Peter Sissons and the BBC Approach to News

An inspiring article by Peter Sissons on the Mail Online called “PETER SISSONS: I drove out of Television Centre for the final time last month… and I don’t have a pang of regret” was recently brought to my attention by TallBloke.

Peter Sissons

It’s quite an old article, published in 2009, but I hadn’t yet started taking an interest in climate alarmism or the BBC bias at that time. It really is a worth the 10 minutes it takes to read but if you are a staunch defender of auntie you might find it somewhat uncomfortable. If Sissons is to be believed, and there seems to be no reason to doubt, then the BBC approach to news is deeply flawed not least by its public sector blame culture and cowardly editorial approach. It is clear that 24 hour news, blurring the lines between news and entertainment, has had a fundamentally negative impact on the quality of news produced.

However, much worse is the completely scandalous editorial line mandated for all discussions of climate change. For example, Peter Sissons described his experience of interviewing Caroline Lucas on air:

I pointed out to her that the climate didn’t seem to be playing ball at the moment. We were having a particularly cold winter, even though carbon emissions were increasing. Indeed, there had been no warming for ten years, contradicting all the alarming computer predictions.

Well, she was outraged. I don’t have the actual transcript, but Miss Lucas told me angrily that it was disgraceful that the BBC – the BBC! – should be giving any kind of publicity to those sort of views.

I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change.

The Corporation’s most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that ‘the science is settled’, when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn’t.

Now I only know of the BBC’s Andrew Neil who also ventures into this space as evidenced here interviewing Michael Portillo. I have previously posted on a more typical BBC climate change interview Shock horror, BBC interviews a climate sceptic.

None of this will surprise seasoned observers of the BBC environmental news output, much of which seems to be accompanied by steam cooling towers photographed with back lighting to look like smog. Or there is the other mainstay, stranded polar bears on supposedly disappearing arctic ice, which for the record are both doing well this year.

Sissons reminds us (emphasis mine):

But it is effectively BBC policy, enthusiastically carried out by the BBC environment correspondents, that those views should not be heard – witness the BBC statement last year that ‘BBC News currently takes the view that their reporting needs to be calibrated to take into account the scientific consensus that global warming is man-made’.

Politically the argument may be settled, but any inquisitive journalist can find ample evidence that scientifically it is not.

He’s correct about inquisitive journalism. You can easily find official NASA data and others, particularly the most accurate satellite data, that shows there has been no global temperature rise for almost 19 years. For an excellent discussion of the data, Paul Homewood’s blog is an invaluable resource. He recently posted BBC Ignore Satellite Data – I Wonder Why? Given that the main stream media in general rarely publishes sceptical climate change news, then one can only draw the conclusion that there is a dearth of inquisitive journalists or editorial policing, such as that demonstrated by the BBC, is widespread.

Finishing on a general criticism of the BBC (which to be fair would apply to many other channels) Sissons mentions Neil Postman writing Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business and concludes:

He wrote of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right: that people would come to adore the technologies that undo their capacity to think, and that the truth, far from being concealed from us 1984-style, would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.


Further Reading

For authoritative coverage of the health of the polar bear population visit Polar Bear Science a superb science blog maintained by the eminent polar bear expert Dr. Susan Crockford.

For a much fuller discussion of BBC bias with respect to climate change visit Biased BBC using the search term “climate change”.

And finally, Sisson’s book When One Door Closes (which I have just ordered), is available on Amazon.

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