Monday, 22 March 2010

BBC poll shows BBC biased

Have sent out a complaint to the BBC about this poll in February.

UPDATE 5th May 2010: This poll is quoted on the Guardian website today, it's seven weeks since the BBC recieved my original complaint (they aim to respond in 10 to 30 days) and I have had no response so I phoned BBC Complaints, spoke to David who advised it is pending and has been sent to "Divisional Advisers"

"I write about the piece of research which you commissioned on public perception of climate change.

One would hope that a public opinion poll is used to gauge public opinion not to influence it . However you have framed your questions to invite a one sided observation about the veracity of the information seen by the respondent. This is put into a question that otherwise would tell us about the respondent's understanding of the scientific concensus. It is a shame that you have done that because you have rendered an otherwise very valid question meaningless.

In answer to the question "which of these statements is closest to your view" respondents are offered three propositions about scientific conclusions- climate change is man made, climate change is not man made or climate change is not happening ; and one proposition about the veracity of the information put out by one side - "Climate change is happening but it is environmentalist propaganda that it is man made" Why is that proposition offered amongst those other three, which cover the gamut of scientific conclusions?

The proposition about the veracity of the information "Climate change is happening but it is environmentalist propaganda that it is man made" brings a political dimension into a question on the understanding of the scientific concensus. You do not balance that with a proposition to the effect that industrialist propaganda plays a part .

You are being disingenuous in the way you go about surveying the public's perception of the veracity of the information. Firstly you are conflating different questions ie whether the respondent percieves scientific proof and whether the respondent percieves propaganda. Secondly you have to offer more than one proposition in that regard. Why do you only offer one proposition on the veracity of the information i.e. environmentalist propaganda ? Why do you not ask whether the respondent is aware of oil industry propaganda?

This research is framed to posit the view that environmentalists are lying on this topic, whilst ignoring the fact that propaganda is made by the energy industry. The BBC claims in it's editorial guidelines that it's approach will be even handed. Your approach in this survey was anything but even handed. It cannot be even handed when you only offer a proposition that veracity lies solely on one side of the argument.

You have used the research across a range of media to present the notion that belief in climate change is on the wane. Whilst that may be true you invite criticism with your comments because the public's opinion is shaped by media organisations such as yourselves. I put it to you that this survey shows that the BBC is biased towards confusing the public's understanding of the scientific concensus on climate change ."

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