As sometimes happens my attention was taken by two short articles that I read recently in local newspapers, both about global warming and climate change.
The first was in the Belfast Telegraph (12 February 2013) and concerned the BBC and the well-known broadcaster David Attenborough. It reported that the BBC 'had re-edited an episode of Sir David Attenborough's Africa series to remove a disputed claim over climate change. In the episode Attenborough told viewers, 'Some parts of the continent have become 3.5C hotter in the past 20 years' but the BBC later admitted that this figure is 'disputable'. The line was then removed from the repeat episode and the re-edited version replaced the original version on the iPlayer.
A BBC spokesman said, 'There is widespread acknowledgement within the scientific community that the climate of Africa has been changing.' However he admitted, 'We accept the detail is disputable and the commentary should have reflected that, therefore the line of commentary has been edited out.'
'The detail is disputable' and yet the original programme was prepared to present it as established scientific fact.
The other article was in the News Letter (23 January 2013) and concerned botanist David Bellamy, who said the BBC had dropped him because he does not believe in global warming. He said, 'When I was at the BBC, I could do whatever I wanted. In those days you could say what you liked. You can't now. The world's gone bonkers.'
Bellamy was once a regular broadcaster on BBC and he was a very colourful character but in recent years has disappeared from their programmes. I am sure the BBC will deny it but Bellamy is convinced this is the reason why.
In so much of the cultural establishment there is now a strict 'party line' and anyone who deviates from it is marginalised or mocked. We hear a great deal about equality, diversity and inclusivity but obviously that does not include those who deviate from the cosy consensus.