BBC’s six-year cover-up of secret ‘green propaganda’ training for top executives

  • Pensioner forces BBC to lift veil on 2006  eco-seminar to top executives
  • Papers reveal influence of top green  campaigners including Greenpeace
  • Then-head of news Helen Boaden said it  impacted a ‘broad range of output’
  • Yet BBC has spent more than £20,000 in legal fees trying to keep it secret

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By David Rose

PUBLISHED:          18:52  EST, 11 January 2014

rge Cover-up: Former head of news Helen Boaden said the 2006 seminar affected a 'broad range of output', but that its attendees should be kept from the publicCover-up: Former head of news Helen Boaden said the 2006  seminar affected a ‘broad range of output’, but that its attendees should be  kept from the public

The BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds  over six years trying to keep secret an extraordinary ‘eco’ conference which has  shaped its coverage of global warming,  The Mail on Sunday can  reveal.

The controversial seminar was run by a body  set up by the BBC’s own environment analyst Roger Harrabin and funded via a £67,000 grant from the then Labour government, which hoped to see its ‘line’ on  climate change and other Third World issues promoted in BBC  reporting.

At the event, in 2006, green activists and  scientists – one of whom believes climate change is a bigger danger than global  nuclear war  – lectured 28 of the Corporation’s most senior executives.

Then director of television Jana Bennett  opened the seminar by telling the executives to ask themselves: ‘How do you plan  and run a city that is going to be submerged?’ And she asked them to consider if  climate change laboratories might offer material for a thriller.

A lobby group with close links to green  campaigners, the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), helped to arrange  government funding for both the climate seminar  and other BBC seminars run  by  Mr Harrabin – one of which was attended by then Labour Cabinet Minister  Hilary Benn.

Applying for money from Mr  Benn’s Department for International Development (DFID), the IBT promised  Ministers the seminars would influence programme content for years to  come.

The BBC began its long legal battle to keep  details of the conference secret after an amateur climate blogger spotted a  passing reference to it in an official report.

Tony Newbery, 69, from North Wales, asked for  further disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC’s resistance to  revealing anything about its funding and the names of those present led to a  protracted struggle in the Information Tribunal. The BBC has admitted it has  spent more than £20,000 on barristers’ fees. However, the full cost of their  legal battle is understood to be much higher.

In a written statement opposing disclosure in  2012, former BBC news chief and current director of BBC radio Helen Boaden, who  attended the event, admitted: ‘In my view, the seminar had an impact on a broad  range of BBC output.’

Plea: Part of Helen Boaden's statement opposing disclosure in 2012. She also said the seminar had sought to 'identify where the main areas of debate lie'. She is now the director of BBC radioPlea: Part of Helen Boaden’s statement opposing  disclosure in 2012. She also said the seminar had sought to ‘identify where the  main areas of debate lie’. She is now the director of BBC radio

She said this included news reports by Mr  Harrabin, and a three-part BBC  2 series presented by geologist Iain Stewart,  who told viewers global warming was ‘truly scary’. According to Ms Boaden, ‘Editors and executives who attended were inspired to be more ambitious and  creative in their editorial coverage of this slow-moving and complex issue.’ She  claimed the seminar sought to  ‘identify where the main areas of debate  lie’. However, there were no expert climate sceptics present.

In an internal report, the IBT boasted that  the seminars organised with Mr Harrabin had had ‘a significant impact on the  BBC’s output’.

Blogger: Tony Newbery, who went to an information tribunal, said the seminar was 'propaganda'Blogger: Tony Newbery, who went to an information  tribunal, said the seminar was ‘propaganda’

Mr Newbery, who finally won his battle last  month, said: ‘It is very disappointing that the BBC tried so hard to cover this  up. It seems clear that this seminar was a means of exposing executives to green  propaganda.’ The freshly disclosed documents show that a number of BBC attendees  still occupy senior roles at the Corporation.

All four scientists present were strong  advocates of the dangers posed by global warming. They were led by Lord May,  former president of the Royal Society, who, though not a climate expert, has  argued that warming is a greater threat than nuclear war. Other non-BBC staff  who attended included Blake Lee-Harwood, head of campaigns at Greenpeace, John  Ashton from the powerful green lobby group E3G, Andrew Simms of the New  Economics Foundation, who argued there were only 100 months left to save the  planet through radical emissions cuts, and Ashok Sinha of Stop Climate  Chaos.

The BBC contingent included future  director-general George Entwistle, Peter Horrocks, head of TV news, Stephen  Mitchell, head  of radio news, Francesca Unsworth, head of newsgathering,  and Peter Rippon, editor of Radio 4’s PM.

Mr Harrabin was the seminar’s principal  organiser. He ran it through the Cambridge Media Environment Programme, an  outfit he set up with Open University lecturer Joe Smith. Mr Harrabin and Mr  Smith did not derive personal financial benefit from the seminar.

But by teaming up with the IBT,  an  avowed lobby group trying to influence coverage, and accepting government funds  when Labour was advocating radical policies to combat global warming, Mr  Harrabin exposed himself to the charge he could be compromising the  Corporation’s impartiality.

During the legal battle, the BBC tried to  airbrush both the IBT and its approach to the Government for funding from the  record. Submissions and witness statements made no mention of it.

Lord May, former president of the Royal SocietyFormer BBC director general George Entwistle

Influence: The seminar was led by Lord May (left), the  former president of the Royal Society who has said climate change is worse than  nuclear war, and attendees included former chief George Entwistle  (right)

Mr Harrabin formed a partnership with the IBT  in 2004. According to the newly-disclosed funding application to DFID, drawn up  by IBT director Mark Galloway, it helped organise two BBC seminars on Third  World themes with Mr Harrabin that year. These, Mr Galloway wrote, ‘had clearly  influenced editorial staff and resulted in several new commissions’.

DFID’s budget is supposed to  be devoted to overseas aid projects. But Mr Galloway asked for £115,305 for the  two years from March 2005, adding: ‘We have a firm commitment from the BBC to  take part in seminars in 2005 and 2006 and to give all the support they can to  this project.’

The DFID did not meet the IBT’s full bid. But  the documents show it paid £67,404 over two years.

A BBC spokesman said yesterday the seminar  had ‘no agenda’, and that the organisers recognised  BBC rules on  impartiality, while the IBT’s funding application was a ‘matter for  them’.

… and how the Corporation’s lessons are  still paying off


Last week was a big one for weather news: the  storms and floods in Britain, and the end of the bizarre saga which saw the  Akademik Shokalskiy, the ship carrying climate scientists, tourists and a BBC  reporter to inspect the ravages of global warming, trapped in Antarctic  ice.

In both cases, the BBC stuck closely to its  skewed, climate alarmist agenda.

David Cameron fuelled suggestions that the  storms might be due to climate change by saying in the Commons he had ‘suspicions’ they were. The Met Office denied this was the case.

Swamped: Flooding on the River Thames last week. David Rose said the BBC followed an agendaSwamped: Flooding on the River Thames last week. David  Rose said the BBC followed an agenda

But repeatedly, the BBC followed the PM’s  line. Slots on the Radio 4 Today programme and Radio 5 repeated the bogus  proposition on three separate days – and in none were sceptics allowed to  present an alternative view.

Yet the facts are clear. Met Office records  show that December 2013 was only the 20th wettest since 1910. It had just  two-thirds the rainfall of the wettest, 1914.

For October to December, 2013 was only the  14th wettest year, and there has been no discernible trend in  UK or  English rainfall for more than 100 years.

But though the BBC was suggesting the storms  were ‘climate’ rather than ‘weather’, it took a contradictory view over the  icebound ship.

Radio 4’s Inside Science told listeners that  the ice was a freak, unpredictable event – driven by weather, not climate – and  even added it had been falsely ‘used by climate deniers’ to advance their  case.

Rescue: The crew of the trapped Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy were airlifted from the AntarcticRescue: The crew of the trapped Russian vessel MV  Akademik Shokalskiy were airlifted from the Antarctic

Nevertheless, it allowed an interviewee to  state without challenge that overall, Antarctic sea ice is only one per cent  above average.

In fact, it is at record levels, 15 per cent  (3.5 million square miles) above normal, and has been increasing for years – a  trend the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits it cannot  explain.

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BBC’s 2012/13 Annual Report its total income was £5,102.3 million,[71] which can be broken down as follows:

£3,656.2 million in licence fees collected from householders;
£1,101.2 million from the BBC’s Commercial Businesses;
£269.7 million from government grants, of which 264.7 million is from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the BBC World Service;
£75.2 million from other income, such as rental collections and royalties from overseas broadcasts of programming.
The Guardian trying to shame Big Business into their pet project – green investment but Big Business don’t appear to believe “green” is the way to go. The only people investing appear to be trade unions, and NGO’s – be happy if you’re not working for the government subsidised corps…
The Guardian and the BBC  have their pensions invested in Big Green. They appear to want to share their misery with everyone else – let’s all go down with the ship  together and invest in the greenies – “Ethical Investing” – one wonders if it’s ethical to invest in a scam?  I believe in being a good stewart of the earth but…
It’s obvious the BBC works hand in hand with the government since it was initiated (as a propaganda tool) w/ a collusion of big government and around six big business’ united by Big Finance from its creation:
This corruption is happening worldwide.
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