“In the old days they would have just bound her, thrown her into the lake, and waited to see if she floated.
Though a primitive method of witch-hunting, it would surely be far more effective than Jonathan’s, and would require much less in taxpayer funding.”
Jennifer Marohasy belongs to the “wrong” tribe, according to the ABC’s Media Watch program.
Media Watch is panting with excitement because — stop me if you’ve heard this before — she’s a scientist who earns money. My favorite part of the inadvertent expose-of-ABC-bias was the sneering voice-over, meant to be Marohasy or any supporter of her: petulant, petty and childish. The full ABC-festival-of-smug is right on display, thanks, as always, to the Taxpayers of Australia.
It’s so bad, it’s satirical:
MW: But many real journalists struggle when reporting science.
“Struggle?” Mr Holmes? You mean they are so confused about the real world, they think if a US group funds a group who write about a distantly connected topic, that therefore, ergo, and quid pro quo — that tiny funding demonstrates that Lake Alexandrina was always freshwater? Golly? Normally weak journalists settle for a direct ad hom, but Media Witch, like Wendy Carslisle, go out of their way to hunt for second degree nonsense. Could the tenuous connection be more distant?
MW: Let me be clear. We’re not suggesting [that Marohasy is corrupted by personal gain]. Nor are we disputing the AEF’s right to promote her views.
If Media Watch wasn’t trying to denigrate Jennifer Marohasy’s credibility, why did they spend over half their time detailing her funding sources, and even the funding sources of her funding sources, no wait, that was the funding source for the funding source for her former role. They also went after the sponsors of one of the groups she.. err… used to be a founding director of.
Why do the ABC think this is relevant to the debate on water flows in the Murray River:
- Because if the ABC can name and shame donors to the wrong “science” on the Murray River, the water flow will be restored?
- So ABC journalists would know they face an inquisition if they interview Marohasy?
- To intimidate businesses who support groups with non-ABC compliant views and deter donations?
- So ABC viewers would know who to jeer at? Good guys: Greenpeace. Bad guys: Australian Environment Foundation.
Has Media Watch ever asked a single scientist who is sponsored by The Australian Government (which has a $10 billion policy at stake) whether they ought to declare their activism or funding? “Have you ever, now or in the past been funded by the Government?” (Pace Tim Blair.)
Oh but look, Media Watch missed that spot of research that showed Jennifer Marohasy has been writing about the Murray River since 2003, before the AEF existed? So was she influenced back then by funding that had not yet occurred? Could it be — alternate hypothesis coming — could it be that she formed a view of the Murray as a scientist that left her out in the cold, with no funding, and rather than sit back and give up, she was so determined she helped found a whole organization to seek ways to continue her work? And if that funding comes from the US, the question journalists should be asking is “why is scientific policy philanthropy so dead in Australia?”
At least one ABC reporter “gets it” — good on you Anne Delaney — ABC in the regions still has some good people. She let Media Watch know that even though their studios were evacuated in a flood zone, she was sticking to the ABC charter (and thus he wasn’t), and quoting it right back at him.
“We’re sure Media Watch are aware of that, but just to be clear, the standard for dealing with matters of contention is to “Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.”
Anne Delaney’s response to Media Watch’s questions
The key message?
MW: We are saying that journalists too easily swallow, and pass on without challenge, highly controversial claims put forward in the name of science, by organisations whose agendas aren’t obvious from their names.
Exactly Johnathon, please let us know how Media Watch savaged all the media outlets that did not quote (or even mention) ClimateGate emails or the manipulation of peer review in mainstream climate science; the dire lack of funds for scientists with alternative views; reports of IPCC copying Greenpeace documents and having links to the WWF?
Or is the real role of Media Watch to criticize opponents of the regulating class, to be an enforcer, a simple thug in the class warfare engulfing the western world as the regulating class erode our freedoms — including the freedom to express an opinion contrary to theirs?
The future of the ABC?
I’m feeling conciliatory today – Anne Delaney’s response means I could be talked into giving tax dollars for the ABC if we just sacked all the capital city teams, and left the regions. Let’s split the ABC, and privatize the city-based-arm.
For some actual science:
Ssee Jennifer Marohasy’s latest, and well written account: Time to Rethink Basic Assumptions about the Murray and the Planned Water Reform.
Comments on the ABC site:
Murray Shaw :
Fail to understand the reasoning behind tonights item on jennifer Marohasy’s report into the MDBA. Marohasy is a marine micro-biologist with impeccable credentials having worked for the ACF but left when a report into farm runoff impacts upon the GBR was not what the ACF required and published falsehoods that were used in a QLD election campaign. She next appeared to demolish the Wentworth Group of Concerned scientists report of 2002, that claimed that the Murray was “dying”. Pointed out that Prof. Peter Collins was the head of CSIRO Land and Water and that organisation had been paid $60M a year for over 70 years and all their measurements for salinity, turbidity, and fish stocks showed a river in robust health. She then went on to demolish a further CSIRO report headlined in “The Australian”, “Murray Cod Extinct?”. This report pointed to the fact that CSIRO had expented in excess of $6M over hundreds of manhours in some umpteen locations and had failed to catch a Murray Cod. Ms. Marohasy thought that extroadinary and spent 60c calling the Deniliquin Fishing club only to find that they had recently conducted their Annual Yamaha Fisherama fishing competition and that contrary to the CSIRO report quite a number of Murray Cod were caught, some forty or so, with only a couple of “keepers” indicating a young population. Also recorded was a very low count of European Carp indicating they were in decline. As she said, all the CSIRO had proven for their $6M was that scientists cannot fish.
The reason for the above is that you have denigrated her work without demonstrating any faults, while giving the likes of Richard Kingston credibility, again without asking them to demonstrate the error of her ways.
If salinity is still a problem in the Lower Lakes, over the past 18 months enough water has flowed into SA to fill the lakes five times over, demonstrating that lack of water is not the problem, rather the engineering of the barrages, and the diversion over the past 70 years of the SE SA drainage water that used to flow to the Coorong and the Lower Lakes directly to the Southern Ocean thereby increasing the salinity particularly in the Coorong.
I think you owe the viewers and Dr. Marohasy an explanation…..
Oguzhan Tandogac :
When did MW question the motives of Tim Flannery and David Karoly or the late Stephen Scheneider or James Hanson of NASA GISS who is an anti coal activist thrice arrested for demonstrations against coal mines.
When did you question their science? The answer is never, you swallowed their science hook line and sinker.
Ummm, I don’t see the problem Jonathon. Every week the main stream media acts as a channel for green group and left wing press releases without any effort at investigation and you don’t say a word. Why is this different? Is the AEF any worse than WWW, Greenpeace, GetUP and the like.
David Brewer :
Our public debate is polarised enough already without Media Watch arguing for ad hominem journalism.
The trouble with Media Watch, exemplified by the pompous, self righteous and snide Mr Holmes and his gang of undergraduate researchers, is that they have no insight into their own narrow minded totalitarian world view.Basically they think that there is only one side to an issue–their own.
Their justification for their concerted attack on someone whose views they don’t like as media scrutiny is absurd.
None of them could hold down a job anywhere but the ABC. Even the ABC must be now having its doubts about this intellectually dishonest and embarrassing bigotfest.
UPDATE: Jennifer Marohasy writes in comment #18:
How stupid was I to think the Media Watch team might actually take an interest in understanding the natural history of the Lower Murray. They asked me some pretty stupid questions 10 days or so ago. Clearly they had been fed a lot of misinformation… perhaps by some government-funded scientists?
I thought I gave them very straight forward and clear responses backed up with evidence. But they were clearly not interested.
My answer to their original questions are here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/JenniferMarohasy_ReplytoMediaWatch_Amended12March.pdf
Apparently not understanding or liking my answers they changed the questions and focus?