, James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University, asks What’s Auntie for, exactly?
Getting into his stride on the second page, the Prof. writes:
- Science ran a piece on how changes to the stratosphere will affect surface climate. It concluded [PDF] that predicting the dynamics was “a substantial task”, and one not yet undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Nature had an essay on the dynamics of ocean mixing, which in the long term could offset slowing of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation brought about by more rain and more melting at the North Pole. It argued that “much remains to be discovered” [PDF – subscription required].
- The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published on the “irreducible” imprecision of computer models of atmosphere and oceans.
Each of these uncertainties has a texture as chocolatey as the BBC Trust’s beloved Wagon Wheel. Yet the BBC insists on the old dry Seesaw approach. It repeatedly puts reporters in front of fast-dripping glaciers or spreading deserts and gets them to express their personal shock, awe, loss, and disgust. Then, back in the studio, a gnarled “sceptic” may occasionally be wheeled on to show that the Beeb still gives a voice to Creatures from Another Planet.
What we need from the BBC is leadership, and – as far as is possible – dispassionate enquiry, objective facts, and dispassionate presentation of those facts. Instead, we get dumbed-down moral absolutes, far-out footage, and a sprinkling of “balance”. Nobody at the BBC says this is the strategy; but BBC News, in particular, applies it with the utmost vigour.
Do read the rest, and the comments too. As Biased BBC reader 1327, who spotted the Reg article says, it is “interesting (and heartening) that the bread and butter topics of this blog now seem to becoming mainstream”. Beeboids take note.