BBC: Biased belief compliance

Carbon Brief reports that the BBC, one of the world?s largest and most respected news organisations, has issued formal guidance to its journalists on how to report climate change. Quote.

Carbon Brief has obtained the internal four-page ?crib sheet? sent yesterday to BBC journalists via an email from Fran Unsworth, the BBC?s director of news and current affairs. The crib sheet includes the BBC?s ?editorial policy? and ?position? on climate change.

All of the BBC?s editorial staff have also been invited to sign up for a one-hour ?training course on reporting climate change?. Carbon Brief understands this is the first time that the BBC has issued formal reporting guidance to its staff on this topic. End of quote.

Gulag re-education camp? Quote.

The move follows a ruling earlier this year by Ofcom, the UK?s broadcasting regulator, which found that BBC Radio 4?s flagship current-affairs programme Today had breached broadcasting rules by ?not sufficiently challenging? Lord Lawson, the former Conservative chancellor.

Lawson, who chairs a UK-based climate-sceptic lobby group, had made false claims about climate change in an interview on Today in August 2017. Before Ofcom published its ruling in April, the BBC had already apologised for breaching its general editorial guidelines during the Lawson interview.

The broadcaster has faced repeated criticism over the past decade for enabling ?false balance? on the topic of climate change, as well as for failing to fully implement the recommendations of the BBC Trust?s 2011 review into the ?impartiality and accuracy of the BBC?s coverage of science?.

This is the email sent by Fran Unsworth to BBC journalists yesterday:

Dear all

After a summer of heatwaves, floods and extreme weather, environment stories have become front of mind for our audiences. There are a number of important related news events in the coming months ? including the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Green Great Britain Week in October ? so there will be many more stories to cover. Younger audiences, in particular, have told us they?d like to see more journalism on the issue.

With this in mind, we are offering all editorial staff new training for reporting on climate change. The one hour course covers the latest science, policy, research, and misconceptions to challenge, giving you confidence to cover the topic accurately and knowledgeably.

Please book now by choosing a time from MyDevelopment (you?ll be prompted to login first), searching ?reporting climate change? on MyDevelopment, or emailing [email protected] to set up a tailored session for your team.

In the meantime, you can read the Climate Change for BBC News crib sheet, and the Analysis and Research website by searching ?climate change? which cover the basics.

I hope you find the training useful.
Fran End of quote.

The “crib sheet” includes this?wording for the BBC?s ?editorial policy? and ?position? on climate change: Quote.

Editorial Policy

Climate change has been a difficult subject for the BBC, and we get coverage of it wrong too often. The climate science community is clear that humans have changed the climate, but specifically how is more difficult to evidence. For instance, there is very high confidence that there will be more extreme events ? floods, droughts, heatwaves etc. ? but attributing an individual event, such as the UK?s winter floods in 2013/2014, to climate change is much less certain.

We must also be careful to distinguish between the statements. For example: ?Climate change makes this kind of event both more frequent and more severe,? and ?Climate change caused this event?. The former uses previous scientific evidence to say ?it is likely? the event is the result of climate change, whereas the latter may be making an assertion without the proof to back it up.

What?s the BBC?s position?

Man-made climate change exists: If the science proves it we should report it. The BBC accepts that the best science on the issue is the IPCC?s position, set out above.

Be aware of ?false balance?: As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a ?denier? to balance the debate. Although there are those who disagree with the IPCC?s position, very few of them now go so far as to deny that climate change is happening. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken. However, the BBC does not exclude any shade of opinion from its output, and with appropriate challenge from a knowledgeable interviewer, there may be occasions to hear from a denier.

There are occasions where contrarians and sceptics should be included within climate change and sustainability debates. These may include, for instance, debating the speed and intensity of what will happen in the future, or what policies government should adopt. Again, journalists need to be aware of the guest?s viewpoint and how to challenge it effectively. As with all topics, we must make clear to the audience which organisation the speaker represents, potentially how that group is funded and whether they are speaking with authority from a scientific perspective ? in short, making their affiliations and previously expressed opinions clear. End of quote.

I wonder if all the activist promoters of the man-made climate change bandwagon are also identified by their funding source and affiliations?

So, not only is the science settled, “the referee has spoken”.? It is interesting to note that there is no need for a ‘denier’ as “very few deny climate change is happening”.? Well, hello?? Did any sensible person ever suggest that the climate never changed?? Strawman! Start the paragraph with the bold claim that man-made climate change exists and then say there is no need for balance as even ‘deniers’? agree that the climate changes.

Of course, the climate changes always has, always will.? ‘Deniers’ query the quantum of mankind’s impact, if any, on the climate system.? But you will not hear that from the Biased Belief Compliant reporters at the BBC.