In my previous post regarding the emerging Twenty Eight Gate scandal (Christopher Booker outlines the scandal here) I questioned why the opinions of such a small group of people from outside the BBC had been allowed to change the BBC’s editorial policy regarding climate change.
The issue of climate impacts almost every conceivable area of our lives, from the price of utility bills, to the policies of European government, the cost of car tax, international collaboration, farming, education syllabus, health, property development planning, energy strategy, scientific research, product innovation, regulation, wildlife, tourism, developing countries, financial investment, transport, the internet, space exploration, infant mortality rates, politics, the mining industry, airlines, disease and so on. The list really is endless.
In fact try and think of something, anything which has absolutely zero connection to climate in at least some way. Since climate is such a far reaching subject, surely it is wrong for the BBC to have based its editorial policies, so far as the subject of climate is concerned, around the narrow range of interests of a very small group of people?
This seemingly unique editorial restriction within the BBC has in effect placed a very narrow lens through which all the BBC’s climate reporting is passed.
With this narrow restriction the BBC has given it’s audience a back-to-front telescope with which to explore the subject of climate. Since all BBC’s reporting is forced through this narrow aperture of focus, it is surely no wonder that people feel the BBC is biased and purposefully ignoring them, if so much of what is relevant to the topic of climate is routinely ignored?
Of course as already established, the subject of climate is enormous. It would be impossible for the BBC to cover everything that the subject of climate touches. The best of BBC journalism, however, equips the audience with the telescope the right way around. Open minded journalists report on events, news and issues, no matter what they might be and in these instances the BBC becomes a tool for the audience to explore the wider world.
Surely good journalism doesn’t demand that a closed shop defines a narrow editorial policy? Surely good journalism doesn’t rely on “expert advisors” it merely requires journalists with an enthusiasm to guide their audience across the depth and breadth, good, bad and ugly of a subject they are well acquainted with?
Just this element of the scandal raises these additional questions:
- Amongst the noise of other issues is Chris Patten aware that climate journalism within the BBC is problem for him to fix?
- Does Chris Patten view climate journalism as a priority to repair? Given the far reaching implications of climate on everyone you’d hope he takes this issue seriously.
- Does Chris Patten posses sufficient steel and energy to be able turn the BBC’s journalistic telescope the right way around on the subject of climate journalism?
- More importantly perhaps, are the BBC Trust part of the problem, since according to the BBC the Trust themselves signed off on this change of editorial policy?
This whole Twenty Eight Gate episode itself poses further issues, so at the risk of being boring I will be returning to the subject at a later date.