Friday, July 6th 2012, 4:57 PM EDT
It is now more than a year since the BBC Trust published a seminal report on the impartiality of the broadcaster's coverage of science, but there is clear evidence that it is still failing to address one of the main findings.
The author of the Trust's report, Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at University College London, warned about "false balance" in the BBC's reporting of issues, such as climate change, caused by "attempts to give a place to anyone, however unqualified, who claims an interest" in an issue.
In particular, Professor Jones questioned the application of the BBC's editorial guidelines, updated in October 2010, which require "due impartiality". His report stated:
"There is much debate within the BBC about impartiality as applied to science, with rather a split between its science specialists and its other elements. There may sometimes have been an over-rigid application of the guidelines to what is essentially a fact-based field. This can produce an adversarial attitude to science which allows minority, or even contrarian, views an undue place. The BBC has tried hard to find a suitable balance. I await with interest the results of the new Guidelines' emphasis on 'due weight' when making editorial judgements about impartiality. Whatever their influence there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and to evidence."
Saturday, November 19th 2011, 2:18 PM EST
Since 2006, the BBC has relentlessly promoted the global warming orthodoxy as a pressure group in its own right.
The story of the BBC’s bias on global warming gets ever murkier. Last week there was quite a stir over a new report for the BBC Trust which criticised several programmes for having been improperly funded or sponsored by outside bodies. One, for instance, lauded the work of Envirotrade, a Mauritius-based firm cashing in on the global warming scare by selling “carbon offsets”, which it turned out had given the BBC money to make the programme.
Just as this scandal broke, I was also completing a report, to be published next month by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on the BBC’s coverage of climate change. It ranges from the puffing of scare stories dreamed up by “climate activists”, to BBC reporting on wind farms, often no more than shameless propaganda for the wind industry. Part of the story told in my report is the unhealthily close relationship that developed between the BBC and organisations professionally involved in the “warmist” cause.
Sunday, October 16th 2011, 5:39 AM EDT
The BBC, in determining its policy towards the coverage of global warming, which is of course not simply a scientific issue but an economic and a political issue, too, ought to shred that section of the Jones review and revert to the impartiality laid down in its charter.
In the second half of July, when most of us were preparing to set off on our summer holidays, the BBC Trust published a lengthy review of the impartiality and accuracy of the corporation’s coverage of science, most of which was taken up with what was described as an “independent assessment” by the geneticist Professor Steve Jones.
A substantial section of Jones’s assessment was, understandably, devoted to the important issue of global warming. Regrettably, that section was characterised chiefly by ignorance and intolerance. I was saddened not only by these general defects but also by an unwarrante