BBC television episode reporting climate change won’t be shown in the U.S.

Okay, this is from the Daily Mail, but let’s assume it’s reliable. Backed by BBC One, David Attenborough wrote and presented Frozen Planet, a seven-part television series on the natural history of the polar regions.  The last episode, “On Thin Ice,” is about how humans are wrecking this environment via anthropogenic global warming.

Guess what? Although the Discovery Channel is showing the show in the United States, they bought only the first six episodes, omitting the one on global warming. The reason is obvious, even to the Daily Mail:

A poll earlier this year found that the majority of Americans believe that if climate change does exist, it is not caused by humans.

Fifty-three per cent of Republicans say there is no evidence of climate change, while the number is far higher among Tea Party supporters, with 70 per cent saying the theory is ‘junk science’ pushed by groups with a vested interest.

Both the BBC and the Discovery Channel are dissimulating on this one:

A spokesman for the BBC said it would not make sense to force television networks outside the UK to buy the episode as it features 85-year-old Sir David talking a lot of the time to camera, and in many parts of the world he is not famous.

He’s famous enough for his shows to be shown nearly everywhere, and they’re always shown in the U.S. So what’s the excuse for not making the U.S. buy the show as part of the package?

The broadcaster refused to say which countries had shunned ‘On Thin Ice’. They said it wasn’t included in the main package because it features Sir David ‘in vision’ which would make it hard for other countries to translate into their own language.

Yeah, whatever that means.  Need I add that Americans speak English too?

Discovery had dropped the full seventh episode due to ‘scheduling issues’, the spokesman added.

What a crock! Does anybody really believe that this is anything other than a television station bowing to potential political pressure? And this isn’t trivial, either—it’s the deliberate withholding of scientific information from the public because that information doesn’t serve certain special interests. It’s a travesty.

Attenborough has largely avoided politics to concentrate on nature, but when humans threaten his beloved planet, he speaks out. He’s done that before about population growth, and now is concerned about global warming. To present his first six episodes and omit the last is to leave out what, for him, is the moral of the tale.

I don’t urge reader action very often, but this is a worthy cause.  I seriously doubt that Discovery will bow under the trivial pressure that a website like this can exert, but we should nevertheless make our voices heard. If you’re American and object to the omission of the global-warming episode, go to the Discovery Channel’s “Viewer Relations” page and register your opinion. You’ll have to enter information on three separate pages, and give your cable provider (since that’s required, make one up if you don’t have one), your phone number, and so on, but they do promise to reply within a week, and believe me, I’ll post their reply to my own comment:

I strongly object to your not purchasing or showing the last episode, “On thin ice,” of the Attenborough show “The Frozen Planet”. This is nothing other than your channel’s withholding scientific information from the public in the service of certain private interests. It’s really a travesty, as I am a biologist and want all scientific information, particularly when it involves destruction of our planet, presented to the public. PLEASE reconsider your decision not to show this episode.

Here’s what the show is about, and tells you when the “controversial” last episode will air in the UK:

The show cost an estimated £16 million and took four years to make and has proved hugely popular.

It examines various aspects of the polar wilderness over the seasons and follows the lives of creatures from polar bears and wolves in the Arctic to killer whales and Adelie penguins in the Antarctic.

It has been produced by the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol in conjunction with the Discovery Channel and The Open University.

The climate change episode will be aired on December 7 at 9pm.

h/t: Josh Ozersky

103 Comments

  1. Marella
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    I am watching it as we speak! It’s great. A penguin is about to get eaten by a sea lion, oh no, he got away! I live in fear of hearing that Sir David is no longer with us, he’s a treasure. Can’t help with the protest sorry, not USAsian. Good luck.

  2. TJR
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    I’ve watched the first two and, as with Planet Earth, every few minutes or so there is something stunning to see.

    The bit noted above shows a sea lion ineptly chasing (on land) a penguin, which ineptly tries to escape.

    Could have done without some of the incidental music, though.

  3. Wowbagger
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    I watched the second episode tonight. Absolutely breathtaking – and it had narwhals, which I’ve never seen footage of before.

    That aside, it’s very scary that the anti-science, anti-reality crowd can keep the truth from the public.

  4. Alex
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    What an avoidable mistake by the BBC. The version for the Discovery Channel should simply have been

    On Thin Ice: Watch world’s biggest american tank shoot Icebergs to rubble

  5. Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Discovery Channel has so much shit on it that I am very selective what I watch. It goes for public appeal and sacrifices true science for fiction and sensationalism, which I might add is their prerogative. Is there any chance that the last episode can be viewed elsewhere? That would really burn their butt. However, if they were partial financiers of the project, maybe they have the right to keep the last episode off the air. Anyone know?

    • Marella
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Try eztv.it

  6. David Leech
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Science is censored now in the ‘land of the free.’

    • Torbjorn Larsson, OM
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      At least censoring is free then.

      But you don’t want to be so free minded you cut loose your brain.

      • Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        land of the free…to ignore science and reality…home of the bravely ignorant of progress and intelectual honesty.

        • Doc
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          I may have to quote you on that. It’s an excellent summation. I’d merely come up with “double O stupid, license to die”, spelled “st00pid”, using zeros for letter.

    • Filippo
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Rather, more and more “The Land of the Fee and the Home of the Craven.”

  7. Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    I ranted about this the other week when it was in the news here… it is a subject close to my heart. I do not doubt that this is to do with getting finance for the programme from Discovery. This is a Guardian interview with him when the programme came out
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/oct/21/david-attenborough-frozen-planet-climate-change?CMP=twt_fd
    and this was the Guardian on the issue two weeks ago
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/16/frozen-planet-climate-change-episode?INTCMP=SRCH

  8. Lee
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I’d suggest reading the BBC’s official statement first:

    http://blogs.bbcworldwide.com/2011/11/15/majority-of-international-broadcasters-will-show-all-frozen-planet-episodes/

    • Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      What—this statement?

      Having a presenter in vision requires many broadcasters to have the programme dubbed, ultimately giving some audiences a very different experience. It is for this reason and not the content – that we market the episode separately, giving broadcasters the flexibility in how they schedule the programme.

      The fact that the vast majority of broadcasters have licensed the Frozen Planet:On Thin Ice episode is testament to the appeal of David Attenborough.

      That’s equally disingenuous. Why wouldn’t the other shows be dubbed if English is not the native language where they’re shown?

      And the last sentence is just a gratuitous attempt for the BBC to save face, for they know they screwed up and look bad.

      • Dominic
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Agree.

      • TJR
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        Its the usual thing of the BBC desperately trying to be nice to everyone.

      • Nom de Plume
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Having a presenter in vision requires many broadcasters to have the programme dubbed

        People still dub things? I don’t think I’ve seen anything dubbed since the last Godzilla movie I watched, and that was 30 years ago.

        • Dominic
          Posted November 26, 2011 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          In Germany certainly. A friend told me she drives from Flensburg to Odense to see undubbed cinema – that is 2 hours!

        • Troy
          Posted November 26, 2011 at 6:06 am | Permalink

          I’m surprised that someone with a French pen name doesn’t know that in France lots and lots of non-French is still dubbed on TV and in cinemas. Luckily, there are special cinemas where movies are shown in Version Original (VO). Such cinemas exist in Germany as well, especially where lots of foreigners visit (I’ve been to one in Frankfurt).

          • Troy
            Posted November 26, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

            I also believe that the best non-native English speakers in Europe are from countries that use subtitles rather than dubbing. I’m talking about the Scandinavian countries, including Finland, and the Netherlands.

        • Posted November 27, 2011 at 3:16 am | Permalink

          Course they do! When I’m at home I have to trek into Barcelona to watch a movie in original language, and I remember watching Attenborough programmes on TV in Catalan when I was small!

          In the States they don’t even have to translate!

          (Although why they find the need to replace Sir David’s impeccable narrative with the voice of Oprah and reshuffle the content in some of his programmes is beyond me)

          • Posted November 27, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

            (and David Attenbourough is a lot LESS known in Spain than in the States, despite the Príncipe de Asturias prize)

        • =8)-DX
          Posted December 11, 2011 at 1:41 am | Permalink

          Not everyone speaks or understands fluent English you know. Or PREFERS it either. Almost everything is dubbed in my country, despite a lot of young people having a working knowledge of English and with early releases or alt films subbed.

      • Aidan Karley
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Not trying to defend “Auntie Beeb” here, but … have you ever tried to do simultaneous translation? It’s decidedly difficult (my wife tells me ; we met when she was having to translate my geological discussion for the Russians on the rig site every morning, and translate their questions back to me ; I think her opinion is well-enough founded to be worth quoting).
        When doing dubbing, you don’t have to do it “on the fly”, and you can think about your translation (Oksana would spend time talking to me to try to understand the translation of geological terms and get “stock phrases” worked out before the meeting ; which puzzles me why on earth she married me?!) ; on the other hand, you’d try to get your translated phrases to more-or-less match the cadence of the speaker’s speech, which ramps the difficulty back up.
        The critical phrase there is “Having a presenter in vision”.
        Have you seen a badly-dubbed programme? I used to crack up over the dubbing of “Brazilian Beach Babe”-type soap operas into Russian ; I can barely speak enough Russian to order a beer and a pizza, but even I could see when the dubbing was getting hopelessly out of sync with the vision.
        Which would make it more-or-less credible if they were looking at getting it translated into Serbo-Croat, or Swahili. What language is it that these “Americans” speak again? Something horribly obscure and totally unrelated to the Indo-Aryan group of languages probably.
        Or it could be the Discovery Channel being contemptibly pathetic.

        • Occam
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          …have you ever tried to do simultaneous translation?

          Yes, Aidan, I have, even deriving some modest income from it. Enough to have gained the deepest respect for folks who do it as full-time professionals.
          I have also done translations for radio and multi-media products for several years. Thereby I have learned a small technical trick:
          v o i c e – o v e r.

          If the dubbing is too difficult, especially with a speaker in full vision, you do a voice-over. The original voice track is dimmed after a few seconds, and the translation sets in. Very effective, preserving the directness of the original, and simpler and cheaper than lip-sync.
          If broadcasters do not resort to this or other solutions, there is only one reason for it: because they really don’t want to.

          • Posted November 26, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink

            Yes, and with a telly programme like this they have plenty of time too, so to subtitle would not be so difficult, and I doubt that the text is so very technical for it is aimed at the general public anyway.

      • Posted November 26, 2011 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        While the justification is kind of weasely, the BBC ‘repackages’ *lots* of its shows for sale abroad, not just those with supposedly controversial content. I don’t doubt that the decision was at least in part due to the expected difficulty of selling a series with a strong climate change message and it’s a disgrace that Discovery hasn’t picked that episode up, but I’m not sure the BBC is to blame. And I don’t think their point about dubbing is particularly unreasonable: I can see why TV stations might be unwilling to air a show with a very large amount of dubbing or subtitles. I’m not saying that’s an excuse for an English-speaking channel not to pick it up, just that it might be part of a genuine rather than a disingenuous marketing decision, much as I wish that wasn’t the case.

        I’d prefer it if the BBC had shown some principles and insisted on selling the whole series or nothing, but it would have been a shame – perhaps an even bigger shame – if Discovery refused to buy the series at all.

        I’ve no idea of the economics of the situation or the BBC’s influence. If it had shown some backbone, would Discovery have folded and shown all the episodes? In that case, shame on both Discovery and the BBC. Otherwise, I’m not sure the BBC had much of a choice.

        • Posted November 26, 2011 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          They may not have had the money to do it alone as the BBC spends so much on paying for cruddy populist stuff presented by overpaid idiots.

      • JohnnyGold
        Posted December 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Dubbing is much more time consuming and expensive when the speaker is on screen because you have to try to match the foreign words to the english lip movements. Whereas with an off screen speaker, you don’t need to worry about that. The narrator doing he dubbing can just speak the text without worrying about matching the on screen speakers lips. So what the BBC said is actually understandable. However, this is not an issue in the US and clearly the Discovery channel can choose whether to buy and air that 7th episode or not. So I blame not the BBC, nor accuse them of making excuses. I believe they are sincere in their rationale, and it is reasonable. The discovery channel, however, has no excuse. They suck ad have sucked for years. There is more woo on the DC than there is science.

  9. Torbjorn Larsson, OM
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    My main concern with undue AGW is that it is immoral. If many will be impoverished, hurt and even killed as it seems, it behooves us to stop what is equivalent to a major war.

    I foolishly thought that the increased energy flow into Earth climate would increase the frequency, not the amplitude, of weather phenomena as they dissipate their energy along some characteristic scale. However it seems one can readily observe an increase of both, suggesting simply an increase over the whole distribution of variables. The moral is that megastorms will megakill. :-/

    The next concern would be with the upcoming mass extinction suggested by biotopes moving and becoming increasingly patchy by all our environmental impact. However diversity will recover on the timescale of our own species evolution. So irreversible losses and gains.

    One can also ponder the new climate regime. It will, eventually, be more productive (increased NPP) I take it, from the increased temperature. But are there good or harmful secondary effects?

    It could for example perhaps increase the remaining biosphere lifetime, in the context of recent WEIT postings. Increased weathering would support the increased carbon dioxide level, or so I would think. And someone noted the carbon dioxide level may be the eventual constraint (on plant productivity).

    If so maybe someone wanted to do this planet-scale engineering experiment sooner or later anyway. However, coming back to the moral and ecological effects, it could be a deliberate, orderly, less damaging and less risky “experiment”!

    • Torbjorn Larsson, OM
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      To be more clear, let me restate the conclusion in moral terms: the end doesn’t justify the means!

      Maybe a super long lived civilization could have slowly dialed up GW gases and especially carbon dioxide over a period longer than species adjust. (Longer than the ordinary species lifetime?)

      But this isn’t the way.

  10. Sandi
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to voice my opinion to Discovery about this issue.
    Guess i will be getting the 7th episode from another source ;)

  11. Posted November 25, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The Discovery Institute Channel? Looking for discoveries that are compatible with your prior beliefs.

  12. FrankN.Stein
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Makes perfect sence to me…. Americans don’t believe in it, therefore…… THEY SHALL NEVER BE BOTHERED WITH IT AGAIN!

    • Sandi
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Please don’t paint us all with the same brush. Not all Americans are ignorant, just the theists.

      • Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        yeah, but there’s so few of us, we slip through the individual bristles in the brush. to mis-quote the Doors, “they’ve got the guns AND they’ve got the numbers…”

        • Posted November 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Our research has also suggested a age driven cognitive decline factor.

          Decreasing cognitive ability to comprehend complex subjects and increased disinhibition seems to track the reactive, hostile/aggressive behavior of conservative old guys. Crackpot ideas are also more prevalent in MA+ for men.

          Much less so women, damnit!

          • FrankN.Stein
            Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            Get off my lawn!

            • Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

              lol “OR I’LL SHOOT YOU!! YOU COMMIE,FAG, PINKO , WELFARE QUEEN?DARKER SKINNED PERSON DESTROYING THE AMERICA OF OUR FOUNDERS!! MARTHA GET ME MY GUN!!”

              Fox News is just the embodiment disinhibited, MA+ white guys brain’s paranoia and shrinking ability to comprehend their world. And FOX makes $BILLIONS playing to those brain impairments, as do the booze and cigarette companies.

              Nothing like a brain impairment to drive a profitable business. The demand is always present and reliable.

  13. colluvial
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    What’s next? Editing out every occurrence of Sir David mentioning or implying evolution?

    On the other hand, the censored episode may become a hot commodity in the US.

  14. raven
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    It’s cowardly and reprehensible that the Discovery channel censored something obvious.

    But it really doesn’t matter.

    1. AGW will happen whether people pretend it doesn’t exist or not.

    2. We won’t do anything but adapt. The window for taking action is gone. The lead time for a carbon sequestration coal burning power plant is 20 years. With a huge installed base, it isn’t going to happen.

    If you read the climate change literature, the new buzzword is “adapt”. At this point, that is all we can or will do.

    • Posted November 26, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Sadly true.

    • Nick Andrew
      Posted November 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to mention the other possibility – extinction.

      When a species’ habitat changes, there may be some individuals with extant genes which survive well in the changed environment. Over evolutionary time, these genes will predominate. But it’s by no means guaranteed.

      If the environment changes too quickly or too harshly, it’s more likely that the species will die out.

  15. Don
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    On this subject (the denial of human-caused climate change in the US), please don’t miss Naomi Klein’s excellent lead piece in the new Nation, “Capitalism vs. the Climate”: http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/11/capitalism-vs-climate

  16. Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    America, as a VERY young and VERY rich country is simply foolish most of the time. As all rich and young humans are. lol

    We LOVE silly ideologies and HATE any ideas or evidence which even suggest a challenge to them. We LOVE gadgets, as rich kids always do, and HATE science. We LOVE simple and silly emotional ideas and HATE critical thinking and complex ideas.

    Believe this is the nature of powerful people throughout history.

    We also believe that if we deny something, look away and pretend it doesn’t exist — it don’t.

    The more the evidence accumulates the stronger the denial. Human nature also.

    American media is paid to “look away” and pretend — time, money and attention. Thanks for the uncovering of this cover-up. There will be more.

    This is why we mainly depend on Brit, Asian and EU media — for the facts.

    American media not only drinks but serves up the Kool-Aid.

    • colluvial
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      “We also believe that if we deny something, look away and pretend it doesn’t exist — it don’t.”

      This is the power, no impotence, of positive thinking. We could also call this the Wile E. Coyote phenomenon because, in pursuit of the Roadrunner, he doesn’t fall off the cliff until he looks down.

    • Thanny
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      The United States is actually quite old, as nations go. The list of European nations that existed in 1776 is small enough to count on one hand.

  17. Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    done and done. for all that damn good it (won’t) do. This station is a joke. I avoid cable “history” and “science” shows like the plague. If it’s history, they have to work in a ghost or an alien contact and if science, there’s Sarah Palin, Loch Ness, or ghost hunters. Is this really what Americans think passes for science? nevermind, that’s a rhetorical question…i can’t face-palm anymore, i’ve got a dent in my head from it. (sigh)

  18. Doc
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Omission is commission. By leaving out “On Thin Ice”, anti-global-warming Tea Partiers and others, not knowing the episode exists, will either be told or will come on their own to the conclusion that if it were real, it would have been included in the series.
    Therefore, leaving it out is a statement to the very contrary of its message and a propagandist’s dream.

  19. Emmy
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Yeah, and make sure those protesting students don’t get an affordable education. Then they might start thinking for themselves. Land of Censorship. Between that and our New England trees getting torn to shreds this year by 4 natural disasters, I think I’m moving to Finland.

  20. Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Not american, can’t help you, but I can point to the latest PhD comic, completely relevant:
    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1452

    • Aidan Karley
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      That’s not wildly inaccurate for this side of the pond too.
      You get “The Hairy Bakers”? On the History Channel? Bizarre!
      I mean, it’s a nice enough programme with moderately hairy, well-spoken bikers driving around and giving cookery lessons. But “History”??

      • Posted November 26, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

        I’d say it was pretty inaccurate. About 80% of the shows on all those channels are about Hitler.

  21. Jim Mauch
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    It is the public’s right to ignore the facts presented to them but it is not the duty of the American media to be the promoter of that very ignorance. How the public lives in denial within their little cocoons wearing their badges of ignorance with pride is astounding. For those of us arrogant enough to cast off those badges we find ourselves dealing with the wrath of God.

    • Doc
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ve coined a phrase for those who so adamantly choose ignorance: double O stupid, licened to die. Proper spelling: st00pid (zeros, instead of the letter “o”).

      • Jim Mauch
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Listen this is about keeping me unlearned. Maybe I need this episode. You stupid ignorant ass!

        • Jim Mauch
          Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          My apologies. Allowing myself to let anger at having my shortcomings exposed got the best of me. Hurling slurs are uncalled for.

          • Doc
            Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Please see my response to your response, below. It somehow won’t print, up here. Thank you.

    • Aidan Karley
      Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      So … American broadcast media don’t have any legal obligation to “educate and inform”? Then what the hell do they do to justify their funding from targeted taxation (the license fee).
      Or have I got that the wrong way round? Because “Auntie Beeb” gets a large amount of revenue from a targeted tax (levied on possession of equipment capable of receiving and decoding TV signals, not on it’s use), it is also given (to the outrage of many right-wingers) an obligation to “educate and inform” the populace.
      Anyway, Auntie does say that the only on-disc versions of the series that they send out, world-wide, will include the “On Thin Ice” episode. So getting hold of copies shouldn’t be too difficult.
      (Is there any way to preview a post in this system? Does anyone know?)

      • raynard
        Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        “Anyway, Auntie does say that the only on-disc versions of the series that they send out, world-wide, will include the “On Thin Ice” episode. ”

        I’m not so sure. At the BBC website it says that there are 7 episodes, the 7Th being “On Thin Ice”.

        I have checked with some Australian re-sellers of BBC material and they all state 6 episode.

        From the ABC website
        “This landmark, six-part series from the BBC’s”

        http://shop.abc.net.au/products/frozen-planet-3dvd

        Amazon UK doesn’t fully describe their offering either. I would be happy to purchase the set but only if it includes all 7 episodes.

  22. Jim Mauch
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    This is my comments sent to DC. I’m trying to convince them that they are underestimating our viewer presence. Let’s convince them that they should consider taking our concerns seriously. ——”It is your duty as a network to provide the entire 7 episodes of the Frozen Planet so that we have a full understanding of the message of the program. The public has the right to ignore the facts presented to them but it is not the duty of the American media to be the promoter of that very ignorance. You have made a grieve error in underestimating the amount of your viewers who are not afraid to think and make decisions for themselves.”

  23. PeteJohn
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    How many of the anti-warmer folks watch Discovery anyway? It’s like Discovery is afraid to show something that will go over well with much of it’s viewership to please individuals who would rather be watching Bill O’Reilly anyway.

    I’m a history fan myself, but nature has always fascinated me. I greatly enjoyed Planet Earth and Life and would surely enjoy this series as well, but I am very disappointed that Discovery caved to potential pressure. They waved the white flag before anyone had assembled an opposing army.

  24. Posted November 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    What an intelligent design!

  25. Doc
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I was agreeing with your statement, “How the public lives in denial within their little cocoons wearing their badges of ignorance with pride is astounding.” Anyone who chooses to deny truth, live in a mental coccoon, and then wear a “badge of ignorance with pride” fits my definition of “st00pid.”
    So, what where you referring to, when you responded to my response?

    • Jim Mauch
      Posted November 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I thought you were saying if I could put together an intelligent argument I would not have to rely on calling people ignorant. I misunderstood your comment perhaps because of my own awareness of my shortcomings. Sorry about my “ignorance.” Good day.

  26. Doc
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I tried to respond up here, but it came out at the bottom. Please look for it. Thanks.

  27. Doc
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, all. For some reason, I don’t seem to be able to post comments in the right locations, today.

  28. wilzard
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    My comment to them as follows:
    “Your decision to not purchase and air all seven episodes of Frozen Planet is about the last straw for me. Just because something may be politically and personally controversial to some people is, in my opinion, no good reason to withhold good science and information. Bowing to the false beliefs of the public at large, many of whom prefer to live in willful ignorance, is a bad decision and destructive over the long term.
    I use to watch your networks almost exclusively, but increasingly of late your constant promotion of pseudoscience and pseudo-history television programs on your channels has turned me away from your channels more and more.
    Please, reconsider your choice to not air “On Thin Ice” on your network. It would be a good first step toward regaining your trust among science loving people all across America.”

    Not as eloquent as i would like, but hopefully it gets the point across.

  29. Occam
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    “… it features Sir David ‘in vision’ which would make it hard for other countries to translate into their own language.”

    I have watched Sir David Attenborough, dubbed in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and with Finnish subtitles.
    Usually I refrain from scatology, but the BBC leaves me no other choice: the assertion of the BBC spokesperson, as quoted, is utter b u l l s h i t .

  30. Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    What is tragic, but predictable, is that by avoiding unpleasant ideas and facts that conflict with our pop ideologies and power structure, we miss the data needed to cope with the future.

    So the Discovery Channel pandering to the “loudest voices” and bullies by telling half the story helps it’s audience to stay dum about this matter an be less equipped to respond.

    But for a young country there is no history or future and being rich allows you to keep uncomfortable reality at bay — for awhile anyway. Human nature — actually animal nature.

    It is instructive to see how the few bullies are always accommodated by the larger group.

  31. Cody Porter
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  32. James Landis
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    A couple of things struck me about this post.

    First is that if the goal of petitioning Discovery to purchase the AGW episode is to increase awareness or change minds, I don’t really see that happening via direct confrontation. Given research that people when confronted with evidence contrary to their views just dig in deeper with what they already believe, it might even be counterproductive for Discovery to air this. Americans would have to be pretty far under a rock to not be aware of the AGW “debate”. And they’re not going to listen to some Brit saying it if they’re going to listen at all. Effort would be better spent pushing general skepticism and critical thinking skills that tackling controversial, emotional issues head-on.

    Second is that you’re encouraging people to lie to achieve your ends by telling people to make up a cable provider if they aren’t actually a cable subscriber. It would be better, if it were true, to tell Discovery that one reason you’re not a customer is because of things like this. But it’s not exactly censorship for them to make a business decision about what their viewers are likely to watch (and their sponsors are likely to pay for). We accuse religionists for underhanded tactics all the time – we shouldn’t resort to lying to achieve our ends, either.

    • Posted November 26, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      “We accuse religionists for underhanded tactics all the time – we shouldn’t resort to lying to achieve our ends, either.”

      I think it’s OK to lie on forms that ask for information that is either not relevant or demands information you don’t trust the recipient with.

      It’s hardly an underhand tactic.

      • Posted November 26, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        It’s much more of an underhand tactic to ask for irrelevant information in the first place.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 26, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I would never lie deliberately on a form, but, as I recall, you HAVE TO specify a cable provider to get your message through; that’s one of the required items. So if you don’t specify one of the cable providers, the message doesn’t get to Discover. I didn’t feel bad making one up in this case, and at any rate I’m one of the very, very few Americans who doesn’t have cable.

      • Posted November 26, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        This is a perfectly good reason to lie on a form and if you feel guilty about it you can always confess in your comment.

        The form isn’t in charge.

      • sasqwatch
        Posted November 26, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        One of the few… the proud…

        (abandoned cable myself in 1996 after the disastrous Telecommunications Act gave away bandwidth the American public owned by birthright) The media powers-that-be have been lying so long and so completely — have essentially destroyed a key balance that used to exist in the States… have essentially destroyed what passed for democracy here – quite probably forever.

        And James Landis gets a moral conniption from lying on a form to provide an opinion?

        • anonymous
          Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          American Bill Making Process:

          1. Deregulate the private sector
          2. ???
          3. [Corporate] Profit!

    • Jim Mauch
      Posted November 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      This is not about forcing evidence on global warming deniers This is about letting the networks know that there is a large audience out there that has no problem being challenged. It is is about telling the network that they should not miss this business opportunity by neglecting this audience.

      • Posted November 30, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        It’s about countering the pressure tactics of an extreme minority with the same tactics they use in services of evidence-based knowledge and information.

        It’s about effectively opposing extremist censorship in the public media.

        The tactics that work for them will work for us.

  33. zengardener
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    To educate, one must challenge the student’s beliefs.

    This is just cowardly pandering.

    Shame all around.

  34. Posted November 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The best way we have found to deal with bullies and bullying is “fight fire with fire.”

    This is simple bullying by the extremist “loudest voices” in the US.

    They WANT people to back down, look aside and accommodate them — like the Discovery Channel is doing.

    We need to make as much noise as possible.

    We can’t back down to bullying.

  35. SLC
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I hate to break it to the folks here but episode 7 (and, for that matter, all the other episodes) is available on several file sharing services and also on BT Torrent. Google and Filestube are your friends.

    • Nick Andrew
      Posted November 27, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink

      The issue is not that we can’t watch Episode 7. The issue is that most of the people who watch it on Discovery Channel won’t know that there is an Episode 7 which discusses global warming, because Discovery Channel won’t show it to them.

      • SLC
        Posted November 27, 2011 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        That’s the beauty of the internet. 20 years ago, anyone who wanted to watch episode 7 was shit out of luck. Now, the networks and cable channels no longer have a stranglehold on information and can’t censor what is available. What we should be doing is getting the word out. Anyone with a computer and high speed internet connection can bypass the Discovery Channel’s cowardly censorship activities.

        • Notagod
          Posted November 27, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Those without the high speed internet connection are the ones that need to see “On Thin Ice” the most because, they are the ones that only get locally produced information, which likely has a damn the planet to god message alone with the lie that christians are incapable of having a negative effect.

          Finding a way around the censorship is fine but it doesn’t change the censorship problem.

          • SLC
            Posted November 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            Re Notagod

            The problem is that the folks Mr. Notagod is talking about are unlikely to to watch any of the 7 programs. Many of them don’t have cable to start with.

            • Posted November 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

              This is not a matter or media audiences, at all. It is a matter of the “loudest voices” a tiny minority, “yelling” the loudest, bullying the decision makers in the public media to suppress information challenging their ideologies.

              And then having this bullying and undemocratic behavior hidden by all parties.

              This is all about a ideologically (not evidence based) minority hiding stuff. Their self interests, their tactics, their agenda, their effects, information that challenges them, etc. i.e, lying, hiding and censorship.

              Information is fungible and irrelevant — it is the cheating tactics that need to be exposed — fully.

              People will always have different ideas — but the rules of the game need to hold steady. Transparency is one of the rules.

        • anonymous
          Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          “Now, the networks and cable channels no longer have a stranglehold on information and can’t censor what is available.”

          Yes, but internet providers are certainly trying. Don’t hold your breath.

    • mk
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Whoosh! Completely and utterly missing the point with that response to a strawman.

  36. Nick Andrew
    Posted November 27, 2011 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I believe this is apropos – “Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (edited for rednecks)”.

  37. Posted November 27, 2011 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    When I saw this in the Daily Mail last week I really hoped it was just the Daily Mail being the Daily Mail.

    WHY is this channel called Discovery???

    If you can’t show something that people don’t accept/understand… How the Hell are you ever supposed to explain it to them?

    Are they afraid that, actually, after seeing this programme, maybe more people will accept we’re having this effect on the planet’s climate or understand how we are affecting it?

    It might get people thinking, God forbid!

    It’s restricting freedom of speech and communication. Not showing the programme is like manipulating facts and omitting evidence

  38. Harvey Florman
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I had already contacted Discovery Channel about whether they intended to air the complete series. Here is their uninformative answer.
    ——
    “Thank you for contacting Discovery Channel. We appreciate your
    correspondence and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns
    with us about Frozen Planet.

    Frozen Planet will not be airing on Discovery Channel in the United States
    until early next year and many programming and scheduling decisions have
    yet to be made. We do know that the stories, messages and essence of all of
    the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the truly landmark
    series.”

  39. Susana
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Their response to my email:

    Dear Viewer:

    Thank you for contacting Discovery Channel. We appreciate your
    correspondence and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns
    with us about Frozen Planet.

    Frozen Planet will not be airing on Discovery Channel in the United States
    until early next year and many programming and scheduling decisions have
    yet to be made. We do know that the stories, messages and essence of all of
    the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the truly landmark
    series.

    Again, thank you for contacting Discovery Channel.

    Sincerely,

    Viewer Relations
    Discovery Channel

    • Posted November 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Let’s keep the pressure on folks!! The anti-science folks do. Let’s be pointed in our correspondence. We want that one episode aired or to have a written reason why not — that we can circulate.

      This will make a good election year topic. If they drop the series we can “depose” them on that too.

  40. Posted November 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    This is the response I got to my message expressing my disappointment that the episode would not be aired:

    Dear Viewer:

    Thank you for contacting Discovery Channel. We appreciate your
    correspondence and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns
    with us about Frozen Planet.

    Frozen Planet will not be airing on Discovery Channel in the United States
    until early next year and many programming and scheduling decisions have
    yet to be made. We do know that the stories, messages and essence of all of
    the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the truly landmark
    series.

    Again, thank you for contacting Discovery Channel.

    Sincerely,

    Viewer Relations
    Discovery Channel

  41. Posted November 29, 2011 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    here is the link to a petition you can sign on this issue.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/discovery-channel-air-the-7th-episode-of-frozen-planet-on-thin-ice
    by the way, there are lots of other great issues you can affect on this site. thanks!

  42. Davys Lopez
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    This is the reply I received from the Discovery Channel:

    Dear Viewer:

    Thank you for contacting Discovery Channel. We appreciate your
    correspondence and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns
    with us about Frozen Planet.

    Frozen Planet will not be airing on Discovery Channel in the United States
    until early next year and many programming and scheduling decisions have
    yet to be made. We do know that the stories, messages and essence of all of
    the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the truly landmark
    series.

    Again, thank you for contacting Discovery Channel.

    Sincerely,

    Viewer Relations
    Discovery Channel

  43. zahra
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    i heard about this issue from a petition that’s been started for it. Here is the link if anyone would like to sign it:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/president-discovery-channel-air-the-climate-change-episode-from-the-frozen-planet-nature-series?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&alert_id=bbrAPnKlBb_eXXorTZDnO

  44. Peter Bollwerk
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Looks like they are going to air all 7 episodes in the US now…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/1206/Discovery-Channel-to-air-full-Frozen-Planet-series-despite-controversy

  45. say nay
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    The climate IS INDEED changing, as it has changed many times over since the world was created. It is a cyclical phenomenon that has happened MANY times throughout history, ie. the polar ice melts and then re-freezes. The only “controversy” exists in the minds of (and indeed was created by) environmentalist “do-gooders” and other greedy meddlers who can profit off of it financially (think Al Gore…whose family as everyone knows, ALSO invented the internet). ANYTHING that we have accomplished environmentally as a country over the last 30 or 40 years has been absolutely DWARFED indeed, it has been NEGATED by the explosion of growth in burgeoning super-powers like China and India, et al. Make no mistake about it….THEY WILL BE CALLING ALL OF THE SHOTS IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE! …and they have indeed already begun to do so, and while special interest groups have us running around playing “Grab-ass” with ourselves and with each other, China, India and Pakistan are raiding the cupboard, so that when the dust settles, we’re going to be left, guess what…holding our own asses! Climate change is cyclical. IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN…IT HAS ALWAYS HAPPENED!!! Let’s use our resources and efforts on something worthy of our time…like having liberalism recognized as the mental illness that it is!


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] the word is out. The Discovery Channel only bought 6 of the 7 episodes. They dropped the seventh because…it talks about global climate [...]

  2. [...] Coyne over at Evolution is True helped raise the issue, and now it seems Discovery is going to screen the episode on climate [...]

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