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BBC sending form letters to complainants

When Geoff published his post showing the BBC’s response to his complaint about “Climate Change – The Facts”, there were two things that puzzled me.

Firstly, the BBC replied very quickly. In contrast, when I complained about Martha Kearney misleading millions of Today Programme listeners by reading out a lie about floods from the IPPR, it took them three weeks before they said that they didn’t care about misleading the public and weren’t going to do anything about it.

The second puzzling thing was that the BBC response didn’t seem to address the issues that Geoff had raised at all. The reply contained the usual bluster (“vast majority of climate scientists agree…”) but nothing related to Geoff’s comments. It ended with the naive hope that it would address his concerns.

But now, both of these puzzles have been solved. The BBC is simply sending out an identical form letter to people who complain. Ian Woolley received exactly the same letter in reply to his complaint (update: see Ian’s comment below) and Dave S reports that he also got the same reply.

I’m not aware of the BBC doing this before. Perhaps they realised that this particular pack of lies would generate many complaints and prepared this bluster in advance in a desperate attempt to fob people off. But it seems to be a very stupid approach, as it merely provides something else to complain about.

24 thoughts on “BBC sending form letters to complainants

  1. “But it seems to be a very stupid approach, as it merely provides something else to complain about.”

    A complaint for which, no doubt, they have already prepared their response.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes I meant to tell you guys the other day
    But what do you expect.?
    Do you really expect the BBC to put much money into after the show quality control ?
    Of course they don’t read and individually reply to each mail.
    And should we expect them to ?
    Of course they palm you off with a template mail and hope you go away.
    And for normal shows that probably is enough.

    The BBC hasn’t got a bloody clue about proper science
    ..so you can’t expect their art student type employees to answer questions properly.

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  3. I suspect they think they’re being clever by preparing their first response in advance. They know it’s only a first response, of course, as they know sceptics will learn about the standard nature of the response, and complain about it. However, they have the resources, and we don’t.

    I believe it’s simply an attempt to grind down anyone who complains, by effectively making the complaints process a stage longer than usual.

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  4. The BBC complaints system has been set up in such a way that it makes it highly unlikely that anybody will make it past all the hurdles to complain about numerous issues re. an entire, shamelessly misleading program which has pumped out an endless stream of misinformation, lies and half-truths. A form response is just a part of their tool box to divert attention away from the real issues. Nothing short of the complete removal of the program from the network and a public apology for misleading BBC viewers is appropriate. That is never going to happen. The BBC is a monstrous propaganda machine paid for by using your taxes – fortunately not mine (entirely legally), for the last decade.

    You should normally complain within 30 working days of the relevant transmission or publication (online or in a BBC-owned publication). Your complaint must be about a BBC item and raise one issue. Multiple points can cause handling delays and other complications.

    If you complain in writing we post or email over 90% of our replies within 2 weeks. If other people raise the same point our reply may be the same to everyone, both for consistency and efficiency.

    Opinions vary widely about the BBC’s output, but may not necessarily suggest a breach of standards or of the BBC’s public service obligations. Our reply may not therefore always be what someone might wish, but if we agree the BBC is at fault we will apologise.

    What if I’m dissatisfied with the BBC’s reply?

    Please contact us in writing and explain why, either online or by post within 20 working days and quoting your case number. We’ll reply again, this time usually within 20 working days.

    If you remain dissatisfied you may be able escalate to the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) at stage 2. If so we’ll tell you how. For full information please read the BBC Complaints Framework.
    Escalations and Ofcom:

    If you remain dissatisfied after completing the stages within the BBC, there may be a right of appeal to the regulator Ofcom. In the case of TV Licensing complaints this is to an independent ombudsman.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/

    It is absurd that you cannot complain directly to the independent communications regulator which should have teeth – sharp canines – not worn down old molars. The fact that the BBC has for so long been free to ply its immoral trade in biased propaganda and misinformation makes me suspect that even Ofcom may not be up to the job of reining it in.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Is it time for the BBC Complaints Procedure to be declared Institutionally Corrupt to reinforce the BBC’s Institutional bias on the EU’s overheated Global aspirations?

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  6. I’ve just heard the BBC R4 continuity announcer say that “we are in the midst of a climate emergency”, so maybe that explains the change of policy, but also justifies a new rash of complaints to be ignored. The funny thing is that climate alarmism relies on a careful gradation of the alarm-level, if it gets too high people either panic and stop wasting money on things like the BBC license fee, or relax into laughter. The only place left for R4 to go is now to have sirens in the background.

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  7. looks like if you have an issue with the BBC, ya’ll should go do some science.
    Kinda cool that they say you should limit your response to ONE issue.
    smart chaps eh?

    and they make you guys pay for this. that’s even funnier.

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  8. The “Climate Emergency” that we are being braced for, including Charity Appeals requesting financial help, is the sudden cut in US Funding for Climate Scientists.

    Why throw money away on unwanted donkeys to live in a tranquil sanctuary, when you too, can pay for the jet set elite to fly to exotic locations and ruin them?

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  9. If that comment from Mosher is from the Mosh I remember from Climate Audit (many years ago now)
    his moto was “free the data” so that ordinary interested people could audit/have access to data that our taxes have paid for.

    if that’s you Steven, why should BBC viewers have to “go do some science” ?

    as you say we pay for this & we expect accurate/balanced output for our licence fee.

    ps – say Hi to Bender.

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  10. Here’s my draft reply to their form letter:

    Your reply to my complaint doesn’t even mention the dozen factual errors I identified, which would suggest to a normal person that you accept my criticisms. So please withdraw the programme, rectify the mistakes, and apologise to your viewers.

    If you do dispute my criticisms, and continue to assert that we are experiencing “greater storms, greater floods extreme sea-level rise;” that “at the current rate of warming, we risk a devastating future”; that the heatwave that killed Ozzy bats is unprecedented; that a fire in Montana in 2009 is relevant to last year’s fires in California; that Louisiana land loss is due to man-made sea rise and not to land use and water management; etc. please furnish evidence for your claims.

    Your “experts” were not. Oreskes is not a scientist; Mann is expert in extracting temperatures from tree rings; Maslin is a businessman with a geography chair.

    You say: “As climate change is accepted as happening, the BBC no longer seeks to ‘balance’ the debate by interviewing those who do not agree with this position.” Neither did you interview anyone who accepts that climate change is happening, but questions the magnitude or likely catastrophic results, which includes prominent climate scientists like Spencer and Christy (responsible for the NASA satellite temperature data) Linden and Judith Curry. Nor did you interview experts in the economic consequences of climate change like Pielke and Lomborg. Are they also covered by your ban? If not, why were their dissenting opinions not mentioned?

    Please answer factually my objections to your so-called facts quickly so we can get on to the interesting bit with Ofcom. There I shall be arguing that your documentary has been a key factor in getting a parliamentary motion passed declaring a fantasy climate emergency; that it is a mendacious political tract; that many of your so-called experts are charlatans; and that the BBC has broken every statute about political neutrality. Then it gets interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is a half-hour comedy programme on BBC Radio 4 where contestants attempt to identify five truthful facts from within a morass of untruths (many deliberately funny or ridiculous). I am reminded of Attenbollocks, but so far I’ve failed to find the truthful facts. Perhaps Attenbollocks should have been retitled – Climate Change: the unbelievable untruth.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Geoff, FWIW I am very impressed by your draft response, and hope you send it soon. I look forward to observing developments.

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  13. Geoff:

    I think your draft opens too many angles whereby you can be dismissed for personal opinion and the questioning of characters, not the objective questioning of information put forward as facts.

    So instead of:
    ‘Your “experts” were not. Oreskes is not a scientist; Mann is expert in extracting temperatures from tree rings; Maslin is a businessman with a geography chair.’

    Maybe something like:
    Your “experts” Mann, Oreskes (actually a historian of science), Maslin (actually a businessman with a geography chair), are in disagreement with the mainstream body of science and the IPCC.

    Along the same lines I think you need to lose ‘mendacious’ and ‘charlatans’. Quite apart from the fact that (while we can’t say anything about individual motivations from the cultural PoV) most adherents to far climatism are passionately and honestly motivated (to the point of severe bias), these terms are both libelous and challengable. Nor could you possibly prove such motivations. Hence such terms will merely sabotage your complaint furtherance and make it much easier for your efforts to be dismissed.

    plus ‘reasonable’ is probably better than ‘normal’.

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  14. ANDY
    I think you’re largely right. I’ll leave out mendacious and charlatan and also the whole para about “your ‘experts’…” The actionable accusations should come later. I’ll maybe use the few extra words to enlarge on the “no longer seeks balance” because that’s where the BBC reply is most open to attack. It clearly suggests that Lawson, and we complainers, and anyone else they left out, is someone who denies that climate change is happening. Once spelt out, it destroys their whole argument. Any statement beginning “scientists say..” is false unless they can claim that the nay-sayers are beyond the pale, deniers of climate change, whom they are justified in ignoring, which is clearly not the case.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Geoff and Andy: A bit more on “Oreskes is not a scientist” but a historian of science. I’ve been thinking a lot about this for a piece I’ve been drafting that Geoff has just seen. Point one, the climate challenge is rightly seen as interdisciplinary. Except by the BBC in its dumb statement “Climate Change – the Facts represented the work of a wide range of scientists from the UK and US…”. It should never be just scientists. Engineers and economists certainly are crucial or should be. But also historians. The problem is it’s possible to be called a historian of science and miss something vital. Which Michael Kelly doesn’t miss, even though he’s not called a historian of science but (currently) Professor of Technology. This comment may become even clearer as my post makes it through to the public arena!

    The tone issue as a whole is exceedingly hard. Let’s just say I hugely enjoyed Geoff’s latest on the triumph of the lizards (especially Matt Ridley’s cameo) but I think there’s room for a range. What each of us ends up saying directly to Auntie is something else. Whatever, eventually, works.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Geoff. Dear Naomi has a degree in mining geology, has practiced this art in the real world and taught geology at university level before changing her skin (oh no that’s a different thread on lizards). Anyway I would be cautious about saying the lady is not a scientist. She has qualifications and relevant experience that proves otherwise.

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  17. Thanks Alan & Richard. That’s why this kind of thread is so useful. Avoiding ad hominem is always a good idea, and Oreskes, Mann etc aren’t finally responsible for the way that the BBC uses their interviews. Nor is Thunberg, come to that.

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  18. Pingback: BBC doesn’t even bother to read complaints | Climate Scepticism

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