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Tuesday
Nov292011

Harrabin on CMEP

Roger Harrabin has written an article responding to David Rose's article in the Mail on Sunday about the activities of the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme. This is most of it.

Climate sceptics seeking more space on the BBC helped provoke the Trust’s investigation into science impartiality but the Trust said we were already giving them too much space – not too little. We should bear this in mind when we hear new accusations of bias. Take the Mail on Sunday’s latest articles, which focused partly on the BBC ‘Real World’ seminars I helped to run. They began in the late 90s after I wondered which stories would still appear significant in 100 years. I concluded that longterm changes in environment and development might prove very important, and judged that these slow-burn issues were under-covered at the time.

In those days the environment was a lower order story and leading scientists were already complaining that we treated environment science like politics – as though the weight of opinion on each side was equal. There was also a gathering consensus among UK parties and corporate leaders on the issue. That’s why Tony Hall, then Head of News, asked me to create seminars for editors and managers to discuss global environmental change and development. Over several years I worked under the supervision of senior BBC management with Dr Joe Smith, a senior lecturer at the Open University, to devise meetings with politicians, business people, thinktanks, academics from many universities and specialisms (science, technology, economic and social sciences, and history), and policy experts and field workers from NGOs – particularly from the developing world.

The seminars, held under Chatham House rules, have contributed to the BBC’s strong reputation for reporting on environmental issues – not just on climate change. Lifting editors away from deadlines for creative conversations proved popular, so the environment seminars morphed into diverse gatherings ex- amining trends in society, the economy and culture as well as the environment. They include a broad spread of views and if they had been captured by any agenda, BBC management would have squashed it instantly. One meeting proved contentious in the blogosphere after a climate sceptic invitee wrote about it. A senior scientist present had told us the debate on climate change was ‘over’ and urged us to stop reporting the views of climate sceptics. I said the balance of the science suggested that we should not always feature sceptics but that we should continue to represent their views on a case-by-case basis because many legitimate science debates remain and because of the politicised nature of the policy debate. Helen Boaden endorsed the advice.

The BBC paid its own way with the seminars but Dr Smith’s expenses and time were funded by a spread of organisations wanting a better public debate about the issues including HSBC, Vivendi, Bowring Trust, WWF, Economic and Social Research Council, Dept of Environment, Shell, and the Tyndall Centre for climate research.

Outside funds for the meetings have now stopped, but the Mail on Sunday singled out the contribution from Tyndall Centre, which is a consortium of several universities including the University of East Anglia, where the Climategate controversy happened Tyndall is a bona fide body and part of its remit was improving communication of climate science. The BBC sought advice from many different experts on trying to make climate change coverage more accessible and interesting to our broad audiences. Professor Mike Hulme – the director of Tyndall – proved particularly influential in his advice for us to adopt measured tones, avoid inflammatory reporting, accept that some areas of the science are impossible to resolve and to treat the issue more as one of societal risk than scientific certainty. He is an odd target for sceptics as some mainstream scientists think he’s too sympathetic to sceptic views.

The BBC has told the Mail on Sunday that the funding arrangements for the seminars raised no issues about impartiality for the BBC or its output. I believe we can be much more robust over our coverage. Our journalists have met and interviewed many of the world’s leading climate sceptics, some of whom have actually praised both our reporting of the Climategate affair and my own Uncertain Climate documentaries. Correspondents and editors strive to be fair at all times when reporting this vexed topic. Generally, though, we seem to be trusted by our audiences to be offering impartial information. However controversy about our coverage won’t disappear, because some players on either side will never be satisfied with that.

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Reader Comments (142)

“…the Trust said we were already giving them too much space” is something of a misrepresentation. Prof Steve Jones may think that, but given that he totally misunderstood what ‘hide the decline’ was about, no great weight should be placed on Roger Harrabin’s defence.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterSummertown

Interesting and revealing peice by Harribin there. Where does this appear originally Bish?

I wondered which stories would still appear significant in 100 years.

If you are going to do that it might be worth applying some humility. Say look at what stories 100 years ago turned out relevant today?

I said the balance of the science suggested that we should not always feature sceptics but that we should continue to represent their views on a case-by-case basis because many legitimate science debates remain and because of the politicised nature of the policy debate. Helen Boaden endorsed the advice.

So Harribin claims to be the pivotal source of this advice to obstruct sceptics. Meaning quite simply that the case by case argument now has the sublimated assumption that sceptics are privileged if they are allowed air time and by implication any alarmist pronouncement gets a free pass. All now accepted without the trouble of applying any deep intellectual thought. Nice one Harribin you really are a modern product of the anti-enlightenment.

Our journalists have met and interviewed many of the world’s leading climate sceptics, some of whom have actually praised both our reporting of the Climategate affair and my own Uncertain Climate documentaries.

Meaning what exactly? Knowing which particular scientists praised him would be more informative, and if any had criticsed him he seems silent about that possibility, I mean he could have said "there were no critcisms".

All in all shows up the guy to be an activist influencing the BBC's output as the Mail article implies.

The BBC has told the Mail on Sunday that the funding arrangements for the seminars raised no issues about impartiality for the BBC or its output.

Note the weasel words claiming that funding raised no issues, when it is quite obvious that these people get off on their moral crusade, and feelings of pseudo-intellectual superiority, and would do this for free ;)

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Fluff.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

"The BBC sought advice from many different experts on trying to make climate change coverage more accessible and interesting to our broad audiences."

The BBC's editorial values state (h/t David Hagen, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/newsbytes-bbc-in-cahoots-with-climategate-scientists-prime-minister-green-guru-publicly-doubts-climate-change/)

"1.3.2 “The Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter specifies that we should do all we can “to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality” in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.”"

The BBC principles on accuracy state:

"3.2.3 The BBC must not knowingly and materially mislead its audiences. We should not distort known facts, present invented material as fact or otherwise undermine our audiences’ trust in our content."

Perhaps Roger Harrabin can actually quote the different sceptic experts they consulted: did they seek opinion ever from Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, Landsea, Daly, McIntyre, McKitrick or even Singer? In more recent times have they sought the statistical opionions of Eschenbach, RyanO or JeffID?

Roger Harrabin, Black, Eden, Kriby and other BBC journalists have decided that a small group comprised almost entirely of the Climate Research Unit at UEA plus an additional coterie including Mann, Santer, Trenberth and a few others are the fount of knowledge and truth concerning climate change and only those views count. The recent email release shows that this bias at the BBC goes back as far as 1999 and extends through both journalism and program making.

BBC journalists, including Roger Harrabin, decided what the truth was a long time ago and have an ongoing and close relationship with those who pushed a single view of climate change and proxy studies. That relationship is still going on and the BBC journalists are effectivley a PR extension of that small group.

I have never seen the BBC present, in full, in a balanced way, a single informed view from any of the highly respected and professional people listed above. Can anyone recall a single report, web page or program from a BBC journalist discussing the merits of any counter argument, ever? Perhaps Roger Harrabin would like to provide an example - perhaps from 2005 highlighting the Hockey stick controversy, or from 2010 concerning the complete demolition of Steig 09?

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

He cannot get it into his head that in science there is no such thing as consensus! The consensus on stomach ulcers for instance should be a glaring kick in the ass to anyone using the word? How many scientists did it take to show that thousands were wrong? Why would he look at it on a "case-by-case basis"? He is the expert who knows who is right and who is wrong and decides?

Is he still to ashamed to produce a list of who attended the meeting? The amount of evidence not only in AGW but also in politics shows the BBC (and other MSN) bias and one nights viewing of Question Time shows this.

Answer us this Harrabin, why has every job offered at the BBC been solely advertised in the left wing Guardian newspaper since back in the days of the last Labour government? Maybe, as with industry, the person placing the adds has to show costings from various papers before placement but as a guy that used to have to check costings I would be right up someones a** seeing this happening.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Pete H: My dad used to joke that you can tell when a Labour government is in power by how thick the jobs section of the Guardian is.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Did anyone really expect the Beeb activists to put their hands up and say "you got me there, its a fair cop guv"?

That Harrabin needs to issue a (weak) PR piece to try to rationalise his bias shows that ClimateGate 2.0 has him rattled. He, Black and their ilk have proven themselves unfit and need to be removed. Revkin got binned at the NYT after obstructing reporting of ClimateGate 1.0 so maybe the DG will try to limit damage by ejecting them shortly... Here's hoping!

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

"A survey of BBC employees with profiles on the site [facebook] showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as "liberal" than "conservative".

"But separate research revealed that nearly 80 per cent of those who describe themselves as "liberal" on Facebook either vote Lib- Dem (49.9 per cent) or Labour (38.5 per cent)."

"A search of the UK-wide Facebook "population" reveals a much smaller liberal to conservative ratio of just 2.5 to one."

The BBC is institutionally biased. And none of them seem to realise how far adrift they are far from the nation's views - add together the Guardian and Independent circulations and you still don't get close to the Telegraph, the largest circulating serious newspaper.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-490047/Facebook-reveals-BBC-liberal-hotbed.html

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

How did the BBC trust arrive at the conclusion that too much time was given to skeptic views? What or who influenced them to arrive at this decision?

Why do the BBC, Joe Smith and Roger Harrabin all refuse to detail the attendees of the 2006 seminar with high level BBC executives?

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterpy

Unfortunately there is no general public hubub about Climategate 2.0, since most people get their news from the BBC which has had zero coverage (surprisingly, ho ho).

I don't believe the ramifications of this event are for the public, who are at best uninformed and at worst totally ignorant. Climategate 2.0 was for the audience of scientists, both within and without Climate Science, who know how science is done, and who can now see what a sham this is.

The layman's idea of Scientists is Coxy off the telly, and he's more a celeb tv presenter now than any sort of scientist, only too willing to take the shilling for continued Equity membership.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"Professor Mike Hulme...accept that some areas of the science are impossible to resolve and to treat the issue more as one of societal risk than scientific certainty."

Harrabin reports that that is judged by some as "sympathetic to sceptic views" when in fact it is much closer to their objections than their position. If some of science is impossible to resolve then how does that automatically transform into societal risk? Harrabin is either being lead around by the nose or is deliberately disingenuous.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Where is this article published?

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

It's all hot air Harry-bin until you release all the details of the seminar, who was there and what was discussed.

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Jiminy Cricket

Fluff.
==================
.....er

Nov 29, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

Dear Mr Harrabin,

Some questions:

When you and Joe Smith were working together on the CMEP project, were you aware of Joe Smith's strongly held views on the subject of CAGW? Were you aware that he was essentially acting as an activist to promote certain views? (Previous threads on this site have amply demonstrated Joe Smith's activist stance.) Do you think it was wise to choose Joe Smith as your partner in this enterprise? Do you understand that it gives the impression that the CMEP project might have been heavily biased in its approach.

If you are trusted to provide impartial information, would you be able to tell me why the BBC seemed to be so silent on the issue of the Royal Society's involvement (or lack of) in selecting the papers to be examined by the Oxburgh Review? We know that the Society lied about its involvement in selecting these papers. Emails obtained by FOIA have demonstrated this. You really don't think that's a story that needs reporting?

Do you believe that the Muir Russell review adequately investigated whether CRU scientists had deleted emails to thwart FOIA requests? Do believe that asking the scientists "did you do it?" is an adequate investigative technique? Do you believe the BBC should be investigating this issue?

I know that these tiny little lies are not the sort of major stories likely to be remembered in 100 years. But they add up. And eventually they might add up to some stories that will be remembered for many centuries. "How did noble cause corruption lead to the total undermining of trust in so many of the UK's leading institutions?" "How did a small group of concerned scientists manage to so terrify the world with fears about climate change, that they almost succeeded in persuading the world to retard its development by turning its back on cheap energy?"

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

"I said the balance of the science suggested that we should not always feature sceptics but that we should continue to represent their views on a case-by-case basis because many legitimate science debates remain and because of the politicised nature of the policy debate."

Putting up a few strawmen then knocking them down. BBC ho ho.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

leading scientists were already complaining that we treated environment science like politics – as though the weight of opinion on each side was equal. There was also a gathering consensus among UK parties and corporate leaders on the issue.

In other words, we decided not to treat environmental science like politics by making sure we reflected the consensus among political parties.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJulian

The article is in the BBC's Ariel magazine. Roger H sent me a PDF of the article. I can't see it online at the moment.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:27 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"A senior scientist present had told us the debate on climate change was ‘over’ and urged us to stop reporting the views of climate sceptics.

Nice for a 'scientist' to be able to eliminate discussion in one sweep of a waved hand.

And we, like the invertebrate excuses for journalists that we are, rolled over and had our tummies tickled/gonads ablated - delete as appropriate.

Beyond parody. This man is a disgrace to his profession.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers

I still can't believe there is a generation of scientists who believe that consensus is a valid scientific position? I mean, I can understand knee-jerk protectionism, in the face of Creationists or UFOers are Moon-landers and 9/11 truthers. There are a lot of weirdos out there, and they can be forgiven for thinking CAGW scepticism was another one of them, and try to protect science against them.

But surely it's apparent we are not another loony conspiracy theory by now? Is it that once they have gone down the path they cannot change their opinion?

I have a suspicion that we have bred a generation of scientist who do not believe in innovative thought (because we haven't had any earth-shattering science for 50 years) - endless drudge of procuring grants and keeping themselves afloat in an increasingly business environment of funded academia has bred a generation of manager-scientists who play political games and who actually believe that science is just the raw material they build their careers on.

Boring useless middle managers with not a spark of care for Science. Grey men the lot of them, not an ounce of a Faraday, a Wheeler, a Feynman or an Einstein. Boring no-hopers, in mediocre pretend universities thinking themselves the successors of men who would have kicked their butts if they had been alive.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

More irony:

The study concluded that the news agendas of the print and broadcast media were skewed heavily towards dramatic stories, rather than issues that statistically have a greater impact on health, such as smoking, obesity, mental health and alcohol misuse.

Said who? Roger Harrabin in 2003, temporarily free from the BBC shackles.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

"They include a broad spread of views and if they had been captured by any agenda, BBC management would have squashed it instantly."

Well, according to him, anyway. He failed to mention the BBC's pension plans heavily invested in green industry! How impartial is that? Strikes me that the BBC was the agenda!

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Shouldn't journalists be the biggests sceptics of all - isn't it their job always to ask, is this true? what are they not telling me? what's the real story?

Surely that's what being a journalist (a good journalist rather than just a regurgitator), is all about.

There should be no choice about whether to include 'sceptic veiws' - the biggest sceptics should be the reporters. This article shows just how far environmental 'journalism' is away from real journalism.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Typical BBC response. Ar this stage, I do not expect to see any proper investigation nor change in reporting standards.

However, should the hiatus in global warming continue and as more and more people struggle with thier energy bills as these expenses rise and rise due to ever increasing green levies and should windmills prove to be an inefficient energy provider and should there be brown/black outs, the story regarding energy policy will clamour to be told. If in winter more and more old people are dying as a result of brownouts and/ot high fuel costs, the BBC will be forced to tell the story since it will be reported in other media outlets such that a lid cannot be placed on it. All of that may be 5 or even 15 years in the future.

If at that time, it becomes more apparent that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is low and/or that there is little if any signature of warming caused by manmade emiisions and that all that we have been seeing since the 1940s is nothing more than multidecadal natural variation then I think that there will be an investigation into how the BBC reported the climate change issue and why it failed to hold scientists and government to account to scrutinise proper energy policies. After all thgis failure will have played a not insignificant role in why energy prices were allowed to escalatew and why people in particular vulnerable old people on low incomes were unable to afford to properly heat their homes resulting in some premature deaths. Their will (in this scenario) be blood on the BBC's hands.

As one of the released emails observes:"What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation, they'll kill us probably." and I consider that observation to apply equally to the BBC. It will be too late for the culprit's heads to roll but I do consider that a proper investigation will be conducted and recommendations made so that in future there is more balanced reporting so as to ensure that there is no repeat of the present debacle.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Maurizio, great link!

Sadly Roger Harrabin looks more dupe than journalist in all this, like he met a guy in a pub who was, like, you know, really persuasive. So now he has paid for this snake oil he really must sell it... somewhere.

Nov 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

With limited benefits and embarrassing consequences, including €-billions of windfall profits and fraud, we see fading political support. We don’t expect the ETS to disappear, but politicians are unlikely to tighten the rules to revitalise it. By 2025, the ETS will have cost consumers €210bn, we estimate. Had this amount been used in a targeted approach to replace EU’s dirtiest plants, emissions could have dropped by 43%, instead of almost zero impact on the back of emissions trading.

(my emphasis; source, UBS - http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL5E7MI18O20111118)

Harrabin, with his unquestioning parroting of lefty activist quack science, personally bears a significant portion of the blame for this.

[Snip]

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

When I worked as a journalist someone put a big poster up saying 'there is no such thing as the truth' on the wall (we were young, it was the 90's)

That's what's so worrying about this idea of 'consensus' - it's just another name for The Truth.

Truth belongs in religion - facts belong in journalism.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

It's impressive that none of the commenters on this blog seem to have actually read what Harrabin is saying in any objective way at all. Surely therefore they are all guilty of the very crime of which they accuse the BBC, namely bias.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterClarter

Clarter: I've checked with the Boss at home and she confirmed there is no impartiality clause in my life's charter. For publicly-funded BBC, on the other hand...

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

"A senior scientist present had told us the debate on climate change was ‘over’ and urged us to stop reporting the views of climate sceptics."

If they said that, they are not a scientist. If someone pretending to be a senior scientist said that to me my bullshit detectors would be on red alert and I would looking for the story. Which "senior scientist" said that? Phil Jones? Someone else at CRU? Michael Mann? David King? John Beddington? Paul Nurse?

And just remind me Roger Harrabin, over at the world of the BBC, where in the BBC reporting and program making did the debate actually take place? I must have blinked and missed it. As far as I can see Roger Harrabin and other BBC journalists have never reported any views other than those of CRU, IPCC and Michael Mann and his cronies, while in emails to Mike Hulme at CRU those with a sceptical view who complain are referred to as "loonies".

Does Roger Harrabin really think that this tiny group of climate "scientists" have a monopoly on the truth about climate science? Is Roger Harrabin really so dim that he cannot see that if the Hockey Stick can be produced from noise then Mann's papers are worthless? Is Roger Harrabin so scientifically illiterate that he cannot see what is wrong with deleting data you don't like and filling it in with temperature data? Is Roger Harrabin so hopeless than he does not understand that systematically discarding data that does not correlate with temperature and only retaining that which does almost certainly leads to the classic statistical danger of spurious correlation and confirmation bias?

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

The problem for Roger Harrabin as these emails make clear is that UK climate scientists saw him as their man-at-the-BBC and that Mr Harrabin has been exposed as a more-than-willing communicator for these climate scientists.

Time and time again Mr Harrabin has been employed to deliver the 'message' at seminars, at public sessions, create communication and media strategies that allowed the 'message' to be broadcast.

The following is a good example of how reporting climate change has been corrupted at the BBC.

date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 18:05:59 +000 ???
from: Mike Hulme <???@uea.ac.uk>
subject: Roy Soc meeting, 12-13 December
to: ???@ukace.org,???@rspb.org.uk,???@bnif.co.uk, ???@ntlworld.com,???@doh.gsi.gov.uk

<x-flowed>
Dear Colleague,

Forgive this impersonal communication, but I wished to make contact initially with you all at this stage with some information about the session at the RS meeting on climate change on Thursday 13th December you have kindly agreed to contribute to as a discussant.

The session is called 'challenges for the UK' and follows an earlier session on 'challenges at the international level'. The first day of the meeting (Wednesday) will have reviewed and critiqued (I hope) the three working group reports of the IPCC TAR.

Within the session I am co-ordinating there are three topics - reducing emissions (Tom Delay from the Carbon Trust speaking), risk - managing the dangers (Chris Newton from the E. Agency) and reaction - communicating climate change science (Roger Harrabin from the BBC).

The overall purpose of the session is to identify in as constructive a way as possible what needs to be done to ensure that climate change is managed in the UK as best we can. The problem will not go away; we all have to accept that, through our own actions, we have created a rather different world than previous generations have lived through, a world in which climate will not just vary from season-to-season and from year-to-year as it has done for time immemorial and to which our society is, in some sense, adapted, but that there is now a directed trend in climate which we will all have to get used to. How large this will be we don't know, although we know we can influence the magnitude of the future trend through our actions. The session therefore has three themes - reduce the problem (mitigate), manage the risks (adapt) and provoke reaction (communication).

The role of the discussants is to provide a brief (no more than 5 minutes PLEASE) perspective from your professional vantage point about what the salient problems are and the highest priority actions for the UK to take. In part, I hope you will also support or reject the perspectives provided by each of the three key speakers in turn (Delay, Newton and Harrabin) - the purpose is to stimulate discussion both in the Q&A time that will follow and around the fringes of the meeting.

I hope to be able to send you, in about 10 days time, some notes on what the three speakers plan to say - but feel free to contact me before time if you would like clarification. I attach in the meantime my suggested drafting notes for the 3 speakers (they may well deviate of course, and I hope they do!!).

..............................

Many thanks,

Mike

Harrabin was clearly acting under Hulme's instructions "to provoke a reaction" at a Royal Society meeting. As you would expect that can only be done by talking in extremes.

So here we have a BBC reporter deliberately hyping the message over Climate Change at the Royal Society to provoke a reaction from attendees in order to stimulate action and all under the direction of Mike Hulme.

All this proves is that Harrabin was Hulme's media bitch, and probably still continues to be so.

Harrabin's defence falls. It is all fluff and nonsense. The BBC has suffered reputational damage as a consequence.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Clarter, most of it is posted at the very top of this page. Can you see it? Yes you can! Good try, but not in the same league as the Omega Troll.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Clarter - that's the point, we're all biased, everyone of us.

That's why journalists ought to deal in facts not truth or consensus.

If a journalist says - "this is the consensus, we don't need to acknowledge facts that don't agree with it"... it's not journalism anymore it's propaganda.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Clarter,

Thank goodness someone who can read objectively has shown up. I don't know why I bother reading subjectively all the time, when I could just consult someone who reads objectively, and get my opinions from them.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

@ richard verney

I think that there will be an investigation into how the BBC reported the climate change issue

Just curious Richard, why do you think that? Is there a precedent for the BBC reviewing its reporting of an issue and then self-criticising in an honest way? I cannot think of a single one.

A possible exception is the Balen Report into BBC bias in reporting on the Middle East. This came about after a few viewers suggested that BBC staff should not be addressing crowds in Palestine and saying that the BBC was on their side (as they did); and that maybe Barbara Plett was not being rigorously unbiased when she confessed to weeping at the death of bloodsoaked terrorist Yasser Arafat. Jeremy Bowen also wrote a disgusting book about the Six Day War in terms little different from those David Irving would have used.

The BBC, however, suppressed that report. Move along, nothing to see here.

Harrabin's hubristic attempt to work out what news would appear important in 100 years' time would indeed have benefited from a look back at what people thought were the most important issues 100 years ago. The new big idea back then was eugenics. We can be quite sure that the BBC would have enthusiastically endorsed selective breeding of people for higher quality - there was after all a consensus.

The interesting question for me is whether the BBC genuinely don't know they are evil, whether they know perfectly well but just don't care, or whether they never think about it beyond assuming that if you don't agree with them, you are evil. Being closest to the Daruniga view, I tend to assume the latter.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

@ Thinking Scientist

Does Roger Harrabin really think that this tiny group of climate "scientists" have a monopoly on the truth about climate science? Is Roger Harrabin really so dim that he cannot see that if the Hockey Stick can be produced from noise then Mann's papers are worthless? Is Roger Harrabin so scientifically illiterate that he cannot see what is wrong with deleting data you don't like and filling it in with temperature data? Is Roger Harrabin so hopeless than he does not understand that systematically discarding data that does not correlate with temperature and only retaining that which does almost certainly leads to the classic statistical danger of spurious correlation and confirmation bias?

Yes to every single one. Harrabin read English at Cambridge and is a lefty. He is scientifically illiterate.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Reading my last paragraph above, I can see how Roger Harrabin would deal with that: he would go back to his friends at CRU and ask them if they thought those statements accurate. Funilly enough they would answer "No!". Do turkeys vote for Christmas? Do you think if the Daily Telegraph had gone to MP's and said "Are you fiddling your expenses?" they would all have turned around and said yes?

In investigative journalism you have to slap the evidence down on the table and make them uncomfortable if you want to get to the truth. Simply running back to a one-trick pony at CRU is called confirmation bias, or in the case of the BBC, propaganda. Its certainly not journalism.

Show me a single article written by Harrabin that takes as its premise a sceptical argument such as from Landsea, Spencer, Christy, Pielke, Lindzen or McIntyre. Is Harrabin really saying that not one argument from these highly intelligent and capable people is worthy of reporting in such a contentious and important debate?

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Al Beeb offering impartial information on Climate Change? That'll be the day!

I am amazed that Harrabin claims there were 'sceptics' in the 1990s, and that's why they set this cmep up..
The only 'sceptics' in the 1990s and early 2000s were members of The Team themselves, as nicely documented in CG2 , from their own mouths.

AGW scepticism only arose in the mid 2000s when SteveMcIntyre took an interest in the data. He did not set out to be a 'sceptic', he just wanted to check things for himself.
We all know what followed, even Harrabin.

But like The Team and their followers, he would of course not sully his eyes by actually checking this and other facts fir himself - oh no.
After all - he is a 'believer' ...

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

This is what Roger Harrabin publicly thinks of climate sceptics.

"Climate sceptics rally to expose 'myth'" - May, 2010

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8694544.stm

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

TBYJ@9:44,

Well said sir, couldn't put it better myself.

The whole thing is the standard, 'Look what you made me do' defence..

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Mac - you've misread Hulme's message. It's not Harrabin the problem there. It's Hulme, interpreting the preparation of a session at the Royal Society as something to do via crowd manipulation, literally planting colleagues to elicit a reaction.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Perhaps I was too kind to the BBC :( (they are deeply trapped by groupthink)

Guest Post:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-impartiality-at-the-bbc/


Please pass the link on, to anybody that might find it of interest
(and add a comment, or any more info as well.


The BBC and Roger Harrabin, Richard Black are trapped by a cutural phenonomem.
In a 100 years: they will be looking back at the Catastrophic Man Made Climate Change Delusion.
and wondering how it happened.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

RE: Viv Evans

"AGW scepticism only arose in the mid 2000s when SteveMcIntyre took an interest in the data. He did not set out to be a 'sceptic', he just wanted to check things for himself."

Its worth noting that Steve McIntyre is not a sceptic and does not express an opinion on climate change. It is probably true to say that he is sceptical of the analyses and data used by CRU and others and that they are likely statistically invalid, or at least of such low quality and confidence as to be worthless for reaching the conclusions attrbitued to them. I think his view is that the analyses and data should be open and subject to proper and rigourous scrutiny when so many important decisions depend on the analyses being correct.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

What about the FACT that Roger Harrabin, was on the Advisroy Board of the Tyndall Centre whilst, the Tyndall, and Mike Hulme were funding CMEP, to pursue Tyndall agenda?!!!

No mention.. Perception of impartiality shot to pieces....:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
extract:

The new emails reveal that not only was the CMEP being sponsored by the Tyndall Centre (UEA) to promote its agenda in the media, but at the same Roger Harrabin was on the Advisory board of the Tyndall Centre! (from 2002 until at least the end of 2005)


“1. We invite three more members to our AB:

Roger Harrabin (media; Radio BBC) - reserve Paul Brown (The Guardian) Bill Hare (NGO; Greenpeace) – reserves Mike Harley (English Nature)” (email 1038 – Hulme)

Tyndall archived webpages courtesy of the wayback machine are here: Advisory board 2002, and here Oct 2005. The Tyndall website changed after this date and no longer shows a link to membership of it’s Advisory Board. The release of the second batch of climategate emails - (2496), gives one reason why the Tyndall Centre funded the Harrabin/Smith seminars – the Real World seminars of the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme

Mike Hulme:

“Did anyone hear Stott vs. Houghton on Today, radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme to starve this type of reporting at source.” (email 2496)

Mike Hulme clearly did not like this program and clearly sponsors CMEP to use its influence with it BBC seminars to change reporting at the BBC, with an apparent intent to suppress any sceptical voices. A commentator at the Bishop Hill blog tracked down the ‘woeful’ program, where Prof Philip Stott and the IPCC’s Sir John Houghton debate the “uncertainties” of climate change”, it is mentioned in a 25 Feb 2002 article by Alex Kirby, BBC online environment correspondent, there is an audio link in the article to the radio program (probably UK only, well worth a listen)

Alex Kirby in the article quotes Stott as saying:

“The problem with a chaotic coupled non-linear system as complex as climate is that you can no more predict successfully the outcome of doing something as of not doing something. Kyoto will not halt climate change. Full stop.” - BBC

I might agree with Mike Hulme that Sir John Houghton performed poorly, but here were 2 scientists talking about uncertainties, nearly ten years ago. I see nothing wrong with that program, it appears to present balance, with views from scientists with different opinions. In fact that quote of Stott appears to be almost directly from the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment report (the one with the ‘hockey stick’ graph in) around the time of the interview,

“The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system,
and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states
is not possible.” – IPCC 2001 TAR (pg 771)

Looking back at Stott’s quote now, and the now, near total failure of the Kyoto agreement, we can perhaps see with hindsight whose argument is treated more kindly by the passage of time.

-------------------
extract:

David Holland also pursued the activities of Dr Joe Smith and a copy of his Open University complaint is here, which is well worth a read for more background and detail.

“It is utterly unreasonable to suggest that the Tyndall
Centre at the University of East Anglia would hand over to CMEP funds unless it was believed Dr Smith and Roger Harrabin could, through the CMEP seminars, change BBC reporting policy in the direction the Tyndall Centre wanted.” (David Holland OU complaint)

---------
extract:

At the time of writing this, was the BBC journalist aware that Roger Harrabin’s CMEP was being funded by Tyndall Centre to comunicate its thoughts to the media and at the BBC? And that her BBC colleague that recommended the Tyndall Centre and Mike Hulme as a contact, was actually on the Advisory Board of the Tyndall Centre and Mike Hulme was signing the invoices for funding CMEP.

Did she realise, or even care, that this relationship puts the BBC Trust in an impossible position in defending it’s impartiality to the general public? The CMEP seminars seem to have been very succesful in persuading the BBC to change it stance and policies in the reporting of ‘climate change’ as described by Dr Joe Smith’s in his OU profile: (h/t DAvid Holland)

“The seminars have been publicly credited with catalysing significant changes in the tone and content of BBC outputs across platforms and with leading directly to specific and major innovations in programming,” - Dr Joe Smith

“It has had a major impact on the willingness of the BBC to raise these issues for discussion. Joe Smith and I are now wondering whether we can help other journalists to perform a similar role in countries round the world” – Roger Harrabin

-------------
Bit annoyed now...

Roger was on the Advisory Board of Tyndall, whilst the BBC seminars were happening.!!!

Andrew Are you or Tony going to put in an FOI request for Advisory Board member of Tyndall, between 2005 - to date?

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

link for above extracts:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-impartiality-at-the-bbc/

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

TBYJ it is my belief that there is a widespread view that climate sceptics are a small bunch of looney troofers. Hence Gordon Brown's reference to is being "flat earthers", Ed Miliband's reference to us as "deniers" and a Tory, whose name I've forgotten referring to deniers. All of them did it once, I suspect because they got a response they weren't expecting from the public, i.e. That there are a lot of us, and that we're far from being the ignorant oicks they assumed we are, both educationally and scientifically. In that we know the scientific process, and we have the training, unlike the politicians, to know when it's not being applied.

As for Harrabin, it's easy really, he has a worldview, the scientists he's spoken to support that world view, and surprisingly they're telling him not to give anyone who disagrees with their scienc an airing. So he doesn't because he won't be called to account because the entire organisation he works for has the same worldview. The stuff in the article is just wriggling, he knows he's been involved in keeping the truth from the public, that is there is more than a little disagreement with the science and the world views. In some respect that's OK. if the entire climate science community is four square behind the theory then it would be perverse to present the other side because effectively there isn't one. On the question of policy however the public do have every right and expectation that the BBC gives them all sides of the story. And they haven't because that would involve having people telling the public they think the scares are exaggerated and there are huge uncertainties in the science. So don't give us the impartial (ho ho) bit Mr. Harrabin you and the BBC have deliberateley kept the public and our MPs in the dark on policies that are bent on reducing their lifestyle so they won't have doubts about global warming and refuse to follow the green agenda you, and your mates in thE UEA are trying to foist on them.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Can't wait for the next enthralling episode of Newswatch where, if this issue is covered, a few degrees of separation senior editorial representative will solemnly intone 'we got it about right again' to a cutaway of a nodding Ray Snoddy, who will then cheerily sign off by saying they want to hear what 'we' think.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

So, who was the senior scientist that said the debate was over?

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterpy

What I find laughable is that most serious sceptics I know are usually university grads, with either science or engineering degrees, with a very good working grasp of mathematics, statistics and science. My first degree (from a Russell Group uni) is in Science, both my postgrad degrees are in Science. I have worked in a highly mathematical engineering environment for almost 20 years, including 7 years at a research laboratory. Quite apart from that I have a passion for science, physics and astronomy, and a deep regard for the natural world. I also have young children, so my scepticism is not some selfish ignorance. I am well-educated by any standard.

And I have to sit here while liberal arts grads working as apologist churnalists tell me I'm wrong, a denier, a lunatic, a flat-earther and should be convinced by the same false appeal to authority they succumb to? No way.

YOU are wrong Mr Harrabin, and you will see it in the next few years that the people you have decided to 'take against' are far more knowledgable and correct than you could ever be.

Nov 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

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