Untrustworthy CBC blindly follows in “Auntie Beeb’s” footsteps

Canada’s CBC and the U.K.’s BBC like to wrap themselves in the flag of “public trust”. Yet there are two major issues in which such trust has been shown to be both misplaced and blatantly abused: their coverage of Israel and of “climate change”. Christopher Booker had eloquently documented a number of concerns on the climate change front about a year ago.

You may (or may not) be familiar with the Kafkaesque experiences of Harmless Sky blogger, Tony Newbery in his long battle to obtain from the BBC the names of the purported “best experts” whose advice had led them to abandon any pretense of the impartiality demanded by their charter. Whether familiar or not, you would do well to read Andrew Montford’s Conspiracy in Green for the backstory and Maurizio Morabito (aka Omnologos)’s account of more recent developments: his discovery of the list of participants that the BBC had gone to such inordinate and expensive efforts to avoid disclosing.

Just as they had previously expended such funds and efforts to avoid disclosing the findings of the Balen Report, which was a review of their “coverage” of Israel. As I had noted in a recent comment on Newbery’s blog after the BBC had “responded” to Melanie Phillips’ account of what has become known as 28gate:

Seems to me that they are following in the footsteps of the IPCC in their haste to “revisionize” and paper-over their foibles and failings. Considering the full context of [Melanie] Phillips’ post (and noticing particularly that to which they did not respond) they’ve done themselves further injury.

Don’t know about you, but I am having considerable difficulty squaring:

[the seminars were] not created to produce programming nor set story direction [emphasis added -hro]

with their claim in the next paragraph that:

BBC has refused disclosure on the basis that the documents were held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature,

Additionally, their reliance on (the “authority” of):

BBC Trust’s science review of last year praised our coverage

which they did publish with great fanfare, serves to shine the spotlight on the self-serving hypocrisy of their adamant refusal to publish the Balen Report (a review of their “coverage” of the Middle East).

Although, I suppose one must give them some “credit” for the consistency of their arrogance and very expensive obfuscatory stonewalling when questioned by members of the public they are supposed to be serving.

Newbery also has some interesting observations regarding the now released Report of the Leveson Inquiry on Culture, Practices, and Ethics of the Press (on the results of which I had speculated last week). Press coverage of matters pertaining to climate change and Israel constituted very few pixels in Leveson’s report, all quite distorted.

Newbery cited the following excerpt from Leveson’s report:

[…] the public must be in a position to understand what is fact (and therefore to be relied on as such) and what is opinion … There is, of course, no bright line for the way that accurate facts are described, or for the choice of accurate facts that are reported and it is recognised that journalists do not have the same standards of impartiality that affect broadcasters.

Which led Newbery to quite rightly highlight:

[…] Lord Leveson does not need to form his own expert scientific judgement in order to determine whether there are problems in the way that climate change is reported, any more than Mr Justice Burton in the High Court needed any scientific expertise of his own to determine that Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth’ was alarmist and misleading. Secondly, his Lordship seems not to have considered the problem of distinguishing what is fact and what is opinion in climate change when nearly everyone claims that their opinions, or speculations, are facts.

However, he does recommend that readers should look at evidence published on the website. When one sees that he cites the Welcome Trust, Sense about Science, Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre and the UK Drug Policy Commission, but makes no mention of our submission, that rather undercuts his earlier claim that there is no such thing, in his eyes, as second-class evidence.

Much further on, his lordship grapples, very briefly, with the concerns of various defenders of the scientific orthodoxy about ‘false balance’. They argue that,if both minority and majority views in a scientific discourse are reported – for the sake of balance – then this is unfair to the majority who, of course, must be right. Wisely he smartly moves on to other things […] [emphasis added -hro]

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Leveson did not actually write these sections of his report. But all paragraphs were written in his name; consequently he bears responsibility for such glaring errors of omission and commission.

So what does all this have to do with evidence of bias and blindingly obvious lack of impartiality on the part of the CBC?! I’m so glad you asked! I have commented in the past (see here, here and here for some recent examples) on their shortcomings.

In order to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level, I rarely listen to or watch CBC programming these days. Others, however, are more resilient and conscientious than I! One such person is Sherri Lange, the CEO of NA-PAW, North American Platform Against Wind Power.

Lange has provided an excellent analysis of an October CBC presentation demonstrating the extent to which the powers that be seem to have been unduly influenced by the lobbying and “education” efforts of unabashedly green NGOs – such as those that have succeeded in the “conversion” of the BBC to their evangelical “cause”.

As Lange’s article today on the excellent free market energy blog, MasterResource.org, notes:

Wind Propaganda by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Orwellian greenwashing calls for correction)

Recently the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) pretended to take on the endless debate around the topic most people know little about – the health problems created by industrial wind turbines. The results were quite disappointing.

The Sunday, October 21st program (two segments) skated around the issues like Barbara Ann Scott.
[…]
The dubiously reverential tone of the interviewer, Karin Wells, permeated this piece of wind turbine propaganda. So why did this ignite us so? After all we are used to the green propaganda machine.

In its heyday CBC was a bastion of objectivity. However this show revealed nothing but wind apologetics. The absurdities were thick and one-sided without a single thread of verity.
[…]
For CBC to launch this Sunday Edition without having done the basic research leaves us with the sad bitter taste of “propaganda” hanging in the air. The ongoing factual record calls for a redo.
[…]
CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe studied the complaints [about the program] and stated: “The complainants felt that a CBC Radio program October 21, 2012, on Wind Turbines was unfair and lacked balance. I did not find a violation of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices.”

LaPointe did not offer an explanation as to why growing, robust research about the health problems of wind turbines (such as in Europe) did not apply to Canada. (NOTE: the dialogue between the Ombudsman’s office and listeners appears far from over.)
[…]

There’s a very familiar pattern forming here, folks. And, the view from here is that whatever else this pattern might reveal, it is far, far away from broadcasting that one could even remotely consider as “impartial” or deserving of “public trust”.

6 thoughts on “Untrustworthy CBC blindly follows in “Auntie Beeb’s” footsteps

  1. The Australian equivalent, the ABC, can lay a claim to being shriller and more extreme than either the BBC or CBC.

    The ABC is home to the ‘skeptics similar to paedophiles’, the ‘tattoo climate deniers’, the ‘100 metres of sea level rise’, the nauseous ‘your Daddy is a bad man’ letter, and countless other totalitarian-inspired horrors.

    • […] the ABC, can lay a claim to being shriller and more extreme than either the BBC or CBC

      Yes, but is it not the case that all voices down-under are “shriller” than those of their more genteel-sounding Canadian and British cousins? ;-)

      Just kidding, of course, Rick … but in my defense for not mentioning ABC in my post, I was commenting on “coverage” of both Israel and climate change (because I find the similarities and parallels to be quite uncanny).

      I am certainly familiar with ABC’s “coverage” of climate change, but I have next to no knowledge of their “coverage” of events in the Middle East, and didn’t have time to investigate. Ergo, I decided to forego!

      OK, so go ahead and call me a “cherry-picker”, Rick ;-)

  2. Fortunately, Harper and his government are doing sane things like cutting back on the gravy flow to alarmists, and laser focussing on productivity and controlled energy costs. Doing some verbiage-izing to pacify the alarmists, but pulling back hard on the financial reins.

    The CBC should be cautious. The political pipeline flows both ways.

    • Brian, I quite agree. When I see the antics of other Nations’ leaders (Obama, Gillard, Cameron, for example) I thank my lucky stars that in Harper we have a rare breed of political leader: he strikes me as being a pragmatic, common sense kind of guy who exhibits the courage of his convictions on the important matters. Notwithstanding (isn’t that a great Canadian word, eh?!) the CBC’s repeated efforts (if not deliberate campaign) to portray him as otherwise.

      And more power to him!

      But, you know … I remember several decades ago (in Pierre Berton’s and Gordon Sinclair’s heyday) the CBC’s continued existence was under dire threat. There was a petition to save the CBC … I even signed it! But you can bet your bottom dollar that I sure as heck would not sign such a petition today!

  3. Hilary, I think your comparison of the CBC with the BBC is an accurate one. I’ve just been listening to an interview on Radio One (Sue Smith: “Homerun”) with activist Steven Guilbeault in which Canada and COP18 was discussed – interviewer and activist were very obviously singing from the same hymn sheet.

    Sue Smith: “…we’ve seen in the past that countries have not been united and, you know, as we’ve been talking about, the United States has always been a stick-in-the mud. Canada recently has been, well, a “dinosaur”, according to some, at some of the climate change talks”. And so on.

    Also CBC, like the BBC, seems to be in the habit of uncritically churning news stories which have a certain slant to them. Here’s one:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/12/05/climate-change-un-ban-ki-moon.html

    This is uncredited but an internet search reveals that it is by AP’s Stockholm Bureau Chief (and climate change specialist) Karl Ritter:
    https://twitter.com/Karl_Ritter

    To his credit (sort of), Ritter does quote John Christy, as a lone dissenting voice. But then he ends the article like this: “In 2010, a survey of more than 1,000 of the most cited and published climate scientists found that 97 per cent of them believe climate change is very likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”

    Yes, our old friend Doran/Zimmerman and the 97%!

    • Thanks, Alex. The CBC has a very long history of “churning” [and often of failing to link to source material!] Probably the greatest culprit is their so-called “science” maven, Bob McDonald. His state of misery after the collapse of Copenhagen would bring tears to your eyes! To his credit he did link to what he thought was an important paper; however, as I had noted in the post it was far from saying what he thought it did!

      Another similarity between CBC and the BBC (which I had not mentioned in the top post) but that I had mentioned in my comment on Lange’s MasterResource article, is that in the past year I’ve noticed that mention of “climate change” frequently pops up in non-news programs. And night owls who might listen to CBC overnight frequently have their ears assaulted by programming from BBC International – which, as you can well imagine, is very liberally peppered with “climate change”!

      But (trying to find a bright side here!) when I looked at the story you pointed to above and scrolled through the first 75 comments (ordered by “Highest Rated”) all but a few seemed to be on the side of the enlightened ones! Now, I didn’t bother looking at any replies, and I realize that this is far from a rigorous sample (but hey, it’s just as good as anything Lewandowsky, Doran/Zimmerman or Anderegg et al have produced!) from which any solid conclusions could be drawn. But this was definitely not the case three years ago – or even a year ago.

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