There now follows a propaganda broadcast for the Met Office

Although it took place at around 8.20am this morning, this should not be allowed to pass without comment and I’ve been itching to get online to do just that.

The venue was BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (listen again), the interviewing host was Sarah Montague and the guest was the Met Office’s government services director, Phil Evans. The subject was the Commons Transport Select Committee’s recommendation of investing £10m more in the Met Office to improve its seasonal weather forecasting.  Or so it thinks.

The Met Office’s money grubbing for millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay for more supercomputing power is something this blog has covered before.  But the Transport Committee has swallowed hook, line and sinker the distraction techniques employed by the Met Office over the failure to forecast the extremely cold early winter and played into the Met Office’s hands by endorsing their ‘if only we had more money’ plea.

As the post title suggests, this wasn’t an interview, it was a naked PR exercise.  Montague was worse than useless.  There was no challenge about the 70% average or cooler versus 60% average or warmer ‘forecast’, which the Met Office has previously said proved they had seen the harsh cold snap coming and told the government.   There was no probing to test the claim that longer range forecasting could be improved by buying more computing power.  There was no answer given to the comparison question about whether this was something other countries have that results in more accurate forecasts.  And when asked what the new investment would do, Evans’ answer was meaningless waffle about running models to get more details about the atmosphere and so give the Met Office a sounder footing about understanding the risk of severe weather.

Why was no one like Piers Corbyn from WeatherAction asked for comment? Or someone from Positive Weather Solutions to examine whether (supposed lack of) supercomputing capability is the reason Met Office forecasts of anything more than a couple of days hence are so unreliable? Why was no effort made to track down Bryan Leyland, whose own forecasts outperformed the Met Office although he used nothing more technical than Microsoft Excel?

This was nothing more than the uncritical and disgracefully biased BBC giving a free pass to their climate change campaigning friends at the Met Office to broadcast a partial viewpoint, without challenge or scrutiny, that might result in yet more taxpayers’ money being poured down the drain.  It was yet another example of BBC propaganda at its worst and the listening public being presented with wildly distorted opinion masquerading as fact.

11 Responses to “There now follows a propaganda broadcast for the Met Office”


  1. 1 right_writes 13/05/2011 at 6:51 am

    … You don’t know what you are talking about AM…

    The MET Office is dealing with climate…

    And you… You just bring it down to Weather…

    Heh heh…

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 13/05/2011 at 6:56 am

    To my eternal shame…

  3. 3 Headley_Grange 13/05/2011 at 7:55 am

    Why not make a formal complaint?

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 13/05/2011 at 10:04 am

    Complaints from non-believers are fobbed off. It would be a complete waste of time and in any case the rot comes from the top in that organisation. There are some very good people at the Met Office, it is the executive team that is the problem.

  5. 5 Patrick Harris 13/05/2011 at 11:00 am

    If yoiu follow ALL interviews on ALL media outlets you will find that they are no longer Q and A sessions but leading question and uninterrupted, prepared propaganda speeches sessions.

  6. 6 PT 13/05/2011 at 11:50 am

    Patrick Harris is right, provided the interviewee is of a political persuasion acceptable to the media outlet in question. Interviewees of a different persuasion might get a rougher ride.

  7. 7 right_writes 13/05/2011 at 2:38 pm

    Actually PT… Patrick Harris is right about this in regard to almost every corner of the media… We see it in comedy, when a DJ is nattering in between tunes… In children’s programmes like Dr. Who and definitely in radio phone ins…

    The left-wing tripe just rolls out relentlessly, I often wonder why more people aren’t as grumpy as me, but then I think many people are either not listening, do not notice, or maybe they do notice, but do not feel the need to shout at whatever contraption it is that is burbling at the time.

  8. 8 Pascvaks 13/05/2011 at 3:47 pm

    (SarcOn)
    “All men able to carry a spear go to Addis Ababa or London, depending on which is closer.“
    “Every married man will bring his wife to cook and wash for him.“
    “Every unmarried man will bring any unmarried woman he can find to cook and wash for him.“
    “Women with babies, the blind, and those too aged to carry a spear are excused for a little while.“
    “Anyone who is qualified for battle and is found at home after receiving this order will be hanged, or shot, or executed with whatever gas, solid, or liquid that is in good supply.”
    S/EIIR

    Well, it’s finally happened! The War Against Climate Change has finally been engaged. The BBC and the Met Office are hereby officially disbanded, along with every other government agency and office and department not directly ingaged in saving the Planet. We no longer need either the BBC or the Met Office to tell us what’s happening, we will either win or lose and that’s the sum of it. No one will henseforth be sent to hospital, just a waste of time and money and we don’t have enough of either of these precious commodities to build a tinker’s dam in any case. All trains, planes, automobiles, and animal conveyence are hereby halted for the duration. Food will be in ultra-short supply. Save what you have, there will not be any more. Purified water and waste water treatment will no longer be provided. All electric power will be terminated, the use of individual solar cells and wind powered wirlygigs is encouraged. Eating of any animal or vegetable matter grown or found on any public or private estates is strictly forbidden without the writen concent of the owner; violaters may, without penalty, be shot on sight. This is Total War! Until the population has been reduced by 98% this Order will stand as the Law of the Land. May God have mercy on our worthless souls! (SarcOff)

    PS: I really think the Beeb and the Met Office are actually trying their level best to put themselves out of business.

  9. 9 Martin Brumby 13/05/2011 at 7:07 pm

    Mostly covered previously by AM but not without interest…

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/07/met_office_forecast_not_forecast/

  10. 10 A K Haart 13/05/2011 at 10:02 pm

    It’s been obvious for some time that raw computing power isn’t the answer for medium to longer term forecasting. It’s a science story worth reporting too, but the BBC simply isn’t interested.

  11. 11 AJC 13/05/2011 at 10:46 pm

    To extend what AM said in an earlier comment: both the BBC and the Met Office suffer from having incompetent executive teams.

    The Met Office certainly used to have top quality scientific staff with an eminent scientific director: now they have Julia Slingo (an expert on massively parallel computation!) as Chief Scientist and John Hirst as Chief Executive.

    The problem with both the MO and BBC, and to some extent the Met Police, is that leadership has been allowed to become politicised.

    A fish rots from the head.


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