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Discussion > Is the BBC approaching a tipping point?

Without wishing to open a discussion on the details of the JS revelations, I wonder if these will eventually have an impact on the licence fee question. I've seen a couple of comments on news sites along the lines of "If this is what the licence fee has made possible, then I'm not paying it". Could the outcome even result in an appraisal of the BBC's other shortcomings, such as its contribution to the CAGW delusion?

Oct 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A:
That went through my mind when I was listening to the 7am Today progamme this morning. I also thought John Humphrey's remark that the leaders of the inquiries that are to be set up "cannot be BBC insiders in anyway", made an interesting contrast to the employment of Steve Jones to investigate BBC's science "impartiality" last year.

As Autonomous Mind wrote at the time:
"For example, only the BBC could commission an ‘independent’ review that is carried out by a man so thoroughly compromised by his close links with the corporation he may as well be on the payroll. "

Oct 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I'm afraid I'm a pessimist in these matters. I suspect that the BBC inquiries will be as neutral as the Climategate ones and I would be a great deal less than surprised if one of Fat Pang's friends among the great and the good had already been lined up to chair one of them!
This is not a direct criticism of the BBC as such; just a recognition of "official" Britain as it is in 2012.
I don't even think it's conscious or deliberate. It's just that in the "noisy" world we live in — much of that noise created by the BBC and others and their 24-hour news channels and by the print media's move into on-line distribution and the 24/7 implications of that — there is a tendency to reach out for someone you know and feel you can trust to do the job properly.
Just occasionally "properly" means doing your friends what you believe to be a favour.

Oct 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Martin A

I do believe that "something" is happening at the Beeb; their coverage is changing but whether this is policy or rogue reporter who later get slapped I do not know.
The BBC NEWS channel on satellite did have Julia Somerville allowing an OFGEM spokesman to say things I have never heard on the BBC before (and got me into a heap of trouble on this blog hehe).
Something has changed but as yet I could not say what.

Oct 13, 2012 at 11:39 PM | Registered CommenterDung

News on the ground is that the Beeb have consulted Tim Yeo and now have Jonathan King lined up to head the JS enquiry.

Oct 14, 2012 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

The Moral Maze on Radio 4 last night discussed the Morality of Public Service Broadcasting with some friends of the BBC, one academic in particular, I found incredibly and uthinkingly partisan, and a couple of other people not so friendly..

The mere fact of the discussion may suggest Dung could have a point about change afoot.

Oct 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Buerk has been known to break ranks before. Whether it is he or his producer, The Moral Maze is probably the best example of non-PC broadcasting on the Beeb.
Stephen Sackur dips a toe in the water occasionally but then seems to get cold feet. ;¬))

Oct 14, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


The problem for the BBC, even if they do try to change their spots, is that their otherwise astute commentators and interviewers do not really understand what is going on.
You mentioned Stephen Sackur and a few days ago he interviewed Connie Hedegaard on Hard talk. Sackur had researched questions about energy and climate change really well and he put Hedegaard under pressure (this encourages me to think something is afoot hehe). However the responses given by Hedegaard when under pressure went right over Sackur's head. Hedegaard as good as admitted that sustainability was now the mantra and that climate change was far less important. Sackur could have had a ball if he had realised what she was saying.

Oct 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Michael Buerk:

“I want a genuine debate about the assumptions behind the more apocalyptic forecasts.

As recently as 2005, for instance, the UN said there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010.

That was last year.

OK – so where are they?

And actually there has been no significant rise in global temperatures for more than a decade now.” – Michael Buerk, 16 December 2011

“What gets up my nose is being infantilized by governments, by the BBC, by the Guardian that there is no argument, that all scientists who aren’t cranks and charlatans are agreed on all this, that the consequences are uniformly negative, the issues beyond doubt and the steps to be taken beyond dispute.” – Michael Buerk, 16 December 2011

“You’re not necessarily a crank to point out that global temperatures change a great deal anyway. A thousand years ago we had a Mediterranean climate in this country; 200 years ago we were skating every winter on the Thames."

Oct 14, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Unfortunately I've missed the current series of The Moral Maze completely and Hard Talk is badly timed for where I am so I really am out of the loop on this.
It is now almost exactly two years since I said that climate change was about to segue seamlessly into sustainability though I had one false start when I thought it was more likely to be biodiversity — see here.
I'm hardly surprised that Sackur wasn't quite up to speed. He probably wasn't briefed on sustainability and, anyway, what's not to like? We want things to be sustainable, don't we? Trouble is, as so often with this crowd, what they mean by sustainable is different from how the rest of us see it.

Oct 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There does seem to be an undertow of mumbling by the masses (read the comments)...

The Jimmy Savile affair has exposed the sorry chaos at the heart of the BBC

Oct 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


You were not wrong, Biodiversity is even more dangerous but so far is still behind the curtain. Biodiversity is part of Agenda 21 and is therefore signed up to by national and local government already. Biodiversity is the reason they want humans corralled together in huge warrens connected by public transport and totally excluded from large parts of the rest of the planet. This is euphemistically called "living at one with nature".

Oct 14, 2012 at 9:53 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Saw a programme this week by their New Science Editor , David Shukman, from the 'High Arctic' about monitoring bahaviour of the sun, and Solar Storms and there wasnt any mention of Global Warming at all.

That makes a refreshing change from the old and now departed Richard Black's narrative.

Oct 14, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe V.

So do "skeptics" in general have their knives out for biodiversity or is a minority sport?

Unlike global warming, it is an issue you can clearly do something about. You could start with paving both your front and back gardens; dump fertilisers in any available stream or waterway; kill any wildlife that enters your garden; chop down your trees and spray insecticides over your neighbours plants, the better to wipe out bees and their kind; encourage local farmers to strip hedgerows by accident and clear-fell any forests in the area; maybe erect a windmill to shred any local bats; those is Oz could start a breeding and release program for COT starfish - you should be able wipe out the corals and their associated wildlife in a decade or so instead of a few generations...

Maybe AM could add a chapter giving hints on wiping out local wildlife in the first reprint of his much anticipated book...

Oct 15, 2012 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


I note all pretence of being here to engage and explore other views has all but disappeared from your recent comments on this site. Are you, in actual fact, the love child of BBD and Zed? The sneeringly indignant tone of this last post was depressingly familiar. You claim you’re not a troll and play all hurt and insulted when accused of being one. Yet you come up with comments like this one. A comment that totally and unjustifiably misrepresents the views of the readership of this site and, it appears to me, deliberately designed to elicit only angry and less than thoughtful responses. I mean really, what are we to think?

Nobody here, I’m sure, has any objections to biodiversity in it’s literal sense. Indeed, any reasonable efforts to preserve and protect the environment in all it’s forms would, without question, be applauded. However, that’s not what we’re talking about is it? The term biodiversity isn’t being used in it’s literal sense. It’s become “Biodiversity”, a label used to cover a whole host of other agendas, just like the labels “Climate Change” and “Sustainability“. And it's this that people here object to. But you already know this, unless you’re either extraordinarily naïve or totally blinkered. Whilst I don't believe you are one, you may well be the other.

Oct 15, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

"Maybe AM could add a chapter giving hints on wiping out local wildlife in the first reprint of his much anticipated book..."

A nasty and completely unjustified comment.

BB, what did they do to you to make you so bitter and twisted?

Oct 15, 2012 at 7:09 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Perhaps you should go and read the piece I linked to for Dung or possibly — as Laurie implies but is too polite to say — "wind your neck in".
As Dung points out "Biodiversity", like "Sustainability", is just one more aspect of the pseudo-environmentalism which is intended to make humanity subject to the rest of nature, a totally unnatural state of affairs which has never found favour anywhere in the world or at any time in the past and is unlikely to find favour if the sheeple ever get to understand its full implications.
'Sheeple' includes politicians, most otherwise sincere greenies, and trolls like you.

Oct 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

You didn't like my little joke? Do all "skeptics" lack a sense of humour?

My guess is that your collective knowledge of biodiversity amounts to no more than being able to identify a few dozen bird and tress and perhaps the names of your pot plants and border shrubs. The same goes for your cheerleader, Mr Delingpole, who probably has trouble with much more than cat, dog, bird, cow etc. And yet you feel qualified to judge international efforts to protect nature.

The fact that you do feel qualified is symptomatic of the attitudes of "skeptics"; you know nothing of the issues but you read a few articles, maybe a scientific paper or two if you can bear the tedium, learn the "facts" from a few similarly science-free blogs and, hey presto, you are a (false) expert. Now you can spout your ignorance and your spurious certainties to anyone who will listen, sure in the knowledge that they are probably even more ignorant than you.

But although you might read and regurgitate, you could no more write the papers you opine on than you could do the research they are based upon. You know nothing about them beyond what the author choses to tell you. The author, in contrast, has spent years studying and learning and gives you just a glimpse into the depth of knowledge behind the work. Hell, there are even laymen here who think their opinion on the Thorium fuel cycle is worth a pool of spit. The arrogance of it all!

On biodiversity, I suggest you find som real (not false) experts who know something more than can be found in a few Google searches about the issues. Maybe there are even some lurkers here who have enough decades of experience in ecology and biological systems to have a credible opinion on the subject. My guess is that even if they are CAGW "skeptics", they would be too embarrassed to dirty themselves in your biodiversity games.

Note that I also know nothing, which is why I couch my statements on science in terms of guesses and suppositions. But I know that I know nothing, unlike you true followers of that holy trinity, the Auditor, the Accountant and the Weatherman.

Oct 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Well, BB, I am an expert on ironing. You'll just have to take my word for it, and that my intentions are pure, as you will need to understand that anyone who is NOT an ironing expert should not be forming their own opinion on ironing issues and can't possibly understand without years of study and practical involvement in pressing matters. That established, there is a pile of ironing in the kitchen which left unchecked threatens to engulf the entire world. I urgently need funding to enable me to overcome this problem, the seriousness of which is unprecedented. So unprecedented that you can't begin to understand.

Oct 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

BB, what did they do to you to make you so bitter and twisted?

Oct 15, 2012 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Since you admit to knowing nothing (except, apparently, everything about the people you choose to criticise — ie everyone who disagrees with you — and what they know or don't know) perhaps you might do a bit of research of your own and find out just what is meant by "biodiversity", what its benefits are, what the eco-warriors mean by it and what they consider its benefits to be (I'd stand well back for that bit; there'll be a lot of hand-waving!).
You can then move on to looking at the extent to which biodiversity has been over-rated, usually by the hard-of-thinking eco-brigade who have been conditioned to think that it is a "good thing" and must therefore be a good thing in all circumstances.
Having completed Biodiversity 101 you just might be qualified to come back and engage in rational debate on the subject. Meanwhile I suggest you go and lie down in a dark room for an hour or two until you've calmed down.

Oct 15, 2012 at 4:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

This thread had a very good subject for discussion but BBD has yet again screwed that discussion and the last 8 comments were by or about BBD which must entertain it (him or her) immensely. I propose that we continue to discuss Martin's original point and ignore any further posts by BBD?
This thread would make a very good "collection point" for further observations of changes at the BBC.

Oct 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Bitbucket and others:
As Dung has just pointed out, this discussion is intended to be about the BBC. Please stick to the point.
Today's Moderator

Oct 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Well, according to the Guardianistas in that comments section it's all the fault of the consumerist society, tits on page 3 of the Sun and of course Mrs Thatcher.

Oct 15, 2012 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The BBC certainly seems to have an outbreak of enquiries:

(Towards the end) "Later this week the BBC will announce that in addition to an internal investigation into Savile’s activities and another into the dropping of the Newsnight probe, a third inquiry will be launched into allegations of a culture of sexual harassment at the BBC."

I had a boss once who pointed out to me that organisations behave consistently. If they are shambolic on one aspect of their operations, they were probably shambolic in other aspects. The BBC's treatment of science and its reported harassment of female presenters, in my view, are part of the same pattern.

Oct 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A