Via Bishop Hill and the Mail:
A BBC executive in charge of editorial standards has ordered programme editors not to broadcast debates between climate scientists and global warming sceptics.
Alasdair MacLeod claimed that such discussions amount to ‘false balance’ and breach an undertaking to the Corporation’s watchdog, the BBC Trust.
Mr MacLeod, head of editorial standards and compliance for BBC Scotland, sent an email on February 27 to 18 senior producers and editors, which has been obtained by The Mail on Sunday.
It reads: ‘When covering climate change stories, we should not run debates / discussions directly between scientists and sceptics.
If a programme does run such a discussion, it will… be in breach of the editorial guidelines on impartiality.’
Mr MacLeod wrote that the reason the Trust decided that there should be no attempt by the BBC to give equal weight to opposing sides on climate change was that sceptics’ views were ‘based on opinion rather than demonstrable scientific validity’.
Last night a Trust spokesman said: ‘We agreed that there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and to evidence in science coverage, but we said specifically that this does not mean that critical opinion should be excluded.
‘We did not specify that the BBC should not broadcast debates/discussions between scientists and sceptics.’
A BBC spokesman added: ‘All viewpoints continue to be given due weight in our output.’
Asked whether the BBC was prepared explicitly to disavow Mr MacLeod’s email, both officials failed to comment.