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BBC’s Institutional Alarmism

June 13, 2022

By Paul Homewood


I’ve now had a chance to write a fuller account of my new paper on the BBC:





The BBC has been accused of institutional alarmism in a new report published by Net Zero Watch. It reveals the BBC’s persistent exaggeration and false information when it comes to climate and weather-related news.

The study, written by me, reveals that the BBC has been forced to correct a dozen items of false claims and fake news in climate-related coverage after receiving public complaints in recent years.

The paper shows that it has become common practice for BBC reporters to publicise exaggerated and often misleading weather-and climate-related stories in order to hype up the potential risks from global warming.

Persistent misrepresentation by BBC journalists in climate news coverage is fuelling the corporation’s institutional alarmism.

Institutional alarmism is a form of hyped and exaggerated news reporting that is deeply embedded in the BBC. It manifests itself as unbalanced, one-sided coverage of climate risks that are habitually exaggerated and that go uncorrected by the BBC’s in-house fact checkers.

In 2020, the BBC’s director general warned that the problem posed by disinformation online was increasingly serious and that the BBC would need to work harder than ever to expose fake news and separate fact from fiction.

Since then the corporation set up a team of fact checkers, a BBC-wide Anti-Disinformation Unit and a Climate Misinformation team. Yet none of these teams of fact checkers noticed or addressed the long list of false news stories that were only corrected by the BBC after lengthy and protracted complaint procedures.

The dossier includes the following examples of fake news:

  • The three complaints upheld against the BBC’s Climate Editor, Justin Rowlatt, last year, two of which concerned a Panorama episode devoted to global warming.

  • Claims that the number of floods around the world has increased 15-fold since 2005.

  • A BBC News report that the population of African penguins was declining rapidly because of climate change.

  • Repeated claims that onshore wind was “banned” in the UK

  • False statements about “record temperatures”

  • A BBC Two broadcast, which wrongly alleged that the reindeer population in Russia was declining because of climate change

  • Repeated claims that hurricanes were becoming more frequent and powerful

  • A World at One broadcast, which asserted that sea levels in Miami were rising at ten times the global rate

Most of the claims were so obviously and ridiculously false that it is hard to see how they made it through the BBC’s editorial process. This of course raises further questions.

Is the BBC so entrenched in its own version of climate change that it believes its own propaganda, just as the Soviets did? Or do the editors and various layers of management simply not care whatever lies are published?

The above list is merely the tip of the iceberg. Many other falsehoods occur without being challenged, or where complaints are simply ignored.

News items of how weather is getting more extreme, Victoria Falls drying up, droughts in California, starving polar bears and many more. One BBC News report baldly stated that the number of weather disasters had increased five-fold in the last 50 years – a patently absurd claim, which the organisation responsible for the database explains is actually due to better data reporting.

One of the most egregious examples of bias came in Sir David Attenborough’s documentary three years ago, “Climate Change – The Facts”. In fact the hour long programme had little to do with facts, more to do with propaganda. It made several highly questionable assertions, such as that “storms, floods, heatwaves and sea level rise are all getting rapidly worse as a result of climate change”. The documentary provided no actual data to back up these claims. Nor did it offer the views of scientific experts who do not agree.

Often BBC reports are just outright propaganda, with the opinions of Greenpeace, WWF and the Green Party being given prominence, but with very little coverage of alternative views. The coverage of the proposed Cumbria coal mine last year by Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s Environmental Analyst, was a classic example of this.

At other times, the reporting is just silly. For instance, last summer the BBC gave prominent coverage to a silly report which claimed that the impact of global warming would likely lead to ‘impaired’ performances at the Tokyo Olympics. This flew in the face of the fact that many Olympics in recent years have taken place in much hotter climes, such as Los Angeles, Atlanta and Athens.

The sheer weight of evidence presented in this paper suggests that bias is now en­demic in the BBC’s climate reporting.

All of the factual errors noted could easily have been avoided with a bit of basic research. Is this carried out and the results ignored if they don’t agree with the BBC’s agenda? Or is the corporation’s output just made up and printed anyway without checks? Either way, this is journalism at its shoddy worst.

And who is editing this fake reporting? Why are they not insisting on accurate reporting? Where are the highly paid executives, who let all of this continue?

The topic of climate change, Net Zero and the total transformation of society which is demanded to achieve it is of crucial importance for the future of the coun­try. The public deserve all of the facts, not just the warped version offered by the BBC.


  1. Bill permalink
    June 13, 2022 11:20 am

    Good work Paul.

  2. Carnot permalink
    June 13, 2022 11:34 am

    About time the BBC was brought to book- well done. Better still it needs defunding by the taxpayer in the form of an extortion license to produce fake news. As each year passes theses creeps become ever more woke and disconnected from the real world.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    June 13, 2022 11:36 am

    Only a few days left now before its so-called ‘Enviro Analyst’ Harrabin relinquishes his Telly-tax funded lifestyle and expense account.

  4. June 13, 2022 11:43 am

    I fear that there is a steady supply of #DoomerGroomers to replace him.

  5. June 13, 2022 11:47 am

    Great report, and succinct enough to be read my any MP. I note in it: “A complaint to this effect was simply wafted away on the basis that some scientists disagreed with the official line”. The BBC need to be reminded that the ‘official’ line must be determined by objective (untampered) data and not the King Canute of political desire. Wishful thinking though!

  6. June 13, 2022 12:16 pm

    The numpties filling the “team of fact checkers, a BBC-wide Anti-Disinformation Unit and a Climate Misinformation team” have as their sole purpose to support 100% everything the BBC says and attack anyone who dares disagree. An amoeba has more brains

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 13, 2022 2:00 pm

      Yep. Anything you say against them is disinformation.

      As Theodore Dalrymple said, the purpose of communist propaganda isn’t to inform, it is to humiliate. The more obvious the lie, the better.

      ‘Persistent misrepresentation by BBC journalists in climate news coverage is fuelling the corporation’s institutional alarmism.’

      Journalists do what their bosses tell them to. As Paul asks, “Where are the editors?”

      ‘Either way, this is journalism at its shoddy worst.’

      [citation needed]

      I.e., it is journalism. Just plain, ordinary, regular journalism.

      Honor in journalism died with Perry White.

  7. A+man+of+no+rank permalink
    June 13, 2022 12:30 pm

    ‘the total transformation of society’. And there it is – Paul’s perfect five word summary of our fears.
    What is the mindset of those who know so much better than others, and are even willing to distort the data?
    Know-alls, protectors, scammers, anarchists, unaware of the law of unintended consequences?

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      June 13, 2022 1:20 pm

      … unaware of the law of intended consequences 🙂

      They may be educated, but not necessarily in useful disciplines, and are not intellegent enough.

  8. June 13, 2022 1:42 pm

    I wish you could have included my little experience with the complaints department! It took almost 800 days to receive a substantive reply, at which point – although the literature the BBC cited to justify the claim was not adequate defence – I had given up the will to fight on:

    A Short Letter to the Complaints Department

  9. Tammly permalink
    June 13, 2022 1:53 pm

    Climate change isn’t the only subject they are biased on. Politics, economics, drama, social history; you name it, they have a progressive, left wing, woke bias. It’s not the BBC of my young days and I no longer listen to its radio broadcasts at all.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      June 13, 2022 2:26 pm

      Mussolini’s NFP described themselves as progressive, so did Hitler’s NAZIs and Stalin’s Communist party. The Progressive Party in the US was a declared fascist party and the modern ‘liberal’ left is well over the line into fascism.
      Whenever I hear ‘progressive’, I think ‘fascist’. That is because all forms of ‘progressive’ think they know what is best for everyone else and seek to impose it, that descends into fascism in no time at all.

      • June 13, 2022 3:55 pm

        From Wiki: “Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism,[1] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy…”

        Perhaps “elitist” is a better description of the leaders of the Climate Cult. I agree that where they end up — power and suppression — is similar.

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        June 13, 2022 4:20 pm

        John: The wiki definition of fascist is quite simply wrong. The essence of fascism is the reliance on force and repression to achieve political goals. The NAZIs were not seen as a right wing party until Stalin said they were in 1941.

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 13, 2022 5:12 pm

        You are both wrong. Fascism is strong, autocratic central control of a private economy.

      • June 13, 2022 5:44 pm

        Two points.
        Concerning the political alignment of Wikipedia:
        “Jimmy Wales is an internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Wikipedia and Wikia. He is a non-executive director of Guardian Media Group, owner of the Guardian and the Observer”

        Benito Mussolini, somewhat of an expert on the subject, stated his preferred synonym for Fascism was ‘Corporate Socialism”, there is no way that it is remotely Right Wing.

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        June 13, 2022 6:08 pm

        Gamecock: Miriam Webster lists
        Definition of fascism
        1: often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
        2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control early instances of army fascism and brutality

        So your definition is a long way out.

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 13, 2022 6:42 pm

        Revisionist crap, Harry. Find an older dictionary.

  10. jimlemaistre permalink
    June 13, 2022 2:18 pm

    All of this has ‘roots’ from my youth. My sister and I are perfect examples of the extremes in social evolution. She with a masters degree in Sociology and me with a penchant for entrepreneurialism. The ‘Great Divide’ took 40 years to mend . . . yet, it remains to this day. Intellectualism from a socialistic vantagepoint, it seems, can not be healed with Science or logic . . . It is entrenched like ‘Religious Fervor’ . . . Unbending to ANY rational thinking or proof to the contrary. Almost ‘Madness’. I wrote a paper a few years ago that spells this out.
    Social Engineering, Environmentalism & Globalization – A New World Order . . .

    It is like beating our heads against brick walls . . . There are none so blind as those who will not see . . .

    • June 13, 2022 5:26 pm

      In many cases it seems to me to boil down to Emotion vs Reason.

      • June 13, 2022 5:45 pm

        And that great favourite of the Woke, “lived experience”.

  11. Penda100 permalink
    June 13, 2022 2:26 pm

    And let’s not forget lying by omission. Weather events such as the cold winter in Australia, ignored as they don’t fit the BBC’s Climate Emergency narrative. And inviting “experts” on to programmes such as Breakfast who are allowed to promote renewable energy without a single dissenting voice to point out the errors. Altogether, no more than a Propaganda outfit. Should be renamed Ministry of Truth.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      June 13, 2022 2:32 pm

      What the BoM usually does when there is a cold spell is to declare that their instruments were ‘offline’, then they fill in with ‘homogenized’ data. This does two things:
      1. Removes the cold spell from the record hence boosting the ‘average’ temperature,
      2. Reduces the data to rubbish, there are no ‘average’ temperatures from Australia, just data contaminated by falsified records.

    • June 13, 2022 5:30 pm

      Sadly for my blood pressure I watched The Media Show on BBC News yesterday, finger wagging at the boss of GB News for a small number of climate “falsehoods” stated by guests, when every day there are many uttered by guests and presenters on the BBC.

  12. Lez permalink
    June 13, 2022 3:20 pm

    Well done Paul

  13. Jacinta permalink
    June 13, 2022 4:03 pm

    I was infuriated by Chris Packham drawing a crude, straight-line extrapolation of the increase in global population on some programme ( I forget which) implying that it would continue forever. Either he was deliberately lying or he hadn’t done his homework. Either is unacceptable. This sort of distortion leads to gullible people deciding not to have children. It is completely irresponsible.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      June 14, 2022 10:46 am

      Ah! Chris Packham the man who famously said he would happily “eat the last Panda”, the man who was arrested and charged with assault in Malta, the man who the Countryside Alliance formally requested the BBC sack for gross misuse of his television persona for personal purposes, the man who drives an electric car but heads up petitions against new electric trains, the man once under investigation for falsifying evidence that he was being harassed for his personal views. Ah that Chris Packham.

  14. dave permalink
    June 13, 2022 6:22 pm

    RSS has published for May its metric of ‘Global Temps’ – down 0.15 C.

    The series has been going dead sideways for four years now.

    I wonder how many of the 4 billion people in the world who say they are concerned about
    Climate Change have bothered to notice it?

  15. johnbul\k permalink
    June 13, 2022 7:04 pm

    Thank you Paul for your persistence and doggedness. We owe you.

  16. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 13, 2022 8:16 pm

    Note also the Major Compliant’s 162 pages of April 2016 available on this site’s archive. Devastating. Attenboro gets a whole chapter of a decade of his misinformation. TV Prog ‘Climate Change-The Facts mentioned above irretrievably tarnished Attenboro (again) by teaming him with Michael Mann whom the BBC paid handsomely to take part, thus furthering the BBC’s ten year campaign to whitewash Climategate.

  17. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 13, 2022 10:19 pm

    An excellent paper, wonder how many of the BBCs “minitrue” will read it though. The one-sided “AGW science” is so endemic in our media and politicos that it is going to take a lot of shifting. GB News is the only source of climate sense and even balance.

  18. marlene permalink
    June 14, 2022 2:05 am

    They wouldn’t have to lie about it if it were real!

  19. cookers52 permalink
    June 14, 2022 6:18 am

    Unfortunately exactly the same could be said for Parliament, our elected politicians believe in all the scary bits and produce futile legislation.
    Meanwhile the planet doesn’t care.
    It’s always been that way ,we are human, and have always believed bad weather is caused by our actions.

    • June 14, 2022 9:26 am

      And like my own ‘believing’ MP, cannot produce a scrap of evidence for it when asked, as I have asked mine, many times.

  20. Stonyground permalink
    June 14, 2022 7:39 am

    Not completely OT but I came across this series of photographs and it occurred to me that readers here would be shocked to see how the whole world has been devastated by climate change.

  21. June 14, 2022 11:10 am

    Reblogged this on delboydave and commented:
    The BBC will never change its spots until it is forced to stand on its own two feet without the TV tax.

    • TinJapan permalink
      June 14, 2022 12:09 pm

      Do you think it will even then?

    • June 14, 2022 12:43 pm

      Although it may then think that having been relieved of its legal Charter, it’s free to go full-blown climate nutty. As it stands, they need to be reminded they are legally bound to impartiality, a Charter they clearly violate, repeatedly, and with impunity.

  22. Ian permalink
    June 14, 2022 10:50 pm

    Excellent work, Paul. The CBC here in Canada are equally guilty of the same thing.

  23. Crowcatcher permalink
    June 15, 2022 7:00 am

    15th of June.
    Another load of rubbish this morning on the news “headlines” about coastal erosion – severely economical with the truth, no understanding of history and no questioning the quoted report.

  24. Eddie P permalink
    June 15, 2022 2:55 pm

    Paul – I would have mailed this link directly to you but do not have it. You might care to file it for future reference –

    • June 15, 2022 3:55 pm

      “80% of Emperor penguins will be extinct by 2100 without Paris Agreement.”!! What a joke. Who do they expect to be around in 78 years who even remembers this, to check that it will be a failure, as all the others will be.

  25. John Doran permalink
    June 16, 2022 7:12 am

    At it again this week blaming ‘climate change’ and ‘rising sea levels’ for coastal erosion in East Anglia.

  26. Stephen Hedges permalink
    June 16, 2022 7:26 am

    Sadly it’s not just the BBC, here’s an absurd story from the DT:
    “Dengue fever cases rocket in Singapore as experts blame climate change for high mosquito numbers”

  27. mjr permalink
    June 16, 2022 1:17 pm

    BBC2 Daily Politics … Last 10 minutes discussing the “heatwave” this week. Weather forecast shows the dodgy climate heating graph. Panel talking sh*te about extremes and crop failures and heat deaths.. Baroness Fox who is not on message sniggering at the bollox being talked

  28. Frank permalink
    June 22, 2022 9:42 pm

    Today Programme 22nd June at 7.50am has interview with Ofcom CEO Dame Melanie Dawes who have published new paper complaining about BBC Complaints Process; Impartiality; and lack of Openness regarding future Service changes. Only One in Five people are satisfied with the BBC Complaints Process. etc; etc; Move to 1hour 50mins 30secs into broadcast link:

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