It’s the story many hacks and sceptics have been waiting for: to shoot down Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Last night, the BBC’s flagship news programme, the Ten O’Clock news, led with the story that a British High Court Judge had ruled that Gore’s film had made “alarmist” and “exaggerated” claims.
Sadly, BBC seems to have failed in examining the source of those claims.
As the trailers finished the BBC’s Anchorman Huw Edwards said: “A controversial film on climate change being shown in British schools is heavily criticized by a high court judge for making alarmist and exaggerated claims”.
The overriding theme of the piece, by the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin, was that Gore’s film was flawed with nine significant errors. The judge had pointed out it was “a political film.”
However what the BBC spectacularly failed to do in its programme last night was give any background to the “political” nature of the attack against the film. The BBC reported that the fact the High Court case against the film was brought by Stewart Dimmock, a “school governor in Kent” who called the film a “political shockumentary”.
The BBC did not mention Dimmock’s own political connections: Dimmock is a member of the political group, the New Party. The founder and chair of the New Party is Robert Durward, whose party is so right-wing it has been labeled “fascist” by the Scottish Tories.
More importantly, there is a cross-fertilisation between the New Party and Durward’s other pet project – he is the founder of the anti-environmental Scientific Alliance. Both the New Party and Scientific Alliance work closely with the PR company Foresight Communications.
The Alliance is one of the leading sceptic organizations in the UK, that campaigns against climate change, against Al Gore’s film and promotes the heavily criticized alternative film “Great Global Warming Swindle”.
It has also forged links with skeptics in the US. For example in 2005, the Alliance held a conference on Climate Change called “Apocalypse No: Assessing Catastrophic Climate Change.”
Leading climate skeptics such as Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer Nils-Axel Morner and Benny Peiser spoke. The keynote speaker was David Bellamy, the British naturalist, who believes climate change is “poppycock”. At the time the Alliance’s Scientific Advisory Forum also included Sallie Baliunas, one of the world’s leading climate sceptics.
Pity the BBC failed to inform viewers of the political nature of this attack..