10:10’s Boom video

10:10’s climate change murder video has caused much offence, but one thing nobody is questioning is their inability to control the material, or the debate.

The instant negative reaction from most of the climate change campaign community after its release yesterday morning, prompted the video to be quickly pulled from 10:10’s own website, but it was even more quickly reposted by people wishing to continue to comment.

Wisely, in their apology statement yesterday evening 10:10 said they are not going to try to control how people use the video now it is in the wild, for instance via copyright take-downs.

10:10 nevertheless tried to place their own spin onto the event:

Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

But with zero effect. It’s clear from the many comments, blogs and tweets that nobody really believes thinks the issue is a question of what is humorous. The actual criticisms are to do with what the video communicates.

The key point is that the instant, interactive nature of the Internet allows those who believe the video to be a major mistake to read and communicate this themselves. The public controls the debate, rather than 10:10.

The other discourse, from people campaigning against policies to reduce CO2 emissions, cannot be controlled either. But its resonance may be dampened: their case is that climate campaigners really do want to exterminate people who disagree with them; but the very high volume reaction against the video from environmentalists shows this not to be true.

10:10 are the real victims, in fact. I cannot imagine there will now be a lot of enthusiasm about their activities on 10 October. Instead, much of their hard work over the last year will have been squandered.

While that is a blow to their campaign, it should be less concerning than what might have happened in a pre-Internet era. After a public, national release of such a video on national television, the ensuing public debate would have been controlled by the media and their pundits.

The coverage would have been instantly framed in a simple ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ straight-jacket. The media would have scoured the land for any hapless environmentalist prepared to defend 10:10’s action against the climate change skeptics. Environmentalists who objected to the video would not have been heard, as they wouldn’t fit into this frame. That might have set the green debate back years.

The Internet is again pushing public discourse into a much more healthy and democratic place.