‘false balance’ to the flat-earthers. Hugh Muir of the Grauniad takes up the story:
It still sends a frisson down the spine of certain producers to give airtime to the former chancellor Lord Lawson so that he can chip away at the widespread scientific agreement over the causes and impact of climate change. The temperature is always a little higher with a heretic in the room. And yet this route towards excitement has its dangers. As the go-to guy in the thinktank of his own creation, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lawson was called in February to the studios of the Today programme for debate with Sir Brian Hoskins, a climatologist from Imperial College London.
Things did not go as they should, and the broadcast became the subject of a complaint from Chit Chong, a Green party activist. Reviewing the broadcast, the BBC’s head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel, took a dim view. “Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research,” Steel says, “and I don’t believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience … Furthermore the implication was that Lord Lawson’s views on climate change were on an equal footing with those of Sir Brian.”
And they aren’t. Sceptics have their place in the debate, Steel says in his provisional finding, but “it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight.” Chong is only partially satisfied. He’d like a right of reply and perhaps a balancing programme. And others say “due weight” should mean not having Lawson on at all. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Furthermore, the Telegraph reports:
Lord Lawson wrote that Fraser Steel, head of the unit, apologised to Mr Chong “for the fact I was allowed to appear on the programme and to make clear this will not happen again”.
In other words, they won’t be inviting Lawson back, effectively censoring his contribution to the debate.
But let’s look at whether the BBC sticks to its own rules, and, guess what? Surprise! The ‘false balance’ argument only applies to sceptics.
A Google search of “Al Gore” and climate on the bbc.co.uk site reveals nearly 12,000 hits, and top result is from just three days ago! Didn’t they get the memo? You can’t have unqualified people speaking about climate! We all know that Al Gore has no science qualifications and therefore has no right to speak on climate change, apart perhaps from having made a ludicrous and inaccurate propaganda video in 2007.
But that doesn’t stop the BBC giving Gore a platform to spout yet more propaganda, unchallenged.
See? It’s not a question of false balance, it’s a question of getting the right message out – the alarmist message. As Lawson rightly says:
“If there is to be a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change issues (which I do not, of course, support), this should in the best BBC tradition be an even-handed one. That is to say, they should also ban non-scientists such as energy secretary Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, Lord Deben (chairman of the government’s climate advisory committee), Lord Stern (former adviser to the government on the economics of climate change and development) and all the others who are regularly invited to appear.”
Let’s have a look at the ABC (the Australian Bolsheviks Collective) here in Australia. Top of the list must be cracked-crystal-ball-wielding Tim Flannery, he of the many and varied dud predictions. A Google search of his name on the ABC web site reveals nearly 7,000 hits with ‘climate’. Just last week, the ABC spruiked Flannery as a ‘climate scientist’ (see image).
He is nothing of the sort, of course. He’s a mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist (whatever that is), and… ta da! … ‘global warming activist’. Thus spake Wikipedia. So it doesn’t matter if you’re not a climate scientist, global warming activist will do just as well.
We can add to our list other favourites of the ABC, Stephan Lewandowsky (psychologist), Clive Hamilton (no idea, but certainly not climate science), Robyn Williams, etc etc. So it’s all fine and dandy for our public broadcaster to drag in unqualified persons to rattle on about climate change, as long as it’s the approved message they’re spouting.
But think about the reverse – if engaging Lawson to debate Hoskins is false balance, how about the BBC get on the phone to Dr Roy Spencer, or Pat Michaels, or Richard Lindzen? They are as distinguished climate scientists as you could hope to get, so that should satisfy the ‘false balance’ conundrum, right?
Er, no. Roy Spencer manages a tad over 300 mentions on bbc.co.uk, and only one in the last 12 months… and a fair amount of those hits may also be reader comments.
Surely Lindzen will do better?
Nope. The learned professor manages just over 200 mentions, and in the last four years, just three…
How about Pat Michaels?
Zero. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
Clearly the BBC isn’t trying very hard to find any kind of balance on climate, and would rather censor debate in its own Stalinist fashion.