Friday, March 19, 2010

Sorry State

That 'state' can apply to much.

'Of affairs'. 'Of reporting'. 'Of state broadcasting standards'. 'Of draconian censorship'

The other day I found myself perturbed by the PRasNews reporting of a story I was being subjected to, pretty much across the board, but extensively on the BBC.

What irked was that, during the morning news, they were corrected on a less than accurate claim. Which was jokingly acknowledged, but not acted upon.

So I wrote the following commentary on two of the BBC's main blogs.

Both were rejected for 'defamation'. Other than holding up to ridicule journalistic standards these days, I am stumped as to where it was.

Yesterday morning I was intrigued by a 'report' on BBC Breakfast News regarding the proposed Nissan leaf factory.

The claim made was that it was going to be 'zero emission'. In a subsequent slot it was bashfully conceded that, as the consequence of 'an email', this might be hard to substantiate. Sadly, subsequent BBC 'reports' throughout the day failed to accommodate this input.

'Nissan said the Leaf hatchback would be the world's first affordable, mass-produced, zero-emission car.'

'Nissan said', indeed? We are now in an era of PR as news, it seems. Or, at the very least, PR untroubled by much in the way of follow-up.

At least we get something more accurate here:

'But as policy makers will get jobs and emission reductions in return, this may well prove to be money well spent.'

Well, it is 'good' news:

Thing is, is it news in a form that adequately outlines the issues. There seems to be no doubt that the economic story is good, but what about the much touted environmental complement?

'The Japanese carmaker said today the Leaf will be the world's first mass-produced zero-emission car.'

I have seen that a lot in print and heard it broadcast.

Until the generation of 'leccy is properly sorted to a decent enviROI, it might be worth popping in the caveat that this is possibly true at point of running, but the exhaust pipe still exists, just in another place.

And no matter what, short of pixie dust, it will have a GHG consequence even after ignoring manufacture.

But the BBC is in good company. Spot the similarities, so far:

I note most have that caveat that Nissan 'say'. Hardly in-depth reporting at its best, though, is it?

Look, this could well be a good thing, economically and environmentally, but after Mr. Miliband's recent little outing on climate claims (But his party is obviously as green as it gets, so: @EdMilibandMP Tory silence on climate change and on energy deafening … co-sign my letter to Cameron *, if you think Ms. Lucas' thoughts to be inaccurate: ), trotting out a day later anything via Peter Mandelson as gospel 'green is good no matter what' hardly seems to be the best journalistic route to credibility and public confidence in professional objectivity either.

I will seek clarification, for all the good it will do me.

* in my original posting one digit was dropped. But as the BBC has a 'broken URL' facility this could not be the reason.

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