The content of Fiona Fox article on the BBC College of Journalism site has been ably and rightfully savaged in the comments that have been posted. There’s nothing I can add, except that it was shooting ducks in a barrel. My point about this latest exercise in smug, we-know-we-are-right agitprop is to ask who at the BBC thought Ms Fox was qualified in the first place to write such a piece?
First, Miss Fox is not a scientist. According to her own CV, she is a press officer who happens to have been appointed to a post that provides information to journalists about science. Most of her career has been actually been spent in political activism. Her current role is no different, as the Centre’s consistent, one-sided support for the political objectives of the warmist creed illustrates. Everything she does is underpinned by warmist zealotry; she is not objective, and is thus in no position to be able to reliably rebut Mr Sissons’ arguments – especially as she herself spends much time berating those who dare to challenge “the science” of global warming.
Second, she is an extremist who has demonstrated a lack of sound judgment. For example, she has written for Living Marxism, a publication in which she seemingly sought to blur the lines of responsibility for the Rwanda genocide and to gloss over the massacre by machete of thousands of children. Even the Guardian attacked her for the extremism of her stance. This was admittedly some time ago, but nothing she has done at the Science Media Centre indicates that she has changed her politics or worldview.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Miss Fox says she is a journalist, but I am afraid her qualifications and work experience are very limited. She obtained a trendy two-a penny media degree from Thames Polytechnic, then went straight into agitprop press office work with a succession of agencies which are hardly at the centre of national life.
Peter Sissons, by contrast, the man she tells us does not know what he is talking about on the subject of bias, went straight from Oxford university to the bear pit of ITN newsroom, and he rose under the great Sir Geoffrey Cox to become one of their leading foreign correspondents. He was shot covering the Biafra war, and, re-invented himself as an industrial correspondent and then presenter. He rose to the upper echelons of ITN under Sir David Nicholas and when Channel 4 News was launched in 1981, he was the natural choice as presenter. In that pioneering role he won numerous accolades and awards. When he was at the height of his powers, the BBC decided to do what the BBC does and throw more than the equivalent of a million pounds in his direction to poach him.
I dwell on this because, in my book, though Miss Fox is entitled to her opinions (as we all are), she is emphatically not in a position to be able to judge properly or objectively whether Mr Sissons has got it wrong when he says the BBC’s climate reporting is propaganda. Nothing she so piously says undermines his observations, and the way it is said demonstrates instead that she is not fit to lick his boots. She is a jumped-up press officer of limited vision and intellect with no experience of working in a newsroom, he is a giant of British journalism who won his spurs at the coalface of newsgathering time and time again. That the BBC College of Journalism – their self declared “centre of excellence” – should choose her to rubbish Mr Sissons in this way is a disgrace, and an indication of how low BBC journalism has sunk.