Quote of the Week: BBC's ugliest moment yet?

Paging Roger Harrabin…

Bishop Hill writes:

Hat tip to several readers who have pointed out Michael Buerk’s comments on the BBC Radio 4 show, the Moral Maze:

“not long ago, to question multiculturalism…risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers“

I will not respond in kind to this kind of thing. It looks to me like a calculated attempt to provoke a violent reaction. What it really does is to show that Buerk and the BBC are devoid of any integrity. They condemn themselves out of their own mouths.

I hope they continue with this kind of thing. It makes the BBC look like it is staffed by zealots and nutters. It will win them no friends.

and in another piece

Archbishop Cranmer has picked up on Michael Buerk’s contribution to the climate debate.

By equating anthropogenic climate change deniers and those who question the doctrine and policy of state multiculturalism with paedophiles – whom society, rationally or not, now ranks as the lowest form of life and quite beyond redemption – the BBC has shown itself to be intellectually deficient and morally bankrupt.

But His Grace has a question: If a qualified doctor and government adviser (unpaid) can be humiliatingly dismissed for having co-authored a paper in which a reasoned correlation was drawn between homosexuality and paedophilia, why should a BBC presenter (paid by the taxpayer) not be dismissed for purposely inciting hatred against climate change deniers and multiculuralist sceptics by juxtaposing their reasoned beliefs with the perversion of paedophilia?

UPDATE: Bishop Hill reports: His Grace has reconsidered, and a new post is now here. This follows the line of several commentators here, namely that Buerk was criticising the BBC not comparing sceptics to paedophiles.

Initially, His Grace was persuaded by Bishop Hill’s indignation at the inflammatory juxtaposition of multiculturalist sceptics and anthropogenic climate-change deniers with paedophiles. But, having reflected (and having read some of Mr Buerk’s other pronouncements on the BBC), it is evident that he is actually criticising those who propagate absolutist dogma and hold to an unquestionable creed.

Michael Buerk is not himself equating anthropogenic climate change deniers and those who question the doctrine and policy of state multiculturalism with paedophiles: he is lampooning those of his BBC colleagues who do so habitually. He chose paedophiles – whom society, rationally or not, now ranks as the lowest form of life and quite beyond redemption – but, were in not for Godwin’s law, he could equally have chosen Nazis.

===========================================================

Luboš Motl reports and comments on the content, plus provides a link to the audio:

Last night at 9 p.m., the BBC Radio 4 broadcast another 30-minute program about the psychology of deniers:

In denial: climate on the couch (audio, HTML)

============================================================

Where’s BBC’s voice to climate change, Roger Harrabin on this I wonder?

Advertisements

136 thoughts on “Quote of the Week: BBC's ugliest moment yet?

  1. Right that’s it I’ve heard enough from these political parasites.
    “Pushed into the loathesome corner”
    BBC?
    Bigoted British Climalarmists

  2. Since he started it, feel free to call Mr. Buerk names.
    Buffoon is the appellation that immediately comes to mind.
    I would perhaps also question his parentage.

  3. Before ye all go banannas….a lot of us think Michael Buerk was actually taking a poke at the BBC himself…it was sarcasm. A few of us have commented over at Bishop Hill that, considering Buerks many disparing views about the BBC, he was actually implying that it was a ‘misplaced but corporate BBC viewpoint’ – not necessarily his own.
    Whilst there is no doubt that such a viewpoint does kinda exist in the BBC, I think Buerk is not one of them…he was just making a point – it was regarding how questioning multicultrism at the BBC was a similar taboo until recently……now that dam is broken the BBC has re-positioned itself corporatly to ‘well of course we all knew that’.
    The point is the BBC is stil in denial about how they picked the wrong side on climate change, just like multiculturism, but that too will come to pass.

  4. The Archbishop may have a point (in his revised post), that Buerk may be highlighting the religious zealotry of the BBC rather than participating in it.
    Before launching into criticism of Buerk – who it may transpire is friend, not foe – it is important to determine what Buerk intended by his precise phrasing.

  5. Only recently at Keith Kloor’s site, I jokingly mused that the ‘climate change denier’/paedophile link would somehow one day be invoked, at the time there was a discussion going about equating the ‘deniers’ with people against the abolition of slavery.
    Funny how you can push things to such ridiculous extremes and then someone will actually come along and prove you right.
    The BBC has lost it.

  6. 20 mail sacks of people who want OUT of the EU, were delivered reently.(300+K forms)
    surely the sane sceptics could supply that many signed decs ?
    theyd have NO problem if they added a Q re multicultural UK either.

  7. I’m with mikef2. He was being ironic.
    The attempt to medicalise CAGW sceptics is far more ugly in my view

  8. Cross-posting from Bishop Hill’s blog:
    “I’m sorry – much as I like reading Archbishop Cranmer’s blog, I cannot agree with him, nor with others here and elsewhere in the blogosphere, that Michael Buerk should be given a pass because he’s only highlighting the extreme mindset prevalent at Al Beeb.
    Don’t forget the fact that this was a radio programme, something which usually is in one ear – out the other. Unlike on TV, we cannot see from his face what he really meant.
    If he indeed meant to show up the hidebound Al Beeb AGW attitude, then it was very clumsy and not well done at all.
    Far too many people will have only taken in that racists, paedophiles and climate ‘deniers’ belong in the same corner.
    No amount of backtracking, no amount of analysing, giving him the benefit of doubt, of what he really meant, will make this go away.
    There simply are a few things on does not use even as an ironic aside, and one of them is comparing one group of people with paedophiles.”

  9. mikef2 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 4:54 am
    “Before ye all go bananas….a lot of us think Michael Buerk was actually taking a poke at the BBC himself…it was sarcasm. A few of us have commented over at Bishop Hill that, considering Buerks many disparaging views about the BBC, he was actually implying that it was a ‘misplaced but corporate BBC viewpoint’ – not necessarily his own.”
    Even still! two wrongs do not make a right! the suggestion still stands whether or not it’s Michael Buerks view or the “corporate BBC viewpoint”, therefore public outrage of this vile association is understandable.

  10. I’ll like to say in Michael Buerks defense to be fair, while debating on so-called “controversial issues” sometimes be it football, climate change or even multiculturalism whatever the topic! sometimes, being human is to err! we all make mistakes ans sometimes say the wrong thing, (not me tho /sarc) I can forgive Michael Buerk for that and laugh it off, take it with a pinch of salt so to speak, but as I’ve been following the events around the “climate change” circus and the bbc’s treatment of apposing views, It really has got on my last nerve!
    “Before ye all go bananas…”
    You’ll find that most people round these parts are very sensible with cool heads!

  11. Burke is correct, the media, influenced by NGO’s, does place some groups in ‘loathesome corners’ and does do the moral equivalency of ‘paedophiles’ = ‘climate change deniers’.
    He is pointing out the hypocrisy of the media/NGO’s, not condoning it.

  12. Wow. Is the appropriately named* Michael Buerk really that stupid? Is that really what he thinks of his sceptical former-colleague Peter Sissons? Or was he being ironical?
    * In case non-British readers are unaware, berk is a piece of Cockney rhyming slang dating back to the 1930s, derived from the term Berkley Hunt.

  13. Anthony,
    I can’t believe you did this, mate. Honestly. Just chill out a little bit. Did you even read Bishop Hill’s comments thread?
    You are one of the few bloggers with a real sense of humour. You should know this better than anyone else. The program was meant to criticise the mindset of the CAGW dogmatists and their mindset, not ‘climate change deniers’. It is a piece of satire and irony. Just listen to it from that perspective for a change.
    This will be like accidentally burning a climate change skeptic.
    Just chill out! This will cause some embarrassment if we all don’t cool down a little bit. Let’s think about this rationally.

  14. While Buerk was obviously being ironic, that does not in itself mean that his remarks were not ill-judged and offensive.
    On the previous week’s programme Buerk described religion as superstition when he introduced a debate about the value of religion to society with, “Are we now to base our moral and legal code on rationality rather than superstition?” While many will be familiar with the BBC’s unbalanced attitude to climate change some from overseas might be surprised that The Moral Maze, a weekly programme about moral issues usually has three atheists on the panel of four.

  15. I have complained through the BBC’s not too easy procedure. The reply will take 10 weeks if it comes at all. Unfortunately Buerk’s email address is hidden by the BBC. I have also complained about a report last night on the local Look North news which stated that since 1953 sea levels were 1.5m higher today so flooding was more likely. Such blatant alarmism must stop but the BBC seems to be a law unto themselves so ignore all requests to get more reasonable.

  16. It is the usual format of his show to state the extreme positions purposely to bring them into collision, usually in a reasonably well-managed and productive way. I am inclined to think he, personally, would vigorously disagree that AGW dissent and child-molestation are morally equivalent. I am inclined to think this is a rare example of the BBC being as balanced as it likes to pretend it is all the time.

  17. As long as there is no agreed upon “global warming” doctrine i.e. a comprehensive set of thesis that can be right or wrong, it is not possible to confirm or deny anything. What on earth is this “global warming” to be believed or denied? To deny “anthropogenic global warming” is a meaningless as to believe in “anthropognic global warming”. There is just good science and bad science, integrity and politics. Anyway, if you want some common sense commentary on “global warming” from the BBC just watch Top Gear and warm yourself in the the philosophy of Jeremy Clackson.

  18. Didn’t catch the programme but I tend to agree with mikef2 above. Michael Buerk is an old school journalist in the mould of Peter Sissons [who has been giving the BBC a hard time recently] and I just imagine him saying that sarcastically. The audience for the morale maze would have a large contingent of sceptics that he wouldn’t want to alienate.
    cheers David

  19. mikef2 says :’The point is the BBC is stil in denial about how they picked the wrong side on climate change, just like multiculturism, but that too will come to pass.’
    I dont think this interpretation works – I doubt if he was saying (even if he hoped?) that the BBC was likely to shift its stance on paedophilia!

  20. I think it’s quite rational to rate paedophiles as the lowest form of life.It’s a crime sometimes treated lightly thanks to the do-gooders and religious people who tell us there is good in everybody.
    I am sure that if climate “denial” was declared a crime,not many do-gooders would be preaching about rehabilitation.They would want the ring leaders jailed,made an example of.

  21. Archbishops question answers itself — because homosexuality is sacred — who cares whether he thinks otherwise
    /sarc

  22. ‘Climate on the couch,’ inhabits a ficticious land where people are unresponsive to the message simply because fear ‘stimulates dominant behavioural norms,’ rather than the reality that they are unresponsive because they know the message is a crock. Hence, you listen to 29 minutes of crackpots talking about ‘swishing parties’ to avoid shopping for clothes at Primark, going to Marrakesh by train, or committing to 1 meat free meal a week. These things are being proposed to sell ‘the sizzle’ of climate action – selling the wonderful parts about a low carbon life instead of the austerity (apparantly, getting 8 hours solid sleep per night was touted as one of the benefits).
    Unsurprisingly, nobody offered, and the host never bothers to ask, what the impact of these feelgood behaviours are going to have on global co2 levels or climate. The elephant that nobody talks about is that human civilization is built on carbon-rich power. Everything from the intensive agricultural products brought to your store by ships and trucks, to health care and every appliance and object in your house is the result of carbon rich power sources.
    Thes people are just crackpots. They can ‘swish’ all they want, but that ain’t gonna change.

  23. “not long ago, to question multiculturalism…risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers“
    It would be good to know the context of this statement before reaching for the whoop-ass can. Branded by whom? The BBC? Michael Buerk’s wife? The Pope? Otherwise it is unclear that Buerk is deliberately conflating skeptics with racists and paedophiles. He may be simply making a comment on the depressing state of conformity to political and social orthodoxy in the UK. His use of the D-word is slightly suspect however.

  24. I too think Buerk was trying to be ironic here. But it was poorly executed and ill-judged – particularly in the wake of the 10:10 sceptic murder flick and the real life enviro-suicide bomber James Lee.

  25. ‘why should a BBC presenter (paid by the taxpayer)’
    Surely the BBC is paid for by its licence payers – ok, maybe its another form of tax, but fortunately one I can choose to decline. No TV, no payment – but I do miss Channel Four.
    Is it the BBC season for smearing those not yet converted to CAGW scientism?

  26. If you ask me this was just another backhanded attempt at brainwashing through cognitive dissonance. Al Gore was very successful with his ‘morale imperative’. Believers are moral people and sceptics/deniers are, therefore, considered immoral.
    Another prime example of this is the label of ‘denier’. Anyone who denies the Holocaust is considered morally reprehensible. By labelling sceptics ‘deniers who lie to further the cause of Big Oil’ (another dishonest behaviour), once again a cognitive dissonance is set up that needs resolving by the human psyche in those that are sceptical.
    This conflict of ideas can be very powerful and, since it is unlikely that people will allow their moral compass to be upset, it is more likely that they will subconsciously align with the believers in an effort to resolve their dissonance. Avoiding discussion of facts that may challenge those beliefs is common as this has the potential to reintroduce the conflicting ideas.
    IMHO, by claiming the moral high ground, the alarmists had half the battle won. Unfortunately for them, there has been dissention in their own ranks from those with sound moral values and respected careers that serve to provide honest facts without spin. This also has the power to break the dissonance as it allows people to align themselves with moral character and scepticism.
    MrC

  27. On the previous week’s programme Buerk described religion as superstition when he introduced a debate about the value of religion to society with

    Buerk’s job is to be the devil’s avacado in the questions he asks and the statements he makes. He does not lecture on the show and neither do the other guests. But here, given that the majority of the population of this country are athiest or agnostic (or at least don’t hold any bronze-aged superstitious belief), it’s entirely appropriate.
    I love the show, by the way. Along with “In Our Time”, it’s deliberately high-brow and a wonderful listen as a result.

  28. Daniel Coen Bendit – a Green MEP and therefore a climate alarmist – is a self-confessed child molester, so any attempt to correlate climate sceptics with paedophiles falls at the first fence.
    Rather the opposite I would have said.

  29. Once again, we have a failure to focus on the science and instead ascribe non-enthusiasm for global warming propaganda to assorted psychobabble about marketing, about selfishness and about re-ignition of connection with nature, whatever that might be. The good thing about this programme is that it allowed the Radio 4 listener to hear eco-zealots in full flow.

  30. Any opinion from the Beeb, who are supporting the leftist and Islamist takeover of Egypt in the name of “democracy” as well as giving uncritical support to rapist privacy invader Julian Assange, I don’t care.

  31. Alexander:
    “…The original buffoon was ‘Buff’ Huhne…”
    Almost right, mate, the first one was “BuufHoon” the erstwhile Labour defence minister who visited Iraq in his office shoes…

  32. The sooner “British” is removed from the BBC title, the better. Other bloggers may be unaware that we Brits are forced by law to pay for this insular entity, whether-or-not we view their stuff. This outfit could not survive in the real, competative world. No surprise that they are headed by a bunch of small-minded socialists.

  33. Yes the BBC has gone barmy and has been like it for many years, especially with news, current affairs and documentaries, and then they redeem themselves. Last night Friday, on BBC TV 4 they had a stunning programme “Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Harvest of Sorrow”. And no messages about Russia and global warming. If you didn’t see it, you can still get it on BBC Iplayer. Worth the license tax.

  34. OK- so it’s definitely possible he was being sarcastic…
    I still don’t discount that there are actually people out there, participating in this discussion, who would nod their heads in agreement with such statements.

  35. I’m beginning to get really cross.
    It is simply not done to bracket a group of people with paedophiles, not even as a gently ironic joke (if that is what is was), nor as a conscious exaggeration to show up those who use ‘denier’ all the time.
    It simply is not done, that’s all there is to it.

  36. I am glad that most commenters on the thread so far see the BBC piece as it was meant to be seen, and ironic piece on BBC’s closed mindedness. That’s encouraging.

  37. If irony was intended , it is very hard to hear it in the programs introduction..
    The usual audience of the Moral Maze would no doubt be nodding along in agreement, without seeing any irony.
    FAR too ambiguous
    Here is the irony, later in the program about ideas…..
    Michael Buerke goes on to say when describing David Camerons criticism of government handling of multiculturism.
    “his was not an argument against the basic idea of tolerance towards thus amongst us with different cultures, IDEAS and lifestyles.”
    I would like to hear an explanation from the BBC and Michael Buerk,.
    I also might ask, what in the BBC’s opinion is a ‘climate change denier’ anyway..
    Please define it.

  38. Losing political fanatics frequently seek to dehumanize the objects of their ire and frustration.
    For the BBC gang to do this actually a badge of honor. They are admitting that they have so little rational thought to apply to the climate issue that they are incapable of differentiating between people any longer. Think of it as the flip-side of Orwellian thought control: One result of the sort of Orwellian effort it takes to sustain the garbage of catastrophic climate change is that the believers have to turn off their their thinking ability. The BBC, filled with climate extremists and fanatics, is now experiencing this reduction in thinking ability across its culture. Soon they will not be able to differentiate between, for example, fish and birds: They will all be just animals.
    CO2 obsession and the apocalyptic cult that has formed around it, has damaged the ability of science to do science and now has degraded the BBC’s ability to communicate effectively.

  39. Incidentally, I listened to the program yesterday, and that quote was the one that gave it away as a piece of irony critical of BBC. It would be impossible to imagine BBC putting on air something as controversial as that for real.
    Glad people have responded sensibly.

  40. By the way, some posters are trying to say this was just a tongue in cheek ironic bit of fun.
    This was ironic the same way 10:10 button video was ironic: not at all.
    This was a deliberate attack on the humanity and legitimacy of skeptics.

  41. Patrick Hadley says:
    February 12, 2011 at 5:52 am
    ‘While Buerk was obviously being ironic, that does not in itself mean that his remarks were not ill-judged and offensive. On the previous week’s programme Buerk described religion as superstition when he introduced a debate about the value of religion to society with, “Are we now to base our moral and legal code on rationality rather than superstition?”’
    Patrick is doing the helpful and productive thing. Buerk cannot be engaging in satire all the time and, to me, labeling religion as superstition is not satire but a moral evil.
    By the way, do not confuse pedophilia and child molestation. The latter label comes with a (near) universal curse. The former label has defenders in the highest places who publish books about man-child love. As for myself, I find the anointed scholars of pedophilia to be no less repugnant than child molesters.

  42. I think these “comedians” have the purpose of preparing the public for the wholesale ostracism of a certain viewpoint. The EU does use and pay “comedians” to promote their viewpoint. Here, for instance, they use a German “comedian” to try to make people participate in an election for the EU parliament.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_fFjRgiOIw
    (removed the http prefix; hope the youtube preview doesn’t pop up, i don’t want to force you to see that dolt.)
    This just means that they continue the propaganda war.

  43. Robinson says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:23 am
    “On the previous week’s programme Buerk described religion as superstition when he introduced a debate about the value of religion to society with [religion is superstition]…But here, given that the majority of the population of this country are athiest or agnostic (or at least don’t hold any bronze-aged superstitious belief), it’s entirely appropriate.”
    And all this time I thought Britain was multicultural. Not where religion is concerned, clearly. I will say to you what I say to my students. You may criticize religion, but you have to produce a REASONED criticism of religion. Dismiss it out of hand and you will be graded as if you dismissed multiculturalism out of hand.

  44. Caution! That radio program may cause nausea, vomiting and brain hemorrhage.
    Disgusting and vile garbage… Absolute drivel.
    Still gives me the creeps.

  45. Cold Englishman says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:53 am
    Yes the BBC has gone barmy and has been like it for many years, especially with news, current affairs and documentaries, and then they redeem themselves. Last night Friday, on BBC TV 4 they had a stunning programme “Sergei Rachmaninoff: The Harvest of Sorrow”. And no messages about Russia and global warming. If you didn’t see it, you can still get it on BBC Iplayer. Worth the license tax.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////
    It is programmes like this that the BBC can do well and should do more often. Perhaps they should give up news and current affairs.
    I only saw about 20 mins of this programme on this remarkable man. I wondered whether the programme was made long ago since Maestro Gergiev (musicial director of the Marinsky St Petersburg) looked so young.

  46. I pledge to stop watching the BBC, speeches by Hitler and Goebbels, and replays of Osama bin Laden’s fatwas. These lot are not sending the correct messages to our children.

  47. What identifies someone as a “climate change denier”? What kind of person denies that climate changes? Doesn’t the word “climate” imply change? To think otherwise would be daft, or entirely ignorant of the geologic record, or one would have to be very young or profoundly unobservant.
    By my definition of a climate change denier (daft, ignorant, or a youngster), note that these are states of being, understanding, or belief. A pedophile, however, is a criminal guilty of committing an act. Thus, to compare a “climate change denier” to a pedophile is simply a gross example of the fallacy of equivocation. The pedophile commits an act, the “denier” holds a belief, or is in a state of being (young or daft). I’m not sure I see any irony here; just monumentally sloppy reasoning.
    If however, the term “climate change denier” is meant to identify a individual holding the belief that the tiny fraction of CO2 emitted by mankind is trivial as a climate change driver or if not trivial then most likely limited to an effect that is most likely entirely harmless; and if said individual makes statements and creates arguments to that effect and posts them on blogs, and argues this point socially with friends and family, and writes their congressman, and so on; then an act has been committed. And this act puts the perpetrator in the “same loathsome corner as pedophiles”.
    So exercising free-speech on a technical scientific topic in a free democracy is as odious as pedophilia? Now we have false analogy – just more lazy, junk reasoning with a lurid allusion to a criminal sex act committed on a minor.
    Sorry if I can’t find any of that wonderful British irony in this.

  48. What Mikef2 said.
    Michael Buerk is an excellent journalist, and the Moral Maze one of the rare BBC programmes that actually allow non politically correct commenters to fight their corner.
    He was certainly doing a little drive-by on the AGW cabal which runs our lives here in the UK, not least at the BBC. His sarc is camouflaged, but he’s really up against his fellow journalists, and they will know they are being shot at.
    Try and lighten up, or we’ll be into that Americans don’t do irony thing…

  49. Well, there are two pieces of good news from Olde England.
    One is a cracking good play in London that appears to have good reviews as well, that actually does NOT diss us but looks at the whole human situation of people following “noble causes” passionately, intelligently, and idiotically. See Bishop Hill “The Heretic”.
    The other is under wraps, coming soon.

  50. “Onion says:
    February 12, 2011 at 5:13 am
    I’m with mikef2. He was being ironic.
    The attempt to medicalise CAGW sceptics is far more ugly in my view”
    My impression, too, is that it was not meant to be his personal view on sceptics. I think he was telling us how climate sceptics are viewed within the BBC itself. That is the appalling depth to which they have sunk intellectually and morally.

  51. Any truly upstanding multiculturalist would know that they will have to live in a world where cultural disbelief in Global Warming is the norm for some parts of the society and these parts of society must be embraced not shunned. Otherwise, is to fall in with the bigots and “knuckle draggers” who find multiculturalism an abomination.

  52. To be honest I think the statement was kind of funny.
    Also the statement can be read in a more positive light.
    Michael Buerk could have meant the statement to make fun of people who are so blinded by their indignation that they do not see the difference between climate change skeptics and pedophiles or it could have been even used as a self parody.
    note: I do not know Buerk’s views or history on climate change.
    note2: I have a very high tolerance if not an appreciation for good hyperbole and think it should share the same place as irony in the halls of wit.

  53. The mainstream and much of the alternative media, worldwide, is controlled propaganda. The sooner that is recognized the better. If you are divorced from your controllers it is easy to see that there is no “left” or “right” but rather a split flank strategy to corral “their” sheep in a totalitarian straitjacket. Stop the constant name calling as is as reprehensible as the comment that is being debated. People must unite rather than allow the media to put them in a labeled box and ship them en masse towards that corral. Use reason to influence not insults. Honey not vinegar. (I live in a highly technical area and more than 50% of the highly educated science types consider themselves “liberal”. Make them your ally. Just drop the labels and the philosophies of the individuals are actually quite similar.) Those who support global warming or fluoidated water or vaccinations have not taken the time to study the matter, hence, they rely on the agenda driven media’s false information. They need your guidance.

  54. The record cold weather in the UK must have frost bit some brain cells at the BBC. They are off the scales in their desperation.

  55. After listing to this plethora of sound bites dubbed with a bbc nihilistic narration, I want to give all who reads this a word of warning!
    Beware of people who study Anthropology, psychology, sociology and environmental issues with a political opinion about you!
    If were to give a review of this Uber-Sh*t, I would say it was the worst drivel I’d ever listened too, at no point was there any indication of satire, or sarcasm! maybe a little reverse sarcasm and hints of “I know what makes you tick” higgery pokery!
    complete bull from star to finish.

  56. The clue is in the title of the programme: “The Moral Maze”.
    I think that this was sarcasm, not irony.

  57. Theo Goodwin:
    Unless you understand that in Britain the majority of the population have no real problem with religions being referred to as superstition, and would consider the idea of such a suggestion being a “moral evil” as being ludicrous, then you really aren’t going to “get” much of British irony, satire, sarcasm or its humour. For the most part in Britain we don’t “do” piety or get over defensive about any religion we may have, or lazily claim we have when the census is taken.
    Buerk’s latest comments seem to me to be more a sideways swipe at the (un)thinking which dismisses “denial” to the same pigeonhole as “peopdophiles” rather than at “denialists” themselves.
    I agree that he could have been less ambiguous, and I wish he had been, but the distinction could only anyway be drawn by someone steeped in British Radio 4 type culture, not someone who lives in an entirely different environment.
    I can’t stand Buerk or The Moral Maze but that’s another matter and I very much suspect that Buerk of the Sissons school of world weary cynicism about the vehemence of another passing fad, whether or not he thinks there is any substance at all to alarmism.

  58. I think the pairing of “climate change deniers” with paedophiles is so over the top it has to be humor. He is definitely poking fun at the BBC.
    It reminds me of the line, “I’ll try anything once except incest and folk dancing.”
    Jim Murray famously wrote that Philadelphia sports fans would boo a cancer cure. Suppose someone then referred to someone as being almost as despicable as paedophiles and Philadelphia sports fans.
    It’s a joke!

  59. If Buerk intended irony, then he or the BBC need to quickly make a statement to that effect. Which will no doubt give the BBC some headaches as to how to phrase it to maintain their staunchly pro-AGW bias, especially after the mistakes they made in their Horizon show. Even if it were intended as irony, then the comment was remarkably insensitive and ill considered given the uncertainties known, and consistently denied by the likes of the BBC.

  60. If Buerk were trying to poke fun at the BBC’s PC policies his wording is most unfortunate. Either he means that ‘climate deniers’ and paedophiles ARE equally loathsome OR he means that both are equally respectable and only considered loathsome by the BBC’s PC attitude.
    I fear that it was deliberately scripted to make the association in the public mind. Remember almost the entire BBC pension investments are in ‘green’ companies. Buerk is as worried about his pension pot as anyone else might be.

  61. I am not convinced that he was being ironic. He said it in a matter of fact way. Climate deniers were equated with paedophiles by being pushed into the corner. Multiculturalism was allowed out of the corner here. I detected no hint of sarcasm either. In any event however, he came over as a smug self satisfied twit showing off his sophistry. If he was trying to be either ironic or sarcastic, he failed.
    Douglas

  62. Complaint sent to BBC.
    Dear Sir, I take great issue with Michael Buerk’s comments on the BBC Radio 4 show, the Moral Maze: “not long ago, to question multiculturalism…risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers” To compare a whole group of people who only “crime” is to share a scientific opinion about the dynamics of the atmosphere to a group of perverse criminals is truly the politics of the Gas-Chamber. No amount of backtracking, no amount of analysing, no amount to “spin” as to what he really meant, will make this go away. Michael Buerk has only one honourable option, that is to apologise, on air, and then tender his resignation. If he does not the BBC has only one honourable option, that is to apologise for him on air, and then give Buerk the sack.

  63. * Shift the argument.
    * Ignore the facts.
    * Name call.
    S.I.N. That’s an acronym that I first heard from Herman Cain describing how people of certain ideological persuasions tend to discuss issues.

  64. johnnb, exactly right and the media (all of them) do it all the time. I am sure only those who have this aptitude are ever allowed on the air. They must be able to defend lest anyone try to speak the truth to the audience — why do you think they also adopted the 7 second rule? Truth (about the subjects they want you to “believe” in) must not be allowed.

  65. @Lucy Skywalker.
    Lucy, on BBC Radio 4 last night they did a review on The Heretic. They slated it as being overly long at two hours with no intermission and also said that it was “boring”.
    Once again the BBC are proven to be completely unbiased!

  66. Come on people . . . . it’s only the english language . . . he is neither being ironic nor sarcastic . . and he’s certainly not personally equating sceptics with paedophiles . . . He’s making a point about how multiculturalism was once beyond supporting according to the consensus position . . . as is the case still with climate change scepticism, and paedophilia . And it isn’t meant to provoke violence against “deniers” or anyone else . . . . Real sceptics look at the evidence very carefully before reaching conclusions .. seems to me that there are fewer real sceptics on here than might be expected . . .

  67. Thank goodness for the update; it confirms that, as I thought, people were being hysterical and dim, quite misunderstanding Buerk’s point.

  68. There was no sarcasm in “In denial: climate on the couch”. Brainwashing expeditions in the country? Swishing parties (exchanging used clothing) at the local bar? All in the name of climate change. Someone lock the gates before these people get out.

  69. jim hogg,
    This is a site with a large proportion of scientific skeptics. Looking at the evidence as you suggest, it appears that Buerk is either completely dim-witted, or he knew what he was doing. The latter makes the most sense.
    Read Don Keiller’s comment above. That also makes sense.

  70. No, Michael Buerk is one of the good guys. He dates back to the period when the BBC had integrity and made some attempt to live up to its mandate of impartiality; his comments, designed to initiate discussion, were an implied criticism of the current left-liberal mindset.
    Please listen to the program itself before commenting.

  71. I am fed up with this obsession that “we know” that CO2 contributes to warming of the atmosphere. Well, I happen to know that if the ambient air temperature is 30 degrees F, that if I push in the cigarette lighter, and when it pops out, and I wave it around in my auto, that it will, for sure, warm the air in my auto. I also know that I would be a damn fool if I tried this to attempt to warm the air in my vehicle to a comfortable temperature.
    CO2 is an insignificant factor in the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere.

  72. I thought he was ironic.
    The problem is that lefties say similar things and they mean it. Buerk’s particular problem is that he’s speaking on (and for) BBC with its loathsome record on the subject. It limits his range for making a sarcastic point, doesn’t it?
    I am tired of being called names myself but let’s not lose our good humor.

  73. I have just complained too:
    Dear Sirs,
    I feel that I must register this complaint with yourselves as the comment by Michael Buerk has caused great offence to me. To quote:
    “not long ago, to question multiculturalism…risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers“
    I find this highly offensive in that Mr Buerk attempts to tie a link between paedophiles and those that disagree with the so called “consensus” regarding climate change.
    This is open demonisation of those who do not believe in the “consensus” as your broadcasting company constantly airs.
    To state that those that have a counter view to Anthropogenic Global warming are “deniers” is also a tie in to those that deny the holocaust. I take great exception to both the statement linking paedophiles and the term denier to those that have a counter view.
    Neither are relevant, other than for the pure propaganda aims of the BBC. perhaps, you could check where your pension fund is invested!
    Just because I disagree with the so called “consensus” does not make me a paedophile, far from it, and to insinuate that because my beiliefs on AGW are different to those who are the so called “consensus”, puts me in the same class as those convicted of abusing children is obscene.
    I used to think the BBC was above reproach and would never biasly report, now I feel completely different. Your tax payer funded company are nothing more than a propaganda machine, funded by a tax backed in law. My license fee is a waste of money, I have to pay for the propaganda you feed the masses!
    Do not insult me again by tarring my beliefs as those of a Paedophile.

  74. I don’t like cross-postings as a general rule but I’ve just put this up at Bishop Hill …
    I wonder if perhaps we all ought to calm down just a little and put this into context. The Moral Maze was concerning itself with multiculturalism (in the light of Cameron’s speech and also, if anyone is aware of it, a similar speech by Sarkozy — the UK isn’t the only place where politicians are starting to realise that this was an error). Introducing the programme, Buerk said (if the quote is correct) that until very recently,

    to question multiculturalism…risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathsome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers.

    Seems a fairly accurate assessment of the state of things. He could perhaps have picked other examples but is anyone here trying to deny that according to those people who have been backing multi-culturalism to the hilt (and probably still do) to question it has pretty much put you (us) on a par with the B[ritish] N[ational]P[arty], paedophiles and that other group of unspeakables, “climate-change deniers”?
    I don’t know for sure what Buerk’s view is. Certainly as far as The Moral Maze is concerned he is quite happy to argue both sides in his role as moderator (unlike some BBC anchors who make little or no attempt to disguise their deep green credentials) and his intro should (IMHO) be taken in that context.
    Or wait for tonight’s repeat at 10.15 and see what, if anything, is said in the intro to that.
    I’m afraid I don’t think we’re doing our broad arguments any favours by knee-jerk reactions to what is essentialy an “ad lib” remark (albeit probably a rehearsed one) designed to put the subsequent debate in context.
    “Until now if you’d said this you’d have been considered unspeakable. Other people who have been considered unspeakable include …”
    I’ve always found Buerk a good reporter. Let’s try giving him the benefit of the doubt till we know more.

  75. Personally, I do not care if Michael Buerk was attempting irony nor sarcasm as he created a link between climate change deniers and paedophiles.
    Those that listened to the radio program have been fed the line. That is all that matters to the BBC.

  76. You’ve missed Beurk’s point entirely on this one! He was showing just how irrational our society’s moral scorn can sometimes be.
    By arguing that society reviles those who criticise multiculturalsim (and climate skeptics) as much as peodophiles, his target is society, not climate skeptics!
    To sum up – he might have said: “People are so morally superficial that they treat peodophiles, climate change ‘deniers’ and critics of multiculturalism as equally deserving targets of moral approbrium.
    So calm down. I think he’s on our side!

  77. There is the lefties word again…. Get out of their box(es) either L or R. Deniers is another one of their words, but you know better about that one.
    Often times the same comment works in different ways and that’s probably why it was stated in the first place. A divide and conquer trick of the trade.

  78. What is the psychology of someone ranting about global warming in the midst of a hemispheric cold wave and the third abnormally cold winter in 3 years?

  79. Atomic Hairdryer says:
    February 12, 2011 at 9:47 am
    “If Buerk intended irony, then he or the BBC need to quickly make a statement to that effect. Which will no doubt give the BBC some headaches as to how to phrase it to maintain their staunchly pro-AGW bias, especially after the mistakes they made in their Horizon show. Even if it were intended as irony, then the comment was remarkably insensitive and ill considered given the uncertainties known, and consistently denied by the likes of the BBC.”
    Doesn’t this just nail it? If Buerk or the BBC intended irony or sarcasm, they can say so and explain the matter. Will they? The proverbial ball is in their court.

  80. If Buerk is ‘on our side’ let’s see the colour of his money – he won’t show it because his job matters more than any moral scruples he may have. I bet he’ll NEVER do a ‘Moral Maze’ on climate scepticism.

  81. he is lampooning those of his BBC colleagues who do so habitually. He chose paedophiles – whom society, rationally or not, now ranks as the lowest form of life and quite beyond redemption – but, were in not for Godwin’s law, he could equally have chosen Nazis.

    Actually, that is the way I took it when I heard it. I experienced it as though we was saying that those people would lump climate change deniers with pedophiles, not that he thought they were.

  82. Yeah, it’s hard enough to get readers here to recognize irony and sarcasm — to the point that the lame ” /sarc ” tag is de rigeur, often unintentionally negated (as in double-negative) as ” /sarc off “.
    I’m with Buurk on this. I think he was giving listeners (undue) credit for being able to see how outré and ridiculous the equation of cc-deniers and pedophiles was, and extending that to multiculturalism disser dissers.
    Sometimes the Brit prediliction for dry understated and sarcastic wit comes back and bites butt.

  83. Have to say that Michael Buerk is much too intelligent to have made this comment deliberately and meant it. And I have seen many times that look of disgust on the faces of people who quite like you until the find out that you don’t believe in AGW. They are the ones with the problem. We occupy the moral high ground because we see through the fraud and know the truth. Let’s not get too thin skinned about this…we’re winning the argument!

  84. @Brian H, choose your language carefully. Just by being bi-lingual ie French and English does not make you big nor clever.
    Sometimes, those who rationalise too much become radishes!

  85. When I first read what Michael Buerk had said I immediately took it as a remark that was criticising the BBC and I am amazed that anyone could think otherwise of it. Mr Buerk is one of the good guys, I cannot understand how anyone can find his remark insulting or in bad taste. He was saying that the political correctness at the BBC meant that anyone who criticised multiculturalism in any way was automatically a racist and was as much beneath contempt as paedophiles and climate change deniers, in the view of the BBC, not in the view of Michael Buerk.
    Mr Buerk is on our side and anyone who has criticised him should offer him an apology.

  86. Malcolm Lochhead,
    Did you know that the American defense contractor Lockheed Corp. is named after one of your relatives?

  87. Jeremy says:
    Is it time for Deniobear?

    Given the difficulty many commenters above have in understanding Buerk’s statement (that AGW-denial has become a topic where many think you cannot even begin to have a discussion) there is no way they will understand Deniobear!
    It will light the fuse of the many here with absolutely no sense of humour. They are offended by people who agree with them, because parsing simple logic is beyond them. so goodness knows how they would react to Deniobear.

  88. Too many of you have leapt in here. Buerk was highlighting how massively different things are placed in the same box without moral justifiaction.
    And for the love of god, will you guys in the USA look up “irony”.

  89. Malcolm Lochhead says:
    February 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    “You’ve missed Beurk’s point entirely on this one! He was showing just how irrational our society’s moral scorn can sometimes be…”
    Please tell me where there has ever been such an outrageous comparability between pedophiles and so-called “deniers? please tell, please let us all know!
    Where it first came up? I have not ever heard the like in my entire life.
    Don’t be so damned silly!! Satirical My a*se!!

  90. I happen to agree with Anthony that this strange statement shows that BBC is a combination of hatters and nutters.
    The web tunes all of the world into local cultures apart from each other, even if there is a common language. The USA, UK, Australia all speak the same language, but its impossible for any one of us to understand the cultural nuiance of each other unless we have experienced the thinking of the culture. I can’t perceive from the statement whether it was made from personal belief or was a cut at the “official” view of the BBC. There was no “SARC” attached to the radio broadcast. So who knows. My stand though that since it was made at all shows that to some it is a true statement, and that is abhorrent. Hatters/Nutters – I don’t care, but perverse does ring true.

  91. Seems a little ironic that just 3 days ago i received an email back from the BBC over my complaint off their BIAS coverage of the Climate Change debate and i quote…
    “The BBC is committed to impartial and balanced coverage when it comes to this issue.”
    I think they really need to look up the meaning of the words ‘Impartial’ and ‘Balanced’ again as in my book they may have slightly misunderstood them..!!!

  92. Paedophiles,Racists,Climate-Change Deniers……..which is the odd one out?
    Racists, for it it is quite possible to be racist and still be liked by others not of your opinion, provided you don’t carry out racist acts.
    By contrast it is not necessary to molest children or increase your carbon footprint to be loathed as a paedo. or AGW Denier, merely having those feelings/opinions is enough.

  93. Lucy Skywalker has piqued my interest (platonically speaking, of course). Can you give us a timeline, Ms. Skywalker?

  94. I can say in two words what is going on at RC and the BBC. Garnishing publicity. Sagging ratings have plagued them since questions of bias have started to dawn on the public. They have to, because they got nowhere else to go. They rode too far to get home. Everyone wants too lead, but you need to have somewhere to go. Sorry about all the euphemisms (metaphors?).

  95. If you think the BBC is biased, ask anyone you know from Canada what the CBC is like. I am certain that most who work at the CBC view skeptics in this very manner. The Universities that I am familiar with also. At least we are getting more respect on the street. I do not bring up climate change ever, but now I find people are admitting that they have serious questions about what they are being told, instead of avoiding the conversation altogether. Once more students start asking serious and informed questions in the classroom, it will be all over. Three cheers for thinking for oneself !!!

  96. Multiculturalism and Diversity are failed religions. Failed religions of the master failed religion of liberalism.

  97. “Please tell me where there has ever been such an outrageous comparability between pedophiles and so-called “deniers? please tell, please let us all know!”
    The London Mayor Boris Johnson compared us to paedophiles, cannibals, and fat-cat bankers. In a similarly ironic vein, let me say before I unleash the firestorm on poor Boris (again).
    Free speech includes speech that offends. It’s not as if nobody has ever compared the AGW-faithful to anything unpleasant, is it?
    I think in this case, irony was intended, but I would not like to see such comments banned even where they are meant. The truth about AGW will eventually win out, and then all such statements will come back to haunt their authors. Never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake.

  98. “Please tell me where there has ever been such an outrageous comparability between pedophiles and so-called “deniers?”
    Every politician in America has either been called a Nazi or disciple of Josef Stalin. Nancy Pelosi, President Obama, John McCain and President George Bush were all accused of being Nazis. It’s part of American discourse to blog someone is a Nazi if you disagree with their political views.
    I enjoy being called a denier. I tell my liberal friends I’ll believe in climate change when Hudson Bay stops freezing over. That’s also when I’ll support Cap and Trade of CO2

  99. I complained to the BBC about the infamous “Horizon” programme – specifically that it gave the clear impression that human activity released 7 times more CO2 than natural sources. The reply follows, and speaks for itself:
    “Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Horizon: Science under Attack’, broadcast on BBC Two on 24 January.
    I understand that you feel there were factual inaccuracies in the programme, and was biased against climate sceptics.
    Your concerns were raised with the producer of the programme – Emma Jay who replies as follows:
    “I’m sorry you felt the film was biased. In reply can I first set out a little of the background to the film and how we approached the subject.
    The purpose of this film was to examine public trust in science generally – not just in the area of climate change – reflecting both the role of scientists and the influence of the media, the internet and bloggers. There does seem to have erosion in public trust in some key areas of science – judging by some opinion poll data – and we thought this was an interesting and important area to look at.
    We asked Paul Nurse to present the film. The reason for this is not just that he is the new President of the Royal Society and a Nobel Prize winner, but because he is very interested in how science and society should relate in the 21st Century.
    It is this dynamic – how society and science connect, and how that is influenced by the media, both old and new, that formed the central argument of the film.
    In the course of the programme Paul Nurse argued that scientists need to focus on the science and keep politics and ideologies out of the way; that scientists need to be more open in the way they do their science, and be more willing to communicate the uncertainties that are sometimes inherent in their work.
    A substantial part of the film did use the example of climate science to look at this dynamic between science and society, and at the question of public trust. But I don’t accept that the film was biased in its representation of the state of the scientific debate about anthropogenic global warming. The overwhelming majority of scientists and scientific institutions accept the link; in scientific terms it is not controversial and the programme’s approach reflected that.
    I fully acknowledge that, even now, not everyone accepts this view and that there is still a continuing political debate. That is why the programme included Professor Fred Singer’s views on the primacy of solar activity and James Delingpole’s views on ‘Climategate’, the perils of scientific consensus, and how peer review in science was being challenged by peer-to-peer review. These were significant parts of the film.
    I hope I have been able to go some way towards addressing your concerns.”
    We’re guided by the feedback that we receive and to that end I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.
    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
    Thanks for taking the time to contact us.
    Kind Regards
    Mark Roberts
    BBC Complaints
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

  100. After listening to Buerk’s radio program it seems rather obvious his nod to climate deniers was tongue-in-cheek. As he tries to open up discussions on multiculturalism, which he does brilliantly by not imposing his views, he is obviously acknowledging the lack of open debate in the global warming arena as he wades into Britain’s favorite whipping-boy – how bout them foreigners. He is a subtle and very smart guy, very aware of what is being said around him. I would trust him to host a show on the Deniers. Compare the Buerk broadcast to that train-wreck “Deniers on the couch” or whatever.

  101. What I never understand is why there is inordinate attention is given to utterances from this “BBC “that is a national broadcasting station in a non-entity country in Europe, when there is not equal coverage here of utterances from the national broadcasting station of the South Malaccas!

  102. Slow down, people. I picked up a subtly ironic tone in Michael Buerk’s voice, so he deserves not to be taken too literally. Perhaps his mistake was taking the risk that the use of irony would be obvious to any listener, when it often isn’t. Aren’t most WUWT followers used to the group-thinkers who tighten their mouths with disdain when we’re foolish enough to air some sceptical views? You know, mentally classifying us with all the other disgusting groups of social deviates who threaten the fabric of comfortable well-heeled existence?

  103. I listened to half that program.Boring.that’s 10 minutes wasted listening to people pontificate on fundamentalist Christianity,apparently England is full of it,and how mass immigration is great for a country,it’s not the immigrants that are the problem,it’s the society they are trying to fit into,is the message.Typical BBC tripe.The host may well have meant that to be a climate denier is the equivalent of being a loathsome child abuser in some people’s mind.He had no problems using the term “denier”did he?He couldn’t give the scientists who state they do not believe that the science is sound behind AGW respect?He had to lump them all into one group.
    Seems like typical lefty BBC employee to me.

  104. Well, well, Cameron has just stated “Multiculturalism has failed.” Congratulations! A brilliant observation, about on a par with, “Oops, this train has derailed and exploded.”

  105. “GregO says:
    February 12, 2011 at 8:50 am
    What identifies someone as a “climate change denier”? What kind of person denies that climate changes? Doesn’t the word “climate” imply change? To think otherwise would be daft, or entirely ignorant of the geologic record, or one would have to be very young or profoundly unobservant.”
    I ask myself and AGW supporters the same question. People, like myself, who are not AGW supporters do not deny climate changes (CCD). All we, or I at least, do is challenge the consensus that tiny amounts of CO2 emitted by human activities IS driving climate in a catatrophic way. So far, I see none of this.
    Incidentally, in Australia, CCD is truncated to climate denier. Everytime I hear someone mention this I cry with laughter at their complete ignorance.

  106. I wouldn’t rule out an extreme case of irony here. Mr Buerk normally comes across as independent and fair-minded and more than capable of seeing both sides of an argument. Could he be planting the idea that AGW zealotry should go the same way as multicult zealotry, in the only way that will get past the censors?

  107. Mr Watts: as I’ve implied above this is a total non-event. This posting and subsequent comments only serve to create the impression that the sceptic community is awash with paranoia. Buerk was simply making a point about how suddenly a mainstream position – on multiculturalism – can be overturned. Until very recently multiculturalism had pariah status in “educated” circles, along with agw scepticism etc . . . . . . Whether or not he agrees that such status was deserved or otherwise by any of these categories, he was simply accurately reflecting on the way it was in such circles . . . . . To persist with supporting a clearly false interpretation of his words would be to go against all that this site has stood for until now . . . What disappoints me more though is the small percentage of commenters who actually understood his very elementary point . . . .

  108. I’m with those who have been pointing out that what Michael Buerk was saying is that there is a certain type of person in the UK (not limited to the BBC I might add – think George Monbiot) who puts those who do not agree with “multiculturalism” are to be considered in the same category as child molesters and those who don’t buy the AGW scam, i.e as beyond the pale. He is most certainly NOT putting that forward as a view he shares.
    I mention the Moonbat in particular as he is on record as believing that “when we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.

  109. I agree with those arguing that this reaction is a little over blown. It doesn’t sound good of course as a “deniar” to be next door to peadophiles in a BBC remark. However in the UK media there is a fashion for extreme or exaggerated verbal metaphors. Perhaps a cultural backswing from traditional English under-statement. M Buerk was in no way whatever implying an association between paedophiles and climate change deniers. Just looking for a metaphor for social-political pariah-status.
    “Climate change denier” is an inaccurate label anyway, the issue is WHY climate is changing, as it always is. In reality, it is the CAGW camp who argue (bizzarely) that the current climate warming is unusual and must be man-made, and that the climate norm is temperature stasis (a position eloquently derided by Prof Lindzen). These are the true climate change deniers.

  110. Bigred says: February 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm
    Slow down, people. I picked up a subtly ironic tone in Michael Buerk’s voice, so he deserves not to be taken too literally.
    ————————————————————————-
    Oh Year – ever so subtle – in fact so subtle that he could have been talking about anything you choose cloaked in an irony so discrete and sarcasm so obscure that only the enlightened could possibly see it – rather like the clothes he was wearing.
    Douglas

  111. No. No pass on this one.
    I side with Viv Evans. If this was an innocent lampoon it in no way justifies putting paedophiles and climate change deniers in the same phrase.
    This is skeptics = deniers (as in Holocaust deniers) taken to the next level, no matter WHO was being attacked. Remember how freaking offensive that one was?
    Paedophiles and Nazis in the same spoken sentence, yes. Paedophiles and skeptics? No. No. NO. NO.
    It wasn’t just “paedophiles and climate change deniers,” but “loathesome,” too. No matter the context, this is a million percent past the pale.
    This was at the very LEAST a horrible choice of wording, one that demands an immediate retraction and apology by the organization and anything less than a sacking for this is condoning such phrasings and equatings.
    It’s so opposite the reality, too, because it is the skeptics who are trying to defend the world from zealots who have hijacked governments’ policies. It would be as if French radio in WWII was lambasting Hitler, by calling the French Resistance murderers and terrorists, and making Hitler’s case against the freedom fighters for him.

  112. Feet2theFire says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:35 am
    No. No pass on this one.
    It was grossly irresponsible I agree, if not actually intentionally libelous. An apology and retraction would indeed be appropriate.

  113. Feet2theFire,
    Mmmm… you seem to have just compared the French Resistance to Hitler, murderers and terrorists, in much the same way as Buerk did. Should we therefore call for an apology and retraction from you?
    Buerk was commenting on political correctness and how questioning multiculturalism would once have been condemned as racist, which to the politically correct was once part of the ultimate over-the-top ‘hate’ category of irredeemable despicableness, but has now been realised to be both true and socially acceptable. (So today, for instance, one can mention the age of Mohammad’s wife Aisha at a posh dinner party and not have to leave immediately.) He illustrates the point with another category of extreme social hate group, and then puts climate change deniers in there too as a joke, and to make the serious point that like those who were calling those suspicious of multiculturalism ‘racists’ were wrong, that perhaps those who today do the same to climate sceptics might be wrong too.
    He’s actually making an ironic joke in support of climate sceptics, at the expense of those who insult us and call us deniers or worse. It’s subtle and clever, because he’s presenting what is supposed to be a highly intellectual radio program and sophisticated word-play is normally expected and appreciated, and because if you want to score points off the sort of guests they have on the programme, then your verbal barbs had better be good. He makes the point against the politically correct, but in such a way that they can’t get him back for being politically incorrect in doing so. This sort of intellectual one-upmanship is like an intricate game.
    And given the efforts he’s gone to in order to insert a bit of support for climate sceptics on a vehemently anti-sceptic radio channel, I’m sure that when he gets this mail bag full of humourless complaints he’s going to wonder why he bothered, and maybe that he was wrong to support us.
    Incidentally, (and I know I’ll get in trouble for this), you might like to think about why he used paedophiles as an example. There is an important distinction between a ‘paedophile’ and a ‘child abuser’, which is somewhat akin to the difference between a ‘heterosexual male’ and a ‘rapist’. So far as I know, nobody chooses their sexual preferences – and so long as they never do anything about it, practising total abstinence, it’s hard to see how they can be rightly blamed for it. We went through this same argument with homosexuals, who switched from filthy pariahs to politically double plus correct in a handful of decades, and it might prompt the sufficiently clever listener to wonder what other seemingly absolute and immoveable social fashions might change? Perhaps he might be making an even more outrageous point than you suspect?

  114. phlogiston;
    No. Wrong. If anyone is being libelled, it’s the BBC, which is being accused of extreme bias. Do you think he should apologize to the BBC?

  115. hunter says:
    The BBC, filled with climate extremists and fanatics, is now experiencing this reduction in thinking ability across its culture. Soon they will not be able to differentiate between, for example, fish and birds: They will all be just animals.
    Reminds me of Sea Kittens

  116. I posted this on other forums (including Bishop Hill)
    it should be here as well, notice how I do not have anything to say about Michael Buerk but get straight into the real issue at hand.
    This whole “climate Change denier” Cr*p invented by the over payed hacks working at the “B*B*C*” has nothing to do with having a healthy skeptical view of the
    relatively NEW science of climate sciences, But every thing to do with the political abuse of using a tiny area of science as a dictatorial Ideology for the promotion of certain minority beliefs in catastrophic Malthusian politics.
    When I hear of the bbc behaving in this way as disgusting and completely unacceptable as it is, I know the childish name calling, false and completely unfounded associations and labels are the last attempt of a nihilistic propaganda machine grasping at straws in a futile attempt to persuade the public to roll over summit to their masters (I say this with an amused grin on my face) .
    The public are becoming more aware of the situation and becoming extremely angry with their messed up climate change ideology, failed predictions and utter disregard for the real facts being discussed by the scientific and wider community of intelligent peoples not just in the UK but all over the globe,
    If the “B*B*C*” want’s to hit out, slur and offend a whole community again (Yes I said Again) then it’s up to everyone no mater what side of the fence your views are held to stand up to these self important judge, jury and executioner types and hit back harder.
    As far as I’m aware, we are still living in a democracy and not some kind of bureaucratic scientific dictatorship. God forbid!
    As you can probably tell I am outraged, offended and perplexed with disbelief by the bbc and their (whats the word I’m looking for “fascist? maybe!) comments, ignorance and their unjust, disgracefully mind numbing ability to yet again dream up more ways to be so offensive to a massive community of people.
    Even if their was only one or two people as the bbc believes on the whole planet who are skeptical about anthropogenic (man made) C02 causing catastrophic effects and over powering the colossal natural forces of our planet, including solar, lunar and even cosmic influences, I would still expect the publicly funded bbc to respect that persons view without prejudice or the discriminatory attitude currently being expressed.

  117. Not normally a complainer, but would up feeling mischievous in Saturday and decided to lodge a formal complaint. The response is below:
    Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘The Moral Maze’ broadcast on the 9 February.
    We’re sorry if you were offended by Michael Buerk’s opening statement:
    “Not long ago to question multiculturalism, the precepts or the policies of successive governments, risked being branded racist and pushed into the loathsome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers.”
    Michael was certainly not comparing climate change deniers with paedophiles. He was simply saying that paedophiles and climate change deniers are two such examples of groups of people who are generally viewed as being in a ‘loathsome corner’ albeit that they are completely disconnected in every other way.
    Michael was making the wider point that from time to time there are ideas in society, like multiculturalism and climate change, that become orthodoxy and to challenge those ideas is to be seen to be beyond the pale.
    However, we’re sorry if this didn’t come across as clearly as was hoped for.
    We would like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

  118. Ah the BBC, what a bunch of hypocrites.
    A leading story on their website today, is the faint possibility that actors were used in a reality programme The Real Hustle, in which various con tricks are tried out on “the unsuspecting public”. It is just entertainment, and quite educational sometimes as it makes you more aware of some sophisticated scams.
    So, shock horror, actors might have been used in the public roles?
    The following is their gob-smackingly ironic statement. If only the same thing happened with programmes of some importance, rather than light entertainment….
    The BBC said it was “of paramount importance to the BBC that our audiences are not misled by the programmes we broadcast”.
    A BBC spokesman said: “We will examine any alleged breaches of our editorial standards relating to The Real Hustle as a matter of urgency and will take appropriate action if required.”

Comments are closed.