DEBATE: A formal discussion on a particular matter … in which opposing arguments are put forward. Oxford Dictionary
Robert Manne, immune it seems to the overwhelming criticism about his inclination to want to close down public debate, was reported to have said at a book signing in Sydney this week that newspapers should refrain from publishing the opinions of average Australians.
You read that correctly. On climate change he was quite specific.
He thought that newspapers should report only the views of a “core” of experts in key debates. Wondering who they might be, I chanced on an interview on Slow TV titled: Now Or Never: Tim Flannery In Conversation With Robert Manne On Climate Change.
There was no irony in the programme’s title, “Intelligent talk”.
In the conversation he said that just as we had Winston Churchill to fight fascism, in our age of the greatest challenge of climate change, two of his heros were Al Gore, “an exemplay figure” and the scientist James Hansen. He added, for good measure, his admiration for Tim Flannery in his role in Australia’s climate debate.
These are thus Manne’s three outstanding figures fit for public debate.
Manne believes that ‘non-scientists’ should have no voice, but non-scientist Al Gore is apparently OK. Even when, several years ago, the British High Court issued an injunction against showing his film, An Inconvenient Truth to children in British schools because of scientific errors and the propaganda nature of his film.
Manne names James Hansen, who is a scientist, but one imagines that he discounts or ignores the fact that Hansen’s reputation has been widely discredited around the world for scientific fraud and for fueling baseless alarmism about rising temperatures. Just one article by Professor Bob Carter, another scientist but banned by the ABC when talking about James Hansen, illustrates the difficulty about who decides which scientists should be heard in Manne’s putative ‘authorised’ debates.
As for Tim Flannery, who Manne unreservedly admires, enough has already been said about his scare-mongering and baseless and finally spectacularly wrong assertions concerning impending water shortages in our capital cities for him to be completely disregarded. But again, Manne no doubt would think him a qualified commentator.
Presumably, Manne would also like to eliminate the persistent journalists who exposed Climategate, and who have for years been diligently exposing the misleading information constantly being churned out by the United Nations propaganda unit, the IPCC.
Manne, however, knows which scientists to get for this important debate.
“They should get scientists in the consensual core to debate it.
Just in case the reader thought it could not get any worse, Manne magnanimously urged the media, presumably on other topics of importance, to embrace greater contributions from “controversial left-wing commentators” such as US linguistics professor Noam Chomsky and Beirut-based commentator Robert Fisk.
So, there we have it.