A Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph

I called Ian Marsden, managing editor at the Telegraph Media Group, earlier this week and informed him that I wished to register a complaint about some of their content. Ian told me that in the shiny new world of the Independent Press Standards Organisation the first thing I would need to do is fill in a form. That is what I have just done:

Us:

See also the print version of Christopher Booker’s article.

As I mentioned in my telephone conversation with Ian Marsden, this article is so full of scientific inaccuracies that it’s hard to know where to begin, and what actions The Telegraph could take that would be sufficient to correct the incredibly misleading portrayal of the underlying science.

As Ian is well aware, my particular specialisation is the Arctic, so let’s start there. Booker starts off:

“New data shows that the ‘vanishing’ of polar ice is not the result of runaway global warming”

What “new data”? There is none!

He goes on to say “Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded.”

That’s “old data” and the statement is inaccurate. Have you heard of Steven Mosher? The author of “Climategate – The Crutape Letters”? He tells me:

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/guest-post-skeptics-demand-adjustments/#comment-47424

“Looking at some maps I have of the Arctic It looks to me like we “cool” the Arctic. That is but for our adjustments the raw data would show a warmer arctic. I’ll try to check that in detail.

The Homewood approach (and by extension Delingpole and Booker) is pretty simple. Look for stations that are warmed and complain. Of course, he fails to look at the entire picture, fails to look at the large parts of Africa (20% of the globe) that our algorithm “cools”.

By looking at the whole we know that the scientifically interesting result (the world is getting warmer) STANDS. it stands with adjustments. It stands with no adjustments. Any local detail that may be wrong or questionable is not material to this conclusion.”

Here’s a video by a scientist who has studied such matters, which explains the truth:

Watch it, check the inaccuracy of Booker’s statements for yourself if you so desire, then get back to me. I’ll be more than happy to go through all the other inaccurate and misleading statements in the article once you have attempted to justify this one.

Them:

From an email dated 20/02/2015 17:55:

Dear Mr Hunt

The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever, 7 Feb 2015
and The Sunday Telegraph, Feb 8 2015

Thank you for contacting us about this article.

As you are aware, climate change is a complex and controversial topic. A newspaper is not a scientific journal, and is not required to represent all the possible shades of evidence and interpretation that might have a bearing upon any given topic.

This is clearly an opinion article and identifiable as such. Against the background described above, readers can be expected to understand that any evidence offered is almost certainly contestable. It follows that in an opinion article of this nature only the most egregious inaccuracy could be significantly misleading. None of the points you raise qualify as such.

The phrase ‘new data’ is readily understandable, in context, as meaning the new study into existing Arctic weather station data undertaken by Paul Homewood, which is the focus of the article.

You say that Homewood’s analysis is ‘inaccurate’, and seek to prove this by reference to the work of others. The existence of contrary views and interpretations does not negate Christopher Booker’s right to describe Homewood’s findings and comment upon them. There is nothing in the points you raise that would engage the terms of the Editor’s Code of Conduct.

I trust this is of some assistance.

Yours sincerely

Jess McAree | Head of Editorial Compliance

 

Us:

Jess McAree’s email didn’t include a telephone number, so I called The Telegraph’s switchboard (on the morning of February 24th). They told me “He doesn’t take calls”. I persisted and they put me through to Andy, who assured me that whilst Mr. McAree was currently in a meeting he would tell him that I had called as soon as he emerged. Whilst waiting for a call back I registered another complaint via The Telegraph’s online form, this time checking the “Opportunity to reply” box:

This is a supplementary note to my original complaint of February 13th 2015, a copy of which is available online here:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/a-letter-to-the-editor-of-the-sunday-telegraph/

It is now 11:30 on February 24th 2015. I spoke at length to Ian Marsden yesterday, and for some strange reason he didn’t mention Jess McAree’s email of the 20th inst. to me. Does the left hand at The Telegraph not know what the right hand is doing? I pointed out to Ian that your complaints policy states:

“We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days of receipt”

Ian reminded me about the “We aim” bit, and assured me that my complaint was being dealt with. Following the recommendation of an IPSO complaints officer I am registering this further complaint about the lack of a timely “right to reply” on what Ian referred to yesterday as The Telegraph’s “audit trail”. I shall also send a more detailed response to his email to Mr. McAree’s personal email address.

 

Them:
 
2015-02-24_1200_Telegraph 

Us:

We’ll keep you posted!

13 thoughts on “A Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph

    1. All one way thus far I’m afraid. Rest assured that you’ll be the first to hear when (if?!) The Telegraph get back to us on this. Their complaints policy says:

      We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days of receipt.

      so I feel sure a letter is in the virtual post as we speak!

  1. This morning the BBC news on Radio 4 at 7.00 am mentioned the Booker article as a credible argument against the science of climate change. i was really shocked and phoned BBC to complain.
    I assume the news editor had a wink and a nod from the GWPF and thought it could be slipped in early in the morning without much notice.

      1. Yes that is the one, it comes in at about 7 minutes 45 seconds. Hard to believe the BBC can give any credence to such nonsense.

  2. Jim,

    Since the Telegraphs position on is “Booker is just writinmg his opinion” then it would appear that a profitable tack might be to ask, why, given Bookers lack of scientific competence, his tendancy to report the most simplistic and scientifically flawed “work” they (the Telegraph) feel his opinion is worth sharing. In other words, how can they justify in the light of his scientific naiveity, giving his opinion a platform ?

  3. Hi Swim,

    Personally I’m intrigued by the fact that the BBC evidently totally fail to comprehend the Telegraph’s argument. Radio 4 recently presented Booker’s opinions about Homewood’s opinions about cherry picked weather stations as a credible counterbalance to our glorious Labour leader’s views on climate change!

  4. I have had correspondence with Jess McAree in the last few days over a complaint about a Telegraph article as a preamble to a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

    Not knowing any better I started off with “Dear Ms McAree,” but this did not seem to interrupt the subsequent flow. Only found out my misconception when googling and found this article!

  5. My complaint was about a media article on the voice UK. My niece in law from Dublin got to the live knockout rounds but failed on the telephone vote. Her cameo footage showed her and extended family and friends watching previous week’s episode. The telegraph correspondent said that perhaps they were having too much craic to bother voting.

    My complaint was that this was a racist comment against the Irish particularly as irish residents were debarred from voting by the BBC. The telegraph comment which stereotyped the Irish could not have been made at a more inopportune time as this Sunday telegraph article occurred on the very day that Ireland was recalling the 100 year anniversary of the easter uprising. McAree refused to deal with the matter other than to withdraw the online comment.

      1. I’m not familiar with the details of Ken’s case, but I am familiar with lots of similar “climate change” cases. Here’s the most recent example:

        Climategate 2 Falls at the First Hurdle?

        Step 1 – Prominently publish some sh1t you just made up.

        Step 2 – Wait for your “loyal army of rebloggers, retweeters, plagiarisers and other assorted acolytes” to do your dirty work for you.

        Step 3 – As a last resort and after much prevarication “correct” or even withdraw said sh1t.

        Q.E.D?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *