The BBC Trust has issued a new report into progress on adopting the recommendations of the Steve Jones review of science coverage. This was the integrity-free publication that recommended keeping sceptics off air as much as possible.
According to the new paper, the BBC has been holding a series of seminars to bang home the “keep sceptics off air” message and will keep up this re-education programme in the future. There’s also this:
The Trust wishes to emphasise the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences. The Trust also would like to reiterate that, as it said in 2011, “This does not mean that critical opinion should be excluded. Nor does it mean that scientific research shouldn’t be properly scrutinised.” The BBC has a duty to reflect the weight of scientific agreement but it should also reflect the existence of critical views appropriately. Audiences should be able to understand from the context and clarity of the BBC’s output what weight to give to critical voices.
Given that we know that BBC editors are telling their staff not to allow scientists to appear opposite anyone who might disagree with them, I would suggest to readers that the paragraph quoted above is entirely mendacious. And the idea that the English literature graduates and environmentalists who infest the BBC are going to “properly scrutinise” scientists is beyond contempt. It is simply a case of putting two fingers up to the general public.