Saturday, 6 March 2010

Auntie and Exxon in bed together

So the debate on climate change is wholly skewed in favour of Big Oil, due to illicit funding of academic institutions,and oil company execs in the Bush era White House amongst other things. The effects will be ecological disaster, and the democratic mechanisms to prevent this have been and are being undermined by a the world's biggest corporation . Sounds like a scoop. Lets see what the BBC website has to say and do a boolean search for exxon climate change - just thirty results  the same search on google will get you over 796 000 results. It seems that Newsnight ran a piece in September 2006 which refers to the funding as 'accusations', but that is largely it. The BBC would claim they have covered this story, they did it in a late night news show four years back. No transcript has been made available but one has to raise an eyebrow at the timing, The Royal Society no less was publicly writing to Exxon trying to hold them to an earlier promise to halt the funding at this time. So these were more than accusations.

September '06 was a busy time for the scandal, there was a Panorama documentary on 4th September called Climate Chaos although it mentions Exxon only twice and doesn't mention the Exxon junk science funding at all. 

But crucially , the story of fossil fuel funded climate denial has not been allowed to enter the news narrative , that can only be because of an editorial agenda slanted against environmentalists. If anything the news narrative slips back to questioning whether climate change is happening. Asking the same question that is already settled.

So there you have it.  Over the past five years global warming has been mentioned quite a bit but the number of times the BBC has mentioned Exxon's junk science funding amounts to a handful. And on each occasion the story is qualified .  On Newnight it is 'accusations' , when Harold Evans' writes it is point of view, Tom Feilden's effort describes Exxon's policy as to question recieved wisdom. Never does the BBC come out and say Exxon Funds Junk Science - Fact .

Exxon's massaging of public opinion and consequent undermining of public policy is no secret , the information is out there it just isn't widely known and that's exactly how the Oil industry want it. The extent of the Establishment's complicity in this scandal depends on your point of view. With the public largely relying on the BBC to inform them Exxon's dirty little secrets will surely stay secret a while longer yet.

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