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April 7, 2008
BBC folds, then folds again
The BBC appears to have serially caved-in to global warmist activism. There was much online discussion this weekend about a Friday BBC global warming / La Nina related article suddenly changing its wording and with it -- its apparent balance. Today, news that an eco-activist has smugly taken credit for coercing the change has joined the conversation. And I'm now adding my discovery of a second amending in which a neutrality-vital sentence that survived the first update has now completely vanished.
The original piece by BBC News environment analyst Roger Harrabin opened with the words "Global temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007." But by day's end the lede's start was changed to "Global temperatures will drop slightly this year."
Both versions included as a third line:
But while the original followed that with:
The updated version read:
And then added:
What prompted the discussion-altering edit, which -- by the way -- neglected to update the post's timestamp?
This morning, Jennifer Marohasy of Australia's Institute of Public Affairs, revealed an exchange between the author and climate alarmist Jo Abbess she found on the Campaign Against Climate Change message board. It seems that the CACC board was where Abbess posted a transcript of her email debate in order to impress her fellow greenies.
Apparently unhappy with the article's emphasis on natural forces, Abbess demanded a "correction" on typical alarmist grounds. First, she countered statements Harrabin made with laughably unsubstantiated claims. Here's a taste from her first:
She quickly moved on to another Gorebot favorite tactic with statements the likes of:
Harrabin countered each of Abbess's arguments for her demanded "correction" to the article exactly twice before the latter pulled out her big guns - ad hominem:
To which the BBC News environment analyst obediently responded:
And believe it or not -- change it they did.
But it would appear not enough so to make Abbess, or perhaps some fellow eco-maniac, "happier."
Having just returned from the BBC site, I'm amazed to report yet another drastic change - again, original "last update" timestamp intact -- to the piece. Besides offering a third version of the lede, this time opening with "Global temperatures for 2008 will be slightly cooler than last year," this crucial sentence - mitigated in the first update -- has now been removed altogether:
It, and the sentence modified Friday to diminish the impact of the flat mean temperature phenomenon we have reported here, here, here, and here, have both been replaced with this single statement:
While the original's opened the door to reasoned debate, the opening paragraphs of the latest rendition purposely slam that door shut. Not coincidentally, Abbess had demanded that certain things be made clear "in the first few paragraphs." And now they were, morphing the article's tenor from dialogue to lecture with a minimum of extorted word processing.
I wonder if Mr. Harrabin appreciates the irony of what he has done. Particularly that he did so partly in response to the suggestion that being "insufficiently educated to be able to know when [he has] been psychologically manipulated" might make him an "unreliable reporter."
And who or what exactly compelled this most recent odious change?
Was it Abbess, who confided to her fellow alarmists that the first update might not be "much better?"
Or did Harrabin's cowardly capitulation open the door to eco-copy-cats who further skewed the facts through intimidation?
Either way, this was not one of journalism's proudest moments.