Another example of “Delingpole-ism”

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Picture of Daniel Hannan at a conference in th...

Picture of Daniel Hannan at a conference in the Grosvenor House hotel in London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I highlighted the attack made on the BBC’s science reporting by James Delingpole, a novelist, English Lit graduate and – as I argued – under-qualified crank.

Delingpole claimed that the BBC should be “impartial” on science – by which he meant it should give an equal weighting to the views of the tiny minority of scientists who dispute the fundamentals of the consensus on climate change. This is a ridiculous position to take when reporting science qua science – as it would, as I suggested as an example, require us to have given equal billing to the theory of “Supersymmetry” even as the evidence to support the “Standard Model” piled up.

To argue in this way is to treat science as though it were just politics by another means. It is not.

I would not normally write about economics here but the case I am about to highlight is such an egregious example of “Delingpole-ism” that it deserves the maximum publicity.

In one corner stands Daniel Hannan MEP, who claims that the UK is “the fourth largest exporter”. Except it is not.

Pointing out Mr Hannon’s error – the UK is the sixth largest exporter or (arguably, given the fuzziness of the data) equal fifth – does not lead to a correction but instead to a torrent of ad hominem abuse towards the respected economist, Jonathan Portes, who challenged Hannan’s factual inexactitude, and a rather childish rant about how nasty the BBC are to poor people like Hannan.

As Portes states, Hannan (and I think Delingpole), are members of a form of “celebrity culture” that gives them the confidence to make ridiculous, fact-free or fact-ignoring, statements about subjects in which they have no legitimate locus and then to claim they are victims of a powerful liberal/Marxist/establishment conspiracy when someone points out they are talking out of their hat.

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