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Booker, The BBC & QuentinGate

December 13, 2015

By Paul Homewood     




Booker blasts the BBC’s hypocrisy:



Last week the BBC Trust issued as damning a ruling as it can ever have made on any BBC programme, ordering that all trace of it must be wiped off the BBC’s website. In a 20-page report, it found that the programme had been guilty of “a serious breach of the [BBC’s] Editorial Guidelines for Impartiality and Accuracy”. In other words, it flouted one of the BBC’s most important statutory obligations under its charter, thus committing an offence under the law of the land.

So what was the programme that aroused such ire? Broadcast last August, it was part of a series in which the journalist Quentin Letts light-heartedly asks “What is the point of” some of “Britain’s cherished institutions”: in this instance, the Met Office. Most of his programme was pretty anodyne stuff, as when a retired BBC forecaster John Kettley revealed that viewers had sometimes sent him “items of clothing through the post”. “Knickers?” asked Letts. No, replied the former celebrity weatherman, “sweaters”.

"Their real offence had been to allow Letts to interview two climate-sceptical MPs"

But it was not this that led the trust to order that all those responsible for the programme must attend the “BBC Academy’s impartiality online training module”, with special reference to “reporting climate change science”.

Their real offence had been to allow Letts to interview two climate-sceptical MPs. One of them, the former Cabinet minister Peter Lilley, recalled the Met Office’s prediction from 2004 that, over the next decade, global temperatures would rise by some 0.3 degrees C. And what had happened when 2014 arrived, asked Letts? “Nothing,” Lilley replied. “Zilch.” There had been “no global warming”.

This prompted the trust to quote yards of material from such learned authorities as the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change to show that it was almost universally agreed by scientists that “human activity is the dominant cause of the warming witnessed in the latter half of the 20th century”, and that those responsible had ignored a “decision that the programme should not include challenge [sic] to the prevailing scientific view about climate change”.

The trust thus ruled that the programme was at fault in not making it clear that the two MPs “represented a minority opinion which contradicted the view of the majority of scientists”. It should have given the Met Office – whose computer models used for “climate prediction” are “highly regarded… around the world” – a chance to rebut Mr Lilley’s claim.


This graph from the respected Woodfortrees website shows the temperature record since 1998 as recorded by RSS, one of the two official satellite data sources


But here is the central irony of this wondrously po-faced document. Although it repeatedly found the programme guilty of such a “serious breach” of the BBC’s statutory commitment to “accuracy”, Mr Lilley’s playful comment on that 0.3 degree temperature rise predicted by the Met Office computer in 2004 was not wrong.

According to the satellite record, the temperature trend line in those 10 years did not rise at all. Lilley’s real offence in the BBC’s eyes was that what he said was entirely accurate. George Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

  1. Stonyground permalink
    December 13, 2015 1:53 pm

    Orwell indeed. What have we to make of this world of opposites where the BBC’s totally one sided reporting of this contentious issue is not deemed to be in breach of rules on impartiality while a tiny move in the right direction is?

  2. December 13, 2015 3:13 pm

    Great to see the RSS temperature graph getting an outing in the MSM.

    • R. m. FLAHERTY permalink
      December 20, 2015 3:58 pm

      Not a trace of urban heating in satellite temp records which can lead to errors of up
      To 6 degrees C per reading

  3. December 13, 2015 4:01 pm

    I often ponder what would happen if you challenged the BBC in court, and forced them to bring “the majority of scientist” to the witness box. I wonder how many would come, and allow themselves to be publically ridiculed, for that is what you could do to every last one of them. From what I see of science in the more enlightened places scientist are looking for ways to distance themselves from the foolishness of Global warming and especially man made global warming. Some still think greenhouse gases are real but that will in time be shown to be the nonsense it is.

    • R. m. FLAHERTY permalink
      December 20, 2015 4:05 pm

      If it were not for Green house gases earth would be 30 degrees C colder than currently.
      Man made CO2 is only 0.12 per cent of the total. So how could that trace predominate
      Over the 99 per cent of natural GHG.???

  4. December 13, 2015 5:29 pm

    Quentingate has reached the USA – they also use the word Orwellian. The result of the BBC’s censorship is that many people over there who had never heard of QL or his programme now know about it. A nice example of the Streisand effect.

  5. Jack Dawkins permalink
    December 13, 2015 6:18 pm

    Is there any other country on Earth which imposes a compulsory tax on its citizens for owning a device which can receive state sponsored propaganda?

    • A C Osborn permalink
      December 13, 2015 6:53 pm

      North Korea?

  6. Stonyground permalink
    December 13, 2015 6:22 pm

    It is worth mentioning that when the whole man made climate change meme hits the buffers, which it must do eventually, the BBC is going to be in serious trouble. They could have at least gone through the motions of pretending to be impartial, that would have given them some plausible deniability, but they chose not to. Instead they have chosen to shout the most obvious lies from the rooftops and have given free airtime to dozens of alarmist idiots. At the same time they have ruthlessly censored anyone who was prepared to tell the truth. When the whole house of cards comes crashing down they are going to be seriously up $hit creek.

    • R. m. FLAHERTY permalink
      December 20, 2015 4:10 pm

      As Upton Sinclair said “It is very difficult to convince someone of something if their
      Livelihood depends on their not believing it”

  7. Doug Proctor permalink
    December 13, 2015 7:36 pm

    The BBC did nothing different from what the French TV did when it fired Phillipe Verdier (sp?) for saying publiclly something different from what the President, Hollande, professed. Years ago in the States, Bill Meyer the op-ed TV host, was sent into an 18-month wilderness for asking why it might be, post-9/11, that these people hate Americans so much.

    We do not live in such free-speech, democratic times and places as we tend to think. The authority of the State – of the power elite – is expressed much more often than we recognize. The self-censorship of the identity of the San Bernadino shooters – I had to troll Australian newspapers for that information – in the Canadian, American and BBC lasted 2+ days. You can say it is just individual sensitivities, a mutual self-interest at work. Perhaps (I believe there is a lot of this). But I suspect there is some serious, on-going discussions at the highest level of what shall and should be put out for the public “good”.

    And the people at the top are listened to.

    And us …. How many of us are on a watch list for our skepticism? I bet a lot.

  8. December 13, 2015 10:45 pm

    The BBC is addicted to climate alarm and can’t be cured by any non-drastic means.

  9. December 14, 2015 5:16 am

    BBC or KGB whats the difference?

  10. Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen permalink
    December 14, 2015 12:41 pm

    Paul, about time we looked more closely at WHY the BBC and majority of government/UN/EU/Obama admin are so keen on AGW… what are the political and financial rewards NOW, and predicted in future?

  11. robert stitt permalink
    December 14, 2015 5:01 pm

    superb website. I listened to the radio show on radio 4 as it was aired and thought great other people think AGW is suspect(the show was about the met mostly if I remember). Didn’t realise he got his hand slapped for it.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 14, 2015 9:49 pm

      “Didn’t realise he got his hand slapped for it.”

      He is lucky he wasn’t burned at the stake, the way heresy is treated at the BBC these days.

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