How much does the BOM care about misleading Australians? Not much apparently, unless they are caught doing it. Everyone makes mistakes, but what matters is what they do to correct it.
The BOM claimed (and the ABC broadcast) that this Queensland drought is the worst in 80 years, but Ken Stewart showed with their own graphs that it was only the worst for 9 years. Stewart politely informed both groups two weeks ago. The ABC excused themselves immediately because they always believe the BOM no matter what it says and never ask any hard questions (it’s not like they are paid to make sure Australians get the right information is it? what do you expect for $1bn?). The BOM took five days to fob the error off even though the “mistake” was obvious against the BOM’s own graphs.
Further to our correspondence we can confirm that media statements made to the ABC by a Bureau employee on 6 January 2014 did not accurately reflect the relative severity of the current Queensland rainfall deficiencies. Unfortunately the Bureau spokesperson misinterpreted some of the information. We have advised the ABC of the inaccuracy and asked them for an opportunity to update the story, if possible.
Climate Analysis Section
Ken Stewart spent today doing their job and contacting other media outlets that the BOM should have.
The message ladies and gentlemen is that we ought send as many letters as we can bear to editors and journalists of all the major daily newspapers and commercial radio stations pointing out BOM mistakes. CC your letters to the BOM.
The next question then is whether the ABC takes the quietest road possible or issues a new story of equal prominence — in ABC Radio Country Hour, ABC TV 7.00 p.m. News, and the Queensland Country Life — pointing out the BOM spokesman gave the wrong message, that droughts have been worse in the past, and despite helpful people pointing this out to the BOM, they still took an extraordinary two weeks to correct it.
We await reports from Queensland.
If we surveyed the punters in two weeks time, how many ABC viewers would say “the hottest year” and “the worst drought”?