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« Everyone's a winner | Main | Interpreters of interpreters »

Monckton's injunction

Apparently Lord Monckton has tried and failed to have a right of reply appended to tonight's BBC4 documentary about him.


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Reader Comments (100)

Delingpole is quick off the mark here:

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Did we really think it would be anything other than BBC BS.

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The only thing these "documentaries" do, apart from waste licence fee payers' money, is provide more evidence for

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

or as it was once most accurately described . . the British Broadcorping Castration

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred from Canuckistan

Read the "Radio Times" for an unbiased introduction to the programme:

..."Murray follows the colourful Christopher Monckton, classics scholar and 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. He tours the globe spreading his 'sceptic' message, that anthropogenic climate change theory has been 'contrived' by 'politicians, scientists and bureaucrats'. The film's impossible task is to be rigorous enough to unpick his arguments, without giving sceptics the impression that any criticism is just part of the conspiracy."

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterWycked Hors

Read the "Radio Times" for an unbiased introduction to the programme:

..."Murray follows the colourful Christopher Monckton, classics scholar and 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. He tours the globe spreading his 'sceptic' message, that anthropogenic climate change theory has been 'contrived' by 'politicians, scientists and bureaucrats'. The film's impossible task is to be rigorous enough to unpick his arguments, without giving sceptics the impression that any criticism is just part of the conspiracy."

Jan 31, 2011 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterWycked Hors

I wonder if the "climate rapid response team" and a certain John Abraham were involved in providing material for the film. Abraham did a fairly long hit job on Monckton recently, published on YouTube

Jan 31, 2011 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

I don't think this will be the end of it, knowing Lord Monckton ...

I have the gut feeling that the Beeb would wish to have given him his right of reply.

This will be fun to watch - pass the popcorn.

Jan 31, 2011 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

If it does turn out to be an AGW drive-by, it is perhaps unsurprising given that the Cause has suffered some fairly high profile setbacks of late. The urge to respond in a way which is emotionally equivalent, from a broadly warmist perspective, will be irresistible, should the opportunity arise.

I do stress that this type of "payback" response will be primarily emotional in nature and that any sense of equivalence will be firmly rooted in a subjective warmist experience, such that discrediting skeptical pundits will somehow retrospectively grant methodological and intellectual integrity to climate science and those who, in one way or another, depend on it for a living.

Jan 31, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterbeep

I have no idea what the documentary will show but, if Monckton applied for a right of reply, then it looks like a stitch-up (which anyone outside kindergarten could have predicted in the first place). However, what did Monckton (and Dellers for that matter) think he was doing? FFS this is the BBC! It's the AGW Ministry of Truth A sceptic would as easily get an impartial hearing and the space to make his case from the BBC as would the Chief Rabbi from Radio Iran. To go on the BBC without a cast-iron commitment to be allowed some right of reply is asking for trouble - and Monckton's apparently got it.

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo

I agree with Viv Evans Beeb won a battle and lost the war. They will pay dearly for sure.

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@ Umbongo (at 7:05 PM):

Delingpole explains here how it all happened:

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

I Agree with Umbongo. It seems vanity has got the better of both Monkton and Delingpole and that they're paying a heavy price for their spot on prime-time.

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Delingpole should have known better. It seems he will never learn.
I don't know how much he actually knows about climate change but I get the distinct impression sometimes that it's less than I do and that's not all that much.
Which is why I dip my toe very tentatively into the water now and again and ask for guidance when I'm not sure.
I made the point some time ago on my own blog (not that anybody reads it!) that I agree by and large with what he says but that his polemical approach is a bit strong for me and seems to leave him wide open to anyone who disagrees.
Even some of his trolls manage a more reasoned argument than the ones he comes up with sometimes. This is serious science we're talking; he treats it like another episode of his Coward novels. If he'd take a less off-hand approach he'd make a better fist of it.
In my opinion, you understand!

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

I'm sorry, but it was all to easy. Both Delingpole and Monckton are making careers out of this, particularly Delingpole who is writing ridiculous American style extreme right wing blogs. For a man of his education, they are pure comedy. There is an audience for them, particularly from our colonial cousins . Monckton did the same in the USA tour.

If you want my honest opinion, they are a complete gift to the other side. They are both excellent communicators and I don't disagree with either of them, but by spewing childish, right wing nonsense, unacceptable to the vast majority of a BBC audience, they are a liability.

Jan 31, 2011 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

I agree Delingpole and Monckton are a gift to warmists who want to label sceptics as right wing loonies. So, for that matter, are Lubos Motl, who’s just come out in favour of Mubarak, and Richard North, who has been defending Berlusconi. But on the other hand, one of my favourite sceptics is an Italian anarchist who thinks Che Guevara was a fascist. What a peculiar lot we are.

Jan 31, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Beware of the BBC shenanigans. Maybe someone somewhere has a little divide and conquer in mind.

Jan 31, 2011 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Anyone notice on Channel four? A cirtain Li Quan arguing Chinas one-child policy has been unfairly critised in the West and should be imitated here? O what a night of viewing!

Jan 31, 2011 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

A goodly proportion of the British public has learned to develop an acute, discerning, BBC spin-filter, after years of experience. This recognises hatchet jobs for what they are, and may, in terms of natural justice, backfire in support of the victim.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I think too many sceptics try to take the argument to the warmists. In many respects that ought to be the right approach -- play the game "in their faces" -- but since they are the ones in control of the data and therefore of the "facts" it doesn't always work.
Added to which, as McIntyre keeps reminding us, that pea darts about from walnut shell to walnut shell faster than a speeding bullet.
Journalists, whether Delingpole blogging or Booker writing a weekly column, have to produce the words and so stick their necks out. Which is one reason why they get targeted by CACC's little smurfs.
The rest of us really need only keep repeating "prove it" every time one of them comes up with yet another wild claim based on another dubious computer model. We are starting to win the argument that the science is not settled and most people's inbuilt sense of fair play will then allow that there is a debate to be had and will listen to both sides. That's all I ask, certainly.
When sceptics sound off without bothering to check their facts or court cheap publicity by claiming to be Nobel prizewinners (jokingly or otherwise) -- the very thing we have been criticising in the warmists -- then we have just taken two steps backwards and have to make up the ground again.
Which is not fair to the Bishop or Antony Watts or Donna or Jo or any of the others who put a lot of time and effort into trying to get the word out.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

"...right wing nonsense, unacceptable to the vast majority of a BBC audience..."

It's not unacceptable to the right-wing portion of the BBC audience. Or do you subscribe to the BBC's worldview, that everybody of good sense is naturally left wing, and that "right-wing" and "loony" are, if not synonymous, at least sufficiently so that labelling someone "right-wing" is sufficient to discredit them in the eyes of most of the audience?

Anyway, Delingpole is Libertarian, like our host here, rather than right-wing. There is a difference.

Monckton and Delingpole are very *popular* doing what they do - that's why the BBC are attacking them - and a fair proportion of the BBC's paying audience - i.e. everyone, because of the way the BBC taxes them - are exactly the same sort of people as those that flock to their talks and blogs. They're the sort to mistrust BBC propaganda - and the more biased the program is, the more of a stitch-up, the more obvious it will be to these people that here is someone the BBC *hates with a passion*, here is someone the BBC sees as *dangerous*, and hence, here is someone they ought to know more about.

Both the users and the enemies of propaganda are united in one delusion - that the people are all fools and are deceived by it. But the art in propaganda is to keep it subtle, and these programme-makers are so fanatical that they simply cannot do subtle. Our best hope is that they do a unfair hatchet-job, and thereby make it obvious that they are not only dishonest, but desperate. Remember, these are the same sort of people that thought the 10:10 video was a comedic masterpiece that would help their cause. "Executing environmentally incorrect schoolchildren in a bloody rain of Gore (peace be upon him) for their ungreen thought crimes? That'll show those deniers!"

So tell me, did watching it persuade you to give up climate scepticism?

*Finally*, even people like Monckton and Delingpole are taken seriously enough for the BBC to think them worth spending our taxes attacking! What a triumph! Of *course* they're going to attack them unfairly, using every dirty and underhand trick in the book! We would be insulted at anything less.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

Viv Evans

The point is that Murray was from the BBC and the BBC is not in the business of reporting impartially on AGW. Dellingpole feels he was conned. He probably was, but what did he expect? Fairness? Impartiality? If he did, he's dangerously naive.

E Smith

Dellingpole gives his credo here during his spat with Simon Singh. Dellingpole wrote:

"What I am saying, and I say almost every day, is that the evidence is not as robust as the “consensus” scientists claim; that there are many distinguished scientists all round the world who dispute this alleged “consensus”; that true science doesn’t advance through “consensus” and never has; that the Climategate emails threw the peer-review process into serious doubt by demonstrating how eminently corruptable it is; that there are many vested interests out there determined and able to spend a great deal of money by making out that the case for catastrophic, man-made global warming is much stronger than it is. And on these specific issues I can reasonably claim to be better informed than Sir Paul Nurse, regardless of how many PhDs he has, because I’ve spent much more time than he has researching them and because they are not issues which require an exclusively scientific knowledge to understand. They just require the basic journalistic skill of being able to read and analyse."

In other words Dellingpole is criticising the propagandisers, not from the stance of a scientist but as a journalist. Contrast this with the BBC "journalists" who report on climate matters. The likes of Harrabin, Shukman and Black are neither scientists nor journalists: they are mouthpieces pure and simple.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterUmbongo


I really don't believe Monckton and Delingpole are taken seriously by anyone apart from a few of us round these parts. I doubt that 90% of a BBC4 audience will even have heard their names. The whole point is that a BBC4 audience is above average intelligence and education and will laugh their heads of at these two whether you like it or not. All you have to do is connecdt them with Beck and Palin or any part of the American right or their supporters and they are automatically nut jobs.

The BBC is the voice of the British establishment. It is not left wing, it is liberal like the Guardian. Every corporation on earth supports AGW/carbon trading, that's why the business oriented corporate media do too.

"So tell me, did watching it persuade you to give up climate scepticism?"

Nothing would apart from climate scientists living on the local minimum wage and selling their cars etc etc.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith


In my view (roughly) all the scientists and all the journalists are lying. There is no debate. Spin becomes lies when you know what you are doing.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith


Yes, but the whole purpose of the programme was to portray Monckton as a right wing loony connected to even nuttier Americans. That is a correct assessment. They didn't have to try very hard.

Jan 31, 2011 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Sam the Skeptic: "This is serious science we're talking"

If only.

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

Watching now - needing sick bucket after three minutes

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilhippos

If only.
All right. I take your point. Perhaps I should have said it's perceived as serious science and treated as such by the climate technicians. It needs to be treated seriously.

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

@E Smith

[the BBC] is liberal like the Guardian


Jan 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterFran Codwire

I'm off to bed. I'll watch it in the morning maybe.

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I'm lucky. No BBC 4 reception.

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Just over half way through and find that the sensitivity argument was raised as they key issue very early on, so this is way better at discussing the science than last week's Horizon. However, it seems that the main justification for AGW is based upon Trenberth's argument that we change the null hypothesis to put the onus of proof on the deniers... very subtle and something that enables the producers to skip any discussion of why AGW theory has failed to make any unambiguous predictions that can be verified/falsified by real-world observations.

Nevertheless, it's clearly an attempt to play the man and not the ball. I also note a distinct lack of any discussion of the consequences of dramatic de-carbonisation and the "unintended consequences" we've already seen from things like bio-ethanol.

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

I agree Delingpole and Monckton are a gift to warmists who want to label sceptics as right wing loonies. So, for that matter, are Lubos Motl, who’s just come out in favour of Mubarak, and Richard North, who has been defending Berlusconi.
Lubos Motl defended Berlusconi vehemently in the past (not sure about now). Sometimes one asks oneself whether scientists do go out in the open once in a while...

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

'Monckton and Delingpole are very *popular* doing what they do.'

Popular with the AGW proponents. can't you hide them away?

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterA friend

PS as hoi polloi I can watch this developing helzapoppin' climate ping-pong game only head shaking in disbelieve.

"Blow a Balloon Up to the Moon"
"We Won't Let It Happen Here"
"When You Look in Your Looking Glass"

Jan 31, 2011 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

I guess these are the same people who interviewed Anthony Watts at the Heartland conference. As he refused to sign the strange release form I wonder if they'll include him?

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"The BBC is the voice of the British establishment. It is not left wing, it is liberal like the Guardian."

That's the funniest thing I've seen since about ten minutes ago, when the BBC cited Greg Craven's video version of Pascal's Wager!

The Guardian isn't liberal, it's illiberal. It is the very antithesis of liberal. They, like the BBC program I've just watched the end of, argue openly that it is not only acceptable but a moral imperative for us to surrender some of our liberty in the name of saving the climate. That's not liberal!

The first thing they do is take over the language, so "liberal" now means illiberal, "the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" means the dictatorial dictators dictatorship of North Korea, and no doubt war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

Both the Guardian and the BBC, and much of the Establishment for that matter, are archetypically left wing and illiberal. They try to hide it; but not very hard, since they don't themselves see anything wrong with it. English Socialism - what would we do without it?

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

Just finished watching and it's clear that this was primarily about Monckton, though he was obviously being portrayed as the archetypal sceptic. Although it did make a much better effort at understanding the science than last week's Horizon, there was little light shed on the reasons why AGW should be believed beyond the fact that "scientists say it's so and Monckton isn't a scientist".

I note that one of the final statements was that "Queensland has just suffered the worst floods in its entire history". Is this really true: wasn't 1974 much worse and weren't the records set in the 1800's far more extreme?

In summary, I'd say it did a good job of showing how polarised and extreme the arguments have become from both sides of the "debate". However, I'm not sure that was the producer's real intent.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

I just goes to show how out of touch with the public the BBC are. Nationally televising a scene of the 10:10 video is beyond comprehension. Nurse shot himself in the foot last week now it's the BBC editorial team, both barrels, correction single barrel they didn't show the kids being blown up, after the total disgust shown by the country and the public apologies. They just can't help themselves, the green extremism pours through. Plus the bit that democracy has to end to save the world.

I really can't see how they expect this to help the cause of science. This is now a matter of public record, those that disagree with the consensus have to be subjugated or destroyed in the name of science. Do they realise how often in the future those clips are going to be used, at every political presentation that involves global warming the BBC have now justified the claims of green on the outside red in the middle.
You might as well bring in the new BBC uniform of green suits with red shirts.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Having watched the programme, it was an apparent success for the programme makers and warmists. It was propaganda in that it selected the most whackiest sceptics and suggested they were typical. No attempt to adress the criticsms of serious sceptics. I don't really have much time for Monckton or Delingpole. Both are on a near opposite political spectrum to me. I kind of liked the way the narrator kept calling him "Christopher". I particularly dislike the way Monckton makes full use of his hereditary title and uses a crown and portcullis on his slides. In principle, it would be possible to make a documentary about the whackiest warmists (eg. Gore,Prince Charles) and portray them as typical - but I don't expect the BBC to be doing that anytime soon. The great claim of the programme was that people were sceptics because they didn't want to give up anyting. Well frankly, what have Gore, Charles, Blair, Stern, given up? (Oh yes, I think Charles has reduced to one ski holiday a year instead of two).

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

'The Brisbane River peaked at 4.46m (14.6ft) just before 0530 (1930GMT Wednesday), compared with 5.4m (17.7ft) in the 1974 floods.'

Flood record history

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Laogai it's a funny thing: when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s the liberals were aligned with the left and the authoritarians were to be found on the old right. There were a few very unpleasant self-styled vanguard members - aka Leninists - but nobody took them very seriously. Unfortunately their culture spread through the universities and festered during the Thatcher years. The outcome is a chattering class, as epitomised by the Guardian and BBC, that has illiberal instincts on almost every subject apart from its own rights. Nowadays the libertarians are to be found on what seems to have been labelled the right.
E Smith you are mixing up different groups of people here. The BBC and the Guardian hate "the bankers" - no doubt Vince Cable's Nazi-originated joke about a banker being run over was popular with them, so they have to indulge in some fancy denial to align themselves with Goldman Sachs, Mittal Steel, BP and the other indulgence fans. They do not realise that the money men are just using them as stooges.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

The program was as expected:

a) sceptics (Monckton in this case, primarily) are not scientists;

b) their followers are old people who don't want to believe that their lives have been built on an unsustainable model;

c) true scientists are frustrated at the tactics of the sceptics - followed by an avalanche of clips which appeared to show sceptics dominating the airwaves;

d) sceptics are associated with right-wing US politics;

e) sceptics are people who don't want to give up their freedoms, and this is why they deny the science;

f) sceptic "science" is cherry-picked, twisted and misstated to form a false impression of uncertainty (or certainty that whatever heating there is, is not caused by CO2);

g) no examination of the politics of the proponents of the CAGW hypothesis;

h) the IPCC is the voice of reason and there's good reason to believe it's quite conservative in its projections of warming.

Think that about sums it up.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

I could have saved myself an hour and just read WoodenTop's summary, which pretty much nailed it.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMackemX

David S

Yes the money men are indeed using them. No question.

However, I think you are confusing journalists with human beings. Journalists are wage slaves. They do what they are told or they join the dole queue. Chomsky says that no intelligent human being would ever be employed as a journalist these days anyway.

Andrew Marr vs Noam Chomsky

I'm sure if a banker asked Vince Cable to sit up and beg, Cable would happily do it. They complain about bonuses to distract us from the tens of trillions that disappeared.

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

"In principle, it would be possible to make a documentary about the whackiest warmists (eg. Gore,Prince Charles) and portray them as typical"

Gore and Charlie aren't the wackiest. Have you ever read any Linkola, or David Shearman's new book? Charlie would be good for comic relief, though. You could ask him about homeopathy and talking to the plants...

Jan 31, 2011 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

The UK is well and truly, Climate Madness Central, isn't it?

Feb 1, 2011 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

The script will have been written before it's shot, and the script is what will have guaranteed the commission, how else do docs get funding? Commissioning editors, who fill the slots, will want to see a return on their investment, so they need to see the narrative before they part with the cash.
This type of fly-on-the-wall, we'll-follow-them-everywhere-to-tell-the-story-we've-written is cheap and formulaic. Living with the enemy? Wife swap? Meet the climate sceptics? Reality climate change tv. However, Rupert Murray's sceptic-reality tv doc goes a long way to show how powerful the reality-tv template can be for climate change propaganda. JD and Monckton have been eviscerated for not much more than £120K outlay, at a conservative £1000/min of broadcast HD... and the returns on foreign sales? What a profit.
As other commenters have suggested, what on earth did JD and Monckton think they were letting themselves in for? They need better agents and advice. Did JD really say that he was approached at the Heartland after he scooped his prize? Talk about a big ego getting the better of judgement. What a perfect time to gain someone's confidence.
Who's scripting and funding the next GGWS? The GWPF? No, there's no money in scepticism, and who would broadcast it? The bbc, ITV or C4 or C5? You have got to be kidding me, after what happened to GGWS, they wouldn't touch anything as overtly propagandised at this if it were sceptical.
Utterly disillusioned. Utterly, deeply...

Feb 1, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

If anyone else wants to raise a complaint.

Feb 1, 2011 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

With you totally Justin,

The first and the last thing you learn in the climate debate if you are a sceptic, is, self-respect.

Feb 1, 2011 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

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