Sunday 20 March 2016

"There go the BBC again!"

The topic of BBC bias came up during the central portion of today's The Big Questions

The panel featured many a Sunday morning BBC One regular - from Owen Jones, Jonathan Bartley and the Rev Peter Owen-Jones to Richard D North, but also included one Piers Corbyn - brother of Jeremy and non-believer in man-made global warming. 

Piers said that only 7% of scientists believe in man-made global warming and that the globe is in fact cooling. He was duly booed by the audience. 

Green Party supporter Jonathan Bartley then criticised the BBC for inviting people like Piers on in the first place. He told Nicky Campbell "You're not helping".

Nicky then made a short speech saying that the BBC has a duly to allow such people on and it's up to people like Jonathan Bartley to explain the public why people like Piers and Rupert Darwall (the other full-blown 'sceptic' on the panel) are wrong. 

For JB, such 'balance' is wrong.

He and Nicky then shared a joke about the BBC allowing flat-earthers on. "I wouldn't put it past you", said JB. Nicky laughed.

The odd thing about Jonathan Bartley's protest against 'BBC impartiality' here is that Nicky Campbell had, at all times during this section of the programme, not even made the slightest pretence of being neutral. He was blatantly one-sided.

He repeatedly made the case for believing in global warming and the need for action. He waxed apocalyptic at times. He made several slighting remarks about people who don't believe in global warming. He encouraged one side, and challenged the other. He introduced Piers by comparing him to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (and he didn't mean it as a compliment)...

,,,and, finally, turning back to the lady from Friends of the Earth (after another burst of Piers) said "I think for the sake of sanity, I think we should give....I'm going to give you the last word." 

He knew exactly what he was doing with that as he immediately added a 'BBC bias' joke: "There go the BBC again!"


How should people like Piers Corbyn be treated by the BBC? Should they be excluded (pace Jonathan Bartley)? Should they be invited on and then demolished and mocked (pace Nicky Campbell)? Or should they be invited on and argued with respectfully under the as-neutral-as-possible gaze of a BBC presenter (pace me)? 


  1. I think your "pace" should be "per" but the point is clear. I think the job of the presenter is to engage with the speaker, which can include putting queries and counter-evidence forward. But overall the BBC have a duty to treat scientists or other observers who play by the rules of science with respect - just as in teh same way they should treat with respect all genuine democrats (personally I am still angry about the notorious "Paddington Bear" interview with Farage by Evan Davies, which showed a complete lack of respect.

  2. Good breakdown, Craig. Campbell is one of the worst. I try occasionally to watch The Big Questions, but he is just so biased and some of the things the guests say are so awful and he allows it while scolding others, it's unbearable.

  3. Piers being the only scientist among them.
    And-like James Lovelock-a pariah in the soft science beehives , for daring to know his stuff.
    AND-like Donald Trump-able to make a living from his proven ability to predict weather patterns that make the BBCs and Big Green look the charlatans that they are.
    In other words-not dependent on the Green Lobby for his funding...and , as we see with Trump, unbiddable to the politically correct loony tunes of Greenpeace and the BBC, etc, etc.

  4. I'm sure some of what Piers says is accurate, but it is hard to put full faith in him when he claims "only 7% of scientists believe in man-made global warming and that the globe is in fact cooling" (ITBB paraphrase quoted, not Corbyn directly). However I do think it was rude to invite on a guest and treat him in quite such a hostile way, unless they warned him in advance and he agreed to it.


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