16 December 2009
You Couldn't Make This Up
Despite its liberal bias, on the whole I enjoy Newsnight, the BBC’s highly respected flagship news analysis programme. But tonight it went just a little too far, treating us to the quite amazing spectacle of an “experiment” by a leading scientist using two large plastic water bottles to demonstrate to an audience of a dozen or so sceptics that man-made global warming is indeed an imminently destructive reality. I don’t know which made the BBC look sillier: the two “leading” scientists who merely served to enhance my (and I suspect most other viewers’) scepticism, the deeply “sceptical” audience who were (surprise, surprise) suddenly swayed by the little bottle trick, that the piece was presented in such a way that it was actually believed viewers might somehow be swayed by the comparison of a two-litre water bottle with something as immensely complex as the globe we live on, or the rather brave attempt by the genuinely intelligent and perceptive newscaster with the unfortunate role of having to follow the package managing – somehow - to keep a straight face as he moved on to the next story. The words “laughable”, “tragic”, “hilarious”, “breathtaking”, “wolf wolf” and “Goebbels” all come to mind.