News & Media Opinion Pieces A fair hearing?

A fair hearing?

This week’s article (see below) by Clive Hamilton on ABC Unleashed, highlights the problem that environmental NGOs have in publishing their viewpoint in Australia. DEA has received numerous comments on this issue, indicating that it plagues most News Ltd. newspapers. Since our mission is to educate public and government on the health aspects of environmental degradation and pollution, it is a problem if we do not get a fair hearing in half of the nation’s newspapers.

The printed responses to Clive Hamilton’s article indicate the increasing polarisation of discussion on this issue. To many, the article is an opportunity to attack ‘greens’ and ‘socialists’ rather than provide analysis of the arguments put forward.  The accusation of bias by News Ltd. extends to the UK and to the USA.  In a recent newsletter we referred to an analysis of editorials in the Wall Street Journal which shows that over a three year period there were four editorials supporting the consensus climate science and thirty-nine against.

Articles in the UK (not confined exclusively to News Ltd. papers) have lead Professor John Beddington, UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, to criticise “journalists wilfully misusing science, distorting evidence by cherry-picking data that suits their view, giving bogus authority to people who misrepresent the absolute basics of science”.  He suggest that ”The media see the discussions about really important scientific events as if it’s a bloody football match. It is ridiculous.

In the USA, such is the state of climate change denial that many non-News Ltd. papers are also coming in for criticism based upon careful analysis. For example, a recent New York Times article on the climate science hearings “fails to inform the public, and plays into the strategy of the climate denial effort.”

Finally, I should indicate that DEA has had two2 articles on climate change issues published in the Australian in recent times: 1) Kidd M, Shearman D. Climate change a worry for the doctors. The Australian, October 13th 2009 2) Shearman D. The heat is on for change: coal. The Australian, 10th July 2010.


One newspaper, so much denial

by Clive Hamilton

Sometimes a lie is too good to discard even when it is known to be a falsehood. So The Australian continues to recycle the lie that I have advocated the “suspension of democracy” to tackle climate change. Not only have I never held such a view, I have repeatedly rejected it when it has been put to me after public lectures over several years. When I once noted that some people feel so frustrated they begin to talk about suspending democracy The Australian’s Cut & Paste section – which specialises in verballing and misrepresenting those the newspaper has decided are its enemies – cut and pasted my words to make it seem that I had advocated such a view.

……read the rest here.