ofcom Very many congratulations to Mauizio for finally breaking the logjam and making some progress at last on the ‘Great Climate Change Seminar Mystery’. But now the work really begins.

At the moment it is hardly possible to pick up a paper or listen to a news report without being told that trust in the BBC has been severely damaged. This is both true and particularly sad when the Corporation is just approaching its ninetieth anniversary. Impartiality and accuracy are the characteristics that established the BBC as the world leader in its field even in times of political turmoil, war and social unrest. As John Bridcut made clear in his ‘Wagon Wheel’ report, this reputation for integrity is the core of the BBC brand and if it is damaged that endangers the whole edifice.

We now know that someone within the BBC told Bridcut, when he was researching his report, that a seminar ‘with the best scientific experts’ informed a major editorial decision on how climate change was to be presented to the public at a crucial moment in the battle to persuade the public to take anthropogenic global warming seriously. And make no mistake, the BBC is not just a source of information, like Wikipedia or the reference section of a library, it is a major opinion former too. How the BBC decides to portray current affairs really matters and has an enormous effect.

The names on the list that Maurizio has published in no way justify the claim made in the ‘Wagon Wheel’ report. It is not enough for the BBC to merely make an apology and a correction at this late stage; much, much more is needed if the organisation’s reputation is to be restored.

What the Saville scandal has shown us is that there is a culture of deceit - and of turning a blind eye to unwelcome problems - at the BBC which extends back over decades. The BBC must be forced to institute a proper inquiry into why Bridcut was misinformed and then tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs were committed to keeping the affair under wraps, just like Saville’s appalling behaviour.

That is the next task.

As a first step I have asked the BBC’s Litigation Department to confirm or deny that the list Maurizio has found is the one that I requested at the hearing a fortnight ago.

43 Responses to “Are these the BBC’s ‘best scientific experts’?”

  1. 1
    Richard Drake Says:

    Agreed that the work has only just started. But even the first step sounds a lot of fun. The squirming in the Litigation Department is a joy to imagine. Many thanks and congratulations, Tony.

  2. 2
    David A. Evans Says:

    If they used that “scientists” line in court, wouldn’t that be perjury?

    DaveE.

  3. 3
    AngusPangus Says:

    Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability (thanks to George Galloway; it’s good to direct those words to someone who truly deserves them).

    Very well done for doggedly pursuing this matter; little do they know it, but you are doing the people of this country an enormous service.

  4. 4
    miket Says:

    Extremely well done for lasting the pace. This certainly wouldn’t have come out without your long running saga.
    When I read the list, my immediate thoughts echoed your headline here: “Best scientific experts”?!
    Along side the ” next task” or coming from it, they will have to be persuaded to, again, review their approach to climate science reporting.

  5. 5
    John Page Says:

    Perjury? That must be why Helen Boaden’s written evidence recused itself from that statement about the scientists.

  6. 6
    pesadia Says:

    First time commenter here.

    I am full of admiration for your tenacity, and delighted that people of your calibre are on the side of reason
    in this struggle against the agenda based activists.
    This is another nail in the BBC coffin.

  7. 7
    mitigatedsceptic Says:

    Well done ~Tony N and Maurizio to reveal “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t.”

  8. 8
    David Jones Says:

    I bet you’re relieved you don’t have to go through an appeal. Thank you for what you have done.

    You are one of the heroes of this story (and not forgetting your wife).

  9. 9
    FrankFisher Says:

    Very well done Tony – and it exposed exactly what we’d all imagined it would; the BBC’s claims were will o’ the wisps.

  10. 10
    jorgekafkazar Says:

    Well played from start to finish, Tony. Kudôs to thee and to Maurizio. You both deserve medals.

    “…[L]ittle do they know it, but you are doing the people of this country an enormous service.” –AngusPangus

    Yes, AP. The world may benefit from Tony N and Maurizio’s tenacity.

  11. 11
    Joe Public Says:

    I’d read all of Andrew Orlowski’s reports, so wanted to thank you for your efforts.

  12. 12
    Monbiot and BBC – Accusing an innocent man due to a common prejudice? « ManicBeancounter Says:

    [...] is endangered not served by those who seek to confront the dominancy, but by those who seek to obliterate criticism. If the vast majority are on the side of the overwhelming truth, then publicity examining [...]

  13. 13
    Jack Hughes Says:

    You walk tall today.

  14. 14
    Rod Stevens Says:

    Great result and well done for your tenacity. Sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. I look forward to this story being taken on by the mainstream media.

  15. 15
    peter geany Says:

    Tony very well done. The world needs more people like you that are prepared to push and push to get the truth. The irony with the way the list has come out is that it is even more damaging to the BBC than if they had just given you the list months ago. Now people will view them with even more mistrust about everything they do.

  16. 16
    Geoff Newbury Says:

    File the APPEAL from the Commission decision. It was a travesty anyway. Although the Appeal will technically be on the basis of the record below, the underlying fact that the persons attending were anything BUT the scientific “experts” alleged will colour everything. And the journalist exemption is a thin reed, given that NONE of the attendees (except perhaps Harrabin!) could actually be called journalists.

    And it cannot hurt that the names on the list were actually previously disclosed: the Been HAD TO KNOW THAT, but kept it quiet. There is a mighty fine line to tread, there: that they honestly did not know that the attendee list had previously been disseminated. Emails about THAT might be a useful FOI request!

    And ask for your costs on a full indemnification basis as if you were a new-call barrister.

    AND file another FOI request tomorrow for the amount this travesty has cost.

  17. 17
    David C Says:

    Thanks for all your efforts. The BBC really has shown itself to be a crummy outfit.

  18. 18
    Stuck-Record Says:

    If you get no joy from the litigation dept just pursue the appeal.

    They will be forced to admit the info is in the public domain (and therefore correct), and look stupid.

    or

    Fight the appeal with everyone knowing the info is in the public domain (and therefore correct), and look even more stupid.

  19. 19
    Rog Tallbloke Says:

    Tony; A great breakthrough well deserved. I hope the light at the end of the tunnel looks brighter tonight for you and you good lady.

    We await developments with interest, and look forward to reading about them here.

  20. 20
    Bob_FJ Says:

    TonyN,

    I have some thoughts that may be better expressed confidentially.
    Could you please email me because I don’t have your email address.

  21. 21
    PlatoSays Says:

    Congratulations – you are a dog with a very well deserved bone :^)

    The links now being made between Climategate emails and the Secret List are astonishing even to me as someone who followed the first scandal very closely.

    What I think many of our international friends underestimate is the influence of the BBC both here in the UK and globally using BBC World Service et al – it’s massive.

    And if as many of us suspect, they’ve indulged in behaviour very similar to those exposed by Climategate emails – Jeez.

    To coin an old in-joke ‘its worse than we thought’

    Yours in admiration.

  22. 22
    Dodgy Geezer Says:

    I note that the BBC are now shifting their position to minimise the reliance on the words ‘best scientific experts’ – see http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/bbc-trust-report-author-john-bridcut-unfazed-by-uncovered-deception/

    I wonder where that leaves your investigation?

  23. 23
    Steve Richards Says:

    Very well done.

    ps you have a broken link:

    “As John Bridcut made clear in his ‘Wagon Wheel’ report,”

    I would like to read the Wagon Wheel report.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. 24
    Dodgy Geezer Says:

    It may be of interest to note that some BBC defenders seem to be developing a response to the 28-gate issue by claiming that there was never any claim that the meeting at which ‘top scientists’ advised the BBC to alter their balance on Global Warming actually contained any ‘top scientists’.

    And therefore, by implication, there was never a need to have any specific direction or external advice to justify the loss of balance. The BBC just decided that they were quite at liberty to decide that there was no need to present both sides of the argument.

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/bbc-trust-report-author-john-bridcut-unfazed-by-uncovered-deception/ refers.

    I suggest that this raises the whole question of BBC impartiality again. It was raised initially when the BBC started supporting the green activists, and this rejection of impartiality was justified by reference to this meeting, which was painted as some kind of special independent due-diligence check which the BBC performed before taking the unusual step of ignoring their Charter duties in this area. Now that this ‘check’ has been exposed as a straightforward lie, the original request for justification of the BBC’s actions must surely be re-submitted to the Trust?

  25. 25
    peter geany Says:

    Tony I bet you have your hands full at present, but it has occurred to me, and many others no doubt, that the BBC’s pension fund bears some looking into again in the light of these revelations and the conflicts of interest it creates. If the Pension fund has invested heavily into a “carbon free future” then it would be impossible for journalist to undermine their own future pensions by being objective about climate change.

    The Savile affair has been a catalyst for change, now we need to ensure the real rotten core of the BBC is exposed for what it is.

  26. 26
    mpainter Says:

    Good work and thanks heaps. I would submit that one important lead is the inclusion of the BP representative at the “seminar”. It reveals the money trail, and I believe that profit motives are a big part of the panic-mongering at BBC and elsewhere. Many corporations are maneuvering to profit from the panic. BP is just one. See my comment at Climate Audit on the most recent posting (which concerns your efforts and Mauizio’s coup).

  27. 27
    Dodgy Geezer Says:

    I think that this meeting was NOT a meeting to decide balance policy on Global Warming. It just does not have the right people – and there are far too many of them.

    What I suspect happened is that the BBC were on the defensive when asked why they had dropped their commitment to balance opposing views, and simply said that they had formally discussed this, citing that meeting as proof. In fact, I suspect that the meeting originally was just an lobbying awareness seminar – which would explain why the attendees list was published on the web.

    What we should be doing is asking, not for the list of attendees, but for the AGENDA. This will tell us what the meeting was planned to cover.

    Can anyone think of a reason why the agenda would be a secret item?

  28. 28
    TonyN Says:

    Steve Richards, #22:

    Link to Wagon Wheel report fixed and it is a remarkably good read after the first few pages. If only Steve Jones had applied the same rigour when dong his review of BBC science reporting.

    If nothing else, do read the first four paras. of Section 11 and see if they ring a bell or two!

  29. 29
    tonyb Says:

    Tony

    You know where I am. Do please contact me if I can offer any practical help whatsoever.

    Like several others I cant help feeling an appeal might be worthwhile as that provides the opportunity for further high level publicity
    tonyb

  30. 30
    maliseharry Says:

    Well done Tony N for you persistence. If you’re going to take it further then Dodgy Geezer has got to be right about the AGENDA.

    So sad that Auntie has got so many things wrong at the moment cos we used to love her for being trustworthy and lots of the stuff she puts out is still up there.

  31. 31
    Kevin M Says:

    Best wishes to you and your wife and thank you for your persistance.

  32. 32
    Malcolm McClure Says:

    Tony
    The list obtained by Mauricio Morabito and copied by Guido Falkes opens several new cans of worms for the BBC.
    Firstly the BBC participants included Helen Boaden, George Entwistle, Peter Rippon and Steve Mitchell. all of whom have been cast aside this week because of their alleged editorial deficiencies.
    Secondly out of 29 climate opinions convened for the 2006 BBC meeting only Lord May, Dorte Dahl-Jensen
    Mike Hulme and Iain Wright had appreciable scientific background. The others can be discounted as environmental lobbyists and hangers-on.
    Lastly the BBC statement is clearly misleading when they suggest that the best scientific experts supported the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change]. Weight of what evidence?
    Thus for the BBC the subject became not a see-saw, not a bandwagon but a crusade.

  33. 33
    Twenty Eight Gate: The BBC Has A Serious Case To Answer | Solve BBC Bias Says:

    [...] experts” were and whom the BBC relied on to form it’s editorial policy and blogger Tony Newberry asked a Freedom Of Information Request to find out.  The BBC resisted publication of the names, [...]

  34. 34
    Solving BBC Bias Blog Says:

    Tony,

    FYI

    I have referenced you in this blog post http://solvebbcbias.com/2012/11/15/twenty-eight-gate-the-bbc-has-a-serious-case-to-answer/

  35. 35
    tempterrain Says:

    TonyN,

    So you aren’t too impresses with the list , I take it?

    OK lets take them two at a time. Starting with:

    Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_May,_Baron_May_of_Oxford

    Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Hulme

    Who would have topped your list of climate “experts”? James Dellingpole, Bishop Hill ? Your mate from the pub who reckons AGW is all a big scam?

  36. 36
    geoffchambers Says:

    Mike Haseler
    I’ve registered, logged in and Capcha-ed like a maniac, but I can’t put a comment up at your excellent site, so Im putting it here at HS

    Here’s a roundup of world press reaction so far:
    Apart from Booker’s article in the Sunday Telegraph, and blogs at the Telegraph, Mail and Spectator, nothing more in the British mainstream press.
    - a summary of quotes in the Canadian free Press, which looks as if it’s lifted from GWPF
    - article and blog post in the Italian Daily il Foglio (“apocalypse at the BBC” and “BBC falls to bits”)
    http://www.ilfoglio.it/soloqui/15753
    http://www.ilfoglio.it/cambidistagione/961
    - article in Italian weekly Tempi
    http://www.tempi.it/sapete-perche-i-nomi-degli-esperti-scientifici-della-bbc-sul-global-warming-erano-segreti-perche-non-erano-esperti#.UKTO2K46L3A
    - A good summary on the French “liberal” (= libertarian?) blog here
    http://www.contrepoints.org/2012/11/15/104449-la-bbc-entre-pedophilie-et-rechauffement-climatique

    French and Italian journalists who pick the story up will naturally turn to the BBC and find – nothing.

  37. 37
    Les Ellson Says:

    TonyN
    Very many thanks for all your efforts. Born & Bred in North Wales and now retired. To show where I am coming from I have repeated a note I sent to Anthony Watts in 2008.
    “Very many thanks to Anthony and all the contributors to WUWT. I am not a scientist, my formal education stopped at school senior level Maths, Physics and Chemistry therefore a lot of the technical arguments are beyond my learning. I have however travelled extensively and being an offshore sailor and traveller I have experienced a great number of nature’s excesses up front and personal. These range from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, artic cold, desert heat, water spouts and Atlantic storms. The power of nature has fascinated me, but I have also seen its more gentle side in the calm after the storm, flowers growing on volcanic rims and a desert scene sprouting in bloom after spring rains. Also as a sailor I make use of sea current, wind and solar energy to run my offshore sailing boat.
    These experiences always led me to doubt that man is ever powerful enough to greatly influence earth’s natural elements. In the early days I felt that I stood out rather against the tide, being insulted, mocked and general dismissed as some sort of crank with a hidden agenda. The excessive and alarmist predictions using doctored photographs and mass political in-doctrine just reinforced my opinion. Thanks to sites such as WUWT the groundswell of opinion has slowly changed and we are seeing knowledgeable challenges to the data on which the predictions are based.
    I am passionate about looking after our habitat and our natural resources but recognise that our efforts in that direction are small compared with natures capability to adjust and manage itself.
    In the UK it is taking some time for our mainline institutions(Government, BBC, Met Office and many newspapers) to get off Climate Change bandwagon. Once they do we will be able to get sensible discussion and debate around this subject. That time cannot come soon enough.
    Grateful to you all.” Perhaps the time is coming!!

  38. 38
    TonyN Says:

    Once again, many thanks for all the good wishes and helpful comments. I’m sorry that there has been no time for individual responses even to old friends of this blog. The story is still evolving and that must be a priority for now, but I can assure you that every word of every comment has been read.

    Les Ellson

    As a mountaineer, a lifelong countryman, an ex-inhabitant of some fairly wild places, and a one time inshore fisherman, I really, really appreciate what you are saying. Unfortunately in an increasingly urbanised world, and with improved working conditions, there are fewer and fewer people who have the opportunity to see, and understand, the natural world from our point of view.

    GK Chesterton is supposed to have said, ‘If people cease to believe in God they do not believe in nothing, they will believe anything’, One might also say that if experiencing the natural world becomes a matter of recreational choice for most people, then it is very difficult for them to make informed judgements about such things as climate research.

  39. 39
    manacker Says:

    Congratulations Maurizio!

    Max

    PS Anybody know why Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. blog has been taken down?

    It’s supposedly for a “terms of service violation”.

    Is there something else behind this?

    (I hope not.)

  40. 40
    manacker Says:

    Tony N

    Forgot to congratulate you.

    Perseverance paid off.

    Cheers!

    Max

  41. 41
    TonyN Says:

    Max, Thanks and good to hear from you, but I’ve moved you comment about BP to the New Statesman thread as I want to keep things very focused on other threads at the moment.

  42. 42
    Rod Says:

    Tony,
    I want to tell my readers about this, but need to clear up one thing for now: Who is Bob Willis, the person to whom BBC Trust Head of Accountability, Stephanie Harris, addresses her letter of June 2010?
    Thanks for your help,
    Rod Sweet

  43. 43
    Matthew S Harrison Says:

    BBC impartial? Leader in its field? Come on-the BBC is the most corrupt, liberally biased and partial news organization on the planet. They actually rival our MSNBC for being most full of crap! They are never close to the truth-and maintain a bias that furthers the left’s agenda world-wide. I’m sorry, but to praise the BBC for being impartial is like praising our President Obama for being honest. You can’t, because it isn’t true!
    Good leg-work none the less. Wish we had more than 5 real journalists in the US willing to expose the fraud of “climate change” and the true goal behind it-wealth transfer to those who don’t work, don’t take personal responsibility, and those who are tyrants. My country has handed out 10′s of billions of USD to tyrants around the globe in the name of “climate change”, which is nothing more than tribute paid to puppet governments who climb on the climate train to fleece the masses out of their hard earned livings, and to grow the global governance movement, whereby we will all be relegated to the collective misery that used to be the USSR, PRC, and more. Stop these morons now, and you just may keep yours, and I just may keep my freedoms. They persist and propagate further their scam, and we are all answering to tyrants like Obama. And trust me [ snip - see blog rules]

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