Remarkable isn’t it….climate sceptics are denounced as unqualified bloggers or lay persons with vested interests and therefore shouldn’t be able to criticise the consensus or be given due weight by the BBC…..however someone who supports that consensus, however unqualified, is welcome to comment…in fact the BBC will go out of its way to assure you that such a person is a ‘simple, unqualified, layperson’ merely concerned about journalistic accuracy and the health of the planet with no axe to grind….so much so that they might give them a platform to tell their story.
Channel 4’s Great Global Warming Swindle cut through what Ofcom termed the ‘current orthodoxy’ in media treatments of climate change.
I’d recommend that anyone in any doubt about the reasons to complain about the programme view the full complaint at Ofcom Swindle complaint .
But the story behind that complaint is interesting in itself. A concerned member of the public got up off his sofa after viewing the film and spent the next 18 months convening a massive effort by leading scientists that went through every frame of the film detailing its inaccuracies. His story appears on the BBC News Website .
Indeed it does:
Channel 4’s The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, broadcast in March 2007, broke Ofcom rules, the UK media regulator has ruled.
Dave Rado, who co-ordinated a formal complaint to Ofcom, explains why he felt compelled to challenge the programme’s contents.
‘I’m simply a person, unconnected with any environmental or scientific group, who believes that a public service broadcaster should not be allowed to deceive the public about science – particularly on issues that have profound implications for our future.’
How odd then that this simple person, Dave Rado, unconnected with any environmental group, should spend 18 months running a campaign against C4…and yet be quite so complacent about the BBC using green lobbyist material as ‘fact’…….
“Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people”
‘Admittedly this article has the disadvantage that it quotes a WWF study – it would be nice to find a similar one that was independent of any lobby group. But it’s mainstream stuff and worth quoting if you can’t find a better one on the Himalayas’ glacier melt and the likely effect of this on neighbouring countries.’
Rado isn’t quite all he seems but keeps his life and connections to the greens well hidden….but the BBC’s Richard Black (naturally) let’s the cat out of the bag:
“The programme has been let off the hook on a highly questionable technicality,” said Bob Ward, former head of media at the Royal Society, who played a prominent role in co-ordinating objections to the film.
Guess how many of these objections were sustained by Ofcom? Just seven out of 265, none of them relating to factual errors but to minor technicalities relating to procedure….despite that Black claims...’Human hands are driving climate change, Ofcom acknowledges’…and…’I think this is a vindication of the credibility and standing of the IPCC’ Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC.
It is not within Ofcom’s remit or ability in this case as the regulator of the ‘communications industry’ to establish or seek to adjudicate on ‘facts’ such as whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon, nor is Ofcom able to reach conclusions about the validity of any particular scientific theories.
In other words Ofcom didn’t ‘acknowledge human hands are driving climate change’ as Black claimed.
So climate propagandist Bob Ward ‘played a prominent role in co-ordinating objections to the film’…..but still, Rado is a reluctant whistleblower, a simple, concerned citizen……
oh yes and…….‘As original complainants against the programme, we are appealing against this aspect of the Ofcom ruling on the grounds that the programme did breach the Broadcasting Code by misrepresenting facts and views, and in doing so it undermined trust in broadcasters and harmed the audience by misleading it on an important issue.’
Bob Ward and Dave Rado
Mr Dave Rado
Clauses Noted: 1, 2
Publication: The Mail on Sunday
Mr Dave Rado of Colchester complained that articles published in the newspaper inaccurately claimed that the “green credentials” of the Toyota Prius were undermined by its use of a battery containing nickel.
Dave Rado at 09:14 AM on 1 November, 2007
To say that climate change is definitely not even partially responsible for the loss of glacier ice mass on Kilimanjaro is an inaccurate misrepresentation of the science. As Raymond Pierrehumbert’s article that you linked to made clear, it is likely to be at least partially responsible.
So far from being as the BBC describe him, a ‘reluctant whistleblower’ he is a serial complainer and activist…and why a ‘whistleblower’? A word designed to give him some moral legitimacy …he’s hardly a whistleblower…he doesn’t work for C4 and the programme wasn’t a secret to be ‘whistleblown’ about…it was broadcast on national TV!
So the BBC is massaging his image for effect to give him some credibility as someone completely unconnected to the climate lobbyists.
He has set up a website in fact to further his campaign:
He claims this about his complaint……
The complaint is not an attack on free speech (see “About Ofcom” for more details). It was filed because the complainants believe public service broadcasters have a duty to maintain minimum journalistic standards, and that the public has a right to expect broadcasters, and especially public service broadcasters, not to set out to mislead us. Although billed as a “science documentary”, the film was in fact a slick, and very clever propaganda piece.
And yet, as stated before, he has absolutely no concerns about the BBC broadcasting what is known to be false claims about the Himalayas based on green lobbyist mis-information.
And the BBC had no concerns about him actually being a green activist and not merely a simple concerned citizen seeking to improve public service broadcasting standards.
Ofcom’s ruling on accuracy of the Global Warming Swindle:
In summary, in relation to the manner in which facts in the programme were presented, Ofcom is of the view that the audience of this programme was not materially misled in a manner that would have led to actual or potential harm. The audience would have been in no doubt that the programme’s focus was on scientific and other arguments which challenged the orthodox theory of man-made global warming. Regardless of whether viewers were in fact persuaded by the arguments contained in the programme, Ofcom does not believe that they could have been materially misled as to the existence and substance of these alternative theories and opinions, or misled as to the weight which is given to these opinions in the scientific community.
Summary on the Program Complaint
In relation to the program complaint, it’s hard to imagine a more thorough stuffing of the complainants. They were lucky they didn’t have to pay costs.
Hardly the impression you get from the BBC’s (Black’s) excited reporting of the ruling.
Viewers expect to be adequately informed about matters in the public interest, including of course minority views and opinions. As the European Court of Human Rights has made clear, subject to certain exceptions the principle of freedom of expression applies not only to:
“… information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb; such are the demands of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no ‘democratic society’. Freedom of expression …is subject to a number of exceptions which, however, must be narrowly interpreted and the necessity for any restrictions must be convincingly established”.