Nederland was lyrisch over Joris Luyendijks het journalistieke bedrijf aan de kaak stellende Het zijn net mensen. In Groot-Brittannië komen een dezer dagen Peter Sissons memoires When the door closes uit. De BBC-anchor doet een boekje open over de politieke correctheid van zijn voormalig werkgever.

Over BBC en klimaat is hij duidelijk in dit op de boekpublicatie vooruitlopende artikel in Mail Online:

For me, though, the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998).

From the beginning I was unhappy at how one-sided the BBC’s coverage of the issue was, and how much more complicated the climate system was than the over-simplified two-minute reports that were the stock-in-trade of the BBC’s environment correspondents.

These, without exception, accepted the UN’s assurance that ‘the science is settled’ and that human emissions of carbon dioxide threatened the world with catastrophic climate change. Environmental pressure groups could be guaranteed that their press releases, usually beginning with the words ‘scientists say . . . ’ would get on air unchallenged.

On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change ­doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid.

On one occasion, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as president in 2009, the science correspondent of Newsnight actually informed viewers ‘scientists calculate that he has just four years to save the world’. What she didn’t tell viewers was that only one alarmist scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, had said that.

My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda.

The BBC’s editorial policy on ­climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had 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’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its ­pretence that climate change ­dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority ­opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.

Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.

One sided: Peter Sissons’ interest in climate change grew out of concern at the way the BBC was reporting it and how a BBC seminar decided that the doubters were wrong

There is one brief account of the ­proceedings, written by a conservative commentator who was there. He wrote subsequently that he was far from impressed with the 30 key BBC staff who attended. None of them, he said, showed ‘even a modicum of professional journalistic ­curiosity on the subject’. None appeared to read anything on the subject other than the Guardian.

This attitude was underlined a year later in another statement: ‘BBC News currently takes the view that their reporting needs to be calibrated to take into account the scientific consensus that global warming is man-made.’ Those scientists outside the ‘consensus’ waited in vain for the phone to ring.

It’s the lack of simple curiosity about one of the great issues of our time that I find so puzzling about the BBC. When the topic first came to ­prominence, the first thing I did was trawl the internet to find out as much as possible about it.

Anyone who does this with a mind not closed by religious fervour will find a mass of material by respectable scientists who question the orthodoxy. Admittedly, they are in the minority, but scepticism should be the natural instinct of scientists — and the default setting of journalists.

Yet the cream of the BBC’s inquisitors during my time there never laid a glove on those who repeated the ­mantra that ‘the science is settled’. On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change ­doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid.

Meanwhile, Al Gore, the former U.S. Vice-President and climate change campaigner, entertained the BBC’s editorial elite in his suite at the Dorchester and was given a free run to make his case to an admiring internal audience at Television Centre.

His views were never subjected to journalistic scrutiny, even when a British High Court judge ruled that his film, An Inconvenient Truth, ­contained at least nine scientific errors, and that ministers must send new guidance to teachers before it was screened in schools. From the BBC’s standpoint, the judgment was the real inconvenience, and its ­environment correspondents downplayed its significance.

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