Sunday, January 10, 2010

Are things hotting up?

On Wednesday Richard Tait of the BBC Trust announced that the Trust will carry out a review to assess the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC's coverage of science. He said: Science is an area of great importance to licence fee payers, which provokes strong reaction and covers some of the most sensitive editorial issues the BBC faces. Heated debate in recent years around topics like climate change, GM crops and the MMR vaccine reflects this, and BBC reporting has to steer a course through these controversial issues while remaining impartial.

Richard Tait, readers may recall, was responsible for From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel. See my email to Professor Tait about a significant flaw in the BBC's oddly named impartiality report.

Newsround was back on TV last Monday after its winter break. On Tuesday Ricky reported from Manchester on all the cold weather we've been having.

Newsround Blog is evidence-based, and therefore accepts the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change as a reality. But despite the evidence, skeptics around the world continue to argue that global warming isn't genuine and, they say, kids are being brainwashed. BBC science reporting is generally (with one or two exceptions) of a very high standard, and the BBC Trust science review is yet one more waste of licence payers' money. Nevertheless a greater degree of caution is called for when looking at alleged methods of combatting global warming (e.g. see blog 13 December 2009).

Newsround's own commitment to help combat global warming turned out to be rather short-lived. Only last month Leah had told viewers that Newsround wouldn't be sending a reporter to cover the Copenhagen climate change summit because of concerns about increasing the programme's 'carbon footprint' (see blog 11 December 2009) However on Monday 4 January 2010, introducing Newsround on BBC One -

Sonali: Hey there, I'm Sonali. It's a new year, of course, and 2010 means it's a World Cup year. In June, South Africa will become the first African country to ever host the big footie tournament. And guess who got to jet out there to check out the preparations - only our very own Ore - the lucky boy. Hi Ore. Are things hotting up there?

Ore: Sonali, I'd love to say they are, but you've just missed a tropical thunder storm. So no, but .....

Things seem to be hotting up in California. Tomorrow Judge Vaughn R Walker is due to hear a challenge to Proposition 8 (see blog 31 August 2009). Proceedings may be made available on this YouTube channel.

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