Skip to main content

Scientists are the Bad Guys.

This is the new talking point for the Exxon-Mobil lobby, as evidenced by the director of a new "documentary" to be shown on British television entitled "The Great Global Warming Swindle".  Here's how that director, Martin Durkin, characterized his film:

Controversial director Martin Durkin said: "You can see the problems with the science of global warming, but people just don't believe you - it's taken 10 years to get this commissioned.

"I think it will go down in history as the first chapter in a new era of the relationship between scientists and society. Legitimate scientists - people with qualifications - are the bad guys.

"It is a big story that is going to cause controversy.

"It's very rare that a film changes history, but I think this is a turning point and in five years the idea that the greenhouse effect is the main reason behind global warming will be seen as total bollocks.


Total bollocks?  Interesting claim.  So who exactly is Martin Durkin, the man who claims he will change history by slaying the evil dragon myth of global warming?  Here's what The Independent has to say about him in its report on the film:

Martin Durkin, for his part, achieved notoriety when his previous series on the environment for the channel, called Against Nature , was roundly condemned by the Independent Television Commission for misleading contributors on the purpose of the programmes, and for editing four interviewees in a way that "distorted or mispresented their known views".

Channel 4 was forced to issue a humiliating apology. But it seems to have forgiven Mr Durkin and sees no need to make special checks on the accuracy of the programme. For his part, the film-maker accepts the charge of misleading contributors, but describes the verdict of distortion as "complete tosh."

Complete tosh (I love these British expressions by the way)?  This from a man with a known history of distorting science in order to deceive the public.  And not just about global warming either.  Here's what he sold to Channel 4's science series as a reputable report in 1998 that claimed scientific studies proved silicon breast implants not only were safe, they actually reduced the risk of breast cancer:


In October 1998, a television producer named Martin Durkin took a proposal to the BBC's science series, Horizon. Silicone breast implants, he claimed, far from harming women, were in fact beneficial, reducing the risk of breast cancer. Horizon commissioned a researcher to find out whether or not his assertion was true.

After a thorough review, the researcher reported that Mr Durkin had ignored a powerful body of evidence contradicting his claims.

Martin Durkin withdrew his proposal. Instead of dropping it, however, he took it to Channel 4 and, astonishingly, sold it to their science series, Equinox. To help him make the programme, Durkin hired Najma Kazi, a highly respected TV researcher and producer who was previously a research biochemist. After two weeks she walked out. "It's not a joke to walk away from four or five months' work," she told me, "but my research was being ignored. The published research had been construed to give an impression that's not the case. I don't know how that programme got passed. The only consolation for me was that I'm really glad I didn't put my name to it."

But the programme was broadcast, in May last year. Silicone implants, it insisted, appeared to reduce the incidence of breast cancer. Women claiming that their operations had caused severe health problems were dismissed as cranks, malingerers and compensation-chasers. The researchers who believed that there was a problem were accused of practising "junk science".

In 1997, Durkin's prior anti-global warming documentary "Against Nature" broadcast by Channel 4 stated environmentalists were the comparable to the Nazis because they were responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the developing world.  "Against Nature" was financed by associates of the fringe libertarian LM group, whose stated goals are opposition to "all restrictions on business, science and technology ..."  After the broadcast of "Against Nature," Channel 4 was forced to make a humiliating on-air apology after the lies and distortions of Durkin's film were exposed in a ruling issued by Britain's Independent Television Commission upon a complaint filed by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth:

Friends of the Earth has welcomed today's devastating ruling by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) over Channel 4's anti-green series "Against Nature". Following the ruling, Channel 4 are to be forced to issue on-screen apologies to the Campaigns Director of Friends of the Earth,Tony Juniper, and three other environmentalists. "Against Nature" was made by independent production company RDF television.

ITC ruled that the programme makers "distorted by selective editing" the views of Tony Juniper and other interviewees; and " misled" participants over the "content and purpose of the programmes when they agreed to take part."

A further complaint by Friends of the Earth that the programme was inaccurate in its use of facts and unfairly hostile to the environmental movement is not fully covered by the ITC Programme Code.However, in a letter to FOE the ITC admitted that "we sympathise with some of the views you have expressed about the way the programme dealt with the issues it addressed. In the light of those views, together with our concerns about the breaches of Section 3.8...we shall be discussing with Channel 4 some aspects of their approach to this programme, and to their compliance with our Programme Code."

Nonetheless, Durkin is back with another anti global warming polemic which apparently is just as poorly sourced as his prior film, yet Channel 4 is airing it anyway.  I guess America is not the only country with a so-called "liberally biased media" these days. Here's George Monbiot's takedown of Durkin's "thesis" (from the January 30th issue of The Guardian):

... A company called WAG TV is currently completing a 90-minute documentary for Channel 4 called "The Great Global Warming Swindle". Manmade climate change, the channel tells us, is "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern times. The truth is that Global Warming is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry: created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists; supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding; and propped up by complicit politicians and the media. ... The fact is that CO2 has no proven link to global temperatures ... solar activity is far more likely to be the culprit."(10)

... [I]t’s the same old conspiracy theory that we’ve been hearing from the denial industry for the past ten years, and it carries as much scientific weight as the contention that the Twin Towers were brought down by missiles. The programme’s thesis revolves around the deniers’ favourite canard: that the "hockey-stick graph" showing rising global temperatures is based on a statistical mistake made in a paper by the scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes(11). What it will not be showing is that their results have now been repeated several times by other scientists using different statistical methods(12); that the paper claiming to have exposed the mistake has been comprehensively debunked(13) and that the lines of evidence used by Mann, Bradley and Hughes are just a few among hundreds demonstrating that 20th century temperatures were anomalous.

Further rebuttals of the "science" presented in Durkin's little propaganda film can be viewed here and here. Suffice it to say, the science supporting Durkin's claims is very thin indeed. Unfortunately, considering Durkin and WAG TV's prior working relationships with the Discovery Channel and PBS, we can no doubt expect to see this piece of trash coming to an American cable channel near you in the not too distant future.  Probably with the advertising support of Exxon and its friends in Big Oil.

Also posted at Booman Tribune

Originally posted to Steven D on Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 06:27 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site