Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The BBC broadcast an obscure programme on state radio on August the 5th, on Radio 4, called “what’s the point of the MET office?”, which allowed the voice of climate skepticism onto British broadcast radio. As a result of this massive breach of BBC policy, there has been a major internal inquiry, and several BBC officials have been sent on mandatory climate re-education courses.
The Telegraph reports on the outcome of the internal hearing into this failure of editorial control;
A Radio 4 programme that claimed that the Met Office had exaggerated the threat posed by global warming as part of its “political lobbying” has been found guilty of serious breaches of the BBC’s editorial guidelines.
The BBC Trust said that What’s the Point of the Met Office?, broadcast on August 5 and hosted by the journalist Quentin Letts, had “failed to make clear that the Met Office’s underlying views on climate change science were supported by the majority of scientists”.
Criticising the corporation of a “serious breach of the editorial guidelines for impartiality and accuracy”, the broadcaster’s governing body said “audiences were not given sufficient information about prevailing scientific opinion to allow them to assess the position of the Met Office and the Met Office position on these criticisms was not adequately included in the programme”.
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/12033749/Radio-4-show-that-criticised-Met-Office-stance-on-climate-change-broke-broadcasting-rules.html
Journalist Quentin Letts, who hosted the Radio 4 programme, has written a response to this ridiculous overreaction in The Spectator;
First, an apology. Thanks to me, all journalists at BBC Radio’s ethics and religion division are being sent for indoctrination in climate change. Sorry. In July I made a short Radio 4 programme with them called What’s the Point of the Met Office?, which accidentally sent orthodox warmists into a boiling tizzy. Amid jolly stuff about the history of weather predictions and the drippiness of today’s forecasters, we touched on parliamentary lobbying done by the state-funded Met Office. All hell broke out. Cataracts and hurricanoes! The Met Office itself was unfazed but the eco-lobby, stirred by BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, went nuts. I was accused of not giving a proper airing to ‘prevailing scientific opinion’. Apostasy had occurred. I was duly flogged on the Feedback programme.
That was the last I thought of it until last week, when I was sent an enormous draft report from the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee. This said I was likely to be found guilty of a ‘serious breach’ of ‘impartiality and accuracy’. The tone was akin to something from the International Criminal Court at the Hague or the Vatican in Galileo’s day. Did my little programme err? I certainly didn’t try to give listeners a reverential précis of ‘prevailing scientific opinion’ — didn’t think that was my remit. But we did have some fun interviewing an engagingly untidy climate-change sceptic called Piers Corbyn. His brother is now leader of HM Opposition. The BBC hierarchy’s overreaction to all this has been an education, as has the activism of Harrabin. Meanwhile, my ethics and religion mates have been sentenced to hard labour on the BBC Academy’s impartiality online training module, with ‘a substantial scenario on reporting climate-change science’. At school they call this detention.
Read more: http://new.spectator.co.uk/2015/12/quentin-lettss-diary-an-apology-to-the-bbc-journos-who-thanks-to-me-are-being-sent-away-for-re-education/
So what was the programme which caused all that controversy? The following is a link to a recording of the programme. Half an hour of harmless fun, broadcast all the way back in August.
You would think the BBC would have more interesting ways to spend their money and time, than conducting witch hunts to root out the last vestiges of climate skepticism within their ranks. But I guess that is a decision for the BBC Trust, and of course the taxpayers of Britain, assuming anyone bothers to ask their opinion.