Friday, 21 August 2015

The BBC respondeth ...

Further to an earlier rant, I actually got a response from the BBC. And one where they actually half-agreed with me - which is more than I got when I complained about the excreable ''The Great Global Warming Swindle''. As they say, it's true that the BBC does "stick to the script" on climate change almost all of the time, but they overlook how damaging it is to go "off piste". Both to general public understanding of the non-debate that is climate science (actually, there's no shortage of debate - just not of the baseless "sceptic" sort), and to their reputation as factual broadcasters. Yes, there's a superficial sense in which it's "balanced" to present climate sceptic views, but only when the nature of that balance is plain. One doesn't see many science programmes that counter geologists with creationists, or medical scientists with HIV-deniers, or even historians with holocaust-deniers, but somehow climate change is fair game for this sort of treatment - despite both its science base and its potentially disastrous implications the world over. Anyhow, this is what they had to say ...

Dear Andrew

Reference CAS-3433921-5SPGSZ

Thanks for contacting us about What’s the Point of...The Met Office? broadcast on 5 August.

In What's the Point of ...?, Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts questions the continued relevance of British traditions and institutions, with an irreverent approach offering alternatives to well-established views. There is a long tradition on Radio 4 of columnists having licence to explore controversial subjects from a personal viewpoint and the light hearted tone of this series allows Quentin Letts to question even the most admired of organisations. Nevertheless we accept that in this episode about the Met Office, while there are legitimate questions to be raised about the accuracy of long-term predictions over the past 10-15 years and funding, the programme should have been more clear about where the balance of the argument currently lies on climate change and, in particular, would have benefitted from clarifying that the Met Office’s underlying views are in line with the scientific consensus.

The omission on these points is regrettable. Climate change is a recurrent theme on Radio 4 programmes and more mainstream views have been, and will continue to be, properly reflected in our output - for example, the following day’s BBC Inside Science included an interview referring to how the release of carbon dioxide may have had a significant effect on the atmosphere and this week’s Fry’s English Delight on weather also reflects the scientific consensus.

We do appreciate this feedback and your concerns have been sent to the programme team, and senior BBC management via our daily report, which means they have been seen by the right people.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and giving us the opportunity to review it.

Kind regards

Ciaran Hanna

BBC Complaints

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