Example of how the Australian media propagates misinformation

Last night after 10pm I saw some of the ABC 24hr TV News show and the segment was The Drum – a presenter with a few people (mostly with greenleft views) to discuss current affairs. The subject turned to the Greens Senator Brown’s call for coal companies to pay bigtime for the Queensland flood cleanup, “because the coal they mine causes global warming and of course the floods”. Somebody mentioned the statement by Senator Barnaby Joyce in above article “…it was absurd for Senator Brown to blame the coal industry for floods, which had been a reality in Queensland throughout its history. “In 1893, the flood gauge on the Brisbane River reached 8.35m, so was the coal industry responsible for that as well?” he (Joyce) asked.
John Barron of ABC NewsRadio replied that “There was a lot of coal burnt in 1893.” And that misinformation went unchallenged. This CDIAC page shows carbon emissions in 1893 at 370 million metric tons of carbon as opposed to 8365 million metric tons of carbon emissions in 2007. The figure for 1893 is 4.4% of current levels so it was clearly misleading for John Barron to cut the debate as he did.

6 thoughts on “Example of how the Australian media propagates misinformation”

  1. Tom – I usually endure the BS in silence – this example was just so specific and quick to rebut. Marc Hendrickx over at ABC News Watch does a great job all the time. See link top of my Blogroll.

    Just saw this odd text on BoM front page in small window [Flood Information] – “Significant flooding across the Eastern states has been occurring since 10 January 2011.” So – the vast areas of flooding prior 10th Jan were INSIGNIFICANT – Who writes this stuff ?
    Beneath that they go on – “The Bureau continues to monitor rainfall and river heights, issuing watches and warnings as required.” I am no legaleagle but I just would not be yakking on about warnings if 30 people had just died.

  2. Warwick,

    You watch it? What inner strength you have! I just wish I had more time to get involved in all this but I’ve been lumped with more responsibilities at work, and even less time than ever.

    Have a look at the Youtube vidoe on James Delingpole concerning the behaviour of the Guardian jounralists blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100072228/lies-damned-lies-and-bbc-climate-change-reporting/

    Luke Walker has reappeared on Jen’s blog as well, and hasn’t changed it seems.

    This battle is far from over.

  3. Thanks for the comments Warwick. Watching the ABC isn’t easy so any help is always appreciated, indeed it’s encouraged.
    Following Maurice Newman’s comments about ABC’s Groupthink news culture last year I expected a return (?) to more neutral reporting, however it appears the opposite has happened.

  4. Would the ABC be as quick to blame aboriginal fire-stick burning for the six major floods on the Brisbane River between 1840 and 1890 as they were to blame man-made warming for flooding from 1893 onward? Somehow I doubt it, even though each of these fanciful theories has about the same likelihood of being correct.
    Marc, groupthink is institutionalised at “their” ABC. We’ve seen the previous conservative government and more recently Newman try unsuccessfully to restore some degree of objectivity. Sadly, I believe the only option remaining is for the ABC to be privatised.

  5. I would suggest to Senator Brown support for the ability of tourists delayed by the collapse of snow removal at Heathrow to sue the Met Office, since they had predicted a warm winter without snow. Logically, such a forecast from the Met Office would have lead to Heathrow not having sufficient plows and deicing trucks available. The Met Office predicted that they would not need them this winter. Since Heathrow’s lack of preperation can be laid at the feet of the Met Office, it follows that all those travelers’s whose Christmas plans were destroyed should therefore sue the Met Office for its horribly wrong forecast.

    I see precious little difference between this logic and Brown’s connection of coal compaines to the floods in Australia.

    (My daughter and her fiance almost missed our family Christmas because the were flying BA through Heathrow.)

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