Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

If we’ve heard only one side of a debate, we can’t claim to be fully informed.

Twelve years ago, in March 2007, a documentary film was broadcast on a mainstream UK television station. Titled The Great Global Warming Swindle, it caused minor panic in certain circles.

Why? Because it presented a different perspective on climate change – a perspective the public rarely hears.

Journalists are supposed to inform the public. They’re supposed to present multiple viewpoints so that the public can draw its own conclusions. But that doesn’t happen anymore. These days, journalists think they’re judge and jury. They decide who’s right and who’s wrong. The ‘wrong’ side gets frozen out, starved of air time.

This is an intolerant and unhealthy state of affairs. No one who cherishes free speech and democracy should consider this acceptable.

Watching this film 12 years after it first appeared, it’s shocking how little progress has been made. The views expressed within are no closer to receiving a fair and open hearing than they were then. The clips demonstrating typical media coverage might have aired for the first time yesterday.

The producer of this documentary, Martin Durkin, performed an essential public service. He gave nearly two dozen people, many of them credentialed scientists, an opportunity to express alternative climate perspectives.

You don’t have to agree with these people. But if you haven’t heard what they have to say, you can’t claim to be truly informed.


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  • The dominant side of the climate debate was so rattled by a single documentary film exploring alternative views, that 265 complaints were filed against the Great Global Warming Swindle with Ofcom, which regulates UK communications services. It’s arguable the very existence of that body is an affront to free speech. In July 2008, some of the complaints were partially upheld – see this 86-page PDF; page numbers concerning specific complaints appear below.
  • An article published after Swindle was first broadcast included this snippet:

[The day] before the film even aired, a left-leaning website provided readers with a link to Ofcom’s website and the instruction: ‘Please do complain [about The Great Global Warming Swindle], and please do publicise this link and ask others to complain.’

Ofcom stated that it had received 265 complaints about the Program, the bulk of them alleging misrepresentations…or a failure of due impartiality…Ofcom did not uphold any of the misrepresentation complaints against Swindle. Not one.

None of the complaints alleging lack of due impartiality in the science portion (sections 1-4) was upheld. Not one. [bold in original]

  • Pages 6-22 of the 86-page PDF discusses complaints alleging a lack of impartiality, as well as factual inaccuracies, including a 176-page complaint by a group of people, “some of whom were scientists.”
  • Pages 36-42 discuss the complaint filed by the UK’s chief scientist, David King.
  • Pages 43-69 discuss the complaint filed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Pages 70-80 discuss a complaint filed by Carl Wunsch, one of the scientists interviewed for the film.
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