Lifestyle & Belief

BBC tells reporters to stop giving climate change deniers equal say


A house hit by El Nino in Daule, Ecuador, in March 2002.



Journalists are supposed to be impartial. Often that means interviewing sources who represent a range of views on an issue.

But what about when some of those sources hold views that have been widely dismissed by, like, science?

That's when you stop interviewing them, says BBC.

In an effort to improve its environmental reporting, BBC has ordered its journalists to stop giving climate change deniers equal air time.

Their climate change coverage was previously criticized for "putting up lobbyists against top scientists as though their arguments on the science carry equal weight," and a progress report published last week found there was still an "over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality."

“The [BBC] Trust wishes to emphasize the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences,” wrote the report authors.

As a result, some 200 staff have already attended courses where they are being instructed to stop giving "undue attention to marginal opinion." 

More from GlobalPost: Floods, drought, war? It must be El Niño again

Critics of the BBC decision say it's unjust to flat out silence a portion of the debate.

But that's just the problem. BBC (and others, mind you) that lend equal air time to climate change deniers give the impression that a point of view held by 3 percent of experts is in fact held by 50 percent of experts, which in turn propagates that distortion among the masses.

For good measure, here's John Oliver with Bill Nye on the matter: