March 10, 2016

What's the REAL story behind the CBC's changing coverage of that climate change poll?

Tom HarrisGuest Post

According to Esther Enkin, the current Ombudsman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), she “has a mandate to determine whether information content the CBC has produced fully respects CBC's journalism policy.”

With that thought in mind, let’s consider whether Enkin did her job concerning a complaint I lodged on February 27 about the way in which CBC radio covered a recent public opinion poll about climate change. Here is the background.

In an apparent attempt to provide cover for the federal/provincial global warming summit last week in Vancouver, a study authored by researchers from University of Montreal and three American universities was released on February 15. Entitled “The Distribution of Climate Change Public Opinion in Canada,” the study was reported on at about 10:00 am on February 22 by CBC on their web site.

However, Australian science presenter Jo Nova pointed out that apparently the CBC later edited both the headline and the story to make it more politically correct (see the CBC's explanation for those changes here).

As Nova points out, at first the CBC headline read, “Climate change: Majority of Canadians don’t believe it’s caused by humans,” with appropriate text to support this conclusion.

But, as Nova writes:

“The original message revealed a sacred truth that must not be spoken. How would most Canadians feel about being forced to pay money to change the weather if they knew most other Canadians also thought it was a waste of billions?”

So, after the survey researchers complained, the headline was changed to “Canadians divided over human role in climate change, study suggests,” and significant parts of the piece rewritten, presumably to give more of the message needed by politicians meeting in Vancouver.

So it appears our national broadcaster acted as a cheerleader for the global warming crusade. Nothing unusual about that.

What was different this time, however, was that, about mid-day on February 22, Adam Stroud, Associate Producer of Toronto-based CBC Syndicated Audio, reached out to me -- someone who vehemently opposes the CBC’s belief that the science of climate change is “settled” in favour of alarmism -- to comment on the meaning of the poll.

Stroud apparently did not know of my position and wanted local CBC radio show hosts across Canada to speak with me about where scientists and educators were “falling short” in popularizing the point of view CBC holds dear.

I was also asked to discuss how they could do better “in informing the public on climate change.”

It did not seem to occur to Stroud that many Canadians are skeptical of the CBC’s stance because, as is well demonstrated by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), it is not supported by the science.

NIPCC does not pull its punches, concluding in its November 2015 report “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming”:

“Probably the most widely repeated claim in the debate over global warming is that ‘97% of scientists agree’ that climate change is man-made and dangerous,” the authors write. “This claim is not only false, but its presence in the debate is an insult to science.”

(Note: Joe Bast, CEO of the Heartland Institute, the publishers of the NIPCC, discussed this valuable report on line on March 9, 2016 here.)

I accepted Stroud’s request, only to have him drop me later when one of the researchers of the original poll became available for the interview. (Or was is because he discovered my position on the issue?)

Hoping (naively it appears) for fair coverage of the survey, I nevertheless sent Stroud information to help CBC interviewers properly quiz the survey researcher. I explained:

The first question in the poll is a trick that should be exposed by CBC interviewers, I suggest. It was:

“From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?”

Besides the fact that temperatures do not quote get warmer unquote; they increase (or decrease); picking the last four decades is deceptive. All scientists on both sides of the debate agree it has generally warmed in the past 40 years. However, in the last 19 years, temperatures have generally stayed stable, with the variation generally staying within the uncertainty (see attached). The answer to the question, is it getting warmer entirely depends on the time interval chosen.

In this video, Professor Carter shows that it has warmed since 16,000 years ago

He shows it has cooled since 10,000 years ago

He shows it has cooled in the last 2,000 years

He shows it has neither warmed nor cooled since 700 years ago

He shows it has warmed in the past 40 years

But not in the last 8 years (now 19 actually)

But, Prof. Carter also shows, the last two temperature intervals are not statistically significant and “absolutely not unusual.“

So Carter concludes, “Is it warming or not - it depends on the time interval chosen.“

I suggest the CBC point this out to the researchers. Alternatively, I would be happy to discuss this on air.”

Stroud responded, “Thanks for that. We'll look into this further.”

I next sent the following to Stroud to illustrate how the poll was highly flawed:

They did not ask the most important question for the policy debate:

“Do you believe that emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities are causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change?”

The fact that a respondent believes the Earth is getting warmer or not is irrelevant to the climate policy debate. It is only if that warming (or cooling) is considered in any way dangerous that it would be worth carbon dioxide taxes or other means to lower carbon dioxide emissions.

It is also important to call it what it really is, namely carbon dioxide. The primary greenhouse gas is actually water vapour and no one is speaking about reducing our emissions of water vapour. If we were, then we should be draining our reservoirs as far more water evaporates when it is held high above sea level in large surface area lakes than if it were allowed to drain naturally to the ocean.

The above points, in addition to their uneducated reference to warming temperatures, makes me think the researchers really do not know the basics of the topic they are polling. I find this often with pollsters on the climate issue.

I am free to speak about this on air if you like.

Stroud did not respond.

Nor, according to the producer of CBC Vancouver’s On the Coast radio program, did he transfer any of the information I provided to CBC Vancouver (or, most likely, to any other local radio show host across Canada).

Consequently, On the Coast did not have the material needed to properly investigate the relevance (or lack thereof) of the survey to the federal/provincial meeting about to occur in that city.

On the Coast radio show host Chris Brown merely had a friendly talk with the author (listen to the interview at the 48:35 mark here), devoid of any skeptical inquiry.

I e-mailed Stroud, Brown and the On The Coast producer:

“It was many hours before the interview on On the Coast so it is very poor that Adam did not share this with you. Adam, why did you not do this? It could have given Mr. Brown the information he needed to conduct a proper, inquiring interview instead of simply a cheer leading session with the highly activist professor from CA.”

No one responded so, on February 27, I complained to Ombudsman Enkin, about the situation. She replied that she had “no say in day-to-day decision-making” concerning CBC programming and described her mandate as above.

So, I sent to Enkin samples of where On the Coast’s coverage of the climate survey violated CBC's journalism policy and asked her:

“Are you saying then that, in your opinion, the situation I described below adequately fulfills the standards laid out in CBC's journalism policy? A quick glace at CBC's journalism policy shows many places, a small sampling of which I list below, where the situation described in the e-mails below clearly violates CBC's journalism policy. Are you saying that, in your professional judgement as CBC Ombudsman, these standards were indeed followed in the circumstances I describe?”

Enkin did not answer my questions and again asked me to explain my concerns.

“Editorial judgement about what research is done or who is approached is generally beyond the mandate of this office,” she concluded.

So, I wrote to her:

“If you want to just focus on one of these policy violations, I suggest you take the following:

Science and Health

Implications and validity of results of scientific research

We take care to understand properly and reflect the true implications of medical or scientific study results that we obtain, especially those involving statistical data.

The CBC Vancouver interview obviously did not "reflect the true implications" of the research and did not raise any of the problems with the work that I sent to CBC Toronto (since CBC Toronto did not share the information with CBC Vancouver even though they had many hours to do so).

Back and forth it went, Enkin asking for me to explain my concerns, me explaining them and then her asking again. I eventually gave up.

The whole e-mail thread may be viewed here.

So what readers think? Is the CBC Ombudsman doing her job or not?

(Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition. The NIPCC reports may be viewed at

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commented 2016-04-02 02:43:37 -0400
Okay, somebody cares.
I’d definitely throw the rebel’s shit against the cbc ventilator any day.
commented 2016-03-21 18:13:43 -0400
she did the same with me.. not answering questions but just deflecting
commented 2016-03-21 18:11:05 -0400
lol.esther enkin according to the cbc has the highest ethics and is the most moral person in canada…ironically esther enkin ignores the anti semitism which is rife within the cbc… complaining to enkin is a waste of time … she is just another pig at the trough..and btw… the censorship and opinion shaping that the cbc uses isnt in the purview of this “ombudsman” another joke played by the cbc elitist @holes.. on tax paying canadians….and all for the small cost of $3.25 million++ per day..
commented 2016-03-14 13:44:00 -0400
Having an ombudsman employed by the same organization that they are there to hold account is a joke in-an-of-itself.
commented 2016-03-13 14:44:46 -0400
Yes Ron, but the beauty of it was calling it out to watch them hang themselves.
commented 2016-03-13 14:32:42 -0400
Going to the CBC ombudsman is a joke; intimately part of the same corrupt organization.
commented 2016-03-13 11:15:53 -0400
I think all the righty MSM has been bought up by the lefties. Keep up the fight rebel.
commented 2016-03-12 19:38:33 -0500
Robert said, “What puzzles me is that the right is not picking this up and running with it.”

I think the right has been brow beaten into being silent.
commented 2016-03-12 07:34:57 -0500
I think the MSM and the Political elite on the left are red faced about the findings of the NIPCC. They don’t know what to do. As far as I can see there is complete silence concerning this in the MSM.
What puzzles me is that the right is not picking this up and running with it.
commented 2016-03-11 16:35:35 -0500
The scientific method has been politicized and sanctimoniously approved by our elites. Yes, it is a waste of billions. Patrick Moore a real scientist, eloquently clarifies the issue in this conversation with Stefan Molyneaux:
commented 2016-03-11 15:43:54 -0500
Thanks for al the hard work you do, Tom..

If any of you folks ever want to hold a Town Hall Information session the truth behind the AGW/CC BS, I highly recommend Tom Harris, Director of the International Climate Science Coalition, and Dr. Fred Michel, Director of Environmental Science at Ottawa’s Carleton University.
commented 2016-03-11 15:19:24 -0500
An interesting point that I am questioning is that in the recent meeting between President Obama and PM Trudeau, they are discussing the reduction of methane emissions now, NOT carbon dioxide emissions! Remember how the terminology changed from global warming to climate change? Now is has gone from greenhouse gas emissions to CO2 emissions to methane emissions. Are they covering their butts with respect to the scientific data? Certainly looks like it.
commented 2016-03-11 12:36:33 -0500
Andrew said, “Who watches CBC news that isn’t a lefty socialist douche bag??? Not many”

I do, so I can get the other side of the story … until the socialist/in-love-with-Justin Trudeau hogwash makes me so sick I have to leave.
commented 2016-03-11 12:09:41 -0500
commented 2016-03-11 09:37:04 -0500
If Harper had of gotten rid of the CBC when we were telling him to do so, we wouldn’t have that problem now. This is what happens when you fail to take the war to the enemy.
commented 2016-03-11 07:37:06 -0500
Who watches CBC news that isn’t a lefty socialist douche bag??? Not many.

Waiting for the sex tape to surface between Mansbridge and Bernie Trudeau – that would be news worthy.
commented 2016-03-11 01:14:01 -0500
Expecting objectivity from the CBC? The middle east will find peace before that happens.
commented 2016-03-11 01:11:25 -0500
For all to see, the reports of the NIPCC may be read at
commented 2016-03-10 21:59:36 -0500
Interesting Tom, I see you got the same taxi dance from the CBC Ombudsman I did in attempting to hold Michael Enright accountable for his open slander of the catholic church – I see yours worked out about as as well.

I;m convinced that the CBC brass have more than a religious faith in the shoddyscience of climate hysteria – I believe at heir core, thse cultural Marxists believe that climate hysteria and the politicization of it is the key to ushering in the single party state, and entrenching them as its power elite.

No other explanation for the CBC’s systemic perfidy, subterfuge, lies and waves of propaganda in protecting the climate crisis narrative.
commented 2016-03-10 21:20:34 -0500
@ Lad Reme

commented 2016-03-10 20:28:22 -0500
To the best of my knowledge, ‘Connery’, from which Con or Con Artist is derived, is still listed as a crime in Canada. This being the case, the Liberal Government who in part, were elected because of their promise to cut Green House Gases, should be called to account for their act of Connery. They should also be made to explain on what grounds do they intend to levy a Carbon Tax on us. Let them stand up and prove that the myth of Global Warming is not a myth and that Mankind is responsible for any increase in global temperature.

The whole lot of them, including the CBC, should be thrown in Jail. At the very least a new Election should be called.
commented 2016-03-10 19:29:28 -0500
Mr. Harris: Thanks for all your work on this issue. I would hope that the content of all you have collected is sent to the PMO so that the PM cannot say he didn’t know, as he rams the Carbon tax down the Country’s throat.
commented 2016-03-10 19:22:55 -0500
TOM HARRIS and everyone else , it’s a club ,never mind about the extraneous facts , that’s how they identify with each other, Oh you believe in manmade, and they say yes, Oh then your one of USA-______KOOL MAN !!!!