“In its heyday the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was a bastion of objectivity. However this show revealed nothing but wind apologetics. The absurdities were thick and one-sided without a single thread of verity.”
Recently the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) pretended to take on the endless debate around the topic most people know little about – the health problems created by industrial wind turbines. The results were quite disappointing.
The Sunday, October 21st program (two segments) skated around the issues like Barbara Ann Scott.
The first segment was a cut and paste “documentary” by a novice reporter from Kincardine, Ontario about people in her “home town.” Frustratingly, and sadly, this entire set up piece merely touched at the edges of the actual concerns many of which have been reported on CBC by actual CBC reporters. This set the tone for a familiar experience – greenwashing.
John Twidell Misdirection
The second segment, 17 minutes, was devoted to a chuckling grandfatherly engineer and long-time proponent of industrial wind, John Twidell. The UK’s Twidell is former editor of Wind Engineering Magazine and has served as an advisor on wind and renewables to the UK government. He was a member of the lobbyist organization British Wind Energy Association.
The dubiously reverential tone of the interviewer, Karin Wells, permeated this piece of wind turbine propaganda. So why did this ignite us so? After all we are used to the green propaganda machine.
In its heyday CBC was a bastion of objectivity. However this show revealed nothing but wind apologetics. The absurdities were thick and one-sided without a single thread of verity.
Twidell mentioned that “there are NO health concerns in Germany and Europe, none.” His awareness of independent research Dr. Nina Pierpont had only commenced “this morning,” but he felt “expert” enough to dismiss her study as merely “sincere.” He added, in Europe, “Wind Turbine Syndrome” does not seem to exist.”
This is where, as Orwell states, black is white. Or in today’s vocabulary, black is green.
The banter went on to include other newspeak such as “turbines make our future more secure. They are more sustainable.” And the inevitable commentary, “People just don’t like the look of them.” The final moments spoken by this creative blandness was a cozy picture of the annual general meeting of the CO OP wind venture of which John Twidell is himself a contented part.
Imagine children playing laughing, everyone happy. We imagine that all developers at the annual meetings would celebrate their hapless “earnings.” But Mr. Twidell professes to know nothing of the environmental devastation and human suffering, despite growing worldwide condemnation of an industry that is in real trouble with with fiscal reform threatening traditional subsidies.
Twidell’s reality doesn’t reflect what we know in Europe and Germany, subsidy scandals in North America, energy distortions, and economic hardship. Well over 2,000 anti-wind groups are coalesced now, and for many years telling the truth about the bad economics, the financial hardship, the government cover-ups, the developers’ lies, the huge buckets of money in subsidies, hanging out entire economies in the wash.
We see Spain on her knees, the UK in energy poverty, and Germany building 26 new coal fired plants. Why? Wind just doesn’t blow all the time, and requires continuous back up.
CBC: Time for a Redo
For CBC to launch this Sunday Edition without having done the basic research leaves us with the sad bitter taste of “propaganda” hanging in the air. The ongoing factual record calls for a redo.
The sad stories continue to mount. Take Ted Whitworth of Amaranth who has lost 1/3 of his livestock in the shadow of wind substation with stray voltage problems daily. He has tried to get an audience for six years.
The Brindley family now living in Saskatchewan, has had its entire farm and family life demolished from turbine proximity, ill health, dying animals and miscarried livestock. Like many others unacceptable stray voltage plus noise and vibration and low frequency/infrasound have caused chronic problems.
Another family with three autistic children in fragile health is fighting more turbine installations near their farm.
From around the world, there are abnormal health issues (heart attacks, cancer clusters, and even suicide) that have put wind turbines on trial.
CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe studied the complaints and stated: “The complainants felt that a CBC Radio program October 21, 2012, on Wind Turbines was unfair and lacked balance. I did not find a violation of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices.”
LaPointe did not offer an explanation as to why growing, robust research about the health problems of wind turbines (such as in Europe) did not apply to Canada. (NOTE: the dialogue between the Ombudsman’s office and listeners appears far from over.)
Both Sides, Please
The journalistic standards of fair play include that the truth be strongly embedded in programming or at the very least that both sides are represented. This is where the CBC’s mandated fairness ultimately failed. “Research in other areas where specialized knowledge is required should utilize the resources of institutions and experts outside the CBC/Radio-Canada. It should be recognized, however, that sometimes these have a partisan interest in the subject and that there must accordingly be a balance in the outside resources that are used.”
This was the most poorly researched piece my tax dollars have ever purchased from the CBC. Mr. Twidell as a carrier of mistruths to a broad CBC audience, should have been challenged left right and center, and not permitted to spout propaganda.
Mr. Twidell asks us to stand right under a turbine and listen. “It is not any louder than a refrigerator.” Well, ask why people in radius of even to 10 km are suffering acute sleep disorders, tinnitus, headaches, disorientation, depression, and abandoning vibrating homes full of unacceptable infra and low frequency noise.
The program’s final commentary by Ms. Wells stated grass roots groups in America and Canada are funded by oil and gas interests. This allegation which should have never have met the air waves is best left for legal teams. (We welcome an opportunity to correct these and other fairly obvious misrepresentations with equal time on the CBC.)
If CBC really believes in its standard “The trust of the public is our most valued asset,” then serious correction is in order for the next chapter in this continuing debate. It is time for reality to replace Orwellian greenwashing in the industrial wind debate.