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BBC let Emma Thompson get away with ‘inaccurate’ climate change claims, watchdog finds

August 11, 2016

Report from the Telegraph:


The BBC must not let on-air guests bamboozle viewers with inaccurate statistics, its watchdog has warned, as it finds Emma Thompson was allowed to spout climate change inaccuracies without challenge.

The BBC Trust found the Oscar-winning actress was permitted to make “inaccurate statements” about temperature rises during a Newsnight appearance, without being properly interrogated.

A report into the BBC’s impartiality found presenters and journalists must do more to challenge statistics and statements by celebrities, politicians and spokesmen who appear on its shows.


The Trust report deals mainly with govt statistics, but it is interesting that it specifically criticises the treatment of Thompson’s claim.


Perhaps they should now go one step further and question why the BBC even allows luvvies like Emma to appear on screen and discuss climate issues.

After all, this is the same BBC that effectively banned Lord Lawson.

  1. David Richardson permalink
    August 11, 2016 10:10 am

    The BBC biased on climate change?? Is the Holy Father a Catholic?

    They need to have a look at some of Horrobins output as well.

  2. August 11, 2016 10:10 am

    It gives one a little hope.

  3. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 11, 2016 10:26 am

    For me, this was the key claim that needed to be laughed out of the studio:
    (Thompson said)

    “If they [oil companies] take out of the earth all the oil they want to take out, you look at the science. Our temperature will rise four degrees Celsius by 2030, and that’s not sustainable.”

    Which, apart from being a pathetic prediction implies that the oil companies will drain the Earth of oil in less than 15 years and that the effect of this on the climate will be immediate.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      August 11, 2016 5:43 pm

      And that we can burn all that oil in fifteen years!

  4. August 11, 2016 10:27 am

    I have now watched a succession of events in which the BBC have shown themselves to be extremely partizan and incapable of even pretending to be neutral. Climate is an obvious one, Brexit was yet another example of their appalling behaviour but even in the Scottish referendum they were clearly biased against the Scottish separation (and I voted no – so in no sense am I only saying they are biased when it’s against my views).

    They have proven themselves to be institutionally incapable of being impartial between the “establishment” view and the people.

    In short, they are a pseudo political party, actively campaigning on every political issue and intentionally trying to distort public opinion to suit their own pro-establishment views.

    It’s time to privatise the BBC.

    • August 11, 2016 11:09 pm

      You think it’s NEWS when actually it’s an ADVERT that you are watching ! A #NewsVert inserted into a news prog.
      – As commenters have said it is not just the BBC, but the whole MSM seems infected by the mental illness of ProgLefty Zombism. To an extent that is due to London bubble, but also it depends on material is FED into them by PR professionals in corps/NGOs/political parties full comment

  5. Eric Hutchinson permalink
    August 11, 2016 10:32 am

    Totally agree with SS!

    • Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
      August 11, 2016 7:21 pm

      Hear hear!
      PFPA – Publicly Funded Political (socialist) Activists.
      Subversive, corrupt, unrepresentative, metro-centric, parasitic, exploitative.
      Anti- Conservative
      Anti- Scottish independence
      Anti- Oil and Gas industry
      Anti- climate realism
      Anti- rural life
      Anti- hunting, shooting, fishing.
      Anti- car
      Anti- farming
      Anti- male
      Anti- family
      And on and on .. .. ..

      Scrap the BBC.

  6. August 11, 2016 10:49 am

    As salaried bureaucrats promulgating their prejudices – because they can…. (no consequences for naughtiness) – Beeboids know full well that old adage “A lie goes around the world before a truth has got its socks on”

    The simply appalling antics involved in 28gate are still standard fare on an institutional level throughout the organisation.

    The BBC as an organisation are very well versed in bias by omission. One massive example of this is the OCO2 satellite which was vaunted as *the* tool to map global CO2 levels with unprecedented accuracy in near real time – to identify all those 4*4s and coal power stations etc., etc. Only one problem – the physical observations clashed comprehensively with the fairy tale consensus about CO2 and BBC “science” won’t go near it with a bargepole – ditto for NASA PR department 😦

    • tonyfromct permalink
      August 11, 2016 1:12 pm

      “…the physical observations clashed comprehensively with the fairy tale consensus about CO2 ”

      Check out Murry Salby’s latest video on why this is so:

      • DMA permalink
        August 11, 2016 4:24 pm

        I thought his presentation was very good but am not able to adequately appraise his work. Over at Climate etc. there is much discussion about his inability to get it right and obvious errors in his approach. I cannot tell if these comments are sometimes valid or just sour grapes. My impression of Salby is that he has a good handle on what he is presenting. One of the common criticisms is he hasn’t published his work. I don’t know if he ever gained access to his research after getting fired from the university. Publication would be difficult without it I would think.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        August 11, 2016 7:50 pm

        The real problem over at Climate etc is THEIR inability to understand or accept the truth.

      • August 11, 2016 9:15 pm

        @DMA – crikey it looks like David Appell has misplaced his meds somewhere


        seen in the comments at Judith Curry’s place on the Salby presentation.

        OCO 2 data interpretation that might well throw a dirty great spanner in the CO2 works ….

  7. Jackington permalink
    August 11, 2016 10:54 am

    Emily Matliss et al are (a) totally ignorant of what is really going on re CAGW and (b) would never contradict anything said by a celebrity on any subject that is against the BBC’s Code of Practice.

  8. CheshireRed permalink
    August 11, 2016 11:11 am

    Absolutely correct re allowing climate change-advocating celebs but barring almost all sceptics who aren’t ‘climate change scientists’. Thompson’s comments were as absurd as they were incorrect and BBC rightly given a knuckle-rap.
    Will it alter their naked bias though – not a bit of it.

  9. martinbrumby permalink
    August 11, 2016 11:11 am

    Don’t tell me that the BBC Trust (an oxymoron if ever there was one) has finally criticised the Biased Broadcasting Corporation’s editors?


    Unless this was a momentary aberration (probable), they’ve got a full time job on now!

    In addition to Climate Change, Brexit, Palestine, “Refugees” and a huge list of other issues, Shale Gas is an obvious place to start. When did you ever see / hear the BBC discussing the issue without calling the technology “controversial”? (And who, pray, assiduously made the controversy in the first place?)
    When did they fail to show graphics grotesquely exaggerating the ‘proximity’ of aquifers to the shale beds in question? And showing fissures connecting the two?
    When did they fail to show footage of gas boreholes being drilled without pointing out that this level of activity lasts for only a week or two?
    When did they fail to get some brain dead wonder from Greenpiss or Fiends of the Earth on as an authority figure to spout greenie agit-prop?

    Rather than handing out cash “compensation” for living near a Shale Gas site (Why? What are they being compensated for?) leading to predictable squeals about ‘bribery’, why can’t HMG hold these liars to account?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 11, 2016 3:39 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better

      • David Richardson permalink
        August 11, 2016 4:08 pm

        No – neither could I, in fact I couldn’t have said it anywhere near as good. Thank you Martin.

  10. August 11, 2016 11:43 am

    No ‘celebrity’ – or anyone else – should be allowed to promote their own partisan views on the BBC on subjects outside their own professional domain, without fear of any challenge or denial of a hearing for any opposing view.

  11. Vernon E permalink
    August 11, 2016 12:59 pm

    martinbrumby: you are as bad as the beeb. Let’s have a bit of realism about shale gas for once. If testing proves a viable source there will be dozens – more likely hundreds – of wells and re-frack operations every eighteen months or so. Claiming a “week” is just as nonsensical as the anti’s claims.

    • August 11, 2016 4:23 pm

      Vernon E @MB said “When did they fail to show footage of gas boreholes being drilled without pointing out that this level of activity lasts for only a week or two?”
      I assume he meant
      “When did they show footage of gas boreholes being drilled THEY FAIL TO POINT out that this level of activity lasts for only a week or two?”
      This is true, you frack, then set up to extract, and then connect the pipe work and that’s it. It doesn’t take months like people think.

    • David Richardson permalink
      August 11, 2016 4:51 pm

      Martin’s point is very valid Vernon and yes maybe forthrightly stated but he is right to make it.

      You can argue about how long the site will take to drill, but the fact is that most people get the idea that the initial disruption of fracking is a permanent feature day and night because they are never given a balanced view of the subject. Once the drill is done having a fracking well nearby will be a lot less intrusive than a wind turbine, and the amount of land used for a similar power output is at least 2 orders of magnitude smaller with fracking.

      A good summary was made here some while ago

      As Martin points out – a balanced view would never be broadcast on the BBC.

  12. Keitho permalink
    August 11, 2016 2:57 pm

    It’s ET for Pete’s sake. She is as dim as a TOCH lamp but being a luvvie and a “national treasure” she can say whatever nonsense floats into her so called brain.

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 11, 2016 3:33 pm

    I’ve left a couple of comments on this site – one today on this thread, but they’re not being published. I’m using same details as I use at BH and WUWT….

    • August 11, 2016 5:38 pm

      Sorry Harry. I’m on holiday so moderation is a bit slow this week

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        August 11, 2016 6:06 pm

        Thank you Paul. You’re a good man to interrupt your holiday for moderating. Hope you’re somewhere with a warmer Summer than here at home.

      • August 11, 2016 9:03 pm

        No, I’m in Scotland!

  14. tom0mason permalink
    August 11, 2016 7:39 pm

    I think they should be made to show more of the likes of Ms. Thompson!
    With one caveat; on screen, and the announcer’s voicing the same at the beginning and the end of the piece saying —
    “That is (was) the views of Alarmists” or
    “That is (was) he views of the unscientific.” or even
    “Said a spokesperson for showbiz luvvies…”

  15. August 11, 2016 10:55 pm

    Telegraph is wrong to say there is a BBCTRust report censuring Emma Thompson
    But Spectator and Delingpole also focus on the Emma angle

    Nanny McBollocks: Emma Thompson Caught Spouting Climate Tosh on The BBC “The BBC has been censured for allowing actress Emma Thompson to spout a load of hysterical, made-up, warmista drivel”


  16. August 11, 2016 11:03 pm

    There is a problem here ; in that the Telegraphs report is also misleading.
    – The watchdog the BBC Trust just published a report about improving handling of stats in BBC progs. It’s NOT ca report censuring the BBC for airing Emma Thompson. 99% of the report is not about the Newsnight report And furthermore the BBCTrust is being as conniving and misleading as the BBC itself. The report does NOT mention Emma Thompson by name, rather just “am actress said”
    See image of page 54

    #1 Emma Thompson MISLEADS incredibly
    #2 The Telegraph MISLEADS
    #3 The BBC Trust MISLEADS :
    \\Scientific research suggests the World Bank, for example, puts it at “by the end of the century//
    The World Bank does NOT DO “Scientific research” so you shouldn’t be quoting that 4C figure as scientific just cos you conveniently found it in a World Bank report.. You should be quoting the actual science references, like latest IPCC, which are still very very challengeable
    #4 The BBC Trust took ONE YEAR to admit the offence !
    #5 The BBC Trust MISLEADS itself again in the last paragraph . It doesn’t help the average viewer to know that end of century temperatures rises were discussed TEN WEEKS later

    The report also asserts “73 per cent of statistical references in the news come from Conservative politicians.”
    that claim seems WISHFUL THINKING …I bet it’s not robust
    There is rarely a Conservative on without an equivalent time from a Labour voice…Yet I hear Labour voices all the time without any counterpoint from Conservatives. BBC output seems 80% Red.

  17. wert permalink
    August 13, 2016 4:12 pm

    It is a studied research fact, that journalism and sociology draw students leaning green and left, where hard sciences, including medicine and business do not do that.

    The result is MSM having a headache with forums manned by CS students and taxi drivers, with MSM journalists incapable of understanding academically educated people who do not share MSM bubble’s feelings on ‘immigrants’ and ‘nature’. They are a self appointed elite which struggles to understand why taxi drivers have a vote.

    • nightspore permalink
      August 13, 2016 5:10 pm

      I’m not so sure about the difference that you say is based on “studied research fact” [sic]. In my experience there are a lot of leftwing physicists out there along with similar types in other hard sciences. (This may be why from time to time one hears about conversions following an immersion in the actual science underlying the AGW question; their default is to believe the warmist line, but when they look more closely at the actual evidence, they find that the whole thing doesn’t add up.)

      And then, of course, there’s David.

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