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ABC Chairman says “Let them speak.” Greens say “Nooooo.”

Posted By JoNova On March 11, 2010 @ 5:58 am In AGW socio-political,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Today the Chairman of “our ABC” (it’s paid for by Australian taxpayers) said the unthinkable.

It’s not that he said man-made global warming was a scam, and he didn’t announce that carbon wasn’t a pollutant; he just asked for journalists to listen to other points of view.

“At the ABC, I believe we must re-energise the spirit of enquiry. Be dynamic and challenging, to look for contrary points of view, to ensure that the maverick voice will not be silenced.”

In a speech to senior ABC staff, he said that climate change was an example of “group-think”, and that they should listen perhaps “to other points of view that may be sceptical.”

Contrary views on climate change have not been tolerated and those who express them have been labelled and mocked.

I’ve been around long enough to know that consensus and conventional wisdom doesn’t always serve you well and that unless you leave some room for an alternative point of view you are likely to go down a wrong track…

These innocuous non-judgemental lines are too far from the doctrine.

Christine Milne of the Australian Greens responded, and in the true spirit of an open democracy and a free press, urged ABC journalists to ignore him. Fully 40% of Australians might be sceptical,* but Christine Milne wants to make sure that information that aligns with their opinions is not represented by our national government-funded broadcaster. Like Clive Hamilton, she hides in the dark… don’t let them speak. Where is the compassion and tolerance the Greens claim to defend? We’ll defend you if you agree with us, but if you come from a different culture (one that respects data more than “doctorates” and logic over bluster), we’ll use every tool at our disposal to suppress you.

Milne called it “anti-science” nonsense. Why? Because Newman said the unthinkable: “I still have an open mind on climate change.” So closed minds are the way to go?

“So as I said, I’m not a scientist and I’m like anybody else in the public, I have to listen to all points of view and then make judgments when we’re asked to vote on particular policies.”

These innocuous non-judgemental lines are too far from the doctrine.

He might be the Chairman, and obviously has some influence, but he fights a culture where many journalists think it’s conversational to insult scientists. Brendan Trembath, the journalist who interviewed him after the speech, even asked:“Would you say you’re a climate change denier or not as obvious as that?”

Imagine on any other scientific topic, if a journalist asked: “Would you say your opinion is equivalent to someone who denies the halocaust?” Or, “Would you agree that you deny the scientific evidence from an entire branch of science?”

Take this question literally from Brendan Trembath: Is there some doubt in your mind about climate change? It’s a bit like suggesting you have doubts that the tides come and go.

It’s a bit like suggesting you have doubts that the tides come and go.

The caretakers of the Big Scare Campaign have reframed basic English. “Climate change” is so branded now, it’s loaded with inference and double-meaning. The same with the word “denier”. Many people hide behind these terms as if they are labels, but there is no paper or Law of Nature that skeptics deny, and the global climate is constantly changing on every timescale from  hours-to-eons. This false rebranding is insidious and must be exposed for the marketing tactic that it is.

Lastly, one day even journalists may recognize that the effects of global warming are not evidence of the cause of that warming.

Brendan Trembath: Even though we’ve got people talking about longer and more severe bushfire seasons, the melting of polar ice caps, you still have your doubts?

Trembath forgot to mention sea-level rise, droughts, hurricanes, and Dengue Fever, which are also not useful as indicators of the cause of global warming. It is pretty extraordinary that after such an unending litany of the conflated effects of warm weather, anyone can keep a rational, independent mind at the ABC.

Trembath might do well to try explaining to us how solar-magnetic effects or cloud-cover changes, or aliens with rayguns would not also melt polar ice caps or raise sea levels…

Maurice Newman was formerly Chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange. His appointment is a five-year post that started in Jan 2007. We can look forward to two more years of a sane voice at the ABC (I hope).

*A recent poll showed forty percent of Australians disagree that our carbon emissions are significantly changing the climate (ACSC poll, Feb 2010 see page 27 of the PDF).

Hat tip to Mattb.


PS: There’s a special piece of bluster from Prof. Stefan Lewandonsky on ABC Unleashed tonight. I saw him speak in December, and wrote about that here. Get bowled over by the “utterly inconceivable” repetition of argument from authority as he soaks in consensus, and clarifies the issue of the global climate with references to Ivan Milat (a serial killer), HIV, Prince Charles, the global drug trade, and the Falklands war. Feeling edified? For a moment, he stops mindlessly bowing to the gods of science and doing sophisticated research into “google scholar searches”, and tosses ad homs instead. It must be tough watching your cult fall apart.

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