More digging…it turns out that the outfit that was hired by the BBC trustees to monitor BBC output in connection with the Steve Jones whitewash report on science coverage was the Imperial College Science Communications Group (SCG). Surprise, surprise, they are active in promoting climate change communications. And you can read SCG report co-writer Alice R.Bell’s guide to indoctrinating children about climate change on her blog, here.
It seems that the SCG’s conclusions about the BBC’s news coverage of climate change reporting were based primarily on the analysis of just one (yes one) news story, the report of the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review into the “climategate” affair over the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in July 2010 (p75 et sequi in the report). The main concern of the group is that Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation was given too much space and misleadingly introduced as an expert in climate when he is an athropologist. In fact, other experts were given far more airtime, but no matter; and Benny Peiser is more qualified to comment on climate change than Richard Black and Roger Harrabin are to write about it. The SRG don’t say in so many words that overall, coverage of the Climategate story was wrong, but their haughty disdain and disapproval for allowing such a man and such a group airtime is written between the lines in 72point.
It is astonishing that the analysis of one news item about climate change should form the evidential basis of a major review of science coverage. Had the SRG done sustained monitoring of coverage of greenie issues on the website or the Today programme – for example – they would have found a picture of serial distortion and misinformation on an epic scale (as the David Vance example from today shows). Instead, they chose the one climate change story of 2010 where “sceptic” opinion could not be avoided, even by the BBC.