Roger Harrabin
Oct 12, 2007
Bishop Hill in BBC, Climate: other

The Nameless One, writing at the Devil's Kitchen, notes with his customary gusto, a leaked BBC email which shows BBC environment reporter Roger Harrabin's attempts to develop a party line on the "Al Gore made it up" court ruling. (Well, it was words to that effect anyway). Harrabin's tactics for saving Gore's face are these:

In any future reporting of Gore we should be careful not to suggest that the High Court says Gore was wrong on climate.......

We might say something like: "Al Gore whose film was judged by the High Court to have used some debatable science" or "Al Gore whose film was judged in the High Court to be controversial in parts".
The key is to avoid suggesting that the judge disagreed with the main climate change thesis.

Attentive readers will remember that, according to Head of BBC TV news Peter Horrocks, that the BBC has no line on climate change. What the leaking of the memo shows is that either Horrocks is a liar or Harrabin is attemping to create an official line in contravention of BBC policy. I wonder which one of them will be disciplined?

As happens, I was looking into Harrabin myself when I read DK's story. According to his BBC website profile he is co-director or something called the Cambridge Environment and Media Programme, which is part-funded by the BBC (the rest of the funding being from private sources - I wonder who?). Apparently this organisation, which doesn't seem to have a website, tries to find ways to engage the media in debates on sustainable development.  

Now is it just me, or does it seem a bit odd that the BBC is using public money to persuade itself to engage in debate on environmental issues? Couldn't it just, you know, engage?

Doesn't it seem stranger still that the loot is being sent to an organisation run by one of its own employees? This seems to reverse the normal employer/employee relationship. Shouldn't the higher-ups at the BBC be telling Harrabin what to do?

And isn't it yet more bizarre that it is trying to promote inclusion of particular issues in the news agenda - an overtly political act if ever there was one? The BBC, remember, has no line on climate change (and presumably the whole question of environmentalism too). Is the BBC actually funding a campaign to promote environmentalism on the airwaves?

I don't know about you, but I smell fish.

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