BBC Asks Dr. Willie Soon to Respond to Climate Conspiracy Claims

by Eric Worall, July 13, 2020 in WUWT

The BBC has belatedly decided they need at least a little input from one of the targets of their latest big oil climate conspiracy propaganda piece. Dr. Willie Soon does not hold back in his response.

Note some of the links take you to a “You are leaving the service” page. This is a harmless artefact caused by copying Dr. Soon’s email, click continue to see the referenced document.

Dear Ms. Keane,

I am wary of responding to your false allegations, since your questions seem somewhat loaded. Disappointingly, they appear to repeat the dishonest and misleading claims of the former Greenpeace USA research director, Kert Davies (now running the so-called “Climate Investigations Center”), whose research we have shown to be disingenuous in Section 2 of our attached 2018 report on Greenpeace (Attachment 1). Unfortunately, the premise of your series seems to be the dangerous conspiracy theories promoted by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their 2010 book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change and their 2014 film of the same name. I’ve attached a short 3-page .pdf (Attachment 2) summarizing just a few examples of the poor scholarship and bizarre hypocrisies in Oreskes & Conway’s conspiracy theories.

The BBC has an established history of stifling genuine scientific inquiry and nuanced debate on climate change since its infamous 2006 Climate Change – the Challenge to Broadcasting? seminar, as described in detail in Andrew Montford’s short book The Propaganda Bureau and summarized in various blogs in 2012, e.g., hereherehere and here.

It is also regrettable that you attempted to contact me in such a roundabout way, i.e., by going through the Heartland Institute, rather than emailing me directly here at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I am not pleased that you saw fit to circulate your letter, with its numerous libellous comments, to a third party.

The BBC seems to encourage the unethical pseudo-journalistic practice of selectively quoting and cherry-picking out-of-context interviewees who disagree with the narrative of the program, in order to make the interviewees seem foolish or uninformed. Richard North, summarized this unethical practice well in this 2011 essay: was a particular concern when I considered whether to reply to your allegations.

I am hoping that you have more journalistic integrity than your BBC colleagues who have carried out unethical “hatchet jobs” in the past. I suspect that you may not be planning to “fairly and accurately reflect any comments” as you promised me.

Nonetheless, given the number of false allegations you are threatening to broadcast, I feel compelled to respond. I have copied this letter a number of friends and colleagues who might be interested to see the questions you have asked me and my responses.

I have copied and pasted your letter to me below. Your letter is in bold face: and my responses are in Roman face.

Will you change course in your grave misunderstanding on this timely subject and uphold honest debate and discussion on climate science?

Yours faithfully,

Willie Soon