MEDIA WATCH TRANSCRIPT (Paul Barry). News Corp’s contempt for climate science revealed in its coverage of last week’s IPCC report

 

Hello, I’m Paul Barry, welcome to Media Watch.

And last week’s dramatic report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change really sounded the alarm on the future of our planet, with scientists predicting the Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by 2050 if we don’t act to slow down global warming..

Why does News Corp hold climate science in such contempt?…Presumably because Rupert Murdoch is a non believer….and not just in Australia. Back in 2012,America’s Union of Concerned Scientists audited News Corp’s coverage in the US and concluded:Representations of climate science on Fox News Channel and in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages are overwhelmingly misleading

And you would have thought that would make big headlines in Australia, given the reef is on the World Heritage list, our largest tourist attraction and gives jobs to 60,000 people.

So what was front-page news in the local papers?

On Tuesday and Wednesday, News Corp’s Cairns Post had this.(but nothing on the IPCC)

News Corp’s Townsville Bulletin had this.(but nothing on the IPCC)

And News Corp’s Daily Mercury in Mackay had this.(but nothing on the IPCC)

Inside the paper they all had something on climate, but typically only a few paragraphs and the reef barely got a mention.

Remarkable, eh?

But in News Corp’s tabloids around the country the story was the same.

Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph had a horse on its front page:

GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE

– The Daily Telegraph, 9 October, 2018

And, its only climate story was six paragraphs inside the paper about going nuclear.

The Courier-Mail had this ..GROWING PLAINS,.. on the front page, and the same small piece on nuclear power.

And Melbourne’s Herald Sun had this …SCOTT ON ROCKS..on the front page and nothing at all in its news pages about climate or the reef.

So how could those News Corp papers all but ignore this huge story, which The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan and ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger reckon is the media’s absolute duty to report?

The planet is on a fast path to destruction. The media must cover this like it’s the only story that matters

– The Washington Post, 8 October, 2018

If voters are kept in the dark about global warming by newspapers then urgent action by democratic politicians becomes a hundred times harder

– Twitter, @arusbridger, 2018

Back in Australia, News Corp’s columnists did think the IPCC warnings were worth noting, but only to ridicule the threat and the idea of doing anything about it, with Miranda Devine writing scornfully:

This week’s hysterical missive from the United Nation’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is just the latest case of the boy who cried wolf.

– The Daily Telegraph, 10 October, 2018

So, is Miranda a scientist? No.

Nor is the Herald Sun’s Terry McCrann, who went off even harder, branding the threat to the reef:

… emotional — and utterly dishonest — blackmail deployed by the IPCC climate hysterics of the grubby coalition of theological climate extremists and greedy money-chasing renewable energy rent-seekers; carpetbaggers and mainchancers all.

– Herald Sun, 8 October, 2018

Quite a broadside.

To its credit, The Australian did give the IPCC front-page treatment, with Environment Editor Graham Lloyd running a couple of stories.

But within hours the paper’s columnists had switched to all-out attack, with Chris Kenny deriding the scientists’ warnings as “alarmism”, “virtue-signalling”, “sanctimony” and “crying wolf”.

And Judith Sloan joined the chorus of derision, by claiming that the IPCC report – written by 91 climate experts and citing 6000 peer-reviewed papers – was not science and all old hat.

More people being inundated, more floods/droughts …

You know, the normal catastrophic stuff.

– The Australian, 9 October, 2018

Meanwhile, Environment Editor Graham Lloyd – who should know better – had two swipes, declaring the scientists to be living in a parallel universe, and attempting to discredit the data on which the warnings were based:

Claims of 70 problems found with key temperature dataset used by climate models

“The primary conclusion of the audit is the dataset shows exaggerated warming …”

– The Australian, 8 October, 2018

Lloyd’s story mirrored identical attacks from leading climate sceptics the day before.

Led by James Delingpole, another non-scientist who says global warming is a scam, on the notorious alt-right website Breitbart:

CLIMATE BOMBSHELL: GLOBAL WARNING SCARE IS BASED ON ‘CARELESS AND AMATEUR’ DATA, FINDS AUDIT

– Breitbart, 7 October, 2018

And by Joanne Nova – who is a scientist, but says the world should thank Australia for its CO2 emissions – who claimed:

The IPCC demands for cash rest on freak data, empty fields, Fahrenheit temps recorded as Celsius, mistakes in longitude and latitude, brutal adjustments and even spelling errors.

– JoanneNova.com, 7 October, 2018

All three attempted demolition jobs relied on data analyst Dr John McLean, whose work they all claimed showed the IPCC had got it hopelessly wrong.

So, who is McLean?

Well, let’s get another of his fans, One Nation’s climate expert, to introduce him:

MALCOLM ROBERTS: Hi, I’m Malcolm Roberts and I’m with Dr John McLean from Melbourne and he’s on Skype with us and he is 13 years in climate science …

And he’s just conducted the first audit of the temperature database known as HadCRUT 4.

– Facebook, Malcolm Roberts, 11 October, 2018

McLean’s audit of the data earned him a PhD from James Cook University in Townsville, where his supervisor was Peter Ridd, another well-known climate sceptic who was recently sacked.

So how good is McLean’s track record?

Well, seven years ago, he famously predicted:

It is likely that 2011 will be the coolest year since 1956, or even earlier …

– Climate Realists, 9 March, 2011

That was 100% wrong. According to NASA:

… the year was the 9th hottest in the past 130 years.

– NASA, 20 January, 2012

A previous academic paper of McLean’s in 2009, claiming El Nino was responsible for most of the rise in global temperatures, was ripped apart by climate experts who accused him of cherry-picking the data.

His co-author then was yet another famous climate sceptic, the late Bob Carter, who liked to tell his admirer Alan Jones that man-made global warming was rubbish:

BOB CARTER: Well, there’s only two words you can use to describe it – it’s a farce and it’s a circus.

ALAN JONES: It is.

BOB CARTER: And the sad thing about it is …

ALAN JONES: It’s a lie. It’s a lie.

BOB CARTER: Yes, and because of the way it is pushed as you say, in the education system and in the news media, so many well-intentioned people have been sucked in.

– The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 2GB, 10 December, 2012

The work that backs up McLean’s new data audit is dedicated to Bob Carter.

So, is McLean to be believed ahead of 91 leading climate experts and 6000 peer-reviewed scientific papers when he claims the IPCC’s work is worthless?

The Australian, Breitbart, Joanne Nova and Miranda Devine clearly reckon he is.

And so does Alan Jones, who cited McLean last week in telling his listeners:

ALAN JONES: Don’t believe the global warming science is settled. It is corrupt.

– The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 2GB, 12 October, 2018

One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is also convinced by McLean’s argument:

MALCOLM ROBERTS: So this is what is underpinning the UN’s climate scare, which is underpinning government policies in this country. What we need to do then John is pull out of Paris.

JOHN MCLEAN: Yes, we certainly should be stepping right back and saying, hey, this data is crazy. Come back to us when we’ve got some, when you’ve got some decent data and a convincing argument.

– Facebook, Malcolm Roberts, 11 October, 2018

But how convincing is John McLean? We asked a number of climate experts to review his audit.

Professor Steven Sherwood at New South Wales University’s Climate Change Research Centre told us it:

… turns up little if anything new … seems specifically motivated to discredit global warming …

– Professor Steven Sherwood, Email, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, 12 October, 2018

And he added:

Its naive claims of alternative causes of global warming do not consider the relevant laws of physics and do not make sense.

– Professor Steven Sherwood, Email, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, 12 October, 2018

The ANU’s Nerilie Abram, lead author of a coming IPCC report on the oceans, told Media Watch:

Regardless of whether the PhD thesis work has any merit or not, the claim that this falsifies IPCC findings is wrong.

– Associate Professor Nerilie Abram, Email, ANU, 12 October, 2018

And the UK Met Office was just as emphatic, putting McLean’s, quote, “70 problems” into context by pointing out that the HadCRUT dataset which it looks after:

… contains over 7 million points of data from in excess of 7500 observation stations on land around the globe, together with millions of measurements of sea-surface temperature.  The small number of specific errors highlighted represent a tiny fraction of the data and as such are likely to have a negligible impact on the overall results. The long-term increase in global temperature is unequivocal. This is backed up by other globally recognised datasets, all of which are run independently, and find very similar warming.

– Met Office, Email, 13 October, 2018

And that takes us back to the bigger picture, where the concern is that so much of News Corp treats climate science, and the threat to our planet, with such contempt.

Why is that so? Presumably, because Rupert Murdoch is a non-believer.

But sadly, it’s not new, and not just in Australia. Back in 2012, America’s Union of Concerned Scientists audited News Corp’s coverage in the US and concluded:

Representations of climate science on Fox News Channel and in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages are overwhelmingly misleading

– Is News Corp Failing Science?, Union of Concerned Scientists, September, 2012

And it then gave examples of what that coverage contained:

… broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.

– Is News Corp Failing Science?, Union of Concerned Scientists, September, 2012

Six years later, the same determination to deny and denigrate climate science is flourishing in Australia.

And what makes it even more serious is that in Australia News Corp controls around 60 per cent of our daily newspaper circulation.

Not to mention a whole bunch of websites and of course Sky News which, for once, we have not even bothered to audit because we know too well what we’ll find.

And we should add we put a series of questions to John McLean. He declined to answer them. You can read the emails on our website.

Link to broadcast: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/climate-coverage/10377090

 

Read the WMO’s 2017 Statement on the State of the Global Climate

Global temperature anomaly 1850-2017 to 1981-2010

print
This entry was posted in Environment and climate. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to MEDIA WATCH TRANSCRIPT (Paul Barry). News Corp’s contempt for climate science revealed in its coverage of last week’s IPCC report

  1. Rodney E Lever says:

    Fair go! The old guy is in his middle eighties now. Lachlan will have to tidy up the mess that News Corp created. Rupert is living with his memories now. The junk that has been smothering Australia for years will have to be swept away. The editorial staff that remains will gradually fade and perhaps meet reality.

  2. Brian Doolan says:

    Another rigorous analysis by Media Watch of News Corp’s flagrant bias and propaganda on climate change. News Corp’s stranglehold on most of the media ‘voice’ in this country has been disastrous for government policy and direction for at least 20 years – but there is still room for hope. Concentrations of might and power can and do persist but they can also pass, sometimes with shocking speed. Only those who lived through it can really appreciate the overnight evaporation of the Soviet Bloc, which seemed unassailable up to its final days but was soon revealed to be bankrupt and inoperable in almost every respect. As Rupert nears the end, the old certainties may not be so certain any more. He seems to have shrewdly cashed out of entertainment with his recent sale of Fox to Disney and is positioning Lachlan as helmsman of News Corp into the future. But the same name and an inherited ownership position do not mean the same exceptional abilities to make money while simultaneously shaping and twisting the information flow to a global media audience. Lachlan already seems to have publicly revealed his hard right ideas, whereas Rupert was much more canny in the limelight (to the British phone hacking inquiry: ‘the most humble day of my life’; later, as taped by his staff, ‘don’t worry it’s a beat up’). Will Lachlan be able to keep persuading other board members and investors that the lavish layers of journalism and management at The Australian should be subsidised just because it was one of ‘Dad’s’ earliest ventures? Any new investment decision that doesn’t work will be much more quickly questioned by those with skin in the News Corp game. He has form – or lack of it – with OneTel, and Channel Ten. And if Lachlan goes, who then? Other players will be happy to take the reins of such a huge money machine but will they have the same zealotry about controlling and contorting the global flow of truth? Rupert has succeeded in bringing the darkest elements of wealth and power out of the shadows and into the mainstream through channels such as Fox News. Extreme power is, by definition, hard to overthrow. But sometimes, rather than being defeated, it collapses into its own black hole.

Comments are closed.