“It is willful blindness and it is going to kill us.”
That’s how climate activist Miranda Whelehan described the stance of presenters like those on good morning britain who, this week, literally refused to face the facts about climate change she placed before them.
Her interview with the show’s Richard Madeley and Ranvir Singh struck a nerve online, with many comparing the segment to the TV interview in Don’t Look Up where Jennifer Lawrence’s character says, “We’re trying to tell you that the entire planet is about to be destroyed!” and the interviewer, played by Cate Blanchett, replies, “That’s just something we do around here, keep the bad news light!”
But the GMB hosts didn’t just avoid. The interview became a three-versus-one, attack-the-messenger segment. The two hosts and another guest seemed to characterize Whelehan herself — who is part of a protest group that has been peacefully blocking oil terminals in the UK as part of a campaign to get the country to ween itself off oil — as a simple-minded, inexperienced and out of touch hypocrite.
The 65-year-old Madeley dismissed the much younger Whelehan’s argument not based on its merits but, he implied, because it was “quite childish.” He called protesters’ slogan, “Just Stop Oil,” simplistic or, as he said, “very playground-ish.”
Whelehan replied, “The answers are actually very simple – we need to stop new oil licensing. With the oil reserves that we have now and the oil fields that we have that are still going, that would provide us with eight years of oil.”
Good Morning Britain’s idea of a counterpoint to Whelehan was to include Lowry Turner in the discussion. Turner describe herself on her website as a “a well-known journalist and broadcaster who is now a qualified hypnotherapist and nutritionist.” She, like Madeley, attacked the messenger.
“The problem that I have is this idea of the one group of people have decided that they are the ones to save the world and there’s a certain poe-faced incredibly irritating –I am getting it in a wave towards me here — like, ‘ How dare you question us because we know what’s right.’ With respect, Miranda is 20. I’m more than twice her age from her. I’ve got kids. I’ve got a job I’ve got an elderly mother. We have to get on with our life.”
Turner cynically described the eco-activism as “about ego.”
“We’ve had a winter without protest and now, as soon as the sun comes out, it’s eco-festival time. It is a festival. It’s a jamboree. It’s let’s sit down with a closet. Let’s get on social media. Let’s advertise what a great person I am.”
‘The people that the campaigners should be focusing on is the government, not on ordinary people.’
Journalist Lowri Turner says the protesters are ‘incredibly irritating’ and they should be targeting the government with their protests rather than ordinary working people. pic.twitter.com/vqDOYu5M3P
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 11, 2022
“I just can’t believe that’s what you’re saying,” a near speechless Whelehan replied. “The United Nations are telling us that, if we get to 1.7 degrees of warming, half the population are going to be exposed to conditions that are unlivable.”
Singh interrupted, “The point is, it’s not just about saying the facts over and over again, it’s about the actual protests and the disruption.”
Madeley then chimed in and asked Whelehan about her clothes.
The segment brought waves of comment, including from Don’t Look Up director Adam McKay who retweeted a clip and wrote, “God bless this activist for hanging in there with this TV creature [Madeley]. #JustStopOil I wonder how much fossil fuel advertising $ this show takes. Or is the host just naturally that clueless? Or both?”
God bless this activist for hanging in there with this TV creature. #JustStopOil https://t.co/DiAminEEl3
— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) April 12, 2022
GreenpeaceUK tweeted, “#DontLookUp was supposed to be a satire. Feeling pretty real right now.”
#DontLookUp was supposed to be a satire.
Feeling pretty real right now. #JustStopOil pic.twitter.com/tLRnJTqJj2
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) April 12, 2022
In a piece she later penned for The Guardian Whelehan wrote, “The worst part is that these presenters and journalists think they know better than chief scientists or academics who have been studying the climate crisis for decades, and they refuse to hear otherwise.”
You can watch the entire GMB interview below.