I must say, I think this is an absolutely marvellous advance. We pay for the BBC, after all, so we really shouldn’t have any of that elitist nonsense about a factual reality or anything. No, news should be presented to show the world as "you" believe it to be, not as some impartial reporter of the facts would have it.
That, at least, was the view of one Jo Abbess, a climate activist (and a remarkably confused one at that, a little googling reveals that she worries about both global warming and Peak Oil: mutually exclusive concerns one might think. Bless.) who, as this correspondence shows, did indeed manage to have a BBC news report changed to reflect her views. We mustn’t actually talk of static temperatures, or even worse, of 1998 being the hottest so far (and thus since then we’ve had cooling) because that might make people think that the world has, umm, not been warming and might even have been cooling since 1998. Can’t let the proles know the truth now, can we?
As Lubos points out, when the crazed loons start threatening mass email campaigns, it’s often easier just to give in, as this BBC journo did. Which I think is really rather fabulous, it’s going to be so much fun. No, really: now we know that for the BBC Einstein was right. Everything is indeed relative, so it is simply weight of numbers, who complains the loudest, which will decide how the news is reported, how facts are portrayed.
A small bank of a few hundred committed emailers could bring great truth and clarity to the news, if you think about it the right way. Perhaps the insistence that all references to the Chancellor be replaced with the "Banned Badger" might not work, but those which insist that the Lisbon Treaty is the EU Constitution would pass muster: for of course it is. Insisting upon the insertion of the word "ruinous" in front of all mentions of current taxation levels similarly seems fair. All discussions of the education system would benefit from a "some say that a pure voucher system would solve all current problems" and certain readers will know where "monocular Scot" should be inserted.
Given that we already know the BBC gives in to the threat of a few polite emails, well, why not make hay?
Or might we find that the BBC’s willingness to accomodate opinions only goes one way, left, green and statist?