Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blondin would be proud!

Thing is, some can be so good at balancing, and arguing about how well they are doing it, they can forget to move along - BBC's unnecessary balancing act?

And while it can be fun engaging in witty banter with the hecklers, there is a slight danger the main audience gets bored and looks elsewhere for their 'entertainment'.

Ignoring the glorious irony of so many worthy sorts whizzing about the globe to bring to us the perils of, amongst other things, whizzing about the globe (I know, it's your job, but there do seem to be some a lot more equal than oth... whose jobs require it more than those they take to task. Two? In this period? Why Bali and Valencia? Are not the majority of movers and shakers not more concentrated in, say, New York? And can combine the two more effectively? How many of 'you' will be there?), this does of course require some serious consideration, as the opinions and actions of the UK public can be markedly influenced by what the national broadcaster chooses to share. And be held to account for sharing. There are other media outlets and blogs to this, which others do read.

This is the CiF, so one knows where many are coming from, and often how they choose to view debate, especially when it comes to those less blessed with the rectitude of thought their sources of information provide.

Many do not come from the same place. And I'd love to run this sentence by the readers of the News of the World, whose ABC readership also is exposed to Aunty but might be seen to be at the other end of a scale to this mighty organ: 'We must also be smarter in the way we interpret the often vociferous views expressed by the public on climate change in our vibrant inter-active space. While welcoming a diversity of voices, we must make sure that we do not conflate self-selecting audience responses with a broad audience opinion.' Um, ok.

Many might not know much (or care) about Voltaire, but could still feel uneasy with 'I might not agree with what you have to say, but as it's silly you are obviously a [enter ist/inger/zi or other pejorative here] or just woefully misinformed, and hence unworthy of being heard 'cos we know what's right and good for you.

I'd suggest there is an argument therefore for letting all sides prevail (appreciating this is about extent), and allow the people to decide based on the merits (or not) of what they have to say (speaking personally, a classic Newsnight 'twofer' with each corner served by a grotesque extreme serves no one well). Looking here there is an uneasy sense that there are those who feel any questioning of anything with a green tag comes under the category of 'heretic' and must be excised.

Meanwhile, I really prefer things moved on a bit from getting proved right or wrong on the basis of absolutes, and some stopped worrying so much about vindication and shared more positive actions (all a bit 'ban the...' at the mo') that can be engaged with here and now, with consensus.

If, as I believe, man-worsened climate change ('man-made' being a tag I see a lot and puts me off as it has yet been shown to be true - and every sunspot, Mars-warming story chips away at such a stance. Cue the scientists: 'but you are ignorant!!!' As are most of us... that's the point. You win an audience over by understanding, not despising them) is a distinct possibility, I am much more keen on sensible, pragmatic, high enviROI + things (so I do ask more of an offshore wind farm than 'it's got to be done to save the polar bears') that can be shown to work that will engage and persuade all around to get on board.

Popping out endless apocalyptic scenarios that often give the 'deniers' plenty of comeback ammo seems counterproductive (especially when shown to be factually tenuous or in support of other lobbies), as are endless jollies that seem more about ratings and green 'in-crowd' exclusion zones rather than anything with much hope of touching the lives, hopes and aspirations of the vast working majority.

Even if it is not actually meant (and I really don't think... hope... it is. Any more than I can get my head around some Texas oil baron having no concern for their grandkids if they KNOW they are wrong), here can lie the seeds of a sense of swindle, where agenda, target and dogmatism can conflate (weeee...) with feeling the buzz of being in a driving seat, and put one out of touch with your audience. Ignore the needs, and desires, of the masses at your peril.

Inform us. Educate us and, if it can be done properly and well, persuade us. But please do not be tempted to talk down to us or, worse, select what we need to know 'for our own good'. Tricky in a sound-bite driven culture, but that's the balance you need to find.

BBC - Climate sceptics

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