Where next with creating a platform for people to challenge the climate misinformation in the media? I’ve contacted a number of potential partners and gone through the process of a complaint via the UK Press Complaints Commission. Where next?
The trial PCC complaint showed that the advice I had been given by Climate Brief, on the Skeptical Science website and via Bob Ward over the phone was sound. The PCC are very unlikely to rule in favour of a complaint against reporting on climate science, unless someone or something is directly mis-quoted. If there is any degree of interpretation needed, the papers win, even if the science is conclusive.
It also takes a long time to go through the process of a PCC complaint, and a reasonable amount of effort. I first contacted the Telegraph on about 15 September, raised the complaint with the PCC on 10 October and received a verdict on 18 December.
Raising a lot of complaints would cause a stir, but could backfire if a large proportion were not upheld. Maybe it would be better to provide a platform to enable people to complain to editors directly, with a centrally created set of article specific facts available to help? Or maybe that could be expanded into a people-driven press complaints organisation, with greater transparency and more independence?
With the Daily Mail in the UK being granted the award for Climate Change Misinformer of the Year by the US website Media Matters, we are in the right place to make a difference. It is worth skimming the damning evidence against the Daily Mail as compiled by Media Matters.
So, what do you think? Poll follows, plus please do comment below.
Is there any way for a group of complainants to make a complaint to the PCC? Perhaps with one person acting as a focal point with an agreement as to how the viewpoints of the group are represented. I guess they often receive the same sort of complaint from numerous separate readers. How do they handle situations like that?
That was actually the original idea – I hope that was clear from the original post. If we were to go ahead with creating a platform for people to set up a complaint with the PCC, it would indeed involve one person managing a single complaint on behalf of a group. See https://john-bell.com/2013/10/10/im-not-standing-for-it-any-more
Your poll made me think of http://realitydrop.org – as far as I’m aware that’s all about commenting on climate-related articles – but something like that could be used to flag up articles that contain misinformation. An easy way of enabling people to complain either to editors or press complaints (or both?!) would be helpful.
The most likely potential host for this is actually Climate Reality, the group behind Reality Drop. Reality Drop is focused on the comment threads under articles rather than challenging the articles themselves. Climate Reality have gone a little quiet on me recently, though – the last I heard from them was a very promising email on 19 Nov.