Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
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.
[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]