Media Praise BBC Censorship of Climate Skeptics; Attack Dissenters

Climate alarmists have trouble debating skeptics. They’d rather censor them instead.

On July 5, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced it was training journalists to ignore skeptical views on man-made climate change. Predictably, both mainstream news outlets like the Washington Post and liberal bloggers like the Huffington Post praised BBC’s censorship, amidst relentless attacks on skeptics.

The Huffington Post touted the BBC as “fighting its addiction to false climate change balance,” while Salon and the Telegraph (UK) respectively attacked skeptics as an “anti-science fringe” or “cranks” with “marginal views.” The Washington Post also joined in for the anti-free speech fun.

The Telegraph (UK) reported on July 4 that the BBC had trained 200 staff members to “stop them giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion,’” specifically naming the question of man-made climate change.

According to the Telegraph, “the [BBC] found that there was still an ‘over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality’ which sought to give the ‘other side’ of the argument,” and science correspondent Sarah Knapton called it “false balance.” The Washington Post’s Gail Sullivan, on the other hand, crowed that “BBC journalists are being schooled in how to cover science.”

Other outlets jumped on this notion of “false balance.” Salon’s Lindsay Abrams wrote “the [BBC]’s journalists were criticized for devoting too much airtime (as in, any airtime)” to climate skeptics, whom she described as “unqualified people with ‘marginal views’ about non-contentious issues.”

Similarly, the Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson described the BBC as “fighting its addiction to false climate change balance.” He alleged that “it would be wise not to hold your breath” waiting for American networks to censor climate skeptics, ignoring the broadcast networks’ habit of doing just that.

Of course, these publications couldn’t refrain from viciously attacking those skeptical of man-made global warming. The Washington Post dismissed “climate change deniers and others on the scientific fringe,” while Salon blasted skeptics as an “anti-science fringe.”

But the BBC has always censored climate skeptics. According to The Washington Post, the BBC issued a statement on July 7, saying “across our programmes the number of scientists and academics who support the mainstream view far outweighs those who disagree with it.” Clearly, the BBC already largely ignores climate skeptics, so this recent push indicates that they will simply move towards eliminating all dissent from the debate.

In fact, there are hosts of qualified scientists skeptical of man-made catastrophic climate change. In 2010, Climate Depot released a comprehensive report of more than 1,000 scientists from around the world who dissent from the mainstream alarmist view. The website Popular Technology published a similar list in February 2014 that detailed more than 1,350 peer-reviewed articles criticizing global warming alarmism.

A key point: Journalists have an obligation to cover both sides of every issue. For example, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics holds that journalists must “support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

Sean Long
Sean Long is a former writer for MRC Business.