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Reply From The BBC Re Miami Complaint

April 11, 2017
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By Paul Homewood

 

 

You will no doubt recall my report last month, Miami Beach Turning Into Modern Day Atlantis–Fake News BBC, about a BBC World at One item.

 

The segment discussed sea level rise at Miami, and the BBC correspondent made two outrageous claims:

1) Rising seas and flooding are turning Miami Beach into a modern day Atlantis, the city being submerged by water”

2) Sea levels at Miami are rising at ten times the global rate.

 

I filed a complaint, both about these two specific fallacious claims, but also about the general tenor of the programme, which failed dismally to present any actual facts.

I have just received this reply:

 

 

Thanks for contacting us about Radio 4’s ‘The World at One’ on 27 March.

We understand you feel the programme allowed inaccurate comments about the sea levels in Florida.

This piece was about President Trump signing an order undoing President Obama’s climate change policies; it went on to talk about flooding in the southern coast of Florida – predicted rising sea levels in Florida being something that’s been widely reported across various media outlets. The presenter here explained that because the area is built on porous limestone, the water seeps up through the ground.

We reported the concerns of the local residents who pointed out scientists agree that the flood defences will soon offer inadequate protection. We also heard from a Trump supporter who didn’t think the issue was caused by climate change, and so was also voicing her opinions.

We’re committed to impartial and balanced coverage of climate change. Furthermore we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on the issue and reflect this accordingly. Across our programmes the number of scientists and academics who support the mainstream view far outweighs those who disagree with it. We do however on occasion, offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality.

 

In other words, they are claiming that they were simply “reporting the concerns of residents”. This, of course, totally ignored the fact that their own correspondent made two grossly inaccurate claims, both clearly designed to ramp up the climate scare.

There was no balance to the programme, and nowhere were facts used to challenge these outlandish claims.

 

I have refused to accept their reply, and have sent this resubmission:

 

I have now received a reply to the above complaint, which is wholly unacceptable.

There is no point restating the facts via the online form, so I will outline my reasons here, so that you can resubmit my complaint.

The gist of the segment on World at One was that sea levels were rising rapidly around Miami Beach.

The correspondent actually stated “rising seas and flooding are turning Miami Beach into a modern day Atlantis, the city being submerged by water”

It was later claimed that sea levels at Miami are rising at ten times the global rate. (It was not clear whether it was the correspondent who stated this, due to very poor editing)

An interviewee then claimed that Miami had 30 yrs left. At no stage were we told who he was, nor was he challenged.

The facts concerning sea level rise are very clear. NOAA have a database of sea level data from tide gauges. As the link below shows, sea levels around Florida have been rising at a rate of about 2mm/yr since the early 20thC. Approximately a quarter of this is due to the land sinking.

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8720030

Furthermore, sea levels were rising as fast as now during the early 20thC, before slowing down around the 1960s and 70s when the world was cooling:

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/50yr.htm?stnid=8720030

In other words there is no acceleration in rise.

Photographic evidence shows that the few inches of sea level rise since the early 20thC has had no noticeable effect whatsoever at Miami Beach.

It is also fact that Miami Beach was a swamp before being developed, and parts are actually below sea level. Unsurprisingly then, floods occasionally happen.

As you will see from the reply from the BBC, the programme was claimed to be simply reporting the views of residents. However, this does not stand up to scrutiny. It was the correspondent himself who talked in completely fallacious, inflammatory and irresponsible fashion about a modern day Atlantis. The claim about at ten times the global rate is also wholly wrong.

We are not told who the interviewee is, nor that he is a resident who clearly knows nothing about the subject. Instead, the whole segment is presented as “fact”.

Your reply uses the usual get out clause that you are only reflecting the broad scientific agreement on the issue. Clearly however, this has nothing to do with “science”, and everything to do with “facts”, which don’t support the wild claims made.

It is the BBC’s duty to inform. If members of the public are given a platform to spout nonsense, they should surely be challenged. Clearly the correspondent either did no know the facts, or did not care.

Please resubmit my complaint

Many thanks

Paul Homewood

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46 Comments
  1. April 11, 2017 5:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  2. April 11, 2017 5:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Holding the BBC to account is like trying to juggle live fish.

  3. Ross King permalink
    April 11, 2017 5:44 pm

    Apropos the Beeb’s claim: “We do however on occasion, offer space to dissenting voices …” I wd like to see hard evidence of the amount of air-time given to such voices dissenting against the Received Wisdom on AGW or, indeed, to open debate bertween the opposing parties (*properly* moderated).

    • April 11, 2017 7:53 pm

      Do you how the BBC behave like kneejerk racists, ……or rather “tribalists”.
      They go for the shortcut of having “us” and them “deniers”.
      Thus think anyone challenging alarmism mut be a denier and therefore against science.
      Although alarmism about Miami sea level rise shouldn’t be a CAGW issue, cos IPCC project 1m by 2100.
      So “Furthermore we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on the issue”
      BUT dear Beeboids that agreement doesn’t side with your MIami alarmism.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    April 11, 2017 5:47 pm

    “… flooding in the southern coast of Florida – PREDICTED rising sea levels in Florida being something that’s been WIDELY reported across various media outlets.”

    All of the media reported catastrophic changes of “global warming” are predictions. Modeling is great fun and the same “gullible fools” pay for it.

    • April 11, 2017 10:49 pm

      “. . .across various media outlets.” Yep, there are ‘various media outlets’ around the globe which reported that 9/11 was an inside job and the towers fell as a result as a controlled demolition. Likewise, ‘various media outlets,’ report on a regular bases on the need to kill all who are not believers in Islam.

      Must be all true and necessary.

  5. April 11, 2017 5:58 pm

    “Impartial & balanced”; one of the greatest plonker pulls of our age. Selectivity, censorship by omission & discrediting are some of the tools of this liberal fascist monstrosity.

  6. April 11, 2017 6:22 pm

    I was listening to Steve Wright in the afternoon earlier when he suddenly announced that Bill Nye was tomorrow’s guest.

    Turns out it’s Bill Nighy.

    Damn! Was so looking forward to that one.

  7. HotScot permalink
    April 11, 2017 7:01 pm

    Well done Paul, keep at them.

    There was also the news headline on Radio 2 yesterday, repeated numerous times throughout the day, that the Great Barrier Reef has suffered coral bleaching because of rising sea temperatures; according to a single aerial study.

    Now we know that’s fake news because, according to local divers, sea temperatures have not reached the point at which coral bleaching occurs. Divers have also noted that the areas subject to coral bleaching are those affected by the recent sea level fall thanks to the El Ninio/La Ninia effect.Nor was any consideration given to the coral eating starfish, the evidence for which cannot be observed from a drone.

    We also know that coral bleaching does not have an effect on coral mortality, it is merely a process the reef is well adapted to dealing with.

    I did think of submitting a complaint, but they would likely refer me to the study and absolve themselves of any blame. They would also, undoubtedly, refer me to the 97% concencus, as they have done you, which bears addressing in any complaint by citing the numerous debunking of the various attempts to concoct a concencus, on the Homeland website, which goes into some detail about those ridiculous claims.

    It’s occasionally worthwhile holding the BBC to account, particularly when the correspondent himself vocalises a term or claim that can be proven as false. They are duty bound to at least ensure incorrect information is not repeated.

    And forgive me if I point out that “fallacious, inflammatory and irresponsible” are subjective terms and the BBC carries with it considerable artistic licence. You can only ever challenge them on the facts, the rest they will brush aside easily.

  8. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 11, 2017 7:06 pm

    I am convinced it was Nick Bryant who made the “10 times the global rate” claim, but I think he was conflating “water levels” and “sea levels”.
    As his official title was “New York correspondent” and his background is in history, I suspect that he knows little about climate science and his comments were a result of ignorance of the subject.
    I sent an email to him using the normal BBC email format (firstname.secondname@bbc.co.uk). While I never received a reply, the fact that I never received a “bounce back” message suggests the address was correct, but wasn’t replied to because he couldn’t justify his comments.

    If I can ever confirm the email address, I will continue to pursue him for a justification.

    It is annoying that BBC correspondents can make such claims without having to provide sources.

  9. April 11, 2017 7:24 pm

    The response from the BBC shows that they are purveyors of fake news and know that they are purveyors of fake news.

  10. luberon boy permalink
    April 11, 2017 7:27 pm

    BBC never learns re climate lies . Science Now on thursday 20 april ran a 12 minute obsequious ‘ interview ‘ with ‘ distinguished ‘ prof michael mann re some bogus non peer reviewed ‘ research ‘ he had done . Why ? he is surely seriously discredited ? I do not understand why they fail to acknowledge any alternative views on this most complex of subjects .

  11. April 11, 2017 8:03 pm

    BBC2017 = FalseNarrative builder
    Stage 1 Nick Bryant supplies the foundation
    Stage 2 The BBC’s commercial arm except from all editorial rules picks it up and does a story that the activist orgs adopt and use as validation for pushing alarmism
    Tweet eg 1

    Tweet eg 2 Climate Watcher‏ account

    Tweet eg 3 100 Resilient Cities‏Verified account

    • April 11, 2017 8:06 pm

      Remember stage 0 was the Guardian clearing the ground the day Nick before by doing a big story on the topic (Thats where he got his story from I guess)
      Stage 2 was BBC Future’s story

    • April 11, 2017 8:12 pm

      The Guardian article sponsored by the Skoll Foundation (finders of Al Gore’s movie)

    • April 11, 2017 8:19 pm

      Oh a Mar 16 tweet from a NewYork TV Weather man shows me that Nick’s alarmism preceded the March 20 Guardian report, and on March 27th was his big report
      \\ @NickBryantNY your @BBCWorld report on climate change In South Florida was spot on. Could you please share the link? @_ClimateMatters//

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:44 pm

        The BBC and Guardian work hand in hand on stories. They read the Guardian and then put together news items around it. With their current rate of losses the Guardian won’t be around much longer. The BBC will probably buy them before they go bust.

  12. Robert Christopher permalink
    April 11, 2017 9:06 pm

    “We also heard from a Trump supporter who didn’t think the issue was caused by climate change, and so was also voicing her opinions.”

    Remember, it’s nothing to do with Science: it’s Politics.

    Trump supporters’ views are only opinions because they don’t use the ‘correct’ facts, that have been adjusted to fit the agenda.

    • David A permalink
      April 13, 2017 10:29 am

      Curious how they knew it was a Trump supporter.

  13. John Plummer permalink
    April 11, 2017 10:21 pm

    Well done, Paul!

  14. Jay Jeffersen permalink
    April 11, 2017 11:42 pm

    Go to the BBC and complain @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/

  15. Jay Jeffersen permalink
    April 11, 2017 11:44 pm

    This was my complaint:
    Nick Bryant’s reporting was clearly bias towards the idea that climate change had made a difference to the coast line of Miami. He spoke to a professor who made some prophesies about the future but Nick Bryant did not challenge them and even supported him when he said the politic is not ‘clear cut’ as the science, as if to say the professor’s argument was unquestionable. The oceanic science for the Miami area is, in fact, ‘clear cut’ in not supporting the professor’s prophesy for the area. Data from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) shows clearly that sea level rises in the area have been constant and there has been no trend increase to suggest that sea levels of the future will change from the historic norm of around 2 mm per year. Nick Bryant could have checked this out at the scientific community’s most accurate data from NOAA at: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8720030
    A constant 2mm per year rise over the past 100 years is normal, nominal and not out of the ordinary. The fact that Miami is built on sinking swamp land, which is below sea level, has obviously far more to do with residents need for flood barriers. The scientific evidence therefore is certainly not ‘clear cut’ in supporting the professor’s prophecy and can be easily checked out by any school boy or girl. The fact that Nick Bryant does not read up on the facts of the local climate and does not challenge, but supports the professor’s argument with phrases like “sea levels at Miami are rising at ten times the global rate” (which I challenge the BBC to find evidence for) demonstrates either a lack of rigorous research or blatant bias reporting. I would suggest the latter. This piece was not factual, balanced or impartial. My complaint is that both Nick Bryant’s reporting and that of the BBC in general, is inaccurate and bias on the topic of climate change. I await the usual waffle about impartial and balanced coverage…

  16. Jay Jeffersen permalink
    April 11, 2017 11:52 pm

    Thanks Paul for all your hard work. I am constantly amazed at how you keep on top of things and don’t let pieces like this slip past unnoticed.

  17. April 12, 2017 6:32 am

    Good luck, but nothing will persuade the BBC to honour its own reporting guidelines save for withholding funding in the absence of debate in open forum. And bias in the BBC is systemic across the entire range of its coverage/output not just that in relation to climate change.

  18. AlecM permalink
    April 12, 2017 7:15 am

    Keep on taking the rise out of the BBC Mr Homewood.

  19. Europeanonion permalink
    April 12, 2017 7:43 am

    This is the sort of action that we require and marks a step change in Paul’s activities. The fact that he has challenged the broadcaster, expected a reply and published the results is a start in the debunking of arrogant news superiority where we are expected to believe whatever because of the source, rather than showing the source to be partisan, tricky and merely a hub for Metropolitan gossips.

    I hope he pursues this issue until such time as they climb down, a disclaimer would be nice. The good thing is that Paul is now on the watch list and the BBC, and hopefully so many other emotion spinners, will be more guarded in future about the content of their information. If the BBC is to maintain its ‘integrity’ then it will be mindful that a string of ill-informed and erroneous contortions will eventually have an effect on its often slip shod presentations that pay lip service to fashion rather than fact.

  20. DAVID ROWE permalink
    April 12, 2017 8:23 am

    A couple of years ago I also made an official complaint to the BBC regarding their report from Antarctica saying it was melting, in fact ice coverage had increased. I did receive a bland reply saying in effect the majority of ‘scientific opinion’ was that Antarctica was melting.
    To quote Bertrand Russel ‘The trouble with the world (BBC) is that the stupid are cocksure, and the intelligent are full of doubt’.

    • April 12, 2017 11:13 am

      To follow up on your quote. My late father received his PhD in chemistry from MIT in 1926 and often stated this little witticism: “You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can’t tell him much.” Also very indicative of today’s self-appointed, self-anointed elite and that some things never change.

  21. A C Osborn permalink
    April 12, 2017 8:25 am

    What we need now is for Booker to do a piece on this, showing the original text, Paul’s question, their totally inadequate response and Paul’s second statement.
    It needs to be shown to the public how biased the BBC are.

  22. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 12, 2017 9:38 am

    I expected the World at One item to be followed up with a TV news item, but if it was, I never saw it. I don’t know if that was because someone decided it wasn’t accurate or it just got lost in the other news.

  23. April 12, 2017 10:06 am

    Good luck with that. I am sure you know that the BBC is NEVER wrong, hence all complaints are rejected. I am minded to make an FOI request as to number of complaints for the past five years, number accepted as correct, and number acted on.

  24. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 12, 2017 11:59 am

    I used to watch “newswatch” on the BBC news channel at weekends, but don’t bother now.
    Ostensibly to deal with viewers complaints, it usually follows the same format.
    Viewers complaint is shown, then they wheel on someone who denies everything and says the bbc was right. Any challenge by Samira Ahmed is usually weak and sycophantic and a waste of time. The trouble is, the BBC probably think they are doing a great job.
    What they need is a totally independent host who is prepared to take the viewers point of view more vigorously, (more like Andrew Neil?) but I feel that complaining to the BBC will always be like banging you head on a brick wall. The they are more concerned with dealing with the complainant, than the complaint, and can’t see anyone else’s point of view.

    • April 12, 2017 12:16 pm

      I’m happy to say that the BBC’s manic obsessions with both Brexit and Trump has more or less ended my relationship with the BBC. We canned the idiot box years ago, refusing to fund the Propaganda Wing of the Liberal Left. Having for the Nth time a while back turned on Today to find them banging on about Trump again, I decided that was enough. Now I use R4 for the weather, occasional news headlines, and that’s it. R3 occasionally, tho’ that’s been horribly dumbed down, and R5 and 5 Sports extra for sport. I’m done with them and current affairs. Sick of it. Sick of them.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:41 pm

        That’s the only way to get through to them – cut the funding.

      • quaesoveritas permalink
        April 12, 2017 3:51 pm

        It seems to me that they are grossly overstaffed. It takes three or four to do what used to be done by one person.
        And all they seem to do on the news is gossip, and speculate (usually incorrectly) about what might happen.
        I would cut the licence fee progressively for the next 10 years.

      • April 12, 2017 4:02 pm

        You could apply that to much of the Civil Service. Was it not Digby-Jones who, on walking out of Brown’s Cabinet of all the Talents (haha), noted that you could half the staffing levels in the Civil Service and they would still have slack.

        The BBC in reality talks only to itself, and its newspaper mirror image, the Guardian. One Godalmighty echo chamber.

  25. April 12, 2017 1:12 pm

    Do you think we could ask Trump to redirect one of his Tomahawks?

  26. April 12, 2017 1:20 pm

    I made a very similar complaint regarding this programme and am still waiting for the usual brush off.

  27. Vanessa permalink
    April 12, 2017 3:06 pm

    I love their comment that they “do, on occasion…….allow dissenting voices”. Core, really big of them, especially as we, the public give them all their money! The sooner it is broken up and thrown to the robots the better. Can’t think of anything wanting to gobble it up !!!

  28. April 12, 2017 3:37 pm

    Not for nothing are they known as “The Provisional Wing of the Guardian”. As to dissenting voices there would have been an easy ride with the Spanish Inquisition. We haven’t forgotten David Bellamy and all the other victims of BBC pogroms. We haven’t forgotten Boaden and the gang of 28 who in 2006 determined secretly that there was not to be any further debate on the BBC on supposed Anthropogenic Global Warming – https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/29/boaden_tribunal_information_refusal/

    • dave permalink
      April 12, 2017 4:38 pm

      “Fly the friendly skies of the BBC!”

  29. dave permalink
    April 12, 2017 4:41 pm

    If – by mistake – you get in the studio, we will drag your ass back out!”

  30. FTOP permalink
    April 13, 2017 12:54 am

    There is a general caveat in articles now that allows the media to report erroneous information thus provides an “out” to make any absurd claim.

    The phrase most often reads something like “it has been reported that…”

    By using this phrase, pseudo-journalists can take any inaccurate story and rather than verify just say it’s been reported.

    A perfect example is the handcuffing of children during the infamous travel ban in the U.S. It was widely reported, then de-bunked, but reporters continue to write new stories that state things like “the current administration has been treating foreign travelers viciously. From separating families to reports of children detained and handcuffed.”

    It no longer has to be true, only “reported”

    In climate articles, it is much worse. The articles use “studies” but never say it is only a model run. They use “scientists concluded” but never include uncertainty or other limits on the efficacy of the data.

    Reading most articles requires a hat to keep from pulling one’s hair out in frustration.

  31. David A permalink
    April 13, 2017 10:24 am

    Excellent letter. It would be interesting for them to show ANY study indicating a scientific consensus on S.L. in Miami rising at ten times the global rate and destroying Miami in 30 years. Property values must be plummeting in Miami.

  32. dave permalink
    April 13, 2017 11:19 am

    I looked up the prices for Miami Beach [sic]. They have gone down a few percent. Still, an ordinary house will set you back some $352,000.

  33. April 13, 2017 11:45 am

    Nick Robinson assures us that Comrade Harrabin is without bias. https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/04/bias-and-the-bbc/

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