Does CBC censor contra climate change messsages?

When is a blog not a blog? Canada’s national, taxpayer supported, broadcasting network, the CBC, seems to have different policies for different posts. With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, the CBC may well be striving to be “the medium that controls the message”.

On Rex Murphy’s excellent “Climate Change: Science or Politics?“, post of Dec. 4, there are 164 comments. The most recent response was “Posted 2009/12/13 at 3:36 PM ET”

Update: After publishing this post, I went back to Murphy’s blog; there are now 166 comments. … and at least one more (mine, with link to this post) awaiting “pre-moderation”. Most recent was Posted 2009/12/13 at 4:57 PM ET. I do hope this moderator hasn’t left for the day! I’ll update again if/when my comment appears.

Update 2: Hey, guess what?! My comment on Murphy’s blog made it past “pre-moderation”. It was Posted 2009/12/13 at 8:41 PM ET

On any given comment, one can “Agree”, “Disagree” or “Report abuse”. If one wants to contribute to the discussion, CBC offers both “submission guidelines” and a “Submission policy” [just click one or the other, because they both go to the same page!].

Over at Bob McDonald’s Quirks & Quarks blog, one gets a somewhat different picture – which could be because Murphy’s on TV, while McDonald’s primary stomping ground is radio (although he does appear on The National whenever they need a “science” expert.)

McDonald, we are told, is “one of Canada’s best known science journalists”. He’s written science books and won lots of awards, including four honorary doctorates. Conspicuously absent from this glowing bio is any mention of his academic background.

Hmmm … I wonder why….It couldn’t possibly be because his academic credentials do not include any of the science disciplines, could it? Nah … CBC – reliable purveyor of non-scientist Al Gore’s error-riddled, fear-raising flick – would never be so underhanded, would it? But I digress …

McDonald’s latest “BLOG” entry is dated Monday, December 7, 2009 | 12:28 PM ET. Title is “350 years of science, now under siege” . Wow, that’s a rather sweeping claim! Last night, there were 165 comments, the “most recent” of which was Posted December 11, 2009 04:34 PM.

UPDATE 03/20/2013 Above link no longer works. Here’s the new, improved link:

And if you go there, you will find that the “comments” have been pruned (or purged, depending on one’s perspective) down to 6.

It’s a piece of “climate science” advocacy at its whining finest! Two excerpts (that I decided I was going to comment on):

The world’s oldest scientific institution, the Royal Society in London, is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year with the online release of original documents from its more famous members, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and even Benjamin Franklin. Meanwhile in Canada, 500 scientists have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying that their voices are not being heard as he heads to the climate talks in Copenhagen.

When it comes to climate change, science seems to have taken a back seat.


We are often criticized on our radio program for not including people on the other side of the climate “debate” to provide balance. If there were good, peer-reviewed scientific publications that provided solid evidence to counter the climate science, we would run it. But such a body of evidence does not exist. [emphases added -hro]

Before posting, I noticed that there is a “Submissions Policy” Five paragraphs containing 786 words of legal fine-print. As my eyes glazed over the first paragraph (all 486 words) I was almost discouraged from posting a comment. Until I remembered the more readable guidelines/policy from Murphy’s page, where I was reminded:

Guidelines for Submissions to
Tell us your story, be a part of the news team. wants you to participate in online comments, video uploads and photo submissions.


What kind of comments are suitable for

We want your perspective. Probe, analyze, inform. Challenge, advocate, debate. Inspire, entertain, enjoy. Your contributions make our website and on-air programming richer, the conversations more lively and diverse.

What is and isn’t acceptable?

1. Please keep your submissions relevant to the topic.
2. Be civil.
3. When you are writing about legal issues, remember that people are innocent until proven guilty (that may mean using words such as “allegedly”).
4. Feel free to link internally within the site as many times as you would like. As for external web addresses, we allow three links per post.

Not at all unreasonable. Nor is the following notice above the comment input box on Murphy’s blog:

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are pre-moderated/reviewed and published according to our submission guidelines.

Incidentally, the note between the article and the Comments on McDonald’s page is:

(Please note: All comments on this blog are checked by a moderator, and those containing profanity, abusive language or HTML will not be posted. Comments left after regular working hours will be posted on the morning of the next workday.) [emphasis added -hro]

Here’s the content of the comment I submitted:

“When it comes to climate change, science seems to have taken a back seat.”

Science took a “back seat” on climate change the day that “climate scientists” decided pollute the scientific endeavour.

They did so by mixing science with politics and advocacy for their cause – which included co-opting a coalition of willing journalists such as yourself.

As for “peer review” being the be-all and end-all of qualification to be deemed worthy of discussion … It is quite obvious that, in the field of “climate science”, peer review does not include any verification – either by the reviewers, or by the journal editors – of the underlying data in support of the researchers’ claims.

Thus, whatever the “consensus” on “climate change” (formerly known as global warming) might be, it most certainly cannot be considered “science”.

I thought it met all the “guidelines/policy” and expected to see it posted when I refreshed the page today. Alas, it seems that Sunday is not a “workday” for the moderator. But then I noticed the following “fine-print”. It resembles the Note on Murphy’s page (see above) but has some … uh … “value added” content:


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated. [emphasis added -hro]

The volume of emails precludes publishing all comments? In this day and age?! How very convenient. Well, convenient for a medium that is striving to (censor and/or) control the message.

Helpful hint from Hilary to CBC Management: If you’re still struggling with budget cuts, you might consider giving the workday-only “moderator” a golden-handshake. Then you can replace the long outdated “copy and paste from E-mail” method of handling “Comments” with the more up-to-date technology used on Rex Murphy’s blog.

Update 3: (Dec. 14/09) Good news! The “moderator” is back at work today. And s/he must have really liked my post (and the one that preceded it) because it was posted twice.


One thought on “Does CBC censor contra climate change messsages?

  1. I have the same problem on the CBC news sites. I post a comment, and it may, or may not, be published. I follow the guidelines, and do not violate them.

    I have taken to copying my posts to a file, to save time in reposting. In extreme cases, it takes 9 or 10 tries. Usually the last try has a comment about my next action being complaining to the CBC ombudsman. Coinicidently, I am sure, it then gets published.

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