Media coverage slams the Great Global Warming Swindle

Media coverage of the Ofcom ruling on a complaint leveled at a UK documentary called “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” has been quick and harsh.

And so it should be. We here at DeSmog have been relentless in debunking the misrepresentations of this climate change shock-u-mentary that appeared to be more about raising hackles and spreading misinformation than about reflecting the true state of climate science.

As Dave Rado, the UK citizen behind the official complaint, aptly puts it:

The programme seemed very convincing, but it systematically distorted the evidence on climate change and every other major topic it dealt with. It also misrepresented the motives and conduct of many dedicated researchers who work in the field.”

UK media has been quick out the gate reporting that while the OfCom ruling did not find that the Swindle “materially mislead viewers so as to cause harm or offence,” it did misrepresent the views of some of the world's most distinguished scientists.

It is misrepresentation such as that ruled by OfCom to be contained in the Great Global Warming Swindle that has lead to unnecessary delay in action and confusion amongst the general public on the most important issue we face today.

Here's a complete round-up of media coverage on the OfCom decision so far. We will add to the list throughout the day.

Documentary broke Broadcasting Code

Excerpt: “A controversial Channel 4 documentary about global warming misrepresented the views of the Government's former chief scientist, Ofcom ruled.”

Channel 4 censured for misrepresenting scientists on climate change

Excerpt: “Channel 4 misrepresented the views of some of the world's most distinguished scientists in a documentary claiming that global warming was a conspiracy, the broadcasting watchdog has ruled.”

Global warming documentary: The Ofcom report at a glance

Excerpt: Ofcom says it received 265 complaints about the factual accuracy of Channel 4's documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

British regulator says global warming documentary violated TV broadcast code

Excerpt: “British broadcast regulator Ofcom says a documentary challenging majority scientific opinion on global warming broke several rules by treating some of its interview subjects unfairly.”

Opinion: A reluctant whistle-blower

Excerpt: “Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, broadcast in March 2007, broke Ofcom rules, the UK media regulator has ruled.”

Climate documentary 'broke rules'

Excerpt: “The Great Global Warming Swindle, a controversial Channel 4 film, broke Ofcom rules, the media regulator says.”

Climate program swindled viewers

Excerpt: THE controversial documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle misrepresented several leading climate scientists to try to convince people that human-induced climate change is a fraud, Britain's broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has found.”

The public has been swindled

Excerpt: “Ofcom's censure of Channel 4 is flawed: The Great Global Warming Swindle clearly misled viewers about climate change.”

Ofcom can't take the heat of climate debate

Excerpt: “The climate change lobby tends to react like scalded cats should anyone have the temerity to question their assertion that global warming is a man-made phenomenon.”

Channel 4 mislead viewers with climate change documentary

Excerpt: “A Scientist, in fact, a former Government Scientist, has sparked a controversial debate on whether the latest program he featured in caused viewers to be mislead on the documentary topic, of Climate Change.”

C4 climate programme breached rules

Excerpt: “The media regulator has found that Channel 4's documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle broke a number of broadcasting rules.”

Ofcom: Channel 4 misrepresented scientists' views in climate change programme

Excerpt: “Channel 4 misrepresented the views of a group of leading scientists and failed to act with 'due impartiality' in a controversial documentary on climate change last year, the broadcast regulator has ruled today.”

What materially matters: OfCom and climate

Excerpt: Today’s Ofcom bulletin confirms the ruling on the mistreatment of leading scientists and the IPCC in the ‘Great Global Warming Swindle’, broadcast on Channel 4 back in early 2007. I covered the background to the Great Global Warming Swindle coverage in a previous post.

For a more in-depth look, check out DeSmog's comprehensive research database on the climate denial industry.


Thanks for the round up. You might also want to look at some of the commentary from Monbiot and (ahem) myself, among others, on the issue of how limited the regulator Ofcom’s response has been in adjudicating on whether or not the program ‘misled’ viewers. It comes down to a question of harm–and the regulator found that the programme and Channel 4 did harm to individuals, e.g. Sir David King, but no harm to the public or society in general.

Couple of links:


Monbiot’s column deserved its very own post!

Your article is very comprehensive, I will list it on this post. Thanks for passing it on.

Global Warmists came down on The Great Global Warming Swindle like a ton of bricks, for a number of “sins”. Strange, but when Al Gore does it, he gets an Oscar and the Nobel Prize. An Inconvenient Truth has been picked apart time and again for its sins of omission and half truths (this seems to be happening to much of the faulty science behind Al Gore’s orthodoxy, as well).

The Great Warming Swindle was found NOT to have mislead the viewers. Al Gore’s film HAS mislead the viewers.

A double standard exists.

is just too funny.

TGWS is such a crock, I had to pause it twice to take my asthma puffer (asthma triggered by laughter, on the level of Fawlty Towers, etc). Fern Mackenzie

The Reason why ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ was heavily criticised was that it purported to ‘tell the truth’, when the message it conveyed was full of data manipulations; fabricated data; downright lies; deliberate misquotes of scientists; Logical Fallacies “Straw Man”, “Ad Hominem” and “Non-sequitur”; doctored graphs; cherry picked data; use of smear tactics; & etc. JUST READ THE point by point analysis of what was shown and said and the actual facts.
The list is long and the differences are ALL ONE WAY, this is not a few minor mistakes, it is substantial evidence of a deliberate and systematic attempt to manipulate public opinion by deceit and subterfuge.

This is is a case of ill-informed opinion [those of Martin Durkin], dressed-up to look like an informative objective examination of the science, complete with expert analysis. It was nothing of the sort, it was a biased and subjective view presented with phony science. The presentation was supported by individuals presented as ‘experts’ often with inflated credentials, most of whom are scientists but many having little or no history of peer-reviewed publications in climate science. Many of the ‘experts’ have a history of receiving funding from the fossil-fuel industry, which was not declared to viewers. The respected Carl Wunsch’s views were selectively edited and shown out of context. TGGWS was intended to deceive and it did.

The scientific assessment is [this is from the Royal Society]:
TV companies occasionally commission programmes just to court controversy, but to misrepresent the evidence on an issue as important as global warming was surely irresponsible. ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ was itself a swindle. The programme makers misrepresented the science, the views of some of the scientists featured in the programme and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

“The science of climate change is complex; however the weight of scientific evidence shows that global warming caused by human actions is happening now, and is set to continue. There is certainly a need for ongoing debate on climate change and on what we are going to do to tackle it but this programme made little or no contribution to that debate.”

Whereas, in the case of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, there were a few minor errors, but certainly nothing major. Mostly it was a case of emphasis. The scientific assessment is that Gore got it mostly right. One only has to look at the available science to confirm this!

Claiming that ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ are equivalent is like comparing chalk and cheese, it is a LIE!

Evidence of Double standards? - yes and it is you [Jeff] who has them!

But what if it’s right?

I mean, imagine. Who could think that the sun might be the cause of global warming? Sounds absurd doesn’t it? The sun might warm the globe! My God. Whodathunkit?

Last summer’s High Court ruling on the ‘partisan’ representation of scientific evidence for AGW in Al Gore’s AIT must be an important factor in any decision to broadcast the film in the UK. On the other hand, Durkin’s TGGWS now seems to have a clean bill of health so far as the regulator is concerned. See: