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« Patchi is history, Lee for IPCC | Main | Wildlife thriving in Chernobyl »
Tuesday
Oct062015

Unchaperoned views

Any sceptic views in the offing?A few weeks back we all had a laugh over Quentin Letts' What's the Point of the Met Office? and the ensuing rumpus. As I noted at the time, it was a fairly trivial show (transcript here), and I had actually made my original posting as a simple link because I didn't think it worth listening to myself. However, the rumpus continues and the latest reverberations were felt today.

Any appearance on the airwaves by a sceptical voice necessarily leads to a formal complaint, and the outraged party this time was one Andy Smedley, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Manchester. The result has been an abject apology from the BBC:

With regard to What's The Point of the Met Office, we do not consider that the programme met our required standards of accuracy or impartiality...it failed to make clear that [sceptics] are a minority voice, out of step with the scientific consensus... we have carried out an examination of the programme's production processes to discover how it went wrong.

This was an unfortunate lapse for which we apologise and we would like to assure you that we remain committed to covering all aspects of the subject in the most accurate and responsiible way possible.

I'm not sure I don't detect a pattern here. Here's my theory.

On live discussion shows the BBC can get the interviewer to introduce the guest as being someone who holds incorrect opinions, but that doesn't really work for personal opinion pieces like Quentin Letts' one. One option within the absurd framework they have given themselves is to preface the show with a "public health warning". But that would lead to accusations of the corporation being completely Orwellian. That leaves them the slightly silly option they have taken on this show - namely to go through the rigmarole of abasing themselves before the complainants. Far easier, I would have thought, simply to insist that sceptics' opinions are never allowed out unchaperoned.

At the time of the broadcast, Roger Harrabin opined that "sceptics had now 'had their programme'". I think I now see what he meant.

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Reader Comments (49)

Good luck to you getting the BBC to apologise for anything involving Jews, Syrian refugees or the EU. Yet complain about sceptics being on air and the BBC can't apologise enough for your hurt sensitivities.

Mailman

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Not until an “elevated” complaint did the BBC respond.
I suppose they couldn’t be bothered initially. Could it be now that the Beeb is just patronising poor upset Andy?

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The BBC (and Sky who are almost as bad) could counter all their critics without removing any commentators or views by simply adding new programs that aired the other side of the argument and the people who hold those opposing views. The fact that the BBC do not allow that proves that they are afraid of those alternative views (pathetic).

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Registered CommenterDung

100% with Whittingham re taking complaint adjudication away from the BBC. You can more or less script their reply to any complaint you make before you get it. In reality, the response is in essence "eff off".

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I have complained several times to the BBC, and I have never known them to apologise within two months.

Usually they don't reply at all until you realise and chase them

Then they issue a bland "f**k off, we're not interested in what you think" response.

Then, if you can be bothered to go through the whole process of resubmitting the complaint, they will take another couple of months, and again usually only reply when you chase.

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Martyn, that thought had also occurred to me too. Smedley and the BBC sing from the same hymn sheet, but that doesn't mean that the BBC are any more interested in having to deal with complaints.

All the reports I have read at BH suggest the standard BBC operating procedure is to initially ignore 100% of complaints, by some choice of words, to bring the numbers down to a manageable level of the more persistent irritants. Then they can start to apply the party line to the remaining ones.

Oct 6, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I should like to know who is funding this "Smedley". Which sinister group of rich politically motivated extremists is providing his backing?

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

yes, but isn't this grovelling on the part of the BBC truly disgusting? I am grateful to you for bringing it to my attention. Licence fee - bring it on!

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm Chapman

At the end of a new book, available free of charge via Climate Etc (hat-tip Greenie Watch), the author, Alan Longhurst, writes this:

But perhaps the strongest emphasis on certainty that the science is settled comes from the scientists themselves, who have collectively worked on these issues for almost half a century and who have built lives and careers developing evidence to support the standard model of climate change – the teaching of which is now prominent in all earth sciences degree courses. This model is sufficiently embedded in the culture and practice of the earth sciences today, and in the education of several generations of young scientists, that it will survive all assaults - including this one - for several decades to come.

It looks like this model may have survived the assault of Quentin Letts as well, at least in the mind of the young scientist Andy Smedley who is presumably very upset that a key temple of the climate alarm cult, the UK Met Office, has been cheekily shown in an unflattering light.

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

So, there is still a "scientific consensus" then? The one thing I was always taught was that there is no such thing as a "scientific consensus", only science! As to the licence fee, any mileage in the thought that a modification in the BBC's stance on one or two issues, might be connected to the guvments modest sabre-rattling of a serious look at the BBC's Charter when it comes up for renewal?

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Like the Marcott graph is still on the BBC website at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24204323

I complained and was told the reason my complaint was invalid was because "its from a peer reviewed paper". Actually, their graphic isn't and of course even Marcott accepts it as meaningless. But the cause must go on at the BBC.

Still thinking if I can be bothered to complain again and point out that this graph is now debunked by the Ocean2K results. I can probably guess what the rebuttal will be then...the graph was relevant at the time of publication. And then the BBC will pretend the Ocean2K result does not exist. Strange they haven't mentioned it isn't it?

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

When it comes to the Met Office, many will be aware of Shukla, and the RICO 20 carnage, now being ignored by the BBC etc.

Following links at Climate Audit, google 'Shukla Symposium'. One of the VIP speakers was Dame Julia Slingo, of the Met Office. Did UK taxpayers pay for the flight, or US taxpayers?

What has the Met Office learned as a result?

Surely someone from the BBC must find something interesting to report. Or the Met Office?

Oct 6, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Is the BBC ignoring the RICO 20 debacle because it proves the false balance of funding propaganda, that they wish to ignore, because of their belief in the false propaganda, now enshrined in their corporate belief system?

There is falsified evidence, supporting BBC false balance logic. How is BBC credibility now, with MP's, and the public who pay for it?

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

False balance my arse! AR5 was clear that virtually nothing that has been asserted about mans influence on the climate has any scientific support. Scepticism has been vindicated by dint of being correct all this time while the alarmists were wrong.

After the dismal failure of all their models the so-called consensus only has left the twisted syllogism: 'It's warming. We can't tell if nature is doing it. Therefore it must be us. It has about the same amount of logic as Woody Allen's "All men are Greek. Socrates was a Greek. Therefore all men are Socrates".

And of course all of those soft science PhDs who would otherwise be signing on the dole agree that they must pursue this MacGuffin until a new ice age appears. Such desperation doesn't give them the right to hide the unfortunate truth from the public at large - that they still don't have a clue what really drives climate!

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Just privatise the BBC.

In my view it has been the single most damaging organisation to British society and I include in that all the trade unions, the USSR spies, CND, greenpeace, etc.

All it does now, is to debase British broadcasting by stopping the profits that a decent broadcaster needs.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Two days left for submitting your views to the government.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-begins-debate-on-the-future-of-bbc

The BBC Trust has launched its own survey.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-33619848

Tell them that the best solution is to close them down.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Considering that IPCC pseudoscience can be proved to be a fabrication in half a page of A4 of 12 point type, it's amazing that the Beeb has to apologise for their persistent part in the deception.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Is Andy Smedley of University of Manchester using taxpayer funding, to distort scientific and political thinking, and reinforce BBC bias?

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I'm with MikeHaseler on what should be done with the BBC. It is beyond redemption. And, because it is, why would one expect anything better than that ridiculous grovel to the offended psicentivist?

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

All it does now, is to debase British broadcasting by stopping the profits that a decent broadcaster needs.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

MikeHaseler, that seems like a good point I hadn't really thought about in great detail before. British broadcasting shouldn't have to be seen as being a "Who is going to stand up to the Murdoch types?" dichotomy. The BBC has undoubted broadcasting skills that ought to be useful for making real profits in a world-wide media market. They should be able to profit from the market for their political views.

Why not privatise about half of the BBC with the government keeping a 'golden share' to be sold off later, as with the BP privatisation. That way the exchequer will get a large cash injection and future revenue stream from a profitable company, the citizenry will be freed from the BBC tax, and the BBC will get the medicine it so badly needs.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Paul Homewood
That's my experience.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Just saying, two of Dr Smedley papers this year:
Using urban canyon geometries obtained from Google Street View for atmospheric studies

Colour as a signal for entraining the Mammalian circadian clock

and one from 2009: Potential of wind turbines to cause epilepsy under different meteorological conditions.

Oct 6, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

The BBC apologising for making the mistake of broadcasting the programme is as good an admission that it normally censors climate scepticism as you are likely to get.

Surely the BBC is in breach of its charter? It is not for the Corporation to take sides on a controversial scientific debate. I don't remember them taking sides in other controversies such as the MMR vaccine.

There is no doubt that climate change is unsettled science. The 18 year pause and failed climate models are evidence of that. The BBC is deliberately suppressing one side of the science which cannot be right.

I wonder what John Whittingdale and Ofcom would make of a formal complaint to them? There is clearly no point in complaining to the BBC managers, they have stated their policy very clearly.

Oct 6, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I should be interested to know if Quentin Letts was involved in the discussion about this complaint. If he wasn't I think Bishop Hill should notify him so that he can raise this with the BBC by way of a formal complaint if necessary. The programme was clearly intended to be satirical and provocative, and therefore questions about climate change scepticism and impartiality do not apply.

The upholding of the complaint is itself wrong and the apology should be withdrawn.

Oct 6, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndais

Think how much of a kerfuffle this would be in climate science outputs were not being used to drive policy without any checking or verification. I keep saying this and often I see I'm not alone: it doesn't matter if climate science is correct with experimentation. What matters is if it can be turned into something reliable and repeatable that you can verify and certify for use.

Because just about everything else goes through that. Take the VW scandal. One point not focussed on so much is that VW cars have a non-certified bit of code running on them. Now whether it causes harm to drivers would have to be quantified but the EPA were not impressed at all.

When was the last time those economy busting climate models got similar checks?

Oct 6, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Resisting the Delphi Technique:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=27&v=omjnTSctsjs

Oct 6, 2015 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/2015/speaker_detail/10814

Battle of Ideas at the Barbican week after next Martin Durkin the main man is going to be there.

Ironically talking about the threat to the Public Service BBC and ironically the same threat to the Public Service Met Office from Online Broadcasting.

Channel Four is being privatized perhaps they want to go out in a blaze of glory and controversy.Stick one on the Westminster Establishment.
Bishop with Paris coming up have you or Steve McKintyre approach Martin Durkin and Wag TV to do the video version of Hockey Stick Illusion and the Climategate story.

Oct 6, 2015 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

For those of you not following David Evan's excellent series over at Jo's blog, he is exposing problems with the climate models. He has chosen not to question the physics of greenhouse gas theory. Instead, he is showing that the models have not been constructed properly.

I think this is incredibly important. The good and the great will not entertain criticism of the "science" because that is "settled" yet David is showing that when modelled correctly, the warming effect of carbon dioxide is not a problem.

Therein lies the problem with the BBC. They are probably reassured by all the scientific community that the physics is correct. It takes someone with an in depth knowledge of how the climate is modelled to know whether the alarmism is justified or not. The outcome depends on the feedbacks.

A lot of sceptics know that the models are wrong but do not have the specialist knowledge to expose the flaws in detail. David Evans seems to be doing just that. It is this difference between the physics and the modelling that screws up the whole perception of "settled science".

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Government-funded media inevitably become propaganda organs. It's the BBC that's the problem, not the met office.

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Is this the worst year on record for BBC/Met Office factual reporting on climate science?

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

A grovelling apology indeed. How dismally right-on PC .

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

A series of depressive lows has swept up from the Met Office in Exeter, swirled around the disorientated BBC all, hoping for a rising star from the left. An unprecedented succession of own goals, has failed to change the perception of the weather, as being any more extreme than ever before.

A desperate search is underway, to find unique superlatives, as yet unused in climate scientology reporting.

Oct 6, 2015 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I just filled in this 38 degrees inspired questionnaire - though not with the response they were hoping for.

If you haven’t posted about this yet it would be well worth responding to.

Closes on Thursday I understand.

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/bbc-consultation-thankyou

Oct 6, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Davison

Steve - the 38degrees forums position is to 'protect our BBC' when, in my opinion and perhaps the opinions of many others too, is that it should be disbanded. I have completed their survey but my answers reflects my opinion that the BBC is not fit for purpose therefore I suspect my thoughts and opinions will never coome to anything as far as 38degrees are concerned. If it only shows 38degrees my contempt for the BBC than that's good enough but their survey results aren't likely to change anything.

Oct 6, 2015 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

They ain't going to like my answers to their questionnaire either!

Oct 6, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Shame the BBC did not ask about how I believe their perception of balance is heavily weighted to support the BBC's misguided beliefs. Did they get Lewandowsky to write the questions?

Oct 6, 2015 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I avoid 38degrees; if they're not a socialist construct, the do an impressive impersonation of being one. Also, once you've signed up to one petition, they then bombard you with others, generally of a socialist bent.

Oct 6, 2015 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in cheshire

Schrodinger's Cat posted the link direct to the questionaire without going through the biased 38 degrees statist organisation:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-begins-debate-on-the-future-of-bbc

I would convert the BBC to commercial pay-to-view status, so that there was no TV licence. That way if people like the BBC's biases they can pay for them without being so selfish as to expect me to subsidise them. It is possible that the BBC could then cater for many tastes by having one "Guardian" channel complete with its CAGW believing, people hating prejudices, and separate ones free of such biases.

Oct 6, 2015 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Re 38degrees their link says the answers will feed directly into the BBC survey and that I would get a separate message from the BBC. Interestingly that hasn't happened yet but I try try to take people at their word. I would be surprised if they had time to proof read/filter.

I am well aware of their bias but we sometimes cross over, that is life!

Oct 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Davison

Steve Davison: Likewise, got a response from 38degrees, but none from Gov.co.uk (it is not a BBC consultation).

Still, I'm not worried, will give it a couple of days, if no official response by then, I will forward the email reply from 38degrees (which includes my responses to the questions) to the consultation site.

This is a formal consultation and if 38degrees are filtering/censoring responses, they are committing multiple criminal offences.

Oct 7, 2015 at 12:33 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I got a response from .gov within a minute or two.

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

The BBC "apology". Excuse me while I puke.

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Here's another BBC correction : Harra was forced to edit his Pope/Republican story
as both the headline and subheadline assertions happened only in HIS IMAGINATION.
- Original..corrected 24 hours later :Today's version

Correction 25 September 2015: An earlier version of this report implied that Marsha Blackburn's comments were made in relation to the Pope's address. They were actually given in an earlier interview and the headline and text have been amended to make this clear.
- It looks like a carefully constructed propaganda piece to release some smear dirt from a few months ago that Harrabin has probably been holding onto ..Now on the occasion of the Pope Speech to congress it seems he tried to shoehorn the dirt onto that to justify it as NEWS..
Only he made the mistake of implying that it was a reaction to the Pope's visit yet he published it too early ...after the pope's 186 climate words (of a 616-word speech) at the Whitehouse on Wednesday BUT before the Pope had spoken to Congress on Thursday (Where only 225 words of his 3,396-word speech were on climate)
- My Greenblob friends angrily shared the original ..as in their minds it told them that the Pope's Congress speech was ALL about climate and after listening the top Republicans had made big speeches denouncing him.
- Funny that they and Greenblob are not crowing about this correction
Some of the changes
Title : Ignore Pope on climate, says Republican Marsha Blackburn
New Title : Pope unlikely to sway top US critics on climate

Sub-heading : One of the most influential US energy politicians says she will reject the Pope's plea to tackle climate change.
New Sub : The Pope's plea to tackle climate change is likely to get a cool reception from some key energy politicians in the US.

Despite his plurals..the item is really just a smear job against ONE US politician.

- The dirt is that she said (In the last 13 years) "I think we've cooled almost 1 degree (F)."
Unfortunately we can't check the CONTEXT cos she has never made the claim elsewhere, rather just in a Radio4 documentary recorded months ago ..but with no broadcast date yet available.

- Instead of calling her or her colleagues to check Harra quotes only one source he called up for a reaction :
\\Professor Brian Hoskins, a leading climate scientist at the Royal Society said her remarks were "absolutely staggering". //
Bish mentioned Brian Hoskins work for the Grantham Institute almost 2 years ago.
............(I have a longer deconstruction also)

Oct 7, 2015 at 6:12 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The BBC, in the days of eugenics, would be censoring Chesterton for criticizing the consensus.

Oct 7, 2015 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Not being a U K taxpayer my opinion may not be worth much but I couldn’t see anything ‘sacrilegious’ in Graham Stringer’s or Peter Lilley’s comments.
That wind turbines are ugly is merely an aesthetic judgement, nothing to do with fundamental belief just as some Christian denominations think crucifixes (cross with corpus) are overdone or excessive. That wind-generated electricity is comparatively expensive is undeniable.
Peter Lilley’s comments were a neat summary of the empirical evidence to date.
Maybe it was the light tone of the programme that was more that flesh and blood could stand.

Oct 7, 2015 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

The complaint and the grovelling (and rather chilling) apology seem to miss the point. This was not a formal rebuttal of the "consensus" but an amusing critique of the Met Office and their obsession with global warming which seems to lead to poor forecasting. Shame on the BBC.

Oct 7, 2015 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Incidentally, O T, we Australians have been graced with the lordly presence of your Mr Gummer recently, lecturing us on our carbon sins of commission and omission.
Needless to say our ABC has lapped up every word.

Oct 7, 2015 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Schrodinger's Cat

Thank you for the links. I have told them to go and get privatised. Will they listen? Probably not.

Oct 7, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm Chapman

tomo on Unthreaded has supplied this link to an article by Richard Black on Climate Home.
He appears to be deleting comments that disagree with him.
Diddums!
His site, of course, and he can do what he likes, but what's the point of posting a rant if the only comments you allow are ones that join in. "Circle jerk" comes to mind.

Oct 8, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

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