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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Before I write further on the issue of the BBC’s neutrality in regards to climate change, let me first state my position: I am a climate change sceptic. I will accept that the climate of the Earth may be changing, just as it has always changed. But I do believe it is an issue fueled by political agenda, rather than true science. And I do feel that scientists who offer alternative views for climate change are generally ignored. The scientific pursuit of ‘truth’ in the issue of climate change is therefore not being achieved.

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A few years ago, I watched a series of fascinating programmes on the Natural History Museum in London. The series gave excellent insights into the museum’s history, exhibits and the scientific research it continues to do. Then Jimmy Docherty ruined the entire series by mentioning ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’. It had no relevance to any part of the series, and it felt to me as though I was being preached to.

Many BBC programmes touch on the subject of climate change, to the point that it’s almost inescapable. Even if you do believe wholeheartedly in it, it is enough to make you switch channels. ‘Frozen Planet’, the new BBC series narrated by David Attenborough has been truly wonderful, but the final episode has been rejected from the package in the USA because of its focus on climate change, and the fact that many people in the US would not accept it because of their climate change scepticism. I wish they wouldn’t ruin such a fascinating series with a whole episode dedicated to the assumption that the Earth as we know it will soon turn into something out of The Day After Tomorrow.

It has recently been revealed that the BBC has been accepting money from environmental organisations to produce programmes that follow their agendas. For example, a Mauritus-based company selling ‘carbon offsets’ had given the BBC money to make a programme, and it is evident that the BBC is forcing the issue on wind farms. The issue has been present on shows including The One Show and Countryfile.

It has already been decided on the BBC that the consensus on global warming was so overwhelming that it should be their policy to to actively promote it. In doing so, their aim was to keep  doubters off the airwaves.

This position is equally evident in the BBC’s enviornmental correspondent Richard Black’s recent article on the climate emails. The title ‘Climate emails: storm or yawn?’ suggests an impartial and neutral article, as generally expected on the BBC. What actually exists is accusations of email theft and the suggestion that the emails could have been doctored by the hacker.

One of the emails exposed by someone simply called FOIA, is from Alex Kirby, a correspondant with the BBC. He says: 

 But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all, especially as you say with the COP in the offing, and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.

Kirby seems to think the BBC’s impartiality is a joke, and it is clear that the BBC is not aiming for neutrality in the case of global warming.

If the Climategate emails tell us anything, it is that climate change is not as clear-cut an issue as the BBC promotes, and that even the scientists are aware that there isn’t always enough data to prove it comprehensively. The BBC however, refuses to represent this view, and instead remains a staunch promoter of climate change, despite the remaining doubts in the public, and most important, the scientists themselves.

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According to the BBC’s live coverage of parliamentary debate focussing on the riots, Conservative Tobias Ellwood said police should be able to close down mobile phone masts, if mobs are using Twitter and other social networks to co-ordinate trouble.

That’s all very well, except that ultimately it doesn’t punish those running amock and demolishing and taking everything in sight. It punishes the innocent majority who are already affected by the horrific scenes up and down the country. What if there is a riot at 12pm and a parent wants to make sure a daughter working in FootLocker is okay? The scenes across our tv screens are frightening and horrible to watch (even though my significant other did not think me worrying about him being somewhere in London that could be near Croydon was warranted). But it is scary to sit there watching fire and people with baseball bats and not know what is happening. It is scary to think someone you care about could be in the midst of it all, stuck at work or trying to return home.

People have been mugged, are lying in critical condition in.hospital or murdered and Tobias Ellwood wants to prevent communication between concerned loved ones because the minority are mindless criminals?

It’s always the minority that ruins things. Treats in a classroom, bankers ruining the economy. Don’t let rioters take away people’s communication too.

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Watching the Select Committee’s attempt to discover the truth about the News of the World phone hacking scandal has been an enlightening process. Indeed, it feels very much like watching a court case with the interrogation of prime witnesses, something the general public does not, as a whole, ever see.

Of all of the interviews of the day, it was the questioning of the Murdochs, at the head of News International, that was going to be the most fascinating of all.

James Murdoch was initially told he was not to make an opening statement; that he could make it at the end. Nevertheless, after being asked his first question, he began what happened a pre-written apology. He made his opening statement anyway. His father then added this was “the most humble day of his life.” For a man of such stature and such influence, Rupert Murdoch seemed small and insignificant while he was questioned by an authoritative Tom Watson who persistently told James Murdoch that he was questioning his father and would get back to him later. Throughout, Watson was highlighted by journalists to be the best of all the MPs at asking the pertinent questions.

Watson was not too vigorous with questioning Rupert Murdoch, who appeared, perhaps unsurprisingly, frail. After each question, there was a long pause while Rupert Murdoch considered the question and his answer. He appeared to be sorrowful and under great stress for everything that had happened. Mostly, though, Rupert did not appear to know much about the events he was being questioned about. As Lord Alan Sugar said, “it’s ridiculous to expect he [Rupert Murdoch] knows the micro detail within such a giant organisation,” going as far as to question bringing him in at all.

James tried to move the attention way from his father, offering to answer the questions himself and believing it would be “more helpful” if the MPs asked him instead of Rupert. Watson, however, believed that what Rupert Murdoch did not know was “revealing in itself.” James appeared to be the protective son, noticing Rupert’s apparently weaker state. For the most part, James Murdoch spoke for a longer period of time than his father, though did not always provide a satisfactory answer for all of the questions being directed at him.

For the cynics though, the Murdochs put together a very successful act. Rupert, the frail old man, with failing hearing and taking his time to answer, while James took the lead and shouldered as many of the questions as possible.

Rupert Murdoch grew more vocal as the questioning continued, and at one point, interrupted his son. Once he had moved away from Watson’s probing, he seemed less concerned by the other MPs questioning. Indeed, the longer it lasted, the more the Murdochs appeared unaffected by any accusations they had knowledge of what had happened and the more they looked entirely blameless. It appeared as though they simply sat as figureheads for the organisation with no knowledge at all of what was happening within their company.

Later today, will be the equally fascinating questioning of Rebekha Brooks.

The intrigue continues.

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