Monday, July 15, 2024
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BBC’s attack on Kenyan farmer for ‘climate change denial’


EARLIER this month the BBC website published an article by ‘Climate disinformation reporter’ Marco Silva on a Kenyan farmer, Jusper Machogu, headed ‘How a Kenyan farmer became a champion of climate change denial’. Silva claimed that 29-year-old Mr Machogu, who has many thousands of followers on X for his campaign ‘Fossil Fuels for Africa’, holds dangerous views denying climate change. 

I don’t know Mr Machogu, and I am certain that he doesn’t need defence. I grew up without electricity and I recently explained how I questioned the official climate narrative. I do find it disgusting that a senior journalist in London, using modern technologies powered by fossil fuels, in a country that became rich thanks to fossil fuels (and loot from Kenya), should write such a disdainful piece on one of the biggest media outlets on earth about a young man who appears to have knowledge, hard work, and passion to serve his community and people. I also find this piece below the BBC’s editorial standards which include values such as truth, fairness, accuracy, and impartiality.

The reporter made ad hominem attacks on Mr Machogu throughout the piece. It is stupid for a journalist of a global broadcasting company based in one of the richest places on earth to write statements like these: ‘On social media, [Mr Machogu] has become known as flag bearer for fossil fuels in Africa, but there is more to his campaign that meets the eye’ and ‘Mr Machogu began tweeting false and misleading claims about climate change in late 2021, after carrying out his “own research” into the topic.’

Clearly, the reporter doesn’t think that Mr Machogu has the right to carry out his own research and make tweets about that. I don’t understand why a BBC journalist may have freedom of expression but a Kenyan farmer may not.

What is wrong with Mr Machogu’s posting about ‘farming content’ like ‘weeding his land, planting garlic or picking avocados’ in rural Kisii in southwest Kenya? Aren’t we in the era of social media influencers, of those many who make videos about their lives, their workouts, their gardening, their pets, or their exotic vacations and conferences? 

What is wrong with using ‘the hashtag #ClimateScam’ hundreds of times? Does the BBC believe hashtags should be subject to its approval? What is wrong with posts on ‘There is no climate crisis?’ Had the reporter applied a little bit more impartiality, he could have led his audiences to the global Declaration ‘There is no climate emergency’ signed by almost 2,000 scientists and professionals (myself also), including two Nobel laureates (John F Clauser, Ivar Giaever) and top-notch scholars (Guus Berkhout, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Moore, Ian Plimer, etc). 

The reporter could even have acknowledged that Mr Machogu’s clear aim is to reduce poverty in his chronically energy-starved country, as was seen in the excellent film Climate: The Movie (The Cold Truth), made by the UK director Martin Durkin and available in 30 languages thanks to volunteers. Instead, he did not provide a link to the film and wrote that ‘a film crew from the UK travelled to Kisii to interview [Mr Machogu] for a new documentary that described climate change as an “eccentric environmental scare”.’  

Silva reported that Mr Machogu does not have a problem with raising some money (about £7,000 in two years) to improve his conditions and help people around him. Perhaps a comparison with the earnings of a ‘climate disinformation reporter’ would have provided useful context.

The BBC is concerned about a small amount allegedly from ‘individuals with links to the fossil fuel industry and to groups known for promoting climate change denial’. Should the BBC be transparent about the huge amounts it has received outside the UK, for example from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, run by a person with major investments in technologies that benefit from climate alarmism? A quick search on the Gates Foundation website shows millions over the last decade. 

We learn in the piece that Mr Machogu interacts online with those who ‘promote conspiracy theories online – not just about climate change, but also about vaccines, Covid-19, or the war in Ukraine’. Apparently, all disagreement with an official British government line is to be shunned and suppressed, however false those positions are found to be. 

By judging ‘wrong’ Mr Machogu’s tweet ‘Climate change is mostly natural. A warmer climate is good for life’, the reporter shows that he is the one who confuses science with dogma. Climate is influenced by a whole range of natural and anthropogenic factors. By characterising Mr Machogu’s social media content as ‘denial of man-made climate change’, the climate disinformation reporter is directly spreading disinformation because Mr Machogu doesn’t deny anthropogenic causes of climate change.

The BBC can do better than this. Instead, it chose to promote and practise advocacy journalism (ie propaganda), showing disrespect to its audiences. This BBC reporter should re-study the corporation’s  editorial guidelines, or do something more useful. 

To Mr Machogu: Bravo for your intelligence and courage! You have missed the opportunity of making a career with the climate cult, for example as a United Nations Youth Climate Adviser. The BBC hit piece has shown you how pitiful that path is. May the wealth of your people begin to approach the wealth that their colonisers achieved by digging, drilling, and burning coal and oil in Britain!

This article appeared in Brownstone Institute on June 21, 2024, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Thi Thuy Van Dinh
Thi Thuy Van Dinh
Dr Thi Thuy Van Dinh grew up in South East Asia after the Vietnam War. She studied international public law and environmental law and worked for the United Nations, before the covid event led her to criticise its policies, particularly the proposed pandemic treaty. 

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