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Is ‘Frozen Planet’ Storm a BBC Backlash? (Video)

Is ‘Frozen Planet’ Storm a BBC Backlash? (Video)

The blockbuster BBC series Frozen Planet, which looks at life at the cold ends of the world, has suffered intense media criticism over the use of zoo footage.

Shots of a mother polar bear and her cubs after birth were filmed in a zoo because they’re impossible to film in the wild as the mother would kill the cameraperson – and/or the cubs would die as the den would be abandoned.

The use of zoo footage only came to light because it is explained on the show’s website, and the BBC has said that the segment in the show using the footage is careful in how it doesn’t say it was filmed in the wild.

The initial story which picked up on the footage was in the tabloid newspaper the Daily Mirror and this was accompanied by an Editorial which said:

The national broadcaster’s quick on the draw when it comes to pointing fingers at others. Perhaps when it comes to their own editorial standards and ethics a little more action and a little less pontification would be handy.

The Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, thinks that the reason the press has jumped on the story is the BBC’s coverage of the current Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the newspaper industry, which follows the telephone hacking scandal and the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of The World. The Mirror has been a subject at the Inquiry, particularly what occurred under the former Editorship of Piers Morgan.

Thompson told MPs Tuesday at the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee:

I do rather wonder whether this is about polar bears or about Leveson and other matters.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten noted that they’d received only 32 complaints about the zoo footage use. Thompson said they’d asked the audience in the past about whether they wanted the use of such footage specifically mentioned or captioned — they did not.

The show has also been the subject of criticism for the final episode, in which veteran BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough examines the impact of climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic. That episode includes dramatic footage of the break-up of the Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula but mostly describes what is happening and barely touches on its anthropogenic cause. It was reported that this episode would not be broadcast in the US because of supposed controversy over climate change, which turned out to be incorrect.

Reports George Monbiot:

Climate-change deniers have been bashing the BBC for a long time, but especially since July, when the BBC Trust published a report by Professor Steve Jones on the corporation’s coverage of science. It noted, and not before time, that: “for at least three years, the climate-change deniers have been marginal to the scientific debate, but somehow they continued to find a place on the airwaves. Their ability so to do suggests that an over-diligent search for due impartiality — or for a controversy — continue to hinder the objective reporting of a scientific story.”

Since Jones shook it up, the BBC has become part of the grand conspiracy, in which scientists are dropped from black helicopters into smoke-filled rooms full of illuminati to plot a new world order controlled by totalitarian fascist communist green anarchists writing for the Guardian. Now we discover that the corporation has advanced its devious plans by brainwashing us about the location of a polar bear and her cubs. It’s all deeply sinister.

Watch: David Attenborough: ‘Wonderful World’:

Related stories:

More Polar Bears Turn to Cannibalism to Avoid Starvation

Study Values Polar Bears at $420,000 Apiece

Zoo Polar Bear Turns on Her Newborns

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5:02PM PST on Jan 5, 2012


12:31AM PST on Dec 23, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:06PM PST on Dec 19, 2011


12:49PM PST on Dec 18, 2011

more important is actually doing the right stuff to save wild polar bears....

6:22AM PST on Dec 18, 2011

Filming something in a zoo that would otherwise be impossible to show at all doesn't bother me in the least. And not listing the causes of global warming and just describing the effects doesn't bother me.

The BBC creates fantastic programming! But the goal of the program wasn't to convert climate change non believers or to describe what can or cannot be filmed in the wild. It was to share the beauty and awesomeness of nature. So what is the issue?

I'm not sure why this inconsequential information made the care2 site.

5:00AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

The polar bears are under that pile of $h*^ somewhere right? Talk about losing sight of the issue. It was a wonderful show. Leave it at that people!

4:49AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

whatever is best for the polar bears

4:39AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

Just wait 'til that silly, petty newspaper gets wind of the fact that the calving glacier sequence in the same series was "encouraged" by explosives!

4:37AM PST on Dec 16, 2011


3:15AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

whats going on, isnt this suppose to be about the polar bears and nature

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