Complaint about The Times to the PCC

On 11 November 2011, I reported The Times and their Letters Editor, Jeremy Vine, to the press complaints commission, for the partisan and prejudicial coverage of Global Warming, and compared The Times to Fox News in America, also owned by Rupert Murdoch.

The Chairman

Press Complaints Commission

Halton House

20/23 Holborn

London EC1N 2JD                                                                          November 11, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam:

Re: Letters Editor, Times.

I wish to bring a complaint against Times Newspapers and in particular the letters editor Jeremy Vine for being partisan and prejudicial in their coverage of global warming and for refusing to publish legitimate responses to articles by Matt Ridley, a maverick scientist whose views on global warming are not supported by any members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Times devotes considerable space for Matt Ridley to expound his eccentric and unsupported views on global warming. (See for example The Times, 31 August 2010: Matt Ridley: This Discredited IPCC Process Must Be Purged.) On 1 November 2011, Matt Ridley published an article on The Times Opinion page which purported to argue that the world population reaching 7 billion was nothing to worry about. He also made the extraordinary claim that humanity’s carbon footprint “will fall as gas replaces coal and oil”

I wrote a detailed rebuttal of his article and e-mailed it to the Letters Editor on 2 November. It was not published. On 6 November, I rang The Times letters desk and spoke to Jeremy Vine. I pointed out that not only had The Times not published my letter, they had not published any letters in response to Matt Ridley’s highly controversial article, and it had therefore gone unchallenged. Jeremy Vine agreed to consider my letter afresh and I therefore e-mailed a further letter specifically FOA Jeremy Vine. I included a further sentence in the letter as data had been published by the US Department of Energy after my first letter on 2 November which showed that world-wide emissions of carbon dioxide had risen by 6% in 2010 alone , and by 10% in China.

Again, the letter was not published, nor was any other letter published in response to Matt Ridley’s article.

On 9 November, I rang The Times Letters desk again and spoke to Melissa (Jeremy Vine apparently being away).  She could find no trace of my original two letters so I faxed her the revised version yet again. Sadly, this has not appeared in The Times letters column either.

In America,  two thirds of the US population  believe that global warming is a conspiracy dreamed up by climate change scientists to further their own research budgets. This can only be described as a mass delusion which has been largely fostered and perpetuated by Fox News, owned of course by Newscorps. In this country, The Times and Sunday Times are owned by the same outfit and their pursuit of the truth is best illustrated by the performance of James Murdoch in front of the Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport on 10 November.

I think that the Murdochs, through their sister publications in the UK, exert a pernicious and perverting influence on the scientific debate about the causes and dangers of global warming. I believe that your committee should censor them severely for their failure to present legitimate counter-arguments in their letters columns.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robin Russell-Jones MA FRCP FRCPath

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