Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hengist dares to ask an awkward question

Phoned BBC complaints department today. They weren't much help but agreed to 'red flag' two of the complaints I mentioned that are unanswered.

Long overdue , I have now asked the BBC directly to disclose the identity of the 200 or so environmentalists that Townsend disses. I strongly suspect that the BBC will rely on the veracity of this anecdote to rebut any allegation of bias.  This move of mine is a raising of the stakes somewhat. The makers of the documentary have shown a clear bias in the depth to which they have probed their contributor's positions. Thus they have wilfully neglected to nail down Solitaire Townsend's slur on the motivation of the people she claims to have met. In turn this could easily be interpreted to widen the scope of her claim to cover the whole of the environmental movement. Indeed that seems to be the inference made by the documentary. Compare the depth of probing of Townsend with Justin Rowlatt's hounding of Greenpeace head honcho John Sauven over the uncomfortable question of nuclear power in the context of a world overheating due to carbon emissions.

Will send a further complaint to the BBC in the next few days on the matter of impartiality.  Anyhow here is today's missive:


I refer to my complaint sent on the 21st Feb and await the substantive response promised by yourselves on the 28th Feb. I am writing to suggest that the contribution from Ms Townsend [at 02:05] is less than truthful. It lacks details to enable identification of whom she is referring , which is crucial to the natural justice concept of 'hear the other side'. An allegation about a specific group of people needs to be supported by identifying the specific group of people whom you refer to , without that it's credibility and the credibility of those making the allegation can be called in to question.

I have been in touch with the office of Ms Townsend to ask her to identify whom she was talking about when she refers to 200 or so environmentalists and her assessment of their motivations. She is unwilling to enter into any correspondence on the matter. If you have that information and have simply chosen not to broadcast it please will you disclose it to me . Or if not, please confirm that you are unable to support Ms Townsend's assertions by identifying whom she refers to.

At any rate the question of the identity of these people is apt to my points about the documentary being in breach of sections 7.9 and 7.13 of the Broadcasting Code.

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