I am a frequent listener to Ideas and I love the show for its factual base, non-biased approach and excellent coverage of issues. Therefore I was perplexed when I listened to the two part series Demon Coal. Whereas it purports to tell the story of coal, what it actually does is make a valiant effort to debunk all current climate science and make it sound like the consensus in climate science is now moving away from modeling and man made climate change towards what the far right has been touting for years: adaptation.
Here’s the thing: I don’t have a problem with the story being told from both sides. In fact, the story being told was an excellent one and a fair and balanced presentation of one side of the coin. The problem was that, in complete disregard of journalistic practice and integrity, only one side of the coin was presented. Not a single voice from the much larger other side was introduced and the two hours were dedicated to touting a line that is not widely supported among climate scientists world wide.
When I started listening and heard the presentations from climate scientists from the Senate panel, I was wondering when the counter arguments were going to be presented. After all, what these experts were presenting was a strongly skewed opinion that in no way matches what thousands of climate scientists all over the world and their science are saying. When no such response appeared in episode one I expected episode two to be a response. No such thing. In fact, episode two was dedicated to not only trying to debunk both climate science in general but also the IPCC, but it put BjÃ¸rn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Centre on a pedestal as the future of climate science and politics. This is hugely alarming as Lomborg is funded in large part by oil, coal, and natural gas lobbies and has been labeled by some as a false prophet. Though Lomborg’s views should be presented, the counter arguments must also be presented to give listeners the ability to perform a critical analysis of their own.
Demon Coal was a great program, but it was a program that only presented one side of the story. And it did it in such a way that it made it sound like the other side was not worth covering. By doing this, the show, and Ideas as a whole, went from being a trusted resource to becoming a propaganda platform for extreme ideas. That is both sad and unacceptable. How this happened I have no idea. The fact that it did makes me question all of Ideas’ programming. How am I to know that the rest of the information being put out by this show is not just as biased?
The airing of Demon Coal demands either a response or a retraction. Such biased content should not be aired simply because it is one sided and in breach of journalistic ethics. I am disappointed and also concerned about what this says about the internal politics in the show.
I would love to hear a response about this episode, in particular the reasoning behind the decision to air something this heavily biased without at the very least some form of byline commentary about said bias.