all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

01 December, 2011

Shock “Climate Change” News: Media Bias!

Many journalists, such as those of The Power Index, continue to produce partisan drivel whilst claiming to be able to identify bias.  Matthew Knott, for instance, stupidly asserts:
it’s worth pointing out that six parliamentary and scientific committees into the original ‘climate-gate’ emails found no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct on behalf* of the climate scientists involved.
The useless Matthew Knott hasn’t yet ascertained—because, no doubt, the incompetent hack has not bothered to check—that no impartial inquiry has yet been established to investigate whether “climate scientists” ever acted inappropriately.  If Knott actually stopped wanking over pictures of Julia Gillard or the evil stalinist, Jew-hating witch, Lee Rhiannon (or, perhaps, Bob Brown), whilst vacuously accepting what his biassed sources tell him, but instead studied the “Climategate” e-mails, the indolent, ignorant dupe could see for himself clear evidence of dishonesty, fraud and gross misconduct.
Lucy Clark must have spent a busy minute or two mining a methodologically shonky report, A Sceptical Climate: Media coverage of climate change in Australia 2011: Part 1—Climate Change Policy, from Wendy Bacon, a professor of journalism:
An extensive study examining coverage of the carbon tax debate has found that News Limited papers crossed the line from reporting to campaigning.  Sydney’s highest-selling paper, The Daily Telegraph, was most hostile to the policy, with 89% of articles expressing negativity and only 11% being positive about the tax.
Negativity?  Oh no, how dare those naughty media!  On a not dissimilar note, I recently examined some modern reporting on Falangists, Fascists and Nazis, as well as reports detailing convictions of murderers, rapists and arsonists, and was dismayed to discern predominant negativity!  Why wasn’t the ratio of positive to negative stories 50/50?
“Both The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun were so biased in their coverage it is fair to say they campaigned against the policy, rather than covered it,” writes report author Wendy Bacon, a professor of journalism at the Australian Centre of Independent Journalism.
“Many Australians did not receive fair, accurate and impartial reporting in the public interest in relation to the carbon policy in 2011.”
Of course, writing for the Murdoch-hating Power Index, Lucy Clark first noticed that News was sledged:
An extensive study examining coverage of the carbon tax debate has found that News Limited papers crossed the line from reporting to campaigning.
According to Bacon, “The Age was the only newspaper whose coverage was more positive than negative.”  Hang on, isn’t positive coverage as much campaigning as negative coverage?  Let us see more of that report which The Power Index esteems so highly:
There are few media stories in which there is such an obvious public interest as that of climate change.  [p. 3]
Really?  Considering that the climate has always changed, and always will, some may find that assessment puzzling; but we might interpret “climate change” as “the conjecture of anthropogenic global warming” (AGW) which is of some public interest—particularly to those credulous chumps who uncritically accept the notion which activist proponents of catastrophic AGW shout at any opportunity:  that industrial emissions of CO2 are causing all sorts of nasty climatic changes.  The report’s lazy use of the term “climate change” to mean AGW demonstrates the bias of the report because, for the most part, “climate change” is the preferred terminology of propagandists of AGW, of political parties which purport to believe in AGW (sufficiently, at least, to propose “carbon” emission schemes, and the like), and of the gullibly compliant media.
There is no doubt that the subject has been well covered by the media.  [p. 3]
No doubt?  Bacon concludes her report’s Preface by asserting:
the quality of reporting on the critical issue of climate change provides a litmus test in seeking answers to the Inquiry’s terms of reference.  [p. 5]
The main use of litmus is to test whether a solution be acidic or alkaline.  So, in other words, the standard of the reporting on the allegedly pressing matter of anthropogenic global warming constitutes a simple method of determining acidity or alkalinity within the search for answers not to questions but to terms of reference.  That’s clear.  It’s no wonder that she teaches journalism.  Of course, she could test her own skills some time.  (They are, talking of litmus tests, quite base.  Notice, for instance, that Bacon has never quite come to grips with the adequate placing of commas.)
The words used to describe issues influence the way it is discussed [sic—better, surely, would be either “they are” instead of “it is” or “an issue” instead of “issues”, but this comes from a professor of journalism who considers media to be singular].  The carbon emissions reduction policy was originally referred to as the carbon pricing policy, although[,] from the beginning, the Opposition leader Tony Abbott from [sic] referred to it as a ‘tax’.  Under questioning, Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed on February 24 that the policy would be “effectively like a tax” (7.30 Report, 24 Feb 2011).  [p. 12]
The PM called the “carbon” tax a tax on many previous occasions, most famously when she promised that she would not introduce one, because it is indeed a tax and not a price.  A price is the amount of money (or its equivalent) which must be given in payment for some good or service; a tax is a compulsory contribution to the State, levied on income or profits, or added to the cost of goods or services.  If I had no CO2 and wanted to buy some, I should pay a price therefor; if, however, I already had some CO2 and the government insisted that I owed them a fee for having produced the beneficent gas which is essential for life on Earth, that would be a tax.  Calling a tax on some industrial emissions of CO2 “a price on carbon” is a politically biassed decision; that Wendy Bacon fails (or pretends to fail) to realise this terminological inexactitude is ipso facto partisan demonstrates how lamentably prejudiced she is.  Partisan terminology used by the media to describe issues, I’m led to believe, will influence the way those issues are then discussed by the public.
Bacon also ignores how much “climate change” and “global warming” are omnipresent notions throughout the media.  One can hardly watch a documentary on SBS, for example, or even a sports or cooking show, without hearing off-hand remarks which are predicated on the silly assumption that catastrophic AGW is definitely proven.  She also ignores the pictures which can severally convey a thousand words of propaganda.  Even articles unrelated to “climate change” can, with a doctored or misleading picture or two—of dark, foreboding steam, say, from looming, sinister cooling towers—indoctrinate the scaremongering of the awarmists.
Negative arguments against the policy were strongly focused on the impact of the policy on the Australian economy.  [p.13]
It is amazing how some assessments of a tax (which would do nothing for the environment—based on the admissions from the Government’s own ministers and the incompetent Climate Commissioner—but would instead lead to increased costs of goods and services) concentrated not on the non-existing virtues of the tax but on rational forecasts of consequent economic damage!
Fairfax newspapers did not publish any opinion articles by climate sceptics about climate policy, [sic] during this period.  [p. 16]
That’s a good thing?  Also, what exactly is a climate sceptic?
Promoting sources with vested interests without testing them [sic] against credible sources provides opportunities for misinformation and scare campaigns.  [p. 19]
That sentence could be intended to mean, I suppose:  “Relying on claims from sources with vested interests in any complex, controversial issue, without testing the accuracy of such claims, could help promulgate misinformation and even assist in partisan propaganda campaigns which willfully foster unjustified fears.”  How much effort, then, we may well wonder, has the semi-literate Bacon applied to testing (perhaps with litmus paper) the sources of all those farfetched claims that slightly more atmospheric CO2 might calamitously alter the world’s overall climate any day now?  Within Australia, after all, much misinformation and fear-mongering propaganda recently came from the Australian Greens, and their minions, as well as the most incompetent federal Government in history, passed on by those supercilious lap-poodles, the Canberra press.  Just because moronic ministers such as Sen. Wong constantly claim that the opposition is running a scare campaign—in between her usual emesis of more poppycock about rising seas and flooded lands and deadly warmth and apocalyptic coolth and the supposed consensus of the world’s most fraudulent pseudo-scientists—does not make it true.  Remember, during the last federal election campaign, when the Treasurer, the Hon. Wayne Swan, accused the Leader of the Opposition of making “hysterical allegations” after the latter claimed, correctly, that the Gillard Government would introduce a “carbon” tax?  Remember when the late Robyn Williams predicted that seas would rise by over one hundred metres?  Remember when the very silly Tim Flannery foresaw that Adelaide would run out of water by 2009? Remember when Bob Brown asseverated that Australia was in permanent drought?  The proctoleichous Wendy Bacon, that half-smoked, useless, inexpert, unprofessional, galegnathous, ham-fisted toady, cannot spot misinformation or fear-mongering when promulgated by those whose politics she supports; she notices alleged misinformation or purported scare campaigns only when supposedly coming from those whom she already despises.
Meanwhile, the ABC (whilst steadfastly refusing to mention the “Climategate e-mails) continues to warn us that climate change will doom us all... 

UPDATE I:  seeGillard EXPO-ed!”, by Michael Kile, at Quadrant Online:
Less than twenty-four hours after the government’s Clean Energy Legislative Package was passed by the Senate just after midday on the 8th November, the prime minister celebrated her Year of Decision and Delivery with a victory speech to the Carbon Expo Australasia 2011 conference.
It was, the PM said, an historic day; a day on which “the federal parliament landed our nation on the right side of history.”  Carbon (dioxide) pricing will be the magic key that unlocks the door to the nation’s “clean energy future”.  There had been, however, some bumps along the way.  [...]
The PM understood why many Australians were anxious about the government’s legislated carbon (dioxide) price. The other side’s fear-mongering on the issue was sickening.  They were full of “rash, irresponsible talk”.  “Their sole intention is to cause damage by corroding certainty and seeing investment deferred.” Her fear-mongering, however, was in a different class.  It had an apocalyptic dimension.  So she was not going to sit back and accept the slings and arrows of our outrageous climate without a fight.  [...]
The other side, the PM stressed, was guilty of “distortion of facts and the trashing of science”.  It was “playing to short-term political advantage to the detriment of the national interest.”  In its “bizarre parallel universe”, there was “juvenile talk of repeal and promises etched in blood, with fingers firmly crossed behind their backs as they are made.”
In her side’s parallel universe, the PM’s favourite planet, Hyperbole, revolves precariously on the edge of a black hole of scepticism.  Here, she said, there was reason, creativity and innovation.  Here was the “ability to see solutions where once there were only problems”.  Here, there was no distortion of facts, no trashing of science, no contradictions, no obfuscation—and no Climategate 1 & 2 emails [...]. Here the ruling elite had mastered the knowledge (or so it said) to engineer a “stable” climate, one (like Goldilocks’s porridge) just right for the planet’s inhabitants.
UPDATE II (2 December):  meanwhile, according to Malcolm Holland of The Daily Telegraph:
Senior bureaucrats in the state government’s environment department have routinely stopped publishing scientific papers which challenge the federal government’s claims of sea level rises threatening Australia’s coastline, a former senior public servant said yesterday.
UPDATE III (2 December)from Bishop Hill, quoting the awarmist BBC, comes another example of excellence in both climate science and reporting:
The drought that has affected parts of England since June will last into next summer if there is insufficient winter rain, the Environment Agency has said.
UPDATE IV (2 December)do listen here to Marc Morano of Climate Depot chatting “about the latest from the world of crimatology” on The Corbett Report.CO2

UPDATE V (2 December)from The Washington Post’s editorial (of 29 November), “A climate of fraud”:
The latest release of 5,000 emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) reconfirms what the 2009’s “Climategate” files established:  Global warming is more fiction than science.  [...]
Warmists dismiss the leaked emails or complain they have been taken out of contextNot so.  Collectively, the emails provide evidence of various crimes against the scientific method, such as concealed or destroyed source data, selective measurement, predetermined conclusions, hidden funding sources and bowing to government influence.  They knew they were doing wrong and sought to hide the evidence.  “One way to cover yourself,” wrote professor Phil Jones, head of the CRU, “would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.  Hard to do, as not everybody will remember to do it.”  Fortunately for science, Mr. Jones was, for once, correct.
UPDATE VI (2 December)see Andrew Bolt’s “Bacon fried on warming coverage”.

UPDATE VII (3 December):  Gavin Atkins also examines Bacon’s self-supposed fairness in “How independent is the Centre for Independent Journalism?”.

UPDATE VIII (5 December)see Tim Blair’s “Spendy Wendy”:
For whatever reason, Bacon and her team of researchers—some thirteen or so were involved in compiling the report—decline to dwell on the government’s obvious reversal of policy.  Dishonest government is evidently less important to academics than is criticism of that government.
Some of the basic assumptions in Bacon’s report are intriguing.  “Climate change has been a hot topic in the Australian media for several years,” she writes, “not so much because it threatens the planet but because of the tense political struggle over how the Australian government should respond.”
So the planet itself is threatened.  Not just low-lying island populations or coast-dwelling Australians or poley bears, but the earth itself.  Note that Bacon implies doubt over the Prime Minister’s carbon tax promise, but exaggerates climate change concerns to the point that the planet may cease to be.  The joint may have survived for 4.6 billion years, but a couple of degrees of temperature change are going to blast it out of space.
UPDATE IX (5 December)the ABC has, at last, graciously condescended to permit mention of the recently released Climategate II e-mails in “Leaked emails confirm climate change questions”:
A Newcastle University professor, whose research questions the science behind climate change says he feels vindicated by recent leaked emails from an international expert on the subject.
Stewart Franks says there is no evidence that carbon dioxide drives global warming and he blames the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for scaring people about a future climate catastrophe.
For the past decade Professor Franks has focussed his research on natural variability in climate as being the driver of extreme droughts and rain events, rather that CO2 emissions.
He says the emails from Kevin Trenberth from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, show fundamental flaws in their methodology, but the public is being kept in the dark.
Professor Franks says he believes the emails support his own argument that natural variability is responsible for warming.
“Now I’ve been criticised for talking about these modes that we’ve barely beginning to understand as somehow being some kind of a denier of climate change or a pure contrarian,” he said.
“But it is really heartening to see that these scientists actually acknowledge [sic] and in fact one scientist went as far as to say ‘What if all the warming we actually see is just natural multi-decadal variability?’
“He then said, ‘They’ll probably kill us’.
“I think we do need an independent and judicial review of the evidence both for and against the likelihood of climate change beyond naturally catastrophic climate variability.
“I must say the IPCC is far too sullied by the leaks and some of the shenanigans that the emails show have be going on.
“It is now too sullied to be credible.”
UPDATE X (6 December):  you might notice that Wendy Bacon just loves to determine the hydrogen ion concentration of media:  in “Coverage of phone hacking scandal – a litmus test for News Ltd”, back in July, she was finding problems with News Ltd because, though linked to Fairfax and the ABC, and a grovelling apologist for the Gillard government, she’s so independent:
This week, Jenna Price and I published a small Australian Centre for Independent Journalism study on the coverage of the phone hacking scandal in Australia on The Conversation [sic] a new publishing venture from the Australian university and research sector.  [...]
It was great to see our story taken up by ABC site, The Drum.
The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, by the way, according to its website:
works with reporters and associates who are interested in producing journalism that reveals the complex, multi-faceted nature of Australian society, and its position as a Pacific Rim nation, in an independent and critical fashion.
If it were not for such independent journalism, I’d never have known that Australian society (or, perhaps, journalism) has a position as a Pacific Rim nation.

UPDATE XI (6 December)for $1,490 (or only $1,140 for some), you too can be taught how to make a mess of punctuation or how to spell subeditor as two unhyphenated words; but, judging from the spiel, you’ll not learn how to avoid contempt:
Learn to select appropriate stories for your readership; write strong headlines and captions; edit with authority for different readerships and capture attention with attractive page layout and design.
This course covers the fundamentals of sub-editing, proofreading, layout and design for print publications.  Topics covered include understanding your readers, story selection, copy editing news and feature stories, writing headlines and captions, marking copy, proofreading and avoiding defamation and contempt.  Basic concepts of page layout and design using industry standard InDesign will also be covered.
People who edit articles, put together newsletters or magazines and/or need to learn about the role of a sub editor will benefit from attending.  People who would like to become freelance sub editors would also benefit.

UPDATE XII (8 December):  for an account of the BBC’s egregious bias, see Christopher Booker’s “BBC’s bias on global warming: An inconvenient truth on climate change:
In 2009, the BBC’s journalists could scarcely hide their dismay at the collapse of the UN’s great Copenhagen climate conference, which planned to cut the world’s ‘carbon emissions’ to such an extent it would have landed mankind with the biggest bill in history, at an estimated cost of hundreds of trillions of pounds.
They tried to brush aside the huge embarrassment of the so-called ‘Climategate’ row in 2009 when hundreds of emails from the Climate Research Unit in Norwich were posted online and which revealed how some of the top scientists had been fiddling their data.
They downplayed scandals erupting round the IPCC when it was revealed that many of its more alarming predictions had not been based on proper science at all, but only on scare stories dreamed up by environmental lobby groups.
Then, last summer, in a bid to justify its conduct, the BBC Trust commissioned one of the Corporation’s regular contributors, the geneticist Professor Steve Jones, to review its science coverage, notably on climate change. Professor Jones made the astonishing claim that the only problem with the coverage of climate change was not that it was too biased, but that it wasn’t biased enough.
All this is why I am far from alone in concluding that the BBC’s coverage has, on this key issue of our time, gone hopelessly off the rails.  The Corporation has been guilty of three separate betrayals.
By making its coverage so flagrantly one-sided on the environment issue, it has betrayed its statutory duty to report on world events impartially.
Second, it has betrayed the basic principles of science by giving such unquestioning support to a theory which the evidence has increasingly called into doubt.
Above all, however, the BBC has betrayed the trust of its audience, by failing to give a fair and balanced picture. 

*  on the other hand, Knott’s use of the words “on behalf of the climate scientists involved” (instead of, say, “on the part of the climate scientists involved”) might not be accidentally incompetent writing but intentional satire—knowing that the obtuse editors of The Power Index would never notice sceptical ridicule.  After all, the alleged inquiries, conducted in order to exculpate the pseudo-scientists and not to ascertain the truth of how widespread corruption is within the small world of those criminals, could be fairly said to have been held in their interest, “on behalf of the climate scientists”.

1 comment:

bingbing said...

That "inquiry" has to be the most brazen hatchet job in the history of inquiries in Australia.