Complaint to Ofcom Regarding The Great Global Warming Swindle

1. Complaint Summary

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The UK Governments Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King was attacked on the basis of a misquote in the closing statement of the film  – see Comment 137, page 115 and Appendix H: page 167.


The views of both Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and of millions of ordinary people who are concerned about the environment were repeatedly misrepresented in a factually inaccurate and extreme way (see Comment 75, page 68; Comment 80, page 71; Comment 81, page 71; Comment 120, page 100; and Comment 136, page 114).


Serious allegations, many of them demonstrably false, were made about the IPCC without any evidence being offered to support the allegations, and without the IPCC being given a chance to defend itself on the programme (see Comment 17, page 21; Comment 113, page 94; and Comment 115, page 96). A passage from an IPCC report was selectively quoted in order to appear to the viewer to be stating the opposite of what it was actually stating (Comment 112, page 92) and other passages were seriously misrepresented by the film (for example Comment 73, page 66; Comment 74, page 67; and Comment 111, page 92). A Wall Street Journal article attacking IPCC processes was shown and quoted from, but it was not revealed that the writer of the article has never had any involvement with the IPCC, nor that he runs a lobby group that actively campaigns against greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies (see Comment 114, page 95).


Serious allegations of misappropriation of public funds by scientific funding bodies were made by the programme without any evidence being offered in support of the allegations and without any of the bodies being given a chance to defend themselves on the programme (see for example Comment 117, page 97).

A total of 25 breaches fell into this category, although we have grouped related breaches if no individual had been named; and for the purposes of this complaint we consider them to collectively constitute 9 serious breaches: see Appendix A.1.2, page 116 for details.


Use of Straw Man, Ad Hominem and Non-sequitur Logical Fallacies

It is a serious matter if a film shown by a public service broadcaster, that claims to be a documentary on a complex scientific subject, resorts to using logical fallacies in an apparent attempt to mislead viewers. The most common logical fallacies used by the programme were Straw Man arguments (pretending that ones opponents are taking an absurd position that they are not taking, and then attacking that absurd position); ad hominem attacks (replying to an argument by attacking the person making the argument, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument); and non-sequiturs (stating conclusions that do not logically follow from what has gone before, for example because human emissions were not responsible for pre-industrial climate change, it is therefore impossible that they could be strongly influencing climate change now). For example, see Comment 23, page 23; Comment 79, page 70; Comment 80, page 71; Comment 35, page 27.

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Section 1.6.4]


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Final Revision

Last updated: 11 Jun 2007