Alison Hastings, ex editor of the Newcastle Chronicle and former member of the Press Complaints Commission, is BBC trustee for England. She is also chairman of the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee, and as such arguably holds the corporation’s most important position in the adjudication of complaints about BBC bias – in effect she is the final arbiter. One of her most significant tasks over the past fortnight was in the publication of the Steve Jones report into the BBC’s science coverage, the key finding of which by the political activist author was that BBC journalists must work a lot harder in excluding or banishing to the absolute margins the views of those who do not accept that “climate change” has been primarily caused or made worse by the burning of fossil fuels.
In effect, this was a landmark paper, in that it was aimed deliberately at shutting down free speech and honest debate so that those political activists who want a green revolution can have open mike. So how has Ms Hastings – who from her CV casts herself as being robust and fair minded – responded? The deeply disturbing answer is here. First, she tells us patronisingly and confrontationally in her intro that according to the “influential” IPCC’s 1997 report, it is 90% certain that “climate change” is caused by humans (it did not say that, actually, but she is clearly following the “never let the facts get in the way” school of journalism). Then, in the key section of her argument, she states:
He (Steve Jones)identified a real challenge for broadcasters in accurately reflecting the latest scientific thinking, thanks to the peculiarities of scientific debate. That of keeping pace with the evidence, and in particular in taking care when reporting to distinguish between opinion and well-established fact or consensus. This doesn’t mean that BBC reports will not feature people who do not believe climate change exists. And it is emphatically still the case that the BBC must rigorously scrutinise any issues it reports – after all, scientists can get it wrong. But when something moves from opinion to well-established fact, viewers should be aware of this, and the broadcaster must adjust its coverage and its approach to achieving impartiality accordingly. Both facts and opinions have their place in science – indeed any – reporting, but the audience must be clear which is which.
High-sounding words, probably drafted by Ms Hastings herself; but they are an utter disgrace, more so because they have been written by someone who is the key guardian of the standards a taxpayer-funded £3.5bn operation supposedly aimed at generating balanced, impartial journalism. In effect, she has thus sanctioned an intensification of the efforts by Richard Black and his cronies to stifle dissent (exemplified in agitprop such as this); she has elevated the utterances of the IPCC to unassailability, despite evidence like this, which shows the IPCC writers to be nothing more than second-rate agitators; and she has said the opinions of at least 50% of those who fund the corporation (according to the BBC’s own poll!) are those of the madhouse.
BBC accountability? It’s a sick joke.