Posts Tagged 'BBC'



BBC Trust report author John Bridcut unfazed by uncovered deception

As mentioned in the post about the BBC’s lie that the ‘best scientific experts’ made up the external attendees at its 2006 Climate Change seminar, the film maker John Bridcut was the author of a report for the BBC Trust about ‘safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century’ in which it was written:

The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].

On his website Bridcut states that he wrote the ‘From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel‘ report with the help of ‘a steering group from inside and outside the BBC’.  Having presented as fact something that has now been shown to be patently false, AM contacted Mr Bridcut to ask him if he wished to comment on the fresh information and if he would say who told him the seminar comprised a group of ‘best scientific experts’.  The email trail is below:

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Dear Mr Bridcut

You will no doubt be familiar with the following words taken from the above named report:

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].”

Information subsequently found in the public domain regarding the attendees at that seminar, and currently being discussed on social media and in the press, reveals your assertion to be inaccurate. There is a suspicion that your assertion stemmed from information you were provided with about the seminar when compiling your report. Would you care to comment on this, perhaps outlining where information colouring the assertion you made regarding the ‘best scientific experts’ originated? I feel it is only proper that you have the opportunity to clarify this matter and ensure the record is correct.

I look forward to your early reply.

Yours sincerely

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Dear Mr Nightingale,

Thank you for your message. When you say that my assertion is revealed to be inaccurate, to which words are you specifically referring? For your ease of reference, I append the whole paragraph from the report, rather than the single sentence you have highlighted.

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as ‘flat-earthers’ or ‘deniers’, who ‘should not be given a platform’ by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them. The BBC’s best contribution is to increase public awareness of the issues and possible solutions through impartial and accurate programming. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution. It remains important that programme-makers relish the full range of debate that such a central and absorbing subject offers, scientifically, politically and ethically, and avoid being misrepresented as standard-bearers. The wagon wheel remains a model shape. But the trundle of the bandwagon is not a model sound.”

Best wishes

John Bridcut

———————–

Dear Mr Bridcut

The words to which I specifically refer are:

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts…”

The reason for this is the attendee list of the seminar you refer to, which the BBC has fought an expensive legal action to withhold from the public, has been found in the public domain and is currently forming the basis of stories in various media. Of the 28 external attendees, i.e. non BBC staff, only three were scientists and none of those were specialists in climate change disciplines. The rest of the 28 attendees were environmental campaigners from pressure groups, charity representatives, a staffer from the US Embassy, students, someone from the Church of England, an insurance industry consultant, and even a representative from the CBI.

Perhaps you will agree this puts the seminar in a completely different light to that presented in your report. Many are arguing the assertion in your report misrepresents the facts. That is the reason for me contacting you and inviting you to comment and outline the origin of the information you asserted in your report.

Best wishes

———————–

Dear Mr Nightingale

Thank you for your further communication. I was not privy to any specific information about the guest-list at the seminar, but I am baffled by the attention you are devoting to that clause, since it seems to me it contains the least important words in the paragraph. The point, surely, is what the BBC’s conclusion was after the seminar, however constituted, and then my report’s words of admonition (from the second sentence through to the end of the paragraph) – words with which, from the tone of your message, I would have thought you found some agreement. To concentrate on the constitution of the seminar is to miss the point of this section of the report entirely.

Best wishes

John Bridcut

———————–

Dear Mr Bridcut

Thank you for your reply. I think you may be missing the significance that has been attributed by the BBC to the claim the seminar consisted of “some of the best scientific experts”, the point you make in your report.

As Andrew Orlowski points out, the outputs of the seminar resulted in the BBC abandoning balance and impartiality in its coverage on a topic for the first time since World War II. Even in its reporting of the conflict between this country, the Empire and allies with Nazi Germany, the BBC remained impartial. However on the subject of AGW the BBC has cited as the justification for its editorial position the advice received from “scientific experts” at this seminar, a group it now transpires was actually made up of NGOs, activists and campaigners with not a single climate specialist in the room.

I argue that although it is a clear misrepresentation it is something you have retailed as fact in your report. I would suggest in the light of this your assertion being factually incorrect, irrespective of the comments you follow it with, has implications for your credibility possibly through no fault of your own. That is why I am attempting to identify the source of the information you used that lead you to make an assertion that had no basis in fact.

I hope this clarifies the rationale for the strict focus within your text.

Best wishes

———————–

Dear Mr Nightingale
I am afraid I cannot now recall the origin of that phrase, and you are the first person to have raised it with me. But if you wish to take issue with the report, I suggest you take up the matter with the BBC Trust.

Best wishes

John Bridcut

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———————–

It seems incuriosity is something that permeates the BBC and those it commissions to do its bidding, and when pressed people seem to develop short memories about significant details they use to bolster their work but which are later found to be without foundation. Sadly Bridcut doesn’t seem bothered he was given false information and seems happy for it to stand in the public record. This is very telling in itself. It’s clearly OK to witter on about impartiality, but truth and accuracy are dispensible perspectives.

BBC lied about ‘best scientific experts’ being used to construct its biased climate change coverage

In recent days this blog has focussed attention on the BBC’s policy of arbitrarily rejecting Freedom of Information requests.  The corporation has consistently cited a self interpreted catch-all derogation they say exempts them from releasing information, because all the information they have is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’

The focus on this stemmed from a failed attempt by Tony Newbery of the Harmless Sky blog, to get the list of names of attendees at a BBC seminar held in 2006, from which the BBC made the decision to give up any pretence of impartiality when covering climate change in news and current affairs output.  In a BBC Trust report on impartiality by film maker John Bridcut, the discussion at the 2006 seminar was referenced and was used by the BBC to declare that the man-made climate change argument was over.  It was happening and their coverage would reflect that.  In fact it would go further, as Bridcut revealed:

The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].

In light of such a seminal moment, the moment the BBC abandoned impartiality on a subject when even during World War II they refused to come down on support of one side, it would not be unreasonable to know who these ‘best scientific experts’ were.  They must have offered some solid, irrefutable evidence and cast iron argument to justify their stance that would see licence fee payers effectively funding biased coverage on the subject in contravention of the BBC Charter.

So it was Newbery asked the BBC to name the attendees of the seminar.  For years the BBC has doggedly refused to give up the information, hiding behind the infamous derogation they use to bat away any attempt for the licence fee paying public to find out how editorial policy has been formulated and decided.  It then spent a small fortune, of money collected via the licence fee, to fund a team of six expensive lawyers to fight to keep the details secret when Newbery dragged the matter before an information tribunal – which we referenced in a blog post here.

In a follow up blog post in which we considered the derogation, the fact it is only the BBC’s interpretation of the FOI Act exemption and that it should be challenged at a tribunal, we asked the obvious question: ‘So what exactly is the BBC hiding?’

Now we know.  Information uncovered in the last 24 hours by Maurizio Morabito of the Omnologos blog has confirmed that the BBC lied to Bridcut about the seminar being attended by ‘some of the best scientific experts’ which informed its decision to take one side in the climate change debate.  Maurizio later went on to explain why this is important.

Since Newbery’s original FOI request the BBC has conducted a systematic cover up to hide the fact its editorial policy was chosen by a range of 25 environmentalists, eco campaigners, a staffer from the US Embassy, students, someone from the Church of England, an insurance industry consultant, and even a representative from the CBI. In a previous blog post we mused:

The attendee lists and outputs of such sessions are not being held for the purposes of journalism, but rather as a validation of the partial worldview the BBC chooses to hold and propagate via its channels.

How absolutely prophetic this proved to be.  The BBC’s favourite activists were gathered together, all possessing an identical worldview and determined to deny those who challenge their claims the oxygen of publicity and an even playing field upon which to debate the issue.  The BBC knew what outcome it wanted and engineered it by listening only to those whose views would validate the prevailing worldview within the corporation.  It then hid behind the FOI derogation to stop the public finding out.  And we only have confirmation of this because Maurizio was smart enough to trawl the Waybackmachine to see if an entity had at some point published the attendee list that exposed the cynical deception.  Kudos!

Andrew Orlowski in The Register puts the attendee list in its proper context with, as he says, most…

… coming from industry, think tanks and NGOs. And as suspected, climate campaigners Greenpeace are present, while actual scientific experts are thin on the ground: not one attendee deals with attribution science, the physics of global warming. These are scarcely “some of the best scientific experts”, whose input could justify a historic abandonment of the BBC’s famous impartiality.

The BBC has lied.  It has hidden behind its questionable FOI derogation to maintain its lie.  That needs to be burned into the public’s collective consciousness. Those who did it need to be held to account and drummed out of the corporation.

However there is a bigger issue here and Orlowski for one is on the same page this blog has been on for a long time; namely that what needs to be tackled urgently is the BBC’s self interpreted FOI derogation.

We know it is completely unjustified, but now that knowledge is backed up with incontrovertible evidence of how the derogation, as the BBC keeps applying it, enables abuses such these to be perpetrated and covered up.  It is as many of us suspected.  The corporation is rotten to the core and the public has been disgracefully deceived on this issue and perhaps many others.  It is time for a light to be shone in those areas the BBC has, without justification, kept off limits to the people who fund the corporation.

If we want to hold the BBC to account we need to focus as one on challenging its FOI derogation and having it stripped away.  The message to the BBC should ring out loud and clear, tear down this wall.

Entwistle robs the public purse of £450,000 to fund comfortable lifestyle

It’s a point that has been made many times elsewhere, but one that has to keep being made because it keeps happening.  If I were to resign from my job my employer would process the paperwork and I would leave on an agreed date.  The same follows for all hardworking taxpayers.

So why is it George Entwistle is able to resign from his position as Director General of the BBC of his own accord after just 54 days in the job and get a pay off amounting to one year’s salary – £450,000?  The pay off amounts to £8,334 for each of the rudderless days he held the position.  In addition to this he also has a licence fee funded pension pot of £877,000.

I would ask is it not incredible that decision makers at entities like the BBC, local authorities and quangos feel perfectly at ease doling out our money like confetti in this way.  But it isn’t incredible, it’s nothing less than a scandal.  The total absence of accountability to the public – and the unique way the BBC is funded, no doubt – makes these kind of completely unjustifiable pay offs possible.  We little people are irrelevant and our dissent doesn’t matter.

That’s benevolent Auntie in action for you.  When not turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the rape and sexual assault of juvenile visitors to its studios by one of its star turns over the course of decades; when not peddling ‘progressive’ socialist propaganda as unbiased comment via its news and current affairs; the nation’s supposedly beloved broadcasting institution treats licence fee payers with undisguised contempt, looking after itself and the vested interests of its self selecting executives, who consider the public purse to be a personal piggy bank to fund astronomical salaries and pension pots the rest of us can only dream of.

Compare what the BBC has sanctioned for Entwistle today with their howls of moralising outrage over the bonuses for bankers and private company executives.  Apart from scale, where is the difference?

There is only one phrase to describe the BBC and its leadership, hypocritical thieving scum.

Is this the basis of a challenge to BBC refusal of FOI requests?

Following on from our post yesterday about the BBC and establishment’s tag team defeat of Tony Newbery’s challenge to a FOI request refusal, there is a need to look more closely at the stitch up we are subjected to.  All too often people who want to understand how the BBC arrived at an editorial position or selected its news coverage and sources submit a FOI request, and in turn receive the following boilerplate in the response:

…the information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’    Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature” 1. The BBC is not required by the Act to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities

Is that fact, or just what the BBC would like people to believe?  Consider for yourself when you read this separate explanation from the BBC, in response to a request for the documents about its policies, that make the BBC feel it can exempt itself from information using the broadest possible interpretation of the Act’s provisions:

In summary, the BBC considers the derogation protects the journalistic, artistic and literary integrity of the BBC by securing a creative and journalistic space for programme-makers to produce material for broadcast free from interference by those who would seek to influence our output.  Additionally, as also recognised by the Court of Appeal, it allows for a “level playing field” between the Public Service Broadcasters caught by the Act (BBC, Channel 4, S4C, GMS) and their commercial competitors.  In practical terms, the BBC has interpreted this to mean that we are not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities. [emphasis in bold italics is mine]

So the BBC considers that the derogation protects the journalistic, artistic and literary integrity of the BBC by securing a creative and journalistic space for programme makers to produce material for broadcast free from interference by those who would seek to influence their output, extends to anything and everything the corporation does. It is not just a stretch of the Act, it’s dishonest too.

But that excuse should not be allowed to withhold information from people requesting information about how the BBC arrived at an editorial position when it has a public service remit, is duty bound to be impartial and is funded with public money.  That excuse should not apply when people simply want to be informed about how the output was selected so members of the public may decide for themselves if the output can be considered partial, slanted or biased.

The BBC having freedom of expression is absolutely fine if it is paid for from commercially derived revenues.  But the licence fee paying public that funds the BBC deserves to know if any BBC output is being driven by rationales, motives and agendas that may be at play within the corporation, because it would reveal a failure to comply with the requirements in the BBC Charter to be impartial.  The BBC appears to be hiding behind its own interpretation of the FOI derogation to evade appropriate accountability.  So what exactly it the BBC hiding?  The claim that sharing information could place the BBC at a disadvantage against their commercial competitors just doesn’t stack up.

Perhaps it is time to challenge the BBC notion that asking to be informed about how the BBC determines its output is tantamount to seeking to interfere with or influence the BBC’s output.  Asking how something was determined is not the same as interfering with output or seeking to influence it.  It is a rational argument and one I do not think has been tested, not even in the Sugar (deceased) v British Broadcasting Corporation case.

Maybe it is time for it to taken out for a test drive.

Held ‘for the purposes of journalism’

One need only see that expression and, if they have any scintilla of interest in Freedom of Information and accountability for the use of taxpayers’ money, they will know instantly this post is about the BBC and its blatant misuse of a clause in the Freedom of Information act as it relates to the corporation.

The BBC makes liberal use of FOI to demand information that it then uses to construct news stories and editorial pieces.  Yet when the BBC receives FOI requests that enquire about how it has determined its editorial stance on any number of issues and from where it took advice to inform that stance, the slams the door shut and the very people forced to pay to fund the BBC are treated with contempt and told to piss off.

The government has been complicit in this evasion, protecting the BBC as part of the establishment.  So when the BBC is challenged and taken to an information tribunal, the establishment sees to it the tribunal outcome is determined by ‘reliable’ placemen with an in-built bias against freedom of information and personal enmity to the worldview of the claimant.  The BBC spends huge sums of our money to defend such actions and keep the information concealed from us, then continues about its propagandist mission while funding it with yet more our money.

It is high time people removed their rose tinted glasses and set aside the carefully constructed and insiduous ‘Auntie’ narrative and demanded this publicly funded organisation be held to account.  It thrives with public money but wants to be treated as a private organisation and a special case.  It has to end.

Having a clause that permits the BBC to decline FOI requests ‘for the purposes of journalism’ is perfectly rational and appropriate, if it conceals whistleblowers and details of human sources of news material – or who provide assistance to reporters on dangerous assignment – who might lose their jobs through retaliation or be targeted by vengeful individuals or regimes seeking violent retribution.  No reasonable person would question that.

But concealing the names and credentials of so called ‘experts’ (many of whom it appears are no more than activits and lobbyists) who are gathered to inform the editorial position of the BBC, secreting away reports into the BBC’s coverage on important issues and fighting court actions to keep them secret, and refusing to release details of viewer/listener feedback/complaints about slanted coverage is a wilful and unacceptable misuse of the clause.

It is time for the FOI Act, as it relates to the BBC, to be strictly redefined to ensure the corporation is forced to be properly accountable to those who fund it.  It is plain wrong that the BBC can, if it chooses (and as many suspect) fill a room with partial and likeminded people and use them to influence news and current affairs output while hiding their identities and agendas from us so we cannot question their involvement or suitability.  The attendee lists and outputs of such sessions are not being held for the purposes of journalism, but rather as a validation of the partial worldview the BBC chooses to hold and propagate via its channels.  The FOI should not and must not apply in such cases.

BBC’s vile inner core revealed again

There have been few sights on television more gut churning. Namely witnessing an entity that has been exposed for putting its own interests before the truth and the interests of victims whose abuse it helped facilitate. But that is the BBC for you.

During last week’s Panorama programme it was bewildering to see BBC fans flocking to Twitter to proclaim we were seeing the best of the BBC, exposing its own failings albeit those of a different editorial team working for a separate programme. Stepping into the Twitter wankfest I offered snippets of my view that this was in fact the BBC at its insipid worst; engaging in a desperate action to bleach itself before a voyeuristic audience so that it could declare its virtue and claim it remains trustworthy.

Suffice to say not all of the Twitterati were accommodating of my view and were, shall we say, dismissive. However later in the week the BBC’s Director General, Incurious George, confirmed my assessment and laid bare the true motivation of the corporation’s embrace of the Panorama programme, as outlined in a report on the BBC:

He [Incurious George Entwistle] added that the Panorama programme pointed to the BBC’s health as a media organisation, rather than being a “symptom of chaos”, because it showed the organisation’s capacity to investigate itself.

He said no other news organisation in the world would do this.

Later Mr Entwistle emailed BBC staff to pledge the corporation was “determined to be open and transparent, however painful it may feel at times”

He added: “It is only by opening ourselves up that we can restore and maintain the trust of our audiences.”

The evidence is clear. Panorama was all about serving the BBC’s interests, and the alleged victims of Jimmy Savile were simply pawns in an attempt by the corporation to paint itself as something it is demonstrably not – open, transparent and honest.

This behaviour was not the BBC at its best, nowhere close. Rather it was the BBC at its back-covering, spite-ridden and contempt-filled worst. What follows on from this, the British establishment pretending to take the BBC to task while doing all in its power to protect and shield it, will be even worse.

The EU’s broadcasting poodle does its job

Most of the smiles in Brussels tonight will be because the members of the European project have awarded themselves the Nobel Peace Prize.  But some of the smiles will no doubt be as a result of the comforting sensation the EUphiles will be feeling about the BBC coverage of the award.

As a recipient of EU largesse, the BBC has made the most of the story and ensured an overwhelmingly positive view has been advanced of the EU and its selective, distorted historical revisionism.  The BBC’s ‘Viewpoints’ piece, titled ‘Experts comment on EU’s Nobel award‘ is as laughable as the Nobel Prize itself:

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union for its work in promoting peace and stability in Europe. The award recognised the success of Franco-German reconciliation, the EU’s eastward enlargement and peace efforts in the Balkans.

Here several experts on European affairs give their opinions on the award, which comes at a time of tension amid the eurozone debt crisis.

The piece is so one-sided it would have made the editors at the Soviet-era version of Pravda blush.  The ‘experts’ asked to comment on the award line up as follows:

EUphiles:

Heather Grabbe, Open Society Institute, Brussels
Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister
Mats Persson, Open Europe think tank
Charles Grant, Centre for European Reform
Ulrike Guerot, European Council on Foreign Relations

Eurosceptic:

Nigel Farage, UK Independence Party

This is the BBC at its very worst.  One token Eurosceptic and that person is, as usual, Farage – deliberately approached as the sole anti-EU voice in order to give the impression the Eurosceptic cause is little more than a one-man band and his small party of devotees, and therefore not deserving of ‘equal weight’ coverage.

The only good thing that has come of this ludicrous award is people are openly mocking and deriding the news, as they can see how the ‘colleagues’ have been reduced to giving themselves awards in order to validate their activities.

Entities like the EU and people like Barraso can withstand opposition.  They can withstand hostility.  But they cannot cope with being laughed at.  The Nobel Prize having been delivered by the committee chairman who doubles as the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, is no different to tinpot dictators festooning themselves with unearned ribbons and medals – and the BBC is no different to utterly subservient Ministry of Information spinning positive puff as quickly as it can.

BBC: All hail the ‘prevailing consensus’

Here we go again.

The BBC Trust publishing the terms of reference and planned approach for its impartiality review of the BBC’s breadth of opinion.  It went on to explain that breadth of opinion means reflecting a range of voices and viewpoints in BBC output and the BBC has a unique commitment to it included in its Editorial Guidelines.  The review, which will be led by former broadcasting executive Stuart Prebble, will focus on the BBC’s news, current affairs and factual output.

Well it sounds suitably fluffy and well intentioned.  But then the BBC Trust’s own viewpoint is shown to creep in as it outlines its perspective on the world, unsurprisingly giving the BBC the scope to defend its behaviour and claim it has been acting impartially and has allowed a breadth of opinion in its programming:

Through content analysis, audience research, and submissions from the BBC Executive and interested stakeholders, the review will assess, where appropriate:

  • Whether decisions to include or omit perspectives in news stories and current affairs coverage have been reasonable and carefully reached, with consistently applied judgement across an appropriate range of output;
  • Whether ‘due weight’ has been given to a range of perspectives or opinions – for example, views held by a minority should not necessarily be given equal weight to the prevailing consensus;
  • Whether the opinions of audiences who participate through phone-ins or user-generated content have been given appropriate significance, and whether the use of audience views in this way has correctly interpreted the relative weight of opinions of those who have expressed a view on an issue;
  • Whether the BBC has ensured that those who hold minority views are aware they can take part in a debate such as a phone-in.

The content analysis will include an analysis of the BBC’s coverage of immigration, religion and the EU, by comparing some coverage from 2007 with coverage from 2012/13.

Not for nothing am I reminded of the episode of Yes Prime Minister, where Jim Hacker learns the wrong ‘Ron Jones’ has been awarded a peerage.  When asked by Sir Humphrey if Jones owns a TV, Hacker replies no, to which Sir Humphrey suggests ‘make him a governor of the BBC’.  It seems the level of ignorance – or is it wilful self deception – that Sir Humphrey saw as a qualification, is shared among today’s BBC Trustees.

So to the bullet points.  The first has so much wriggle room it is utterly meaningless.  Trust: ‘Did you carefully research the perspectives in your news story in a reasonable way?’  Beeboid: ‘Why yes, impartiality is in my DNA too, Lord Patten.’

Then on to the second, Trust: ‘Did you give due weight to the range of opinions?’  Beeboid: ‘Of course, but I took into account the prevailing consensus so the weighting tipped in the favour of XYZ.’

As for the third, Trust: ‘Was appropriate significance given to the range of opinions of audience members who called in?’  Beeboid: ‘We found most of the callers during the first part of the show held view A, so the researchers put those on air. We had no way of knowing if more people with a contrary viewepoint would call in.  How could we use them?’

And the fourth, Trust: ‘Did we ensure those with minority views are aware they can take part?’  Beeboid: ‘Well of course they know they can take part. It’s just when they try to they don’t get included because their view doesn’t have equal weight to that of the prevailing consensus, and having carefully researched the topic in a reasonable way, our highly trained activists researchers skipped past them.  It’s OK though.  When they complain we tell them impartiality is in our DNA you see.  Then if they are really miffed they write to you and you hold an impartiality review with terms of reference that confirm we did everything as per the guidelines.  Fancy a Pimms?’

Perhaps the BBC Trust might do well to consider the perspective it holds about having impartiality in its DNA could be a minority view and therefore not deserving of equal weight when taken in the round with the prevailing consensus that the BBC is a biased bastion for socialist and authoritarian propaganda that treats its audience with contempt and opponents with undisguised hostility.  Then it could save licence fee payers a whole lot of money on such a waste of time review such as this.

BBC’s pro Obama bias shines through after debate

It must be very lonely being the BBC North America editor when the rest of the world also happens to be focusing on the same topic as you. For the BBC’s Mark Mardell, it means the usual formula of casual bias, loaded verbiage and perspective delivered through a Demmocrat Party prism could easily be exposed for what it was, leaving him in a space all his own in the mediascape.

So it was in the early hours of this morning as Mardell filed his analysis of the US Presidental debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Mardell clearly saw how poorly Obama had been without the comfort of a teleprompter and how effectively Romney had rebutted Obama’s claims and landed blows on taxation and the economy.

But Operation Save Barack was in full flow on Mardell’s keyboard as he submitted his analysis to the BBC write up of the debate – a story which itself took nearly three hours from first publication under the headline ‘US election: Obama and Romney clash in Denver’ to grudgingly acknowledge what less partisan observers were saying from the moment the debate ended, resulting in a change of headline to ‘US election: Polls show Romney won TV debate with Obama’. Here is Mardell’s analysis posted at 04:30 UTC…

Mitt Romney had been practising hard. And it paid off. He was animated, in command of his information, overriding the moderator and interrupting the president. He seemed to be in charge and enjoying the scrap.

On the other hand, President Obama started out looking very nervous, and although he warmed up and got into his stride, he ended up giving overlong, mini-lectures straight to camera rather than engaging and arguing.

He seemed unwilling to actually debate with his opponent and missed a few obvious openings when he should have challenged. This may be deliberate. Perhaps his team decided that he shouldn’t get riled, so it was best not to get into a fight. If so, he held back too much.

If Mr Romney clearly won this debate, in terms of style at least, he can’t celebrate too hard just yet. If the polls don’t move after a win, then he really is in trouble.

Having seen how far removed his version of the story was from all other reports of the debate , yet determined to remain as defensive as possible of the BBC’s preferred candidate without being quite so obvious where his favour rests, his analysis has been heavily edited, through one assumes gritted teeth, to now read thus in version 7 of the story…

As theatre, a battle of image and confidence, Mitt Romney was the clear winner. He had obviously practised so hard and so long that he was nearly hoarse. But not quite. Instead his voice was a touch deeper. No bad thing.

He looked Mr Obama in the eyes as he interrupted with animation, overriding the moderator, insisting on a comeback. He didn’t seem rude. He did seem in command and to be enjoying the scrap.

President Obama on the other hand looked as though he’d much rather be out celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife. He started out looking very nervous, swallowing hard, not the confident performer we are used to seeing.

Republicans certainly feel that they have used the debate to shift the perception of their candidate, shake up the etch-a-sketch and talk about his passion for job creation and focus on the middle classes.

The next string of opinion polls could hardly matter more. If they narrow or he starts moving ahead of Mr Obama, that will be a huge boost for his campaign, and suggest he could win the White House. However if after an acclaimed victory the opinion polls hardly budge, then it would mean he is in a very serious hole indeed.

There is no surprise here, this is the BBC at work after all. But it does underline the lack of trust BBC viewers and readers should have in the editorial position of key staff.

Perhaps the driver of this is a simple desire to once again wear woolly Obama hats in Washington DC in January at what the Beeboids hope will be the start of Obama’s second term in office. But somehow when BBC coverage of North America is examined we see time and again the same distorted, leftist and authoritarian viewpoint being relayed to this side of the Atlantic at the expense of balanced and impartial reporting.

The aggravating factor in all this as always is the fact we are compelled to pay for this propaganda and have no say in how our money is spent, and no entitlement to receive information freely on request about the behind the scenes editorial discussions that drive such biased coverage. We continue to complain, but the political class has no interest in taking on the corporation, vast, powerful and overbearing as it now is.

The tactics of the globalist warmists are legion

In the comments to my previous post about the article on melting Arctic sea ice causing colder winters, by Richard ‘Black is White’ of the BBC, is this response from fellow blogger, Dephius, who writes:

AM, if you haven’t noticed it, I sense a paradigm shift in the trend of the BBC’s output. Its not so long ago that a report like this would have rammed the AGW message home loud and clear with several references to it.

Instead we have just one paragraph related to how man made CO2 might skew the natural pattern of global climate cycles.

When natural cycles and the effects of the Sun on global climate are given more emphasis than warmist dogma, I just wonder if we’re seeing the tide finally turning.

I’ve seen more emphasis given to Chinese (no friends of the AGW cult) climate research now too, which is interesting.

And then on another post prior to that, where I invited readers to forget the climate science feeding frenzy and focus instead on the real issue of the globalisation of government, which is using climate change as a justification for its development, commenter Karl Hallowell, contributes these thoughts:

I have to disagree. Not that there are ideologies that move to overthrow the current democratic order, but rather the claim that the strategy for dealing with them are flawed. Coming up with a policy attack -based vehicle for ideological purposes is not a trivial task. It’s not like guessing passwords or trying different keys in a lock. Each attempt takes a great deal of effort, communication, and coordination. And exposes the participants to risk of humiliation, disfranchisement, and even criminal charges, if they go too far.

Dealing with the attacks rather than the ideology has three strengths. First, it builds up a body of policy for when a valid weakness is found. Ultimately, having an established, democratic plan for dealing with valid environmental or societal problems will do more to cut off these attacks than fighting the ideology directly. Democracy by itself has done much to weaken the power of these ideologies, precisely because it provides conduits for debate and action that ideologues can’t bypass.

Second, they lose something every time they fail. The more they cry “wolf” the more they discredit themselves in future assaults. They don’t have infinite resources at their disposal.

Finally, it means that the strategy remains effective, even if the ideology mutates or is replaced. It works as well against would-be theocrats (of any flavor), Marxists, or any new ideologies that haven’t yet had a chance to rear their nasty, little heads.

Both are very good comments and worthy contributions to the debate.  As I was about to write a post replying to these points I spotted a great blog post on Biased BBC by the ever excellent Robin Horbury.  It addresses both points at once.

Firstly is demonstrates the shift in approach by the BBC, explaining the point raised by Delphius.  As, for example, the comments section on Richard Black’s activist page are increasingly pock-marked with spaces where comments have been removed and comments that are allowed to remain that nevertheless pull Black’s warmist position and bias to pieces, the angle of the warmist attack has changed.

It seems the BBC is slowly giving up pushing such an alarmist narrative because it is increasingly rejected and derided by readers those who stop to think about the reality of the situation and provide counter evidence.  Why waste time trying to convert people who refuse to accept the party line?  Far better to seek the adoration of and nodding agreement of those who believe the alarmist argument on climate and stand to benefit financially from the UN mandated wealth redistribution programme under the guise of fighting climate change.

On to Karl Hallowell’s comment, the Biased BBC post shows that going toe-to-toe over the scientific arguments being used by the globalist warmists only serves to drive them down another avenue, while maintaining their direction of travel.  The opportunity to engage and challenge the science is being removed from the sceptics while the globalist agenda is furthered in a different way.

Ultimately our money and resources are still going where the UN wants it to, and we will still pick up the tab for the alarmists’ policies as we are forced to pay for wind turbines that don’t work and CO2 emission measures that make no difference to the environment.  Surely that demonstrates that focusing on holding the line in one theatre of battle is futile as the enemy troops elsewhere isolate you from the rest of the war.

Their tactics are legion.  Until we stop tackling the climate science symptom exclusively and go after the political root cause of this agenda, we will be swamped and lose the war.

Winters are colder because it’s getting warmer

And so the game goes on.  The useful idiots (and hard core activists) of the cult of sustainability continue to create new arguments at public expense to justify a political ‘solution’.

The subtle and blatant distortion of the facts in the article aren’t important, but they will keep opponents of the anti-science global warmists occupied for days or even months. And while they might win another battle against the warmist using proper scientific method, they are unwittingly still losing the war because behind the scenes the real agenda continues its advance.

This claim from Richard ‘Black is White’ is faithfully carried in support of the ’cause’ yet if it is ever falsified by other scientists the new research will be ignored, omitted from the record, buried – instead a new claim requiring the same political solution will rise to take its place in the narrative and the incessant march towards global government on the basis of controlling spending to fix a problem that isn’t really a problem, will continue.

Broadcaster political bias – not just a BBC phenomenon

Regular readers will be familiar with the often noted examples of BBC bias when it comes to political coverage and promoting activism.

But a piece in the Irish Independent today shows the problem of state broadcaster employees exhibiting political bias is not confined to the BBC.

It seems monitoring of Ireland’s RTE news and current affairs coverage by Fianna Fail has thrown up some interesting statistics showing a similar phenomenon on the other side of the Irish Sea, particularly with the flagship Prime Time programme.  Fianna Fail have submitted a dossier to RTE outlining their accusation of bias by the broadcaster:

The submission, which contained statistical evidence, states: “Prime Time appears to have taken a radically different approach to covering opposition voice. Before the election, share of voice was clearly biased in favour of the opposition. Since the election, that bias has been dramatically reversed.”

It goes on to say that despite identical Dail representation, Labour enjoyed 21.6 per cent share of voice before the election (when in opposition), compared to Fianna Fail’s 10.1 per cent after the election (having lost the election and become the main opposition). Fianna Fail is now getting more than 100 per cent less access to Prime Time than the Labour Party in the same position.  It certainly suggests a very uneven approach to coverage that amounts to bias by omission.

Of course it won’t come as a shock that the more avowedly socialist a political party is, the more favoured it is by media corps stuffed to the gills with ‘progressive’ hacks keen to push their ideology on the public.  But in Ireland this bunfight is somewhat interesting as the political spectrum ranges from broadly socialist to extreme socialist with nothing approaching a small ‘c’ conservative alternative.  Perhaps ideological purity is the name of the game?

BBC – only the news they want you to know

Perhaps the BBC acronym should be short for Bias By Censorship.  One of the big stories in the EU today was the news that the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands refused to sign off the EU’s accounts for the last year. It is the first time these countries have voted against accepting the accounts, as they usually abstain.

The story is covered in detail on the EUobserver website.  But if you were surfing around the world’s most extensive news gathering organisation’s website, you would not find anything to suggest it ever happened.  Here’s a snapshot of the BBC Europe page.  And here’s one of the BBC Politics page.  Nothing. Nada. Zip.

In fairness, the BBC has mentioned the story.  It is buried in paragraph 9 of their article about the government’s criticism of pay rises for EU staff.  However the BBC gave more prominence in the article to Labour saying the government must accept some of the blame for the plans to increase Eurocrat salaries.  It prefers to gloss over a significant issue concerning what is now 17 years of controversy, lack of transparency and breeding ground for fraud that is the EU’s finances.

Of course this couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the BBC’s pro-EU stance and cosy financial relationship that has seen it receive nearly £3million in grant money from the European Union over the past four years…

Another example of BBC green distortion

(Update to this post now added at the end…) AM reader, Ron H, kindly draws attention to Friday’s coverage of the wind farm cable corridor for the offshore development known as East Anglia One. This is the proposed first phase of the East Anglia Offshore Windfarm Zone (EAOW) being developed by Scottish Power Renewables and Swedish wind power operating company Vattenfall, with a planned installed capacity of 1,200MW.

It provides us with yet another example of the weasel words used to overstate the likely amount of power that will be generated.  Compare and contrast:

We are working with stakeholders to realise the full potential of the zone, with initial studies identifying a target capacity of up to 7,200MW, which could provide enough clean, green energy for over 5 million homes.
East Anglia Offshore Windfarm Zone

The full East Anglia Offshore Windfarm Zone, when built, is expected to power five million homes.
BBC News

While EAOW carefully words its information to say that a capacity of 7,200MW could provide enough energy for over 5 million homes, it knows that an average offshore wind load factor of around 30-35% means the installation will never generate that amount of power.  It is very likely to produce somewhere in the region of 2,300MW.  But this doesn’t stop the BBC from exaggerating the amount of power that will be generated by the East Anglia Offshore Wind Zone, as it says the zone is expected to power five million homes.

Expected by whom?  Certainly not the companies who are preparing to soak themselves in huge sums of money extracted from taxpayers and energy company customers.  The distortion is blatant and dishonest.  It underlines that on environmental and renewable energy matters (among many others) the BBC simply cannot be trusted.

For the long suffering taxpayer and energy consumer the issue is the cost of this vast array of wind turbines.  The capital cost of wind is many times that of nuclear power and gas fired power. To achieve 2,300MW of power via nuclear plant has been assessed as one sixth the cost of wind, and gas works out more than 22 times cheaper than these sea based bird choppers.  When viewed through that cost prism, is this wind farm folly something to get anything other than violently angry about?

Update: On Twitter, the CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Member of the UN’s Sustainable Energy For All and Visiting Professor at Imperial College, Michael Liebreich, (all that prestige!) has responded to this blog post thus:

I have enquired of the great man on what basis he is contesting the cost figures, asking for his figures and working, but at the time of writing he has not provided a response.  The figures I have used to explain how much cheaper nuclear and gas are than wind, megawatt for megawatt of actual power generated, were explained by Christopher Booker in August last year:

[…] a Swedish firm, Vattenfall, has spent £500 million on building 30 five‑megawatt turbines with a total “capacity” of 150MW. What Shukman did not tell us, because the BBC never does, is that, thanks to the vagaries of the wind, these machines will only produce a fraction of their capacity (30 per cent was the offshore average in the past two years). So their actual output is only likely to average 45MW, or £11 million per MW.

Compare this with the figures for Britain’s newest gas-fired power station, recently opened in Plymouth. This is capable of generating 882MW at a capital cost of £400 million – just £500,000 for each megawatt. Thus the wind farm is 22 times more expensive, and could only be built because its owners will receive a 200 per cent subsidy: £40 million a year, on top of the £20 million they will get for the electricity itself. This we will all have to pay for through our electricity bills, whereas the unsubsidised cost of power from the gas plant, even including the price of the gas, will be a third as much.

What this does not take into account is that the gas fired power stations will last twice as long as the wind turbine equipment, so the replacement cost of the turbines would increase the cost still further – making offshore wind up to 40 times more expensive than gas, megawatt for megawatt.

Perhaps Liebreich will eventually get around to telling us which of these figures is ‘bollox’ and offer some evidence, rather than just play the part of Dr No.

Harrabin achieves aim despite BBC Weather Test unravelling

EU Referendum has a tidy summary of events this morning, building on today’s Mail on Sunday story about the Roger Harrabin inspired BBC Weather Test project falling apart.  If Weather Test does finally collapse it will not be any surprise to regular readers here.

For in addition to the issues highlighted on EU Referendum, we can point to our coverage of the evident lack of impartiality among the individuals and institutions Harrabin had lined up to assess the weather and the forecasts for the project, which would fundamentally undermine it:

  • The Met Office would be acting as competitor and judge, using its own weather stations
  • The statistics would be dealt with by Leeds University – one of three academic institutions with whom the Met Office formed what is described as ‘a world class academic partnership to tackle the problems of climate change ‘
  • The ‘independent’ meteorologist for the project, Philip Eden, is another BBC man and has since that blog post been accused of making disparaging remarks questioning the accuracy of independent weathermen’s forecasts

After we had aired these factors we went on to speak to several meteorologists and established a major flaw at the very heart of the project, concerning the weighting of the day to day results and major weather events.  If a competing forecaster was able to produce a forecast accuracy rate for, say, 75% of the days in the test period when there are no major weather events, but completely miss major events, how would that be weighted to demonstrate that when it comes to forecasts that really matter their accuracy was found wanting?

There was nothing in any of Harrabin’s written or verbal pieces about the Weather Test that suggested any thought had been devoted to this.  It defies belief that Harrabin would have had dealings with meterological specialists about this project and not known this problem or communicated how it would be addressed.

When everythying is looked at in the round it is hard to argue that the BBC Weather Test was set up to do anything other than fail.  Perhaps the reason for this is that is provided a convenient distraction from the highly public failings of the Met Office over its lamentable 2009 summer and 2010-11 winter forecasts.  Maybe that was all that was needed.  The Met Office would be afforded some breathing space from its warm-biased forecasts if it was committed to having its predictions measured against other forecasters whose records appeared to be more accurate.  People would wait for qualitative evidence that proved what they had long suspected.

Harrabin has done his bit for the organisation he has repeatedy provided cover for.  Greater love hath no journalist than he lay down his credibility and career for the cause. Having been completely compromised by his warmist affiliations and biased analyses, and now safely tucked out of sight in the United States, Harrabin can’t be held to account for the wreckage he has left behind.  But he has bought time for the Met Office and deflected attention from its failures for a time, and for that he will have earned the eternal gratitude of the Met Office and the AGW alarmist community for his services to the cause.  It is mission accomplished – and the money from speaking at or chairing warmist events will continue to flow into his bank account as a lavish reward.

BBC takes advantage of Burwood School incident to push economic downturn meme

Hours after our previous blog post about the 10-year-old boy who hospitalised two of his teachers, in which were the only entity to provide details of the school and its circumstances, the BBC has followed our lead and updated its report to include the details covered in our post.

BBC London despatched reporter Paul Curran to report from outside an empty Burwood School on Saturday afternoon and share some of the details published on AM.  However, the BBC journalist has shamelessly taken advantage of the situation to further the corporation’s line on the economic downturn (code for cuts).  We have posted the details of this over on the Biased BBC blog, where AM is now a contributor.

A message for licence fee payers from the BBC

Yes, we take £145.50 from each household with a TV set unless they qualify for concessions. Yes, we have official guidance that says “Audiences should never be deceived or misled by what they see or hear.”  Sure, we stage manage things and make them look as if they were caught by chance and we don’t tell viewers during the programme.  But we do say on our internet pages how footage has been captured.  What’s the problem?  You just need to go and hunt for it on the web.  It’s not like we’re deceving anyone, for crying out loud.  What do you mean you haven’t got an internet connection so you can’t find out whether we’ve been up to our smoke and mirrors games of routine fakery again?  Do you live in a cave or something?  Next you’ll be saying you don’t even read the Guardian.  Well, if you want to find out if we’ve faked footage, go to your local library and use the internet there.  Philistine.  The BBC, thanks to the unique way we are funded, it’s what we do.

How to stoke the fire of an economic crisis

Lesson 1: Call yourself Andrew Verity.

Lesson 2: Get a job as financial journalist on BBC Radio Five Live.

Lesson 3: Join in an interview with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury live on air.

Lesson 4: Ask said politician if they have heard talk/rumour that a European Bank is bust.

Lesson 5: When said lightweight politician avoids giving a straight answer, ask the question a couple more times.

Lesson 6: Leave studio and connect to the internet.

Lesson 7: See how long it takes for the rumour to gain traction and spread around Twitter and the Blogs.

Congratulations!

You have now successfully given a low key rumour of unknown origin a huge shot of steroids and prepared the ground for world’s biggest ‘news’ organisation to fill a news cycle with more speculation; promoting fear that the banking sector of an entire economic area, is on the verge of collapse.

The ignorant and learning impaired BBC

Having the dubious distinction of working in an office that has its TVs constantly tuned to the BBC News channel, it has been impossible to avoid the corporation’s obsessive coverage of proceedings from the Leveson inquiry.

Hugh Grant’s moody features and Steve Coogan’s inability to find a barber have featured heavily.  The BBC line is clear, the press has behaved outrageously by publishing distorted stories, fabrications and smears in order to sell papers. In the past month alone (at the time of writing) a Google search shows the BBC has been thoroughly enjoying itself, publishing no less than 856 stories and references about the Leveson inquiry – while taking a moral high ground that is wholly unjustified.

Unjustified, how?

Well, for all the wall to wall coverage on its news channel and the incessant stream of stories on a number of areas of its website, the BBC has itself been shown to be… publishing distorted stories, fabrications and smears.

The BBC has published no less than 22 articles and references this week about the Conservative and Unionist Society at the University of St Andrews burning an effigy of President Barack Obama.

However, the Tory boys and girls have not taken the thinly veiled insinuations of racism laying down.

What the BBC will not report is that there is more to the story than they are happy for people to know, lest it exposes their scoop as the meaningless piece of spiteful bile it really is.  Instead, for the facts, we need to turn to the blog pages of Biased BBC, where a member of the St Andrews little Tories explains what really happened and why.  The ignorance of the BBC is left on full display.  Their inability to learn the very lessons they are so keen to thrust down the ether and across the airwaves at us, is self evident.

As always with the BBC what you get is half the story all the time – assuming they don’t ignore the story completely because it contradicts one of their sacred shibboleths.  As always with the BBC the story has been made possible because of the unique way they are funded – with our money, despite not being accountable to us.

The BBC is by far and away the worst offender

When it comes to cutting and pasting press releases from the Environment Agency to use as ‘news’ pieces, the BBC is in a class of its own.

Katabasis, the blogger who contributed to the exposure of the Met Office winter 2010 forecast scandal, has undertaken a labour of love to uncover the extent of ‘churnalism’ exhibited by our lavishly funded public service broadcaster and its legion of highly trained churnalists journalists when it comes to environment and climate change stories.

Reading the whole piece on the Katabasis blog is absolutely recommended!


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