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« Commenting problems again | Main | A pivotal moment for the BBC »

Cranmer on Buerk

Archbishop Cranmer has picked up on Michael Buerk's contribution to the climate debate.

By equating anthropogenic climate change deniers and those who question the doctrine and policy of state multiculturalism with paedophiles - whom society, rationally or not, now ranks as the lowest form of life and quite beyond redemption - the BBC has shown itself to be intellectually deficient and morally bankrupt.

But His Grace has a question: If a qualified doctor and government adviser (unpaid) can be humiliatingly dismissed for having co-authored a paper in which a reasoned correlation was drawn between homosexuality and paedophilia, why should a BBC presenter (paid by the taxpayer) not be dismissed for purposely inciting hatred against climate change deniers and multiculuralist sceptics by juxtaposing their reasoned beliefs with the perversion of paedophilia?

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Reader Comments (105)

(The link to Archbishop Cranmer does not work)

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

No joy for me with this Cranmer link. Can the BBC work so fast in a damage limitation exercise?

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenteralleagra

This burk (in the Antipodes a 'burk' is a very offensive person who tends to think exceedingly well of himself) seems to enjoy flinging the vilest insults he can get his tounge around - his utterance is not too different from those of the self-styled 'attack dogs' who rabidly attack the mildest disagreement on CiF with their established dogma. I will definitely be laying a complaint with his employers.

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Yep, the Cranmer page disappeared rather suddenly :-\

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

When you get to the 404 in blog cranmer does not exist, click on the word 'cranmer' and you'll get there.

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

The link (and title?) apparently were revised:

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

You can access ir from Cranmers main page. He seems to take the view that Buerk is being ironic, but that it illustrates the difficulty of thinking independently in a corporation that is heavily 'groupthink' oriented, a view with which I agree.

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Well - by my reckining then, that makes two BBC newsreaders (one ex-, Peter Sissons being the first). It seems something may have turned a corner?

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

God. It's like O'Donnell and Steig again.

Everyone rushing around changing their bloody minds every few hours.

Perhaps a moratorium on further discussion until a week next Tuesday when a consensus (sic) position has emerged ;-)

I note that Cranmer's re-write is still highly critical of the BBC.

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Does this mean Michael Buerk is a fellow numptie, in broadcaster speak?

Feb 12, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Again, I seem to be on my own here but this is surely a fuss about nothing. Chairing a debate, Buerk starts, as the chair in a debate often does, with a summary of the argument that is provocative to the point of parody. He accurately refers to a commonly-held attitude among the "chattering classes" that equates critics of multiculturalism with racists (which is not unknown) and lumps them with paedophiles and climate "deniers".

I see no suggestion that he is advocates doing that. He might be - I neither know nor much care what Michael Buerk thinks about anything - but this isn't evidence either way.

Park up those tumbrels for a while yet . . .

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

seteve2 who posted this on "Greens and a tin opener" thread deserves another hearing:

Cognitive dissonance.

"I couldn't stand the stress of listening..."

"You're right Dougie, I didn't watch either. I simply can't risk getting furiously angry at my age.."

"Frustrating to listen to..."

These people have it (CD) I would say. They short circuited and left before fully understanding.

Best comment from someone with cojone and says it all:

"I just finished listening the program, and it is better than we thought. Even though it gives the full floor to CAGW advocates, none of them come across as persuasive.

I also learned a new word today: 'eco-psychology'."

To the rest - get out of the kitchen.

This show was bread and butter and more for real thinkers.

The fact that our national broadcaster only interviewed propagandists for "one side" should be noted.

It does not need to be debated what "the truth was"

Look who were asked to talk in this show and stop scurring like tiny mice away from listening and learning more.

WWF, Futerra and a lottery funded Sterling organisation were prominent.

I loved the Sterling woman sayin that the Ethiopean 0.08 ton Carbon usage was a target to attain.

It was a rich mine to find. The guy who clearly was lying about "pollution" to get attention about climate change was obviously vaguely seen as a bit wrong by the presenter, but the presenter soon dropped the subject after the plattitudes kept piling on.

The program actually is pathological in the extreme and should be known as so.

I had to check out the Urban Dictionary to find out what cojone meant. Thank steve. :D

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

No, Michael Buerk is a warmer, I believe he meant what he said.

I recall many years ago a BBC programme were he stated in the introduction that no nobody now doubts Global Warming.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

It's obvious that what is needed is clarification from Buerk.

It's a bit confusing because the BBC, rather like Realclimate, has great control over the message that seeps out from its broadcasts, so it is not unreasonable to presume that Buerk's assignation of climate sceptics to the paedophile bucket was vitriolic. But as others have pointed out, this may be a poke at the BBC rather than a poke at scepticism. We need to hear from Buerk.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

'Burk' or 'Berke' is an abbreviation for 'Berkeley Hunt'. So, technically, 'Buerke' is wrong. But only just. It originates in rhyming slang, like this (antipodean) example:

'Jesus, I'm bustin' for a 'snake's hiss''. (Geddit?)

Can anyone guess the rhyme for 'berke' ? I hope not.

In Buerke's case, it's surely not 'Kant'. One hardly dares imagine the Great Philosopher's reaction to this maroon.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterKolnai

I'm sorry - much as I like reading Archbishop Cranmer's blog, I cannot agree with him, nor with others here and elsewhere in the blogosphere, that Michael Buerk should be given a pass because he's only highlighting the extreme mindset prevalent at Al Beeb.

Don't forget the fact that this was a radio programme, something which usually is in one ear - out the other. Unlike on TV, we cannot see from his face what he really meant.
If he indeed meant to show up the hidebound Al Beeb AGW attitude, then it was very clumsy and not well done at all.

Far too many people will have only taken in that racists, pedophiles and climate 'deniers' belong in the same corner.
No amount of backtracking, no amount of analysing, giving him the benefit of doubt, of what he really meant will make this go away.

There simply are a few things on does not use even as an ironic aside, and one of them is comparing one group of people with pedophiles.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans


It's 'berk'.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I don't buy the explanation that Buerke was exposing the BBC.

Warmists generally compare climate change sceptics to creationists, vaccine opponents, those who deny links between HIV/AIDS or smoking/cancer.

The comparison of climate change sceptics to racists and pedophiles is a new innovation, and I believe a calculated one.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Viv Evans

Yup, that's a comparison that should be avoided. Let's see what MB has to say for himself.

I almost wonder if BH should close comments on these threads until MB has responded.

THEN we could be sure what the hell we are actually discussing.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Given that it was in the introduction, I presume Buerke was reading from a written statement prepared some hours before. And that that statement would have been passed by the editor. Is that how radio works?

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon

I agree with DaveB on this but when I heard it, it did make me "rise up", as the Irish say.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

I agree with Copner (this thread and the previous).

The binning of paedophila and climate change deniers, even if undertaken to stick an ice pick in the BBC's back, is a little strange. People are not going to get it.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Plausible deniability. I know how it sounded to me when i heard it.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

Cached here

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Robert Poynton

mmmmm this is getting silly:
First AC post
By equating anthropogenic climate change deniers and those who question the doctrine and policy of state multiculturalism with paedophiles - whom society, rationally or not, now ranks as the lowest form of life and quite beyond redemption - the BBC has shown itself to be intellectually deficient and morally bankrupt.

Except MB didn't do that. He equated climate change deniers with pedoes. Misquoting people is a bad idea. So I'm glad AC has rewritten things. Personally as I dont deny climate change, I dont feel bothered by MB's comment.
Oh, one more time of asking; is there anyone here who denies climate change?
A typhoon in a thimble imo.

Feb 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Buerke's introduction strikes me as being quite witty.

Perhaps heavy irony is the only way to smuggle 'balance' into the BBC's output.

It's a bit sad, though, that so many of us mad, swivel-eyed deniers have such a hair trigger for being offended. Humour and a crisp sense of the absurd have always been the hallmarks of good skeptics.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Czerna

Peter Czerna

Agreed. However, the temperature of the 'debate' seems to be rising rather fast of late.

I don't think there's much room left for smiling at comparisons with paedophiles - whatever the original intent might have been.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

the intro to the program was rather too ambiguous to me...

Amongst the Guardian BBC, who have links to Futerra - who basically are the PR machine behind all this. They have something to say about 'Climate Change deniars'.

... following Moncton - 'Meet the sceptics' hatchet job..

Possible that M Buerk meant it with irony...

Is any one able to contact him or the program to verify this..

I have seen this comparison made by peoplt that definetley meant it.. ie used to close down a debate..

Maybe someone could ask. What exactly is a 'Climate Change Deniar'?

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Buerk's notable Ethiopia famine documentary would have influenced his own beliefs.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Also my blog went down at midday today., my wordpress database no longer has a user associated with it..

the hosting provider is looking into it.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Yup, 'Berk'. Can't spell 'moron' either. Is Buerk (sic) just a really stupid Kant? Or are 'kiddy fiddlers' and 'data fiddlers' the same people?'

Perhaps cheery old Uncle Mike ('he's so good with the children') knows more than he's letting on. ('Climb up on my knee, sonny boy'....)

Hope this is 'funny' enough for you, Peter Czerna

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterKolnai

The story appears to have gone viral (or at least on its way). Could it be some bandwidth-related problem?

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

You're really good at the patter (apart from leaving out the 'bag of sweets in the glovebox'). Is there something you're not telling us?

Lighten up, my child. I promise, it won't hurt.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Czerna


I fear this misunderstanding is going to spread like a wildfire. A lot of people are taking it too seriously and are feeling very indignant about it. You really need to clear up the air a little bit. Just an update is not going to be enough for this. People don't bother about reading what another blogger said.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Whatever message you think Buerk was trying to convey, the fact that the portrayal of CAGW sceptics has gone from "numpty" to "nonce" in less than a week seems rather telling. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was yet another concerted effort by the 'establishment' to misdirect our attention away from all the inconvenient truths out there.

Time marches on – several decades with many, many billions of dollars/euros/pounds spent – and they still don’t seem to have any substantial real-world evidence to support their CAGW meme. It makes me wonder just how long this farce can be maintained before we get a “Mubarak moment”.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt


Yup, 'Berk'. Can't spell 'moron' either.

Is this supposed to be an insult or are you being harsh on yourself? I really cannot tell what you intended, and I would like to be clear for future reference.

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Re: Kolnai: It's all this reading Kant that does it. He was alluding in a previous post to the use of Cockney rhyming slang as found in the 'Kritik der reinen Vernunft'. Someone must have misspelled Burke and triggered an epistemological fit.

I really hate these smart arse soi disant philosophers of the Cockney school, don't you?

Feb 12, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Czerna

Peter Czerna


He has, perhaps, abandoned the categorical imperative. Goodness only knows what the Cockney school thinks, but this is hardly encouraging.

Feb 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Owight, owight, it's a fair cop guv'nor. I tried to grass up Uncle Mike, but all I got was the sweets 'e left in th' glovebox. I was looking for a (My Little) pony at least.

The 'serious' point was this: We are living under a regime whose hold on the meaning of 'democratic institution' is perilous at best. That is because they are convinced of the Truth of groupthink, here, the supposed 'majority of scientists'. Einstein is often quoted in reply (I paraphrase:'It takes only one person who is right, to make all the others wrong').

However, the essence of groupthink is that everything is subservient to culture, including science. So what do they care?

For these words can be heard in any university humanities department throughout the land. Unfortunately, my far more illustrious predecessor, Aurel Kolnai, tells me they originated with a founding father of the NSDAP, Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Buerk is part of my generation, forged in the 60s, when an NSDAP speech was read out to cheers from rioting Cornell students (What do the 'Black Power' salutes in the 1968 Olympics look like?)

So Buerk/Berke?Berk?Burk? is a mouthpiece for this gangster mentality, which will destroy not only science but also culture (arguably, has already done so). As such, he and his colleagues are analogous to Hitler's mouthpiece, the film maker, Leni Reifenstahl - they own the means of symbolic production, which like everything else, is on a mighty scale as compared with the 1930s .

I don't mean to rush things, but the hour is getting late. Our economies are basket cases, like Germany's and Italy's post WW1. Our politicians resemble Giolitti, the PM of Italy pre-fascism; and our media gushes forth comforting mush and junk science as a matter of course.

And now a plug. Aurel Kolnai's book 'The War Against the West' was published in 1938 by Victor Gollancz (The 'Left Book Club', yet!). It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the current political situation in the West

PS BBD - I wasn't calling you names - honest!

Feb 12, 2011 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKolnai

There's a real simple reason why I don't think he was being ironic, or merely making an observation about how warmists feel (or completely failed in his irony/observation):

That is that as far as I know nobody, not even the most eco-fascist super-green-jihadist ultra-climate-alarmist ever compared climate change deniers to racists or pedophiles before. It's a innovation all of his own.

Furthermore and reinforcement for this interpretation is he choose to compare climate change *deniers* not climate change *sceptics* to racists/pedophiles.

Feb 12, 2011 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Perhaps I reacted in anger initially, so it might be a good thing if I wait for an explanation from the villain of the piece himself. If he meant it, I will complain, otherwise I will apologise, so we will wait and see.
It seems Beurk must be a bit dim - some things one just does not say on the radio. If he says he was being ironic, that does not wash, as the linking of the two groups is completely unacceptable.

Feb 12, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

FWIW, I thought Michael Buerk was clearly being ironic

Personally though, I'm tiring rapidly of all this hyperventilating, self-righteous, hysterical outrage.

It was bad enough the other day with all the juvenile, knee-jerk insults aimed at Prince Charles. Not one of the comments worth reading, and all boring as hell.

And now we've got this - yet another storm in a teacup.

Feb 12, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce

I listen to The Moral Maze quite often and Buerk's introduction typically tries to counterpoint two radically different interpretations of a question. Please note also that it is a discussion programme of differing points of view.

He was not necessraily saying that he personally agreed with those statements, nor that the BBC does, but that it is a point of view adopted by some.

I think we should all dry our knickers and our tears and wait until there is something to really get upset about. Here we really do have a quote taken out of context and a vast over-reaction/

Cool it, peeps.

Feb 12, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'Burk' or 'Berke' is an abbreviation for 'Berkeley Hunt'.
Actually, it's from "Berkshire Hunt", cockney rhyming slang for c...

Feb 12, 2011 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

"That is that as far as I know nobody, not even the most eco-fascist super-green-jihadist ultra-climate-alarmist ever compared climate change deniers to racists or pedophiles before. It's a innovation all of his own."

Or... bankers?

Feb 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaogai

Well Mr B had better say some thing soon as the fall out from this either a stupid attempt at being outrageous and having his PR profile lifted! or a dimly unfunny stab at the BBC and it's organised hatred of anyone out side their loop and until he says then yes we should be reserved how ever some on here seem to be of the impression others should not be offended ? why should we like being called pedos just because a #b list celeb says so !

Feb 12, 2011 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermat

This latest foray by the BBC into Orwellian smearing is sly, witty irony and dry humor the same way the 10:10 'no pressure' video was sly, witty irony and dry humor: not at all.
[possible duplicate post]

Feb 12, 2011 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I wouldn't be to harsh on him to be honest. Firstly I love the programme; it's real food for the mind. Of course MB is always playing Devil's Avocado, as that is essentially his role on the show when he introduces the topic. I didn't listen to this last one, however, I usually get them on podcast.

Secondly, do we know he actually writes the introduction? It seems to me the kind of thing a researcher would do, with MB just reading it. Sure he would have a read through before the show, but we don't know for certain that is his actual opinion, or the way he himself would have put things.

Feb 12, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson


Bluntly - no; this will not do unless MB was presented - sight unseen - with a script seconds before going on air. I do not think this is how it's done, although there remains a faint possibility that this was what happened.

If MB did not like the comparison, he should have said so and a 30-second copy edit would have fixed the problem.

Feb 12, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I think he was poking fun at the PC brigade's book of demonology.

Feb 12, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterFZM

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