When in 2013 a chap called Roger Mosey retired from the top of the BBC, where he had been editor of the Today programme and Head of News, he caused a stir by lashing out at the BBC’s biased “uniformity of view” on subjects ranging from the EU and immigration to climate change. The BBC’s “party line” on so many topics has for so long been a theme of this column that – when it was reported recently that Mr Mosey had written a book allegedly giving “chapter and verse” on how often its coverage “topples over into propaganda” – I was naturally eager to read it.
Having now done so, I find that his account of his life at the BBC actually says much less on “bias” than he did in 2013. We learn that his favourite politician was that inveterate old Europhile Kenneth Clarke and that he was converted to the importance of “the environment” by that cheerleader for global warming Roger Harrabin.
But what really comes across is that the BBC’s senior executives are so lost in their corporate groupthink that they have no real idea just how biased it is.
Here are recent examples of how mindlessly the BBC falls into its party line, on three familiar topics:
1. Those ‘850 New York lawmakers’
On no issue has the BBC’s coverage been more absurdly one-sided and unprofessional than energy and climate change: not least since that famous “secret seminar” set up by Harrabin in 2006, when the BBC’s top brass met with a roomful of climate activists to agree that the BBC must follow a propaganda line inseparable from that of Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth.
Just before Lancashire county council recently voted on an application to allow fracking, the BBC News website excitedly reported that “850 lawmakers” from New York state had sent a letter urging the council to refuse permission. It took that tireless blogger Paul Homewood (on Notalotofpeopleknowthat) to uncover that the letter was in fact signed by only 10 Democrat environmental zealots from nine little local councils.
Then, as part of the BBC’s campaign to promote that global “climate treaty” next December, Radio 5 featured a scary interview with a professor from a climate change committee set up by The Lancet. With all these droughts, floods and other “extreme weather events” caused by global warming, he warned, the threat to human health was now so great that before long it could kill “billions” of people.
This recalled a similar stunt pulled by the BBC and The Lancet in the run-up to the last failed “climate summit” in 2009, when another Lancet professor was wheeled on to claim that India had built a 4,500km-long fence along its frontier with Bangladesh solely to keep out “climate migrants”. The Indian government explained that the fence had nothing to do with global warming – it was to keep out drug smugglers, terrorists and “economic migrants”.
Again the BBC has lately been publicising studies by Professor Mike Lockwood claiming that the cause of the failure of global temperatures to rise for 18 years has been the lack of sunspots, threatening a new “Little Ice Age”. This recalls a post on the BBC website in 2007 headed “’No sun link’ to climate change”, publicising a paper designed to discredit the thesis that increased sunspot activity had been a major cause of the late 20th century warming. Its author, arguing that sunspots had nothing to do with it, was none other than Prof Lockwood.
Never fear, however, the Met Office has now rushed to the rescue. According to its computer models, any cooling caused by the lack of sunspots will only retard the world’s inexorable warming by two years, implying that by 2100 temperatures could have risen by as much as 6 degrees.
So far the BBC hasn’t picked this one up. But it will.