French weatherman Philippe Verdier has been officially sacked by the state television channel. We don’t know the contents of the dismissal letter, but there’s a short video subtitled in English at
There’s general agreement in the comments under the above article that France Télévisions have shot themselves in the foot with this. He’s the most well-known face among TV weathermen, and he isn’t even a climate sceptic. All he’s done is write a book critical of the political and commercial use to which warmism is being put, pointing out e.g. how IPCC vice-president Jean Jouzel commands monster fees for giving greenwash talks to major companies.
What set him him off was being summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with other TV weather people and ordered by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in person (who is also president of COP21) to put the heat on in reporting extreme weather events in the run up to the Paris conference.
What makes this story potentially explosive is the flagrant contradiction in the leftwing press between their eco-activism and their supposed interest in defending free speech. This is evident for example in this particularly nasty article
in which, under the headline “How to make a martyr of a climate sceptic” well-known journalist Daniel Schneidermann, a specialist in the analysis of media bias, criticises France Télévisions, not for its censorship, but for giving publicity to Verdier’s views by sacking him.
Schneidermann states that Verdier’s book should never have been published, accuses him of conspiracy theorising and suggests that instead of being sacked, he should have been sent as permanent correspondent in the Arctic or Antarctic. That will probably set the tone for other press comments to come.
We can hope for a very public battle over this, with the private TV channels using it as a stick to beat the public channels. There’s a terrible conformism about most journalism in France, which paradoxically leads to a certain anarchism, with any media person who dares to criticise the politically correct “pensée unique” assured of a place in one of the many rowdy debates which pass for political analysis. Nothing else about COP21 is likely to fire the interest of the media. This might just do it. Watch this space.