Home > AGW, Omniclimate > Yes, John: Steve Jones Is Wrong And The BBC Totally Unbalanced On Climate Change

Yes, John: Steve Jones Is Wrong And The BBC Totally Unbalanced On Climate Change

Plenty of…skepticism on the part of chairperson John Lloyd during my comment/question at Thursday night’s RISJ/British Council presentation of James Painter’s “Poles Apart”.

I intervened after Steve Jones of BBC science impartiality and accuracy report “fame” (or not), who’s still (and still angrily) repeating the fantasy allegation of the BBC being too keen on balance and thus providing too much space to skeptics. To that, I retorted that just a few days ago a WWF representative was given heavenly time during the BBC Radio4 Today programme to talk about climate change

UPDATE: transcript here thanks to alexjc38, including the BBC’s Evan Davis uttering a veritable gem “Do a little bit of the campaigning then, go on“).

As everybody can see there was (as usual) not a hint of any even remotely critical question on the part of the BBC journalist/interviewer (something that happens regularly instead when interviews are not with AGWers but with politicians or even with scientists in a different discipline).

And that’s where the chairperson’s face started making quite telling movements….well, I can now present to John Lloyd (whom I met at a debate in Oxford in 2009 on Italian politics, where I was in the panel) the most curious piece of evidence yet of BBC’s institutional bias in favor of AGW proponents and away from skepticism.

And yes, this evidence makes a mockery of Steve Jones’ allegations too. Introducing Spiked Online and Patrick West’s experience with various language courses in Italian, and in particular the words dedicated to the BBC (my emphasis):

I’m currently on the second volume of the BBC’s Active Talk Italian Course. The two books and CD companions contain some bizarre diversions, Talk Italian 2 (2007) especially so. This volume is rich fare for those convinced that the BBC is governed by a liberal-left cabal, aging hippies and proselytising environmentalists.

Much of Talk Italian 2 is concerned with asking for directions in the rustic campagna of Tuscany and Umbria, where one would expect BBC bigwigs and well-to-do liberal-left champions of the corporation to take their vacations. A chapter is devoted to renting and buying luxury property (In zona panoramica e comoda… quattro camere, due bagni, cantine di 50mq, garage e giardino… Prezzo: €840,000). This no doubt appeals to Italy-loving Islingtonians who think holidaying in Spain is for the ghastly hoi polloi and that the south of France is a repository for the vulgar bourgeoisie.

The section in Talk Italian 2 on telling the time casually envisages a scenario of ‘Jorge’ and ‘Alessandro’ co-ordinating a meeting at a climate-change conference: Il cambiamento climatico: rischio per la biodiversità marina. The reader is invited to insert the Italian for ‘we start’ in the following ominous sentence ‘_____ alle dieci e un quarto con il discorso del Ministro sul cambiamento climatico’ (answer: Cominciamo) (1). Whatever happened to time-keeping dialogues simply based on railway enquiries?

On visiting the doctor, a further chapter asks you how to recognise notices for ‘alternative solutions’: medicina olistica, agopuntura, omeopatia, meditazione. Would you like to mettere in armonia le dimensioni fisiche, emotive, spirituali e sociali della persona? When ‘Simona’ complains of having l’influenza and asks for some painkillers, you, her hypothetical friend, are inveigled to suggest a superior alternative: Io ho un prodotto omeopatico molto efficace (2). Simona ought to reply Che stronzata! (3)

Some translation to help:

(1) “We start at quarter past ten with a speech by the Secretary of State for Climate Change”

(2) “I’ve got a very effective homeopathic medicine”

(3) “What a load of bull!”

And as if demonstrating the BBC Italian language courses’ focus on climate change undermines their quality 😎 , Patrick West’s article title is not what an Italian would write. “Questo corso è molto prevenuto” meaning “This course is very biased” would sound much better as “Questo corso è pieno di pregiudizi“.

  1. 2011/11/12 at 13:32

    All – I have added a link to Alex’s transcript of the BBC Radio4 interview (or shall I call it genuflection). Especially sublime for Evan Davis to say to a WWF activist: “Do a little bit of the campaigning then, go on“.

  2. 2011/11/12 at 13:32

    All – I have added a link to Alex’s transcript of the BBC Radio4 interview (or shall I call it genuflection). Especially sublime for Evan Davis to say to a WWF activist: “Do a little bit of the campaigning then, go on“.

  3. 2011/11/12 at 13:10

    Maurizio, it looks as though the radio interview with WWF-UK’s David Norman will not be included in the Today programme’s permanent archive, so I’ve made an audio recording of it and have posted a transcript here.

    • 2011/11/12 at 13:24

      great. thank you Alex. I wish there were transcripts of everything that is said on the radio, if only so we could properly refer to it over the ‘net.

  4. geoffchambers
    2011/11/12 at 05:49

    BBC language courses used to be very good back in the 70s; interviews with real people linked with lessons on grammar. Then they dumbed down (verbs became “doing-words”) and now they’ve moved upmarket along with the ex-hippy baby boomers who write them. Write in and complain. They get little customer feedback, so it might have an effect.
    The RISJ “Poles Apart” report looks every bit as biassed as the Steve Jones BBC Trust report. (I can’t download the free executive summary via your link. Any ideas how to get it?).
    Hickman’s Guardian article
    makes the elementary statistical mistake of deducing that, because most sceptical citations are found in English-speaking journals, most English-speaking journals are riddled with scepticism. The British (including the Royal Institute of Journalism) are totally ignorant of the fragile position of the media in other countries. Most people in France or Italy (or, I imagine, Brazil) don’t read newspapers. And that includes most teachers, engineers, etc.
    I won’t join in the BBC-bashing (or even the Liberal Media bashing) because it’s a huge plus to a country having 40% of the country reading what claims to be a quality press, or listening to Radio 4. Try having a conversation on any fact-based subject in France, where even university lecturers rarely read the national press. Yes, le Monde, or Repubblica, are infinitely superior intellectually to the Guardian. But who reads them?

    • 2011/11/12 at 10:29

      If you complain the BBC ignore it if they dislike what you complain about.

  5. diogenes
    2011/11/11 at 23:40

    well done sir…..these clowns should be on toast by now. But please do not put that [snip] Steve Jones on a piece of toast for me…that is too disgusting to contemplate

    –comment partially moderated for unnecessary language -mm

  6. 2011/11/11 at 23:26

    This, from the BBC, was slightly more encouraging:


    There was also a recent programme about the severe winters we’ve been seeing recently, in which AGW was mentioned only once – and then as a throwaway, here:


    I think change might be afoot at the BBC. Don’t tell Richard Black; it’ll only upset him.

    • 2011/11/12 at 12:43

      Derek – You can guess Bob Ward’s choice of words for that Panorama episode, as I have heard him speak after the RSIJ presentation 😎

  1. 2012/02/03 at 22:42

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