Imagine if it were discovered that free-market think tanks were caught vetting scripts of Fox News programs, intervening to prevent free-market sceptics from receiving air time, and consulted with the network about how it should alter its programing in a free-market direction. The howls of outrage would be loud, long and unrelenting from other news networks, the wire services, and leading U.S. newspapers.
What I have just described, and more, characterizes a decade-long relationship between the British Broadcasting Corporation and UK-based climate scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) — except that the BBC is government-funded and disproportionately controls the flow of broadcast news in the UK. What the UK Daily Mail has revealed today as part of its ongoing review of the second set of Climategate emails released before Thanksgiving has caused Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation to write that the BBC is “in cahoots with Climategate scientists.” What follows are excerpts from the David Rose’s Daily Mail story (bolds are mine):
… The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.
They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output.
… BBC insiders say the close links between the Corporation and the UEA’s two climate science departments, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, have had a significant impact on its coverage.
‘Following their lead has meant the whole thrust and tone of BBC reporting has been that the science is settled, and that there is no need for debate,’ one journalist said. ‘If you disagree, you’re branded a loony.’
In 2007, the BBC issued a formal editorial policy document, stating that ‘the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’ – the view that the world faces catastrophe because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
The document says the policy was decided after ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts’ – including those from UEA.
But although there is now more scientific debate than ever about influences on climate other than CO2, prompted by the fact that the world has not warmed for 15 years, a report from the BBC Trust this year compared climate change sceptics to the conspiracy theorists who blame America for 9/11, and said Britain’s main sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, should be given no air time.
Rose also reveals:
- That “in private some of those same scientists have had doubts about aspects of the global warming case. For example, Professor Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, admitted there was no evidence that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of climate change, and he and his colleagues agreed there were serious problems with the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph.”
- An obsequious regard for Jones’s opinion of the network’s coverage which has to be read to be believed — and even then, readers may have a hard time believing it.
- That certain key players at the Beeb were keenly aware of the conflicted nature of their relationships.
- An insistence by the network in the wake of both Labor and Conservative pushback that “We would reject the claim that the Tyndall Centre influenced BBC editorial policy.” Gosh, why would anyone think otherwise?
Meanwhile, in the U.S. press, which knew this time around that ignoring the released emails wouldn’t work, the Associated Press’s coverage of Climategate II has, at least based on a search of its main site, been limited to a pathetic Thanksgiving Day (how convenient) story by Raphael G. Satter (“After new leak, climatologist takes case to public”) which reads more like a Phil Jones PR piece than a legitimate news report. The New York Times, in an story which appeared on Page A8 of the paper’s November 23 print edition, characterized the messages released as “remarkably similar” to the first round of Climategate emails in an earlier paragraph. The story’s reporters apparently hoped that readers would stop there, because in Paragraph 8, we find the following:
In one of the e-mails, Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, criticized a paper that Dr. Mann wrote with the climate scientist Phil Jones, which used tree rings and similar markers to find that today’s climatic warming had no precedent in recent natural history. Dr. Bradley, who has often collaborated with Dr. Mann, wrote that the 2003 paper “was truly pathetic and should never have been published.”
I don’t recall reading anything “remarkably similar” to Mr. Bradley’s contention in the original Climategate email release.
Nothing to see here, move along.
Isn’t it funny how the worst fears about news-coverage conspiracies ridiculed by the establishment media and its defenders are so often shown in fact to be quite justified? Thank goodness for the feisty UK press and the GWPF.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.