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Settled science at the BBC

The BBC is currently engaging in some intense navel-gazing, as part of which it has been considering the range of opinions to which it currently gives airtime. This process is documented in a paper on the BBC Trust website, which includes this interesting little snippet:
...the need for BBC journalists regularly and systematically to challenge the assumptions behind their own approach to a story, is...difficult to achieve. Even when good intentions lead to specific measures aimed at doing so, there can be inadvertent aberrations. Take, for example, the BBC College of Journalism online service, which includes a whole section on impartiality. First among the clips illustrating the need for impartiality in covering the subject of climate change is an illustrated lecture given by the BBC’s former Environment Correspondent Richard Black. The section of the lecture on the site is entirely devoted to sustaining the case that climate change is effectively “settled science” and that those who argue otherwise are simply wrong. What might have been helpful is for Richard’s talk about the scientific position, and David Shukman’s on the same site, to have included a line or two in which he reminded his audience of John Bridcut’s point, a point made also in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, that dissenters (or even sceptics) should still occasionally be heard because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate.
It is clear from the document that the author's objection is not to Richard Black trying to argue that the science is settled. The objection is a presentational one, namely that Black should have preempted criticism by stating in effect that "despite sceptics being wrong, they will still be heard from time to time".

How remarkable it is then to consider the BBC position in light of the evidence given by Michael Oppenheimer to the US House of Representatives yesterday:

Some things are more or less settled, some things are not. The question of whether carbon dioxide is 30 to 40 percent above pre-industrial times, that’s settled. The question of exactly how warm the Earth will become as a result, that’s not.’ Oppenheimer refused to defend the 97% claims. ‘Whether the 97% is defensible, I really don’t know.’
Oppenheimer, a former chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, is about as green as you can get. If even he is saying that the science is not settled, the BBC's position is indefensible. Think about it: the BBC's position on climate change is even more fringe than the deepest of deep greens.

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Reader Comments (59)

The position of the BBC reflects the desire for, not the existence of, a consensus. They want to claim they are part of a consensus that they themselves don't know how to begin to formulate.

May 30, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

As always, follow the money, in particular, the (previously & elsewhere reported) management and investments by the BBC Pension Fund. They have a lot to lose.

May 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

I'd abolish the licence fee tomorrow, and I'm as sceptical as they come, but I think you're being hyper-critical here Bishop. It seems to me the debate that the paper doesn't want closed down concerns, inter alia, the question of whether or not the science is settled. I'd only quibble with the "occasional".

May 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

So, condescendingly, they might, possibly, be prepared, on occasion, to allow a word or two from the opposite side.

How generous.

May 30, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

Unfortunately the BBC's position will not change. It is dominated by advocates of the CAGW hypothesis and does not have any journalists/management with sufficient scientific understanding to evaluate the climate debate. I do wonder how many of the BBC science correspondents have any scientific qualifications at all!

Despite the fact they get £3,500M from the public, the BBC management and the BBC Trust simply ignore the scientific arguments and any viewers' complaints on their coverage. And when it suits them they ignore their own guidelines. They are a law unto themselves.

There is only one way forward and that is to reduce or stop the public funding!

May 30, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

The BBC is made up largely of arts luvvies. Even those who had a science or technical background have left it behind for something with more gut feeling than hard facts. CO2 has been cast the villain in their pantomime and anybody who deviates from the side of warmism must therefore be the baddie. Reluctantly they’ve accepted that the good guys have to give the baddies a chance to make their case, before righteously gunning them down. I’m not sure what it would take to change the BBC but it has been done before.

I remember seeing a breakfast discussion by the presenters and a few guests, how nobody with any discernment would ever touch a PC for anything but writing. This wasn’t even the early days of the internet. They all nodded and sniggered at the concept of computer nerds. Less than a year later, the presenters all had keyboards in front of them and it was ‘www this’ and ‘www that’. Now they act like they were the cutting edge of internet promotion all along.

May 30, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The BBC is obviously incapable of knowing whether or not the science is settled - it is a news/media organisation, not a physics/climate lab.

But as a news organisation, its role is to discover whether what it is being told is in fact "true" or at least not being disputed by serious people with real arguments.

It is in this latter role that the BBC fails. It has simply taken what the Alarmists say and accepted it without question. In doing so it has failed utterly to determine whether Sceptics have an credibility and whether their scepticism has any basis.

Instead, based solely on the claims of the Alarmists, it has decided that Sceptics are a fringe group that can be ignored. This is the bias, this is the scandal, when a public broadcaster simply does not do its work because it approves of the version put forward by one side.

May 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Hammond

Lazy journalism...

May 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

It is a self-sustaining circle. When it comes to the specialism that is science/environmental journalism the incompetent BBC management has appointed incompetent reporters because that fits in with their own worldview. Sorry to mention names but how on earth people like Richard Black (former studio manager), Matt McGrath (no science qualifications) and David Shukman (no science qualifications and former Defence correspondent who got himself into trouble) became science journalists is quite incredible.

They have all clearly demonstrated their bias, lack of enquiry and lack of competence in the subjects they cover. Doesn't the BBC get it? Having and Old Etonian who read Geography at Durham (Shukman) is not good enough. When these guys want to know about science what do they do. They phone Sir Mark Walport or Sir Paul Nurse. Simples!

The BBC just don't get it about science, and I don't think they ever have.

May 30, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeds

It's so much fun to compare this to how the BBC and other news organisations reported on the GM foods controversy a decade ago: another situation where a broad, though not 100% conclusive and universal, scientific consensus on one side opposed widespread public concern on the other. The most influential figure in the climate debate is Osama bin Laden.

May 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

By climate change I presume they mean manmade climate change. Of course it is a bit difficult to keep up with the scientists because they keep shifting their position. First they say the pdo is isn't important at all then they say it explains the hiatus all by itself. First we should expect parabolic increases in temperature then we should expect pauses from time to time. First it's going to get warmer in Europe with more deadly heatwaves then its going to get cooler because of the Arctic melt. You just get your anti-fracking factsheet written up with increasing drought-stress and then they tell you to expect more flooding in exactly the same area from exactly the same cause. Who needs skepticism when we just need to keep track of all their contradictions to show that they haven't a clue what drives climate. All we are sure of is fossil fuels are bad; just ignore that they saved Europes forests from wipeout, led to unprecedented economic growth; enabling the welfare state and (if you believe Ruddiman and Hansen) prevented the long-overdue ice age for good measure.

May 30, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

For me it is clear that the BBC are supporting particular policy options over other options using consensus as an excuse.

I tend to go along with Ben Piles views of a consensus without an object.

I see a debate with 2 sides but a wide range of scientific opinions on either side. People seem to instinctively place themselves on one side or other in the debate without much of a clue as to where the scientific boundary between the 2 sides lies.

My view is the boundary is defined by the policy (reduction in C02) and people cherry pick the science to meet their desired policy. By aligning with a particular policy the BBC is failing to meet the requirements of its charter.

May 30, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

"BBC Trust..." Oxymoron.

Their 'Environmental' reports become a challenge as to predict how, before reading the report, they weave an adverse climatic effect opinion into it.

May 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The bias from the BBC is very simple to explain: the BBC are not an evidence based organisation prepared to look at the evidence even when that evidence is presented by people very qualified to present it. Instead it is an opinion based organisation. It is an organisation that will present the opinion of someone even if they are quite unqualified to have any say on Climate like the geneticist Nurse or the Medical Scientists Walport (neither of which are at all relevant to climate). And it is prepared to broadcast these views from those unqualified to speak when they self-identify as "scientists" over those who are far more qualified to speak like for myself or Andrew Montford because we do not self-classify as "scientists". And it does this despite us having far more relevant scientific qualifications and and having studied the subject in much more detail than those whose views they broadcast.

No amount of experience or relevant qualifications will ever allow us skeptics to be heard on the BBC! This is in sharp contrast to a host of other subjects where people with no qualifications at all will have their views presented (often on environmental issues).

In other words, the criteria the BBC use is not the evidence, it is not scientific qualification, it is not whether e.g. anyone has made false or misleading statements such as those of "settled science", it is not even whether we represent a sizeable group of people.

In the end, the only criteria the BBC use is that you cannot speak on the climate unless you are part of the "science" establishment - and that really means PUBLIC SECTOR academics.

This is why the BBC are so completely biased in their reporting. They only report the views of a very small group of people from academia, who are known to be left-wing in their views and are often actively hostile to the private sector and therefore anti-energy using industry and commerce.

It is a disgrace that the BBC continue trying to justify their ridiculous bias toward a very small "establishment" group in society.

And how often have we heard that before?

May 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Do we know what Seb (Lord) Coe's stance is on AGW/CC?

May 30, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Francis Bacon seemed to have been a very clever chap? Pity he was a pederast.
Well , what do I care , I was not affected in fact.

May 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Be honest. Has Harrabin or Shukman ever told you something that you couldn't find easily elsewhere?

May 30, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterCPil

bbc trust an oxymoron:

My trust in the bbc is total, unequivocal , 110% and inalienable.

I trust the Champagne Socialists will ALWAYS take the most liberal retard option available to report, work, spin , entertain.
Always.And at a grotestque self set rate I should add (don't pay them in gross as they just take the gross and then say f ***[manners] you very much!)

May 30, 2014 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Neil McEvoy: "I'd abolish the licence fee tomorrow, "

It will happen sooner than we might wish. When I was a kid my parents told me and my siblings that we watched too much TV. Recently, I've been forcing my children off their PCs to go and watch TV - and even heard myself saying "because it's good for you".

Even if I go to iplayer, and look at everything they have I often struggle to find one decent program worth watching.

I cannot understand how an organisation with so much public money, with so many staff and so many channels on TV and radio, can fail to produce anything better than a single blogger produces for nothing in an afternoon.

May 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The nostalgia for television that is voiced frequently stems not from its purported quality but rather from the fact
that in the past EVERYBODY watched the same programs. This was an immense uniter of ideas and topics for
confrontation or discussion. But foremost it allowed for smalltalk.

Which is nowadays no existent , with a public media that employs 50x more people but at a higher rate and their senior managers at grotesque pay (the middle layers as well btw considering the output and considering lifelong employment pf, better financial conditions, continuity etc etc) non existent really and we are condemned to the weather, only.

Although we are ALL entitled to our perversities or the things that make each and every one of us a minority nowadays, no one of course will talk about them. They are meant to be used as a weapon for negotiation, for self embetterment.
It is a difficult topic to break the ice with eg the accomplishments of obama, just to name one obsession of the Scum Left, how he conquered the West, together with the mooch and a 10.000 likeminded trustafarians and champagne socialists,it is a daft topic to start a conversation with.

May 30, 2014 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

The BBC view of science is trapped in a vicarious African honeymoon, narrated by Richard Attenborough.

As TV viewing it always appealed to everybody. Enter the environmentalist viewpoint: How terrible it would be if these wonderful creatures were lost to the world?

But excellent cinematography of furry carnivores humping on the plains of the Serengeti does not fully encompass science. Like a faded wedding photograph, the groom is trapped in a bad suit. A suit designed for humanities and liberal-arts graduates employed by the BBC.

This has always made the BBC vulnerable to the extreme environmentalist view of science. That view can be summarised thus: "Science is something you do when want to 'prove' that your opinion is correct and win an argument." Alas.

Some time ago, I read a BBC apologist saying that the days of Raymond Baxter presenting "Tomorrow's World" were effectively a thing of the past, never to be reclaimed. We were expecting too much. WTF? Did that mean that they thought it was too expensive to find a competent person with an interest in science and technology, who could also present effectively? Or did it just mean they found it too difficult to even try? What was the scientific training of the editors involved?

[And as to technology, the BBC appears to think it usually means mobile phones, electronic games, and Twitter feeds. The word "engineering" is probably considered as glamorous as the word "Preston" at BBC central, but they would still like to prevent fracking near that location.]

When the BBC separates their "Science and Environment" page into "Science" and 'another topic', then I will believe they are serious about science.

May 30, 2014 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Oi ! 'THE skeptics' stop saying 'THE BBC'
it shows a naivity akin to racism
- Yes, the BBC has a large number of Eco-warrior staff 'saving the world', by searching out stuff they can spin to support the warmist case and suppressing other stuff.
And as ever they show the normal green bullying of shouting other viewpoints down.
BUT BUT BUT please don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Please recognise that there are some BBC staff who are doing there best to do the right thing, and continue to challenge all assertions .. as the guidelines above make clear is official BBC policy.

May 30, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The journalistic zeal, integrity and independence of BBC journalism can be summed up in two words, 'Jimmy Savile'

May 30, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Settled Science

All one has to do is actually start looking at the "science" like a scientist would and the apple cart is upset.


May 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

From the BBC Trust report quoted above: "the need for BBC journalists regularly and systematically to challenge the assumptions behind their own approach to a story, is...difficult to achieve."

I'll say it's difficult for them to achieve. In 2006 Fran Unsworth (Uni Manchester - Drama) said the science is settled and they had gone beyond questioning it.

Unsworth is currently deputy director of news, i.e. the boss of all BBC journalists. So are they going to trash what their boss said.

It would take a brave and short lived journalist to do that.

May 30, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterCollete

The BBC Trust report also says:

The BBC’s journalists and content producers play a vital role every day in bringing views we would not otherwise hear into our lives.


May 30, 2014 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCollete

Stewgreen, it is perfectly legitimate to criticise the BBC as an insitution, just as others might criticise Rupert Murdoch or News International for their actions. Like any big organisation, they have policies which are decided and enforced from high-up. I have had old school friends and close relatives who have worked for the BBC. I know they had no role whatsoever in BBC science coverage, but that will not change the words I use to describe BBC coverage of matters scientific or otherwise.

May 30, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

ROFL - Rolls On the Floor Laughing .. She means

May 30, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Thanks to clivere's post earlier mentioning sides it occurs to me that the BBC isn't just keen to keep sceptic views out of the picture, they are keen to keep the uncertainties on the alarmist side out of the picture too. They have at times asked awkward questions, a few which spring to mind being Paul Hudson's output which once provoked the ire of the 'team', Roger Harrabin getting a tongue lashing from Al Gore and Harrabin quizzing Phil Jones after the first email leak from the CRU.

Those instances are few and far between. The BBC is not openly sceptical of facts that people put to them when it comes to climate alarmism. I can easily imagine this is a reflection of the corporate belief that the science is settled and that the BBC should be a conduit for policymakers.

May 30, 2014 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

@MH the BBC is not the enemy it has no official political line
However the execs who allowed the Eco-warriors to repeatedly break the B's own rules are at fault.

May 30, 2014 at 3:49 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Stewgreen, for the most part we do not know the names or positions of these people. It is difficult to criticise faceless and nameless individuals. But these people clearly do have an influence on the culture of the BBC. It is not my fault that they are damaging the BBC as a whole.

May 30, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

stewgreen, I'm sure that there are good people at the BBC, there are even good sides to the worst offenders (I've even found Marcus Brigstock and Jeremy Hardy funny to name a few, despite disagreeing with them on just about every issue there is) but the whole is more corrupt than the sum of its parts. Like a parasite, it doesn't mean to sup greedily at its host while at the same time excreting a nasty poison, but it does it anyway. If the only issue it screwed up was CAGW then we could forgive it, but it is broken on too many levels and like a doomed addict, the only one who can't see its disease, is itself.

May 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

BBC bias goes deeper than presenting just one side of the story. I noticed that earlier this week the BBC launched its pro-EU, pro-immigration campaign, with a number of high profile speakers including two former prime ministers. Of course, not one word was heard from the other side of the argument. The campaign was very forceful and aimed at changing minds.

The BBC does something similar in the run up to major policy making climate conferences.

This is disgraceful behaviour by the BBC and in my view it is now quite obvious and blatant. They must feel that in the run up to a general election, politicians are not going to start an argument with the state broadcaster. Most of our politicians see the BBC as an ally in these matters anyway.

May 30, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

And as to technology, the BBC appears to think it usually means mobile phones, electronic games, and Twitter feeds. The word "engineering" is probably considered as glamorous as the word "Preston" at BBC central, but they would still like to prevent fracking near that location

Yep. You get 100 hours a week devoted to some sort of nature programming. Because back in the day it seems we all agreed that we liked it, and the more urban and disconnected we get from actual nature, the more we "care" about it. And that is most of your "science" programming.

When was the last time you saw a program explaining how a power station ran, or a drilling rig?

There are many more people working in the energy industry than stand-up comedy but guess which occupation will get chosen to represent the average member of the public in a political discussion?

May 30, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Readers may remember that the BBC Trust invited the public to complete a questionnaire last year about its news and current affairs services. The Trust recently published their findings:

It appeared to be a lot of complacent waffle and concern that they should cover more politically correct stuff. Well, that was my impression anyway. They are obviously very happy with their impartiality.

May 30, 2014 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat
May 30, 2014 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Recently, I've been forcing my children off their PCs to go and watch TV - and even heard myself saying "because it's good for you". (Mike Haseler)

As a classicist once remarked:

Television! The word is a mixture of Latin and Greek. No good will ever come of it.

May 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

The Settled Science of Jimmy Savile.
I get it.

May 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

And as to technology, the BBC appears to think it usually means mobile phones, electronic games, and Twitter feeds. The word "engineering" is probably considered as glamorous as the word "Preston" at BBC central, but they would still like to prevent fracking near that location (Michael Hart)

Yep. You get 100 hours a week devoted to some sort of nature programming. Because back in the day it seems we all agreed that we liked it, and the more urban and disconnected we get from actual nature, the more we "care" about it. And that is most of your "science" programming. (Kellydown)

I suspect that most of our middle class, when they aspire, do so, not to be another Brunel, or a Henry Royce or a James Dyson, but aspire to be the landed gentry of yore. To them 'trade' was always a dirty word. When our local hero, Elgar, married the youngest daughter of a Major General, her family cut them off completely, simply because his family were 'in trade.' I suspect our industrial success has almost always been in spite of those who owned the place, rarely because of them. I dont think our urban middle class know what nature is, but they are in love with their own fantasies about it.

Incidentally, I spent my first 50 years in Preston, and can assure you that it is a most glamorous place. After all, conditions there were one of the main reasons for the 1830 Public Health Act; Dickens went there to research 'Hard Times;' and it's an anagram of Erpsnot.

May 30, 2014 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

My favourite BBC story comes from the BBC itself. Finally admitting they put Ayatollah Khomeini in power. Only because it is common knowledge (in Iran).

Radio programme still available online.

Mike uncovers papers which accused the BBC of biased reporting as Iran descended into revolution in 1978 and 1979. The documents show that the BBC's Persian Service found itself attacked on all sides, with the most vociferous critics claiming that the Corporation was not simply reporting events but influencing them in favour of regime change. As Ayatollah Khomeini sat in exile in Paris, the BBC stood charged with galvanising the radical cleric's supporters and acting as his mouthpiece in Tehran.

Featuring interviews with then Foreign Secretary Lord Owen, the then Iranian Ambassador, senior BBC figures and academic experts.

May 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

And Bridcut's (he of the Bridcut report- which stated "The BBC has held a high‐level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus." area of expertise?

He is a renowned expert on English 20th Century composers. (Studied Music (1971) at Keble College Oxford)

So perfectly qualified to opine on Climate Science:-)

May 30, 2014 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Please recognise that there are some BBC staff who are doing there best to do the right thing

It's like a leg with gangrene mate.
Sure there are plenty of healthy cells but to no avail.

The good people will profit from privatisation.
Privatisation only harms the parasites.

May 30, 2014 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

I should begin by admitting an interest. I was a BBC executive for a few years, first in television outside Scotland, and then radio in Scotland......

What I thought to be the pinnacle of a career turned out to be a bitter disappointment. I resigned. So did George Orwell. (I keep good company.) He served as a journalist for the BBC for two years in the mid-1940s before resigning. He reached his opinion similarly disillusioned. Respectful of his colleagues, nevertheless Orwell found the BBC “halfway between a kindergarten and Kafka-like bureaucracy.” His own department he thought “a chaotic girls' school.” How he was familiar with a girls' school is unknown.

Biographers assert Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in his novel, “1984,” based on his time at the BBC.

May 31, 2014 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Mike Haseler
" They only report the views of a very small group of people from academia"..
...and from a group of people selected because the BBC considers them to be 'celebrities'..

May 31, 2014 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

@Mike Haseler
" They only report the views of a very small group of people from academia"..
WRONG ... Activists' celebrities and anyone who supports the cause is welcome
Talk about 'FALSE BALANCE'. As usual it's a shout from projection, cos the eco-warrior presenters 'balance' in favour of green dogma every time.
... on Inside Science this week the lengthy interchange on the Colorado River water problem ended .."That was Miss X from the XX pressure group", of course no voices should be excluded, but she was the only voice.

May 31, 2014 at 11:22 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

the problem of nannystate/cronyKapitalist institutions is that there is no good internal metric as there is in private enterprise, where the metric is of course PROFIT. If your work can be done by a trained chimp at a lower rate, it WILL be done by a trained chimp at that lower rate.

If you do not have such metric it is, even with the best intentions easy to go off on any tangent.."hey! let's have a bono
ono concert on our roof!! that will be fun!!"
So they try to avoid this at al costs which immediately implies utter boredom and bureaucracy.

In the end if there is nothing to do as everything is safely outsourced, the young staffers have to teach each
other "how to sit on a chair"..Which indeed happened in the BBC.

May 31, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

AGW has never been about science and BBC is not a scientific organization.
AGW is a dysfunctional social movement and BBC leadership has bought into it.

May 31, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Sajid Javid, the minister with responsibility for the BBC, has said that he will "review everything" as the BBC approaches the renewal of its charter. (GWPF)

If you are sick of the BBC and want to put the boot in, why don't you log some evidence of its bias over, say, 6 months and send your report with the evidence to the minister. There are lots of areas of bias to choose from. I am not saying it will achieve anything but if enough people complain it may have some effect.

Complaining to the BBC directly achieves nothing. My own view is that BBC news and current affairs is run rather like the broadcast arm of the Guardian. It is incapable of reform. I would rather see the funding split between two different news providers with very strict rules on recruitment to ensure that bias can never again become ingrained.

May 31, 2014 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I have a non-researched half idea I’ve been mulling over for a few months now. When I explain it you’ll probably know it already so forgive me in advance. I believe what we’ve seen in the late 20th century is the growth of a new belief system, probably as a result of the waning interest in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions. People who have this belief system are characterised by a set of things they don’t just oppose, but which makes their skin crawl. I’ll try and list a few:

1. Patriotism, they have no liking for the country they were born in their belief system doesn’t allow for national pride;

2. They have a visceral hatred of anyone who challenges their belief system;

3. They pride themselves on being “multi-cultural” that’s a “good” thing. Although the openly despise working, or lower middle class cultures in the own communities – that might be too strong, they probably don’t even think of the working classes, but certainly wouldn’t befriend one;

4. They mostly work in government jobs, NGOs, thing tanks, journalism, the arts, theatre, cinema, and pretty much any job that feeds off the public teat provided the pay is high;

5. They protect these jobs for their own people, no outsiders are allowed in;

6. They do everything in their power to make everyone go to a state school, but send their own to private schools, or exceptional comprehensives like the William Ellis comprehensive (£13500/child/annum) or the Oratory school;

7. They are loyal to each other across national boundaries – vis the feting of President Obama on his election and the absolute silence on his ineptitude. (Google “Obama’s Gaffes and ask yourself what would have been said about them in the MSM if he’d been some right wing president);

8. They know they are right in all their beliefs and that everyone else is not just wrong but totally wrong, and deliberately so to boot. And are to be ridiculed;

9. They have no faith in the people, and a disdain for democracy (rule by the mob) oozes from them;

10. They do have faith in large bureaucracies where they are employed and frequently become multi-millionaires without making a single useful contribution to the societies they served.

In short they are the enemies of little people everywhere, no more so than in developing countries where those of them that have chosen to make their money by “doing good things” oppose the use of DDT and the introduction of Golden Rice without a hint of conscience because they do it, as C. S. Lewis said “…with the approval of their own conscience.”

The BBC is the mouthpiece of these awful people in the UK.

It’s a little uncoordinated I’m afraid and I need to sharpen up and add to the list of their beliefs and wrongdoings, but I hope it goes some way to explaining what the BBC is all about. In my view at least.

May 31, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Geronimo - I've just read your idea and my gut reaction is that I do recognise the type of person you describe and I agree with you. Nick Clegg springs to mind!

I have had the same profile of such people in my mind for a long time, but never put much thinking into characterising them as a belief system, or social type or whatever. I need to give this more thought but there is no doubt that many of our politicians belong to the club that you describe, together with some of the press and a good number of celebrities.

Perhaps it is a disease that infects bubbles of various sorts.

May 31, 2014 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

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