Wednesday 5 August 2015

What is the Point of...Richard Black?

Oh dear, a lot of people at The Guardian aren't happy with the BBC today. 

Why? Because Quentin Letts asked What is the Point of...the Met Office? from a sceptical position on Radio 4 this morning. 

Various climate change "contrarians" (including MPs Graham Slinger and Peter Lilley) were featured. Met Office people were challenged. Quentin even described the Met Office's stance on climate change as "not uncontroversial" (or, as the BBC would put it, "controversial"!)

The author of the Guardian article, headlined What’s the point of BBC guidelines when it comes to climate change?, fumes that the programme...
...has not so much ignored the editorial guidelines as burned them to cinders in a joyous coal-fired conflagration. 
Such things shouldn't be allowed! 

The Guardian author still thinks, however, that the BBC does a great job overall:
Climate change has always been a difficult subject for the BBC. The science is complex, with messy uncertainties, and the political stakes are high. As I saw at first hand during my time there, the corporation comes under sustained pressure from various quarters, particularly well-connected contrarians for whom undercutting scientific institutions such as the Met Office is a time-honoured tactic. Nevertheless, the BBC generally does a excellent job, with news correspondents, current affairs presenters and science documentary makers who excel – many of whom would doubtless have helped the makers of What’s the Point, had they been asked.
That Guardian author is none other than former BBC environment reporter Richard Black - a man whose commitment to impartial, fair, fact-based reporting was very strongly doubted by "contrarians" everywhere throughout his entire BBC career.

Mr Black was regularly accused of dabbling in the black arts of environmental activism and even of breaking BBC editorial guidelines himself by people at sceptical blogs (like Watts Up With That, Bishop Hill and Biased BBC), before he eventually left the BBC and became an official member of the 'Green Blob'. 

Ah, happy days!

Here's an example of his early BBC work, from 1997, warning us to get our holidays to the Maldives booked sharpish. By my reckoning, we could have as little as 12 years left to go there.


  1. BBC Editorial Guidelines can be a source of great amusement, presuming you can see the lighter side of farce; especially any who ends up encountering them via the BBC Complaints system.

    BBC complaints operatives, from the un-named at tiers 1&2 'Piss-off' level, through named ECU directors back to un-named Trust worthies quoted by named Trust paper-shovellers, live and breath 'the BBC Editorial Guidelines', and take them very seriously indeed.

    However, as you note, they only seem to take them seriously if they serve the BBC and staff in doing whatever they want, when they want, how they want.

    Otherwise rules are made to be broken, and as they own the system, breaches are easily disposed of.

    This is a new twist, with an ex-staffer still taking them seriously, but wanting them adhered to when breached by current BBC staff.

    Other than that... Richard Black, the climate, the BBC... and the Guardian. A perfect storm brewing. Super, mega or Apocalypto, of course.

    It may require popcorn.

  2. Letts cleverly got in a climate-sceptic quote from Jeremy Corbyn's brother...that could cause some lefties' circuits to overheat.

  3. If the fascist Black is whining that the BBC burned their editorial guidelines, that must mean that the editorial guidelines say the BBC should not give any air time to "opponents of the consensus". And he should know.


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