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Through the looking glass greenly at the ABC

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 17, 2011 @ 1:32 am In Global Warming,Media-matters | Comments Disabled

Is the ABC biased? Do we even need to ask?

The local state Liberals (the conservative party, who are in government in this state of Western Australia) voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Royal Commission on climate change science. Now that is a news story all by itself. It could have had headlines like: “Liberals demand climate scientists be put to the test”, “WA Liberals demand answers from Climate Science”.

Instead the ABC makes its headlines from almost the only person in the room who disagreed:

WA Liberal climate change motion ‘stupid’: Washer and

Liberal MP ridicules party’s royal commission idea

Actually, he wasn’t even in the room. As it happens, Mal Washer didn’t attend the conference last weekend, and sums up his total insight into why this motion was passed overwhelmingly:

” I don’t know who brought it up and I don’t know who would be silly enough to support it.”

“I don’t know how many were there when this, I was not there when this happened, right, so I don’t know how many people were there”

... I don’t know how that slipped through. Whether they’re a bit battle fatigued at the end of the day….”

Since I hear practically the whole party supported it (apart from Leader Colin Barnett, and possibly a couple of young libs), and Mal Washer wasn’t even there, it seems the ABC sought out the one person who knew the least to ask him the question he was baffled by. With this technique of interviewing the people who don’t know the answers, it’s obvious why the ABC are ten years behind on climate reporting. They could have interviewed anyone, anyone else from the Liberal Party ranks, and learned more. Indeed one member wrote to me to describe the meeting, and said there was virtually no dissent in the room, and support for the idea was loudly vocal. It wouldn’t be too hard surely to find someone else to interview?

Instead all the ABC listeners got was the combination of the words “stupid and senseless” and  “ludicrous and silly” with “Liberal Party”. There was little actual content but much repetition (three uses of “stupid”, five of “silly”) not to mention the anti-science propaganda line  of argument-from-authority, as well as yet another old-news-dig at Tony Abbott for saying that CO2 was weightless (a silly but irrelevant slip).

Even the SMH managed to do some reporting:  WA Libs push for climate royal commission. And from the other side of the nation we find out why a Royal Commission might be a good idea.

Federal Liberal MP Dr Dennis Jensen has called consistently for a royal commission saying it would allow an “honest, public debate, free of emotion”.

But the state Liberal Party executive on Tuesday told Dr Jensen not to comment on the matter ahead of the conference but has previously said a royal commission was the only way forward in the climate change debate.

He said the standing committee on science had demonstrated that “scientists who make unambiguous statements publicly” are more cautious if false or misleading comments can result in them being found in contempt of court.

“This alone is clear evidence a royal commission into the science of climate change will provide us with answers, particularly when examining the parts played by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO,” he said.

Who would have thought of phoning Dennis Jensen, the WA federal Liberal skeptic who is based in Perth?

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