Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomeClimate WatchDavid Keighley: BBC abandons impartiality over Trump’s assault on climate change zealots

David Keighley: BBC abandons impartiality over Trump’s assault on climate change zealots


President Barack Obama – frustrated by the pesky American voters who during his second term refused to give him a majority in Congress – has flagrantly tried to concentrate more powers in the hands of the presidency.

One of the measures he has rammed through using presidential powers related to the all-powerful Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – whose 150,000 repressive regulations already cost the US economy overall a staggering $353 billion a year.

He issued a memorandum ordering the body to issue draconian carbon dioxide emissions limits for new and existing power stations. At a stroke, this effectively banned coal-fired power across the whole of the US and sentenced hundreds of coal communities to suffer, and many to a slow, lingering death.

Arguably, too, it was a significant factor that led to the election of Donald Trump because voters in the affected communities revolted strongly against the Democratic party. Obama’s  climate change zealotry was a step too far.

The appointment on Wednesday by Donald Trump of Oklahoma’s combative but brilliant Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, was clearly a sign that he is planning to tackle and perhaps reverse this unconstitutional and economically damaging climate alarmist zeal.

But it was cast by the BBC Today programme as a disaster.

The Corporation’s US correspondent Laura Bicker, talking to presenter Justin Webb, first posited that the appointment of Pruitt was (her words, but filtered through the phrase ‘seen by many’) ‘a terrible choice’ because he was a ‘climate change denier’, and (boo, hiss) ‘a friend and ally of many in the fossil fuel industry’.

Bicker conceded that Pruitt’s backers believed that in the war on coal, the EPA had ‘overstepped the mark’, but she put that in the context of President Obama being a ‘big and vocal’ opponent of ‘polluting industries’, who had been ‘successful’ in limiting fossil fuel emissions.

There was no doubt from the tenor and construction of her report whose side she was on – Pruitt, a ‘denier’, was a threat to the achievements of both the EPA and President Obama.

For good measure, to make sure her partisan message hit home with maximum effect, she threw in that this was being seen as a sign that Donald Trump, ‘who was once a climate change denier himself’, had not changed his spots.

Later in the programme, Justin Webb, conducted a second interview about the Pruitt appointment, with David Rivkin.

He was introduced only as a ‘friend’ of Pruitt, but in reality is a distinguished lawyer who had served in government under Presidents Reagan and Bush Snr.  Between 1990-2, he was associate general counsel at the EPA itself, where he took a lead role in deregulating energy markets. And since then he has carved out a major media role as a commentator on Republican party developments.

Webb’s combative mission with Rivkin was to challenge strongly any idea that President Obama had exceeded his powers through the EPA and to ram home through his questioning the message that Pruitt’s appointment was sabotage in the battle against CO2. Not only that, Pruitt ‘s approach to climate change was ‘against the balance of scientific opinion’.

To ensure that the audience understood what a grave crime against science and humanity that was, Webb (as a conclusion to this sequence) next interviewed US political journalist – and climate alarmist – Daniel Lippman. He duly warned that if Pruitt (and President Trump) tried to ‘backslide’ on Obama’s ‘carbon reduction targets’ there would be a backlash from ‘environmental groups’.

Thus overall, Today’s take on Pruitt’s appointment was that it put Obama’s achievements in limiting CO2 emissions seriously at risk, was against the scientific consensus, and would trigger an enormous backlash from environmentalists.

In BBC terms, of course, the war on coal makes Obama a hero, because in their book, the pursuit of climate alarmism is unquestionably the Highest Good. The Corporation’s Trustees said so in 2011, when they disgracefully declared that – in effect – climate alarmism is proven, incontrovertible science and cannot be challenged on BBC airwaves except on an extremely limited basis. 

Pruitt’s appointment could have been used by Today as a peg to discuss whether the anti-coal drive initiated by Obama is in the best interests of the US economy, whether it was a key factor in Hillary Clinton’s defeat, and whether the so-called ‘consensus’ on the negative impact of CO2 is justified.

Pigs might fly. The reality is that in this respect, the BBC long-since abandoned impartiality and now acts as – in effect –  a pimp-like conduit for the views of climate alarmist groups. The bandying about by Bicker of the provocative word ‘denier’ in connection with a serious agenda-setting move by Trump especially underlined that crude partisanship.

(Image: Michael Gwyther-Jones)

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David Keighley
David Keighley
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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