Is this a first? Blogger extraordinaire Dr Richard North has made a detailed complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, lambasting it for acting in breach of Section 1 of its Editors Code of Practice, viz:
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
If the PCC ignores this complaint, it will then effectively find itself sanctioning a breach of the second clause of the same Section:
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published
You can read the great North’s letter in full here.
As we know from his ongoing case against the Guardian’s George Monbiot – who rather cavalierly accused North of “peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood” over a story which turned out to be entirely correct – North is not a figure to be trifled with. He has spent the last few decades acting as an expert witness in any number of complex court cases (involving everything from eggs to speed cameras) and has an almost trainspotterish obsession with the tiniest detail which, together with a grasp of legal procedure worthy of Tom Denning and crusading spirit worthy of Richard Coeur De Lion make him a truly formidable opponent of any manner of establishment mendacity, cover-up or bullshit.
This case, of course, concerns Amazongate – a complicated but important story which, as I reported on a previous blog (go there if you need all the links) can be roughly summarised thus:
The IPCC made a false claim in its most recent assessment report, passing off the propaganda of environmental activists as peer-reviewed science. Instead of admitting the truth and retracting its false claim, the IPCC and its sympathisers went into entirely characteristic cover-up mode. Activist scientists like Daniel Nepstad obfuscated; other activist scientists like Dr Simon Lewis of Leeds University exploited the ignorance and pro-Warmist bias of the Press Complaints Commission to bully an entirely unnecessary retraction of a true story on the subject by the Sunday Times; activist journalists like George Monbiot then boasted that they had been vindicated – a claim that was excitedly repeated throughout the ecotard blogosphere and among ecotard cheerleaders like the BBC. All of this energy in defence of a great, stinking lie.
I’d say North’s case is watertight. What the PCC did was force the Sunday Times to apologise for running a true story and then force it correct it with an untrue one. At the very least the PCC ought to force the Sunday Times to apologise for its apology.
Will this happen? Well, after three official whitewashes into Climategate I have long since lost what little faith I had in the liberal Establishment’s capacity to do anything other than cover up its incompetence, corruption and skullduggery. So I doubt the PCC will be any different.
One thing’s sure though: if the PCC refuses to act on this entirely valid and important complaint then, in the eyes of all fair-minded journalists and indeed non-journalists, it will have abandoned all claims to be taken seriously as a fair and independent arbiter of truth, decency and balance in the media.
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- Climategate: Monckton and North spit-roast Pachauri
- Freedom of speech is dead in Australia