Archive for the ‘media’ Category

ABC uses Nazi tag too

June 22, 2011

Seen on the ABC and defended by them as a legitimate slur

The ABC and its presenters such as Jon Faine — this morning on ABC 774 —should calm down about their contrived indignation of Lord Monkton and his reference to Ross Garnaut as an eco-fascist in association with a picture of a swastika.

Of course it was an unfortunate provocation and will be used against Monkton, relentlessly, but the ABC is hardly innocent when it comes to throwing around the same labels.

Back in April 2001, the ABC, through Stuart Littlemore and his eponymous programme devoted a whole episode to an attack on the IPA over its highly effective Sydney conference, Their ABC or Our ABC? on ABC bias.

Littlemore’s report stands as a classic case of jackboot journalism designed to silence critics. Not only did Littlemore mislead, distort, and attempt to libel the IPA to inflict maximum damage to its credibility, he directly related the organisation to Nazism by showing a photo of Adolph Hitler together with a quotation from Mein Kampf stating that ‘the broad mass of a nation… will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one’.

A formal complaint was made to Jonathan Shier, the then Managing Director of the ABC.  The ABC’s official response was that it was

…satisfied that the program presented appropriate comment within the context of its brief’

Of course.

Bravo ABC for your exquisite hypocrisy.

Barrie Cassidy does not understand balance

February 20, 2011

Not quite crocodile tears … but nearly

Barrie Cassidy still does not understand what bias is. He complained last week in a letter to The Australian of being treated dishonestly, misleadingly and unfairly.

That he criticised the ALP at least as much as the Liberals is a common argument in the ABC. They hit the Liberals and they hit Labor. They hit the Liberals from the left and that is understood. But almost always, they hit the ALP from … err, the left of the ALP. And this is the game Barrie plays. This has been the game the ABC has been playing since Hawke took Australia to the first Gulf War.

Another instance is green policies. The ALP is never green enough for the ABC, just as refugee policies are never compassionate enough. Barrie was all for compassion for the nine year old boy in Sydney, but that compassion would never extend to questioning why the nine year old boy’s parents died in the first place, or how many millions of other potential refugees, who waste away in the vilest conditions in refugee camps throughout the world, will never get the chance to come to Australia … because of smuggled boat people. When, for instance, will the ABC commentators start insisting on questioning the Gillard government’s inability to stop the boats,  and the drownings?

A letter in reply to Cassidy’s dummy spit suggested that “when Barrie dares to have three conservatives on the same day to discuss politics, maybe then his feigned hurt at being called biased can be taken more seriously.”

That would be an interesting excercise, but more importantly, the ABC does not even understand what the important issues are, and so never really asks the right questions. Take for instance this morning on Insiders. They discussed multiculturalism, but as Andrew Bolt correctly points out, the media does not even understand the debate it is trying to stop, and refuses in effect to discuss the malaise and disquiet growing within Australia, or indeed why Chris Bowen is suddenly talking up multiculturalism.

However, with more genuinely representative journalists — by this I mean those that represent mainstream views — Barrie might just be confronted a little more with what it means to be balanced.

The ABC does it again

September 16, 2010

Not a conspiracy, just wishful thinking and laziness

A few days ago there was an excellent analysis by Marc Hendrickx, a consulting geologist, of some of the problems that many have been raising about ABC bias in relation to climate change in The Australian. A more detailed version can be seen at his excellent and very valuable ABC News Watch site.

Hendrickx has had a close look at the ABC Online’s “A journey through climate history”, which purports to show “key events in the climatic history of the planet”. The problem is, according to Hendrickx, and unsurprisingly for us sceptics, is that it is riddled with mistakes.

Thirteen basic scientific errors were identified in the presentation, along with numerous mistakes that suggested a review of the content was warranted. ABC made seven corrections to the presentation. A subsequent Independent Complaints Review Panel report found against claims of bias on a number of the timeline pages. An independent review of the content was never undertaken and now 30 additional errors have been raised with the ABC, the most telling of these probably being the confusion between the chemical symbols for cobalt (Co) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Again I ask, when will the ABC treat the important topic of climate change impartially and with a modicum of objectivity. A recent post of mine showed the slipperiness of Robyn Williams with his unrepentant record of bias on the global warming industry. Jo Nova has a similar plea about Williams’ abdication of responsibility as a science journalist.

Robyn Williams is a good man who would be horrified to know that he is not defending the planet, but standing up for corrupt scientists, plundering bureaucrats, and profit-taking bankers. I make no suggestions that he is profiting from spreading such poor reasoning, or that he is corrupt. He is simply working from devastatingly mistaken assumptions: He assumes the modelers are right; he assumes the peer review system is working; he assumes that science will work properly if only one side of a theory is fully funded, and he assumes that UN bureaucrats will publish recommendations that don’t support an increase in their own power and status.

In short, he assumes people will be honest despite massive temptations of all kinds to do otherwise.

I assume people will be people.

Look at the evidence, Robyn. Please.

A change of belief for Robyn Williams

September 4, 2010

What exactly was “One hundred metres” Williams talking about?

There was a very interesting excerpt from the first ABC Science Show with Robyn Williams from 1975 to celebrate the programme’s 35 years. In it, Williams was interviewing Peter Ritchie-Calder, father of infamous Nigel Calder, the internationally renowned British global warming sceptic.  I got the impression that Williams was making the point that all that long ago he was on the money, already talking about carbon pollution and the dangers of global warming. But, in listening carefully to what they both said, there is a strange feeling that something was missing.

Robyn Williams: Hello, this is Robyn Williams in Vancouver with the very first edition of The Science Show.

Yes, we’re 35 this week, and so today a brief look back to 1975. And what is really striking in Science Show number one is that even then we were talking about climate and energy sources. What have we learned? Just listen.

Lord Ritchie-Calder came to Vancouver to talk about energy problems, a subject he knows all about having sat on countless advisory panels over the years.

Peter Ritchie-Calder: In the course of the last century we’ve put 360,000 million tonnes of fossil carbon into the atmosphere. On the present trends the accumulated requirements between now and 2000 AD will come out as something like 11,000 million tonnes of coal a year, 200,000 million tonnes of crude petroleum and liquid natural gas, and 50 million million cubic metres of natural gas. Remember, this is coming out of the bowels of the Earth, and now we are taking it out and we’re throwing it back into the atmosphere, and into the climatic machine, into the weather machine, where it is beginning to affect the climate itself. Now this is a very serious matter, and to me there is no question that our climate has changed.

Robyn Williams: Do you expect the limitation to this ever-expanding use of fossil fuels to be due to either running out of them, or to this second question of climate effect?

Peter Ritchie-Calder: I think definitely that environmental factors…that you will simply be confronted with a situation which will make life virtually intolerable.

Robyn Williams: We’ve got these different possible techniques, there’s a nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, solar power, tidal power and so on. What do you think will happen to determine which of these will become the satisfactory energy source?

Notice that the issue for the discussion is energy. You can see, in the last two responses from Williams there is scant regard to the climate that Ritchie-Calder thinks is urgent. The programme was, after all, made barely a year after the first big and very damaging oil crisis of 1974, and Williams was only concerned with how to find an alternative “satisfactory energy source”. There was certainly no Robyn “100 metres” Williams jumping on the climate band wagon. Indeed, at that time, almost everyone was talking about global cooling and the prospects of an ice age due to carbon emissions.

Significantly, just after that show, in November 1975, the US National Academy of Sciences published a report, Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action. In it was stated the fact that

we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate.

Indeed, at the time most people were spooked by doomsday announcements of a runaway cooling of the planet. This comes from Newsweek, April 28, 1975

The Cooling World

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth …

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.

Of course, this alarmism sounds almost identical to what the media publishes today, except that it is for the opposite reason! The problem is that it is hard to know with the excerpt Williams gave on his Science Show promotion the other day, whether or not he and Ritchie-Calder were not referring to global cooling and the impending ice age, if indeed Williams was thinking much about climate change at all.

Maybe Williams could clarify that for us.

The right wing drum beat on the ABC, yeah …

September 3, 2010

“And Tony Abbott isn’t even Prime Minister yet”

Just the other day I received a very belated comment by an Alan Knight on a post I wrote in May about the ABC failing in its charter for balance.

Alan Knight, it turns out, runs a blog and sent me a link to an article of his, The right wing Drum beat at ABC News 24, about how the new 24 Hour news service has lurched to the “booga booga” right.

The evidence? In a recent Drum, he reports the “thinly stretched” 24 hour news service had the audacity to have on two conservatives, Imre Salusinszki, from “the left leaning (not)” Australian — just in case we had forgotten — and Jessica Brown, from the CIS “right wing think tank” —just in case we had forgotten.  However, it turns out that the third panellist was an ABC journalist, and the presenter was, well, an ABC journalist. That seems like good balance to me.

The problem for Mr Knight apparently is that Maurice Newman, currently on the ABC Board, is “no friend of the Labor movement” — just in case we had forgotten — and is “calling the shots at the ABC”.  So there you have it. This conservative “infiltration” just goes to show you that the ABC is not operated by and for the left. And, he explains indignantly, “Tony Abbott isn’t even Prime Minister yet”.

Maybe Mr Knight could explain to us why the chirpy Annabel Crabb, formerly at the Sydney Morning Herald, is now the ABC Online’s chief political writer. She also makes regular appearances on the thinly stretched 24 hours news service. According to J F Beck, after her inaugural piece on Malcolm Turnball on the new Drum website in November last year, the subsequest fifteen had mentioned Tony Abbott.   Beck’s conclusion:

So the ABC’s number one political writer, its top political analyst, continually ridicules the Liberals but can find nothing about the left deserving so much as a mention. No bias here, folks, none whatsoever.

Mr Knight could perhaps explain to us, if Maurice Newman is indeed calling the shots, in addition to the appointment of Crabb, why almost all panels for Q&A still have three representatives of the left and only one and half  on the right (if we’re lucky), Tony “I’m sorry, I’m not meaning to interrupt your flow” Jones,  as well  7.30 Report’s “Blue Eyes”,  who is still shamelessly continuing the way he always does: rude and aggressive with the Liberals, smarmy and obsequious with the ALP.

Oh, and by the way, Alan Knight was elected national spokesperson for Friends of the ABC in 2007 — just in case you didn’t know.

7.30 Report a disgrace to the ABC

August 10, 2010

Kerry, what is the speed of light?

It is clear that many would have noticed the outrageously transparent  ”gotcha” approach by Kerry O’Brien last night with Tony Abbott on the 7.30 Report. In spite of much public criticism of his bias, O’Brien continues his ruthless and shameless approach to the treatment of the Liberal opposition.

Kerry was successfully in confusing Abbott with his sophisticated mastery of the technical aspects of broadband and explaining how much better the ALP’s network would surely be. Nevertheless,  Abbott was able to get in this.

TONY ABBOTT:  And what they’re going to use, as I understand it, is to string cable on telegraph poles, which is hardly the most marvellously sophisticated technology to use in this day and age either.  Look, Kerry, err …

KERRY O’BRIEN: Its fibre … where … where signals will travel at the speed of light.

Really, Kerry. Please explain just how many megabits of light that is?

Surely, Kerry, if you don’t know the difference between the speed of networks and the speed of light, you shouldn’t be expecting a higher standard for your interviewees.

Age editorial correct !

June 16, 2010

The Age reflects agendas of journalists

In a previous post I quoted an Age editorial where they boasted that “quality newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors.”

We knew that it was their idea of a joke, but the very next day we had the proof. Yesterday they ran a news report, not opinion, on a debate that took place in Melbourne on racism, between Professor Robert Manne and Hanifa Deen for the affirmative, and Professor Bob Birrell and Dr Tanveer Ahmed for the negative.

The article, written by Paul Millar, was headed Country ‘drifting back to racism’. A strange heading for a debate with two sides whose subject was to determine whether or not Australian had escaped its racist past. However, The Age never lets facts get in the way of story. Looking closely at the article, almost all of it was taken up with Hanifa Deen’s presentation for the affirmative. In a total of 470 words, Professor Birrell was given only 42 words, or barely nine percent of the report. Not another word from the negative.

In a follow-up editorial today, we learn that the debate was an IQ2 event, sponsored by The Age. We also learn that the audience voted in favour of the proposition, 71 per cent to 20 per cent. The editorial suggested that maybe it was because of the difficulty of  “satisfying the opposite contention”. But is it not as feasible that the vast majority of the audience were Age readers and thus ill-informed because The Age coverage of issues never satisfies the opposite contention.

Warming scientists alarmed and desperate

June 15, 2010

Dr Cathy Foley’s folly

Since 1989 the US government has given around $80 billion dollars to the climate change industry. Who knows how much has been wasted by the United Nations. Hundreds of millions of tax payer money has been spent here in Australia. The money spent by sceptics pales  into insignificance against this onslaught. Nevertheless, Dr Cathy Foley, the president of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, is convinced that it is a well funded climate sceptics movement that has increasingly captured the public’s attention: ”We are concerned the debate around climate change has become a left-wing versus right-wing debate, or a kind of religious argument, when it should really be about the strength of the scientific evidence.”

So what does Dr Foley do? Fearful of losing hearts and minds over global warming, she is organizing a conference with yet more funding to increase the politicisation and campaigning. Forget the science.

REPRESENTATIVES of scientific organisations, including the CSIRO and the Bureau Of Meteorology, will meet today to discuss better communication of the science behind man-made climate change as the political and public consensus on global warming crumbles.

The conference in Sydney, organised by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, is part of a long-term effort to develop a ”national communication charter” for major scientific organisations and universities to better disseminate the evidence for climate change …

Dr Foley is correct to be concerned about a growing scepticism of and apathy towards climate change in Australia.

A Lowy Institute poll showed that the number of Australians who wanted action on climate change immediately had dropped from 68 per cent in 2006 to 46 per cent this year …

But there seems to be little insight by scientists as to why this has happened. Self awareness is not their strong point.  Andrew Bolt provides us with a delicious object lesson in why this may be so with Australia’s “Alarmist of the Year”, Tim Flannery.

There is also a failure to understand why China “rat fucked” — ipse dixit Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — the good guys at Copenhagen, or why the Left media discounted and refused to deal with the scandals coming out of Climategate.

The response from Dr Foley and from Mr Rudd’s government when losing the debate is to spend more money.

The government – which has postponed its emissions trading scheme until at least 2013 – committed $30 million for a ”national campaign to educate the community on climate change, including on climate change science, in the budget last month.

The Age looks in the mirror

June 14, 2010

Age editorial show how easy it is to be cynical

Editorials are usually serious things, but this was truly a LOL moment last weekend. Almost unbelievable really.

QUALITY newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors. It is easy to be cynical about the assumption that this is how The Age and other serious newspapers work, but if it were not so the exchange of reliable information, and of informed opinion, on which democracy depends could not happen. And if a major news organisation does behave in a way that suggests its reportage reflects something other than concern for the public interest, it risks eroding public trust – in the organisation itself, and in the wider media industry.


The Left and Israel

June 9, 2010

Unerringly, they always seem to back the wrong horse

Recently, I mentioned  the excellent book by Nick Cohen, What’s Left? How liberals lost their way, in which he asks why the international Left have an unerring propensity for supporting groups who, it would seem, contradict everything the Left stands for.

Spanish ex-politician, Pilar Rahola, a journalist and activist, also from the ideological left, feels even more strongly than Cohen about the absurd hypocrisy of the Western anti-Israeli Left and questions why it is indeed attracted to groups with fascist, totalitarian and anti-liberal impulses.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the Left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

It is nice to hear a voice from the Spanish speaking world which also apparently has extensive influence throughout Latin America.


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