What is Channel 4’s problem with reporting the Green movement?

Of course critical documentaries have an important place in a democracy, but all the indications are that tonight’s broadcast will be just the latest example of C4 peddling a distorted view of the environment movement and the issues it cares about - nothing more than a cheap hatchet job aimed at generating controversy for controversy’s sake.

On April 1st 1998 Channel 4 was forced to apologise for a ‘documentary’ it made about the environmental movement, called, ‘Against Nature’. It was ruled the programme makers misled his interviewees about “the content and purpose of the programmes” and distorted their views “through selective editing”.

Fast forward to 2007 and Channel 4 was once again forced to apologise after Ofcom ruled their hugely influential documentary, ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, treated two scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unfairly.

Well, it seems, here we go again.

This evening Channel 4 will broadcast ‘What the Green movement got wrong’. Before it has even aired, reports suggest C4 are up to their old tricks. The Guardian reports that one of the contributors, Adam Werbach, has ordered that his interviews be removed from the film since:

“He says that the final version, which he has seen, does not accurately represent his opinions and that he wants his contribution edited out of the programme. He is now considering making a formal complaint to Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator, once the programme has aired.”

Now Left Foot Forward has learned that amongst the commentators to appear in tonight’s film is Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace director (during the 1970s) who now makes a living from being a major critic of green movement. He is known to have been paid directly by the mining, logging, GM and nuclear industries.

When Wired Magazine profiled Moore they described how:

“He’s a mouthpiece for some of the very interests Greenpeace was founded to counter, notably the timber and plastics industries.”

Concluding:

“It’s possible that fat fees or wounded feelings give Moore’s vehemence an edge. And it’s not inconceivable that he’s an out-and-out mercenary.”

Left Foot Forward has learned that Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the best-known rainforest destroyers in the world, are currently paying the agency run by Patrick Moore to conduct an environmental audit of their operations in Indonesia.

Presumably this ‘audit,’ which is expected to be published on Wednesday, will finally expose how forest preservation is damaging the environment, and only an extensive programme of clear-cutting can save the rainforest. After all, Moore is on record in the New York Post dismissing concerns about the impacts of logging, mining and clearing for agriculture in Amazonia, saying:

“All these save-the-forests arguments are based on bad science. … They are quite simply wrong… This stuff about them (Amazonian forests) vanishing at an alarming rate is a con based on bad science … Anyone who has been in the jungle knows that if you want to live there, you’d better take a few machetes.”

The Guardian also reports that a coalition of organisations from across the developing world have also complained to Channel 4 about the film because two of the pro-GM (Genetic Modification) commentators that are to appear in the film are funded by the GMO industry.

Of course critical documentaries have an important place in a democracy, but all the indications are that tonight’s broadcast will be just the latest example of C4 peddling a distorted view of the environment movement and the issues it cares about – nothing more than a cheap hatchet job aimed at generating controversy for controversy’s sake.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.