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« Subscriber orders | Main | Tony's first reaction »
Tuesday
Nov132012

28gate media coverage

We are starting to get some media coverage of what is becoming known as 28gate.

The Register covers the story here

Questions abound this morning on Twitter about the ability of the BBC Trust to maintain its duty to transparency. The BBC's legal strategy entails the indiscriminate application of its FOI derogation "for the purposes of journalism" - this effectively rewrites the 2000 Act, and redefines the BBC as a private body. The trust is surely aware of this; it has a small mountain of correspondence on the subject. But it has yet to enquire, let alone pronounce on whether this is healthy - or legal.

And the Spectator here.

Delingpole here.

Melanie Phillips here.

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Reader Comments (74)

OK folks

We seem to have them on the ropes. This is the end of the beginning.

How do we go about finishing the job?

Nov 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Wha-at? No Michael Mann? How can this be a list of experts without our esteemed nobel prize whiners Mann, Trenberth, Jones, et al?

Nov 14, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterUranusIsSoPretty

Latimer

This needs to be picked up by someone in the mainstream media who doesn't fit into the 'preaching to the choir' mould

My suggestion, based on the absurdity of the BBC spending a six-figure sum on barristers to prevent discolsure of a document that had already been discolsed, would be Private Eye.

Maybe this and the list of activists past off as scientists might finally get Ian Hislop to remove his blinkers with regard to climate change / AGW, which always seems to me to offer huge opportunities for satire (such as the 'Things caused by global warming' list).

Nov 14, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan Blanchard

Two of the participants in tomorrow's Question Time are Chris Grayling and Nigel Farage.
I can see no reason not to email them with as much information as they need to raise the question of '28Gate' at an appropriate part of the proceedings. There must be a question about this, surely!
All they need is some factual information and a couple of links.
Any offers?

I would suggest the same for Friday's Any Questions but the only names I can find at the moment are Shirley Williams and Hilary Benn so I'm not planning to waste my time!

Nov 14, 2012 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@mike jackson

Grayling would be the goto guy since he used to work at the BBC. But he's also Lord Chancellor, which might limit his freedom to speak a bit.

Farage hasn't said a word about the BBC yet - he has the Abu Qatada case to concern him.

But I think he'd love the idea of the BBC spending thousands of pounds to lawyer up to defeat a single FoI request from an OAP (sorry Tony - no disrespect), and then being trumped by a tenacious Italian blogger who just found it lying about on Wayback. It'll suit his speaking style of ridicule and pomposity-pricking no end.

BTW NF's remark that

'you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk'

summed up Entwistle to a T. Even though it was first addressed to Hermann von Rumpoy. (Who?)

I'll give it some thought..but I have a busy day on 'real-world' things too. Anybody else?

Nov 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

OK

I sent sthg to UKIP attn Nigel Farage.

See what comes of it.

Nov 14, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Nigel Farage's office in Brussels has acknowledged receipt. I'll record QT tomorrow to see if it got aired.

Many thanks to Mike Jackson for the suggestion.

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Don't be naughty Geoff...Il Foglio has nothing to do with the BNP.

In Italian "conservative" means "non-communist, non-fascist, non-clerical".

Personally I am sending the links to some MSM types and if the story breaks it'll be nice. However my goal has been reached and I am content with what I've got. I've got a pensioner and his wife having the last laugh against the bullies.

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I have to say I would have thought Grayling would be very interested in a public, taxpayer-funded corporation spending six-figure sums and sending its senior officials into court a) to defend a case which is already lost and b) perjure themselves to do so.
I shall put these arguments to Grayling and hope that he will make proper use of the information either within tomorrow's programme or whenever he considers proper.
I shall add that regardless of the climate change argument per se does he consider it proper for the Corporation to have a "policy" on anything on which, as a news organisation, they should be even-handed and especially one which apparently excludes the possibility that research or other future developments may call that policy into question.
I think the more people that raise that issue (dispassionately, might I plead?!) with people like Grayling (and others —Gove comes to mind as one possibility; Lilley and Redwood are others as, perhaps, is Stringer) the better the chance of someone in government getting the message.
They are not all as stupid as we sometimes believe, or at least like to pretend we believe, and I'm fairly certain that there are plenty of ministers with enough common sense and who are open-minded enough to pay serious attention to a serious argument.

Nov 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

And (latest thought) given that

The International Broadcasting Trust is an educational and media charity working to promote high quality broadcast and online coverage of the developing world.
I'm sure that Justine Greening would be interested to know that large chunks of the money her department pays it (and DfID money appears to be about all the income it gets) has been used to hold seminars with environmental activists to explain to the BBC that it should close down public debate on the subject of climate change!

Nov 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Quote:

However my goal has been reached and I am content with what I've got. I've got a pensioner and his wife having the last laugh against the bullies.

Omnologus

Respect to you for that comment - if only more of us thought like you do.

Thanks for breaking this story.

Nov 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

It seems to me that the purpose of the meeting was to communicate the new BBC policy to as many department heads as they could get into the same room at the same time, hence the comedy guy. The "specialists" were there to supply the intellectual, moral, social, religious and physical... support should any of the new inductees question the wisdom of the change in direction.

Really not all that different from Caesar addressing the senate with his legion camped outside the gates of Rome, or a medieval king meeting with his barons, or Stalin addressing the supreme soviet.

Nov 14, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Jeff
That doesn't explain the presence of the non-scientist greenies. What were they for?
And another question springs to mind.
If climate change is a scientific matter why do the BBC and DEFRA and the DECC think that the eco-activists have any standing as advisors in this affair? There are earth scientists of various disciplines who cover pretty much the whole range of views on climate. Why are Greenpeace activists any more entitled to have their views taken into account than them? Or me? Or Phillip Bratby? Or Dung? Or Andrew Montford? Or even (dare I say it) Zed or BitBucket?

Nov 14, 2012 at 5:20 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike,

They were the muscle.

Nov 14, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Melanie Phillips has been pursuing the 28gate issue in her blog at the Mail. She challenged the BBC on a number of points and received the following response today:

'There has been no censoring of climate change reporting. We have attempted to report proportionately. Indeed The BBC Trust’s science review of last year praised our coverage. The event certain bloggers have referred to was one in a series of seminars for BBC editors and managers. They were a forum for free and frank discussion of global issues and not created to produce programming nor set story direction. They involved external contributors from business, science and academia. Seminars such as this do not set editorial policy. They can over time and along with many other elements help inform our journalism through debate and access to expertise, but the setting of our editorial policies is a formal process involving BBC Boards and the BBC Trust.

'The BBC has refused disclosure on the basis that the documents were held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature, and are therefore outside the scope of the BBC’s designation under FOI Act. The Information Tribunal has unanimously upheld this. The seminar was conducted under the Chatham House Rule to enable free and frank discussion, something that is necessary for our independent journalism.

'IBT were one of a range of organisations and different voices the BBC worked with in delivering these seminars. They are no longer involved. The events were considered against our editorial guidelines and raised no issues about impartiality for the BBC or its output.'

Just try rereading the first two sentences of the BBC response. They just don't "get it".

Nov 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Bodman

Dutch magazine covers the story

Nov 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Quentin Cooper on the BBC's Material World show asked why he had never heard that biofuels were a waste of time.

I could probably think of a reason or two.

Nov 15, 2012 at 9:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

28gate has made it to the Italian Answer to Chris Mooney's balanced and reasoned blogging, "Oca Sapiens" by level-headed journalist sylvie coyaud (hosted by the second largest Italian newspaper).

I won't put a link here lest sc's health get compromised by her thinking that I were trying to get people to comment at her site (as if I cared).

Anyway this one is to be ascribed to obsession rather than genuine interest in FOI rights. Still, if there's no such thing as bad publicity ...

Nov 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

And now in German too.

Nov 24, 2012 at 1:58 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Sorry Maurizio but the reality is this story is going nowhere. MSM journalism is dead.

This is what the media club say about the new BBC DG:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-20445987

Comments with what the public say are here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20441887

Sort them by highest or lowest first - they are still a million miles from the club members' guff.

Nov 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I've been told 28Gate is a big story behind the scenes.

Too many people have been made look stupid by too many people. And I'm not part of either group.

Nov 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

"Big story behind the scenes" eh? Really - so what?

Behind the scenes is the whole problem - no public accountability or scrutiny, just a change in cocktail party rota. Since when did journalism work behind the scenes? I'm not having a go at you Maurizio - you did sterling work tracking down the list of names - but the reality is journalism is notable by its absence and, with the new DG appointment, I don't see any change in the offing. What I do see is a continuation of the whole "quiet word behind the scenes" managed media agenda which serves nobody but the corrupt and incompetent.

Nov 24, 2012 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Peter Lilley MP mentions the 28Gate affair in today's CIty AM as an example of self-regulation (thereby considering "independent bloggers" a perfectly legitimate part of the news arena):

Leveson is wrong – regulation is not the answer to every problem

Nov 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

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