The BBC Trust has just published its report on the impartiality of its science coverage, which strikes a blow to the US media's practice of presenting a balance in their reports of global warming of the views of 97 percent of scientists who say climate change is real and an increasing threat to the handful -- though noisy -- deniers or front groups bankrolled by corporate interests.
That "false equivalency" has implanted doubt about warming in the minds of many Americans, thwarting efforts to deal with needed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The study called "Trust Conclusions on the Executive Report on Science Impartiality Review Actions" found the BBC content "was generally of high quality and was exemplary in its precision and clarity."
Author Steve Jones, emeritus professor of genetics at University College London, found concern about the "appropriate application of editorial guidelines on impartiality in science reports."
He blamed an overly rigid application of impartiality guidelines resulted in an "undue attention to marginal opinion," especially regarding man-made climate change. That neither precludes careful scrutiny of scientific research nor a ban on critical opinion.
The BBC's goal is avoid the ‘false balance’ between fact and wrong opinion.
According to the report: "The BBC has a duty to reflect the weight of scientific agreement but it should also reflect the existence of critical views appropriately. Audiences should be able to understand from the context and clarity of the BBC’s output what weight to give to critical voices."
The US media should take a page from the BBC's playbook.