Prefix: you may have read the leaks about this in the Grauniad: “Channel 4 to be censured over controversial climate film” seems a fair comment on the fairness ruling. But are they right about the accuracy aspect? That will need another post. Meanwhile, thanks to Dave Rado for pushing all this, and have a look at http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/. Ofcom officially available from http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/prog_cb/obb114/issue114.pdf.
If you have any sense, you’ve probably forgotten the late and unlamented The Great Global Warming Swindle (and many other points in the blogosphere). But people complained to OfCom about how cr*p the prog was, and the long slow OfCom process has now produced some rulings. To me the process seems rather like the Scott report: designed to bury the interesting information as deep as possible in mounds of verbiage. But reading through, we get…
There are three “fairness” reports, and one “accuracy”. The fairness ends up with: David King: upheld. IPCC: partially. Wunsch: partially. So lets have a look:
The King one is based around Singer saying the chief scientist of the UK telling people that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the earth will be the Antarctic. This is a simple cock-up: the text is close to something said by Lovelock in one of his madder moments, though Lovelock said the Arctic. Thats about it really; you can read the ruling for a whole pile of unedifying wriggling by C4 about who might be considered the “chief scientist”, and that they had only bothered to read newspaper reports of what he had said rather than the things themselves. C4 should just have admitted they, or Singer, had got confused and not troubled to do their research properly.
Wunsch: three parts: that he was mislead about the nature of the prog he was contributing to (upheld); that his comments had been edited to make it sound like he agreed (upheld); and that his comments about CO2 had been misinterpreted (not). My recollection is that his comments had had to be so strongly edited to fit the progs framework that they were largely incomprehensible. The core of the finding is then The Committee did not consider that the editing of the programme presented Professor Wunsch as denying that global warming is taking place. However it noted that the programme included his edited interview in the context of a range of scientists who denied the scientific consensus about the anthropogenic causes of global warming. In the Committee’s view Professor Wunsch made clear in his full unedited interview that he largely accepted this consensus and the seriousness of the threat of global warming (albeit with caveats about proof) and therefore found that the presentation of Professor Wunsch’s views, within the wider context of the programme, resulted in unfairness to him. Just as before, C4 wriggles about this and has no shame. As for the CO2 bit, I think the committee got it wrong, because they have confused reservoirs and sources. If you’re paying close attention, Wunsch is made to look like he is agreeing with But the biggest source of CO2 by far is the oceans. when he doesn’t.
IPCC. Many bits: that IPCC was politically driven was found to be unfair. So thats nice. That the IPCC ’90 had predicted “climate disaster” was found not to be unfair, on the grounds that a speech by Thatcher (that may have been vetted by Houghton) might be regarded as predicting disaster, by some lose definitions of the terms. Thats not good, but does show the rather high barrier to getting a complaint accepted. All the qualifying language used by ’90 is ignored, and IPCC is judged by a politicians speech. Malaria (upheld): not my thing. Reiter (upheld): more interesting, from a muck-raking perspective, and it casts some light on his famous “resignation”: there was no written documentation to confirm that Professor Reiter had resigned from the IPCC or that it had been necessary for him to threaten legal action to have his name removed from the IPCC’s list. C4’s defence on this point appears to be that no-one in fact had been able to disprove the claims that Professor Reiter made in the programme. – which is obviously meaningless. Seitz in the WSJ. Again, upheld.
Overall: C4 gets stuffed on this one, with most of the complaints upheld. The broadcaster has been directed to broadcast a summary of this Adjudication which will be an interesting trick to pull off fairly, not that they are likely to try. I guess “summary” is best interpreted as page 1 of the three adjudications.
BTW, its worth noting that It made significant allegations about XXX but failed to offer XXX a timely and appropriate opportunity to respond. means rather more than it appears to say. A literal reading gives the impression that the only flaw was the failure to give any chance or reply. But what it actually means is that they have found that the allegations were invalid.
Postfix: JA comments much the same but with different emphasis. His point that its 0-1 against the code is one I agree with.