What is Roger Harrabin doing?

That is a question that could be quite reasonably be asked by his boss and licence fee payers after events over the last couple of weeks.

While Roger Harrabin filed a piece for his ‘Harrabin’s Notes’ on Population Overload yesterday and a piece on Monday about MPs saying the government must be more green and appoint the Cabinet Office (yes, them again) to ensure the environment is considered in the government’s decision-making processes, there is a notable absence of BBC News pieces from Harrbin concerning the ongoing furore over the Met Office’s private weather forecast that was supplied to the government’s Cabinet Office.

It seems curious that a story as big as a contradictory weather forecast for what turned out to be the coldest December since national records began in 1910, was covered in the high profile news vehicle that is the Radio Times, but not on the Science & Environment pages of BBC News online.

Surely news pieces should be reported on BBC news sites.  But this hasn’t been the case.  Harrabin’s focus appears to have been less on reporting news stories for his employer and more on issuing what look like PR pieces to assist the Met Office in reputation management.  Harrabin has said more to other journalists and bloggers about his Radio Times piece than he has to users of BBC News services.

Not only does Harrabin appear engaged in putting out the Met Office’s side of the story, it now seems he has his sights set on deflecting attention from the Met Office’s contradictory weather forecast and putting the government under pressure instead.  As we learned yesterday, the BBC has filed a Freedom of Information request with the government to secure details of the winter forecast the Met Office hopes will exonerate it from accusations of poor forecasting accuracy. And we saw that Harrabin is again at the centre of this story – but still there is still no news copy filed on the BBC Science & Environment pages about it.

So is the Met Office paying Harrabin for his services? Has he been seconded to Exeter, or given a sabbatical?  Or are licence fee payers simply cross-subsidising his activity to dig the Met Office out of a hole and fill column inches in the newspapers with pro-Met Office copy that carefully calls into question the government’s role in the matter?  Perhaps we BBC licence fee payers can be excused for asking why, despite funding Harrabin’s hyperactivity and pivotal role in this story, the BBC is the one place not carrying any output on it. Perhaps we should also be asking if Harrabin’s apparently central role in this story has any link with the contract the BBC signed with the Met Office, buying weather forecasting services?

It seems reasonable for people to ask, given his role in this story and his outside activities has Harrabin now gone too far in turning his reporting role into one of advocacy for and involvement with selected entities who push the global warming narrative, and is he breaking the BBC’s code of conduct regarding bias and impartiality?

14 Responses to “What is Roger Harrabin doing?”


  1. 1 AJC 12/01/2011 at 2:37 pm

    It is perhaps time to FOI Leeds University to see how Harrabin is progressing on another little enterprise first mentioned on Paul Hudson’s blog?

    “So it’s great news that my colleague Roger Harrabin has set up
    a steering group to find out who we can rely on in long range
    forecasting, with an independent verification scheme using some
    of the most trusted names in weather, in association with Leeds
    University.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2010/09/which-long-range-forecast-do-y.shtml

  2. 2 TimC 12/01/2011 at 4:34 pm

    It’s a dangerous game for BBC or Met Off staff to put a coalition government under pressure. If there’s any trouble the politicians will first and foremost look after themselves and their ministerial jobs – and practically they have power to hire and fire lackeys at the Beeb or Mad Off.

  3. 3 Anoneumouse 12/01/2011 at 6:34 pm

    I am tempted to submit an FOIA request to the Cabinet Office enquiring if they have received an FOIA request on this matter from the BBC.

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 12/01/2011 at 6:42 pm

    Then Anoneumouse we can submit a FOI request about yours, etc etc.

  5. 5 jameshigham 12/01/2011 at 6:50 pm

    did you read Delingpole on the Greens downunder?

  6. 6 Autonomous Mind 12/01/2011 at 7:34 pm

    I read the piece and some of the comments James.

  7. 7 Andy5759 12/01/2011 at 8:49 pm

    The greatest challenge a news reporter has is to not BECOME the news. Harrabin – fail. As for the greens in Australia; I would think that criminal proceedings could be considered by insurers and flooded out residents. Perhaps a new crime of “eco-genocide” could be introduced – oops, that’s already a watermelon idea. Sorry.

  8. 8 GP 12/01/2011 at 9:49 pm

    It seems that Paul Hudson is able to confirm that the Met Office did indeed ‘forecast’ a non-public cooler than usual winter quarter.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2011/01/the-met-office-winter-forecast.shtml

    In which case the BBC FOI request seems to be a little odd since in theory they could already report the veracity, if that is what it is, of the Met Office claims. Maybe. Kinda. After a fashion.

    There seem to be some strange games afoot here.

    Trust no one.

  9. 9 Riddi of England 13/01/2011 at 9:29 am

    would this be the same harrabin who had the famous submission to jo abbess ?

  10. 11 Neal Asher 13/01/2011 at 10:12 am

    Ah, this is probably because after a week the Radio Times will be in the bin, but if he posts something on the Internet some nasty deniers will copy it and throw it in his face later on. He’s probably not aware that many people possess scanners.

  11. 12 ciprian nom 13/01/2011 at 3:16 pm

    dont know but is smart guy for sure !!

  12. 13 jazznick 14/01/2011 at 10:03 am

    He seems to be going off half-cocked at the moment.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/uk-news/2216-roger-harrabin-a-the-met-office.html


  1. 1 Can the BBC’s ‘Weather Test’ project be impartial? « Autonomous Mind « Imogene Cuiper's Blog Trackback on 16/01/2011 at 5:00 am
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