Equating climate sceptics with paedophiles is fine at the ABC

Offensive

Offensive: Williams

You will recall the story recently where ABC “science” presenter Robyn Williams opened a programme on climate “denial” with the following:

“What if I told you that paedophilia is good for children, or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma, or that smoking crack is a normal part, and healthy one, of teenage life, and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths, again and again in recent times distorting the science.”

Lewandowsky got in on the act as well, naturally. I guess he’d be the go-to guy for people like Williams looking for an easy smear quote:

“I discovered that those people [sceptics] were not sceptical at all. They were rejecting the science, not on the basis of evidence but some other factor. We basically found that the driving motivating factor behind the rejection of climate science was people’s ideology or personal worldview.

[…]

Specifically what we find it that people who are endorsing an extreme view of market fundamentalism are likely to reject climate science.”

You forgot to mention that they also deny the moon landings took place, or that smoking is linked to cancer, or HIV linked to AIDS, or that the sun revolves around a (flat) earth – you’re slipping.

Former chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman, like many of us, was incensed by these comments and lodged a formal complaint. Especially since an article he had written a while beforehand was referred to specifically in the segment.

And the result?

“ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have carefully considered the complaint, reviewed the program and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial standards for harm and offence which state in part: 7.1 Content that is likely to cause harm or offence must be justified by the editorial context.

“ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have also sought and considered a response from ABC Radio. Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that there has been no breach of the ABC’s editorial standards for harm and offence. (source)

What a surprise! No groupthink there, right? So the next time a filthy “denier” equates climate alarmists like Williams to paedophiles (not that “deniers” ever get invited on to ABC except to be ritually humiliated and ridiculed), and the complaints come flooding in, the ABC will dismiss them too?

Newman responds in an op-ed:

Ordinarily it should be unnecessary to object to such appalling commentary. It should have been automatically withdrawn. But no. An ABC response used sophistry to satisfy itself “that the presenter Robyn Williams did not equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles”. Tell that to his listeners.

Global warming is today more about politics than it is about science. If flawed evidence fails, coercion and character assassination is deployed. No slur is too vicious, nor, as we saw with the BBC’s 2006 seminar of the “best scientific experts”, which despite strenuous attempts to resist freedom of information requests were finally revealed to be mainly NGOs and journalists, no deceit is too great.

Lubos Motl, a climate commentator and string theory physicist, said about the ABC’s Science Show: “We used to hear some remotely similar (Czech) propaganda programs until 1989 … but the public radio and TV simply can’t produce programs that would be this dishonest, manipulative, hateful and insulting any more”.

This is not the first time I have provoked the public wrath of the ABC’s climate change clique, but it is the first time I have publicly responded to it. It is important that I do. (source)

One thing we can be absolutely sure of: nothing at the taxpayer-funded broadcaster will change an inch.

You can download PDFs of the two stories here and here.

Comments

  1. I don’t generally mind a media not bogged down by legislative and legal requirements, but in reality private media interests are as we can see far more harmless comments (though still narky and I wouldn’t support) from Alan Jones being used to action against him. Why have a two-tier system of those who have to follow the rules and those who do not supposedly doing a similar job?

  2. “Specifically what we find it that people who are endorsing an extreme view of market fundamentalism are likely to reject climate science.”

    I certainly see a lot of free-market/right wing crazies in the comments sections of sceptical blogs, but

    “They were rejecting the science, not on the basis of evidence but some other factor. We basically found that the driving motivating factor behind the rejection of climate science was people’s ideology or personal worldview.”

    is simply mistaking correlation with causation.

  3. “But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths, again and again in recent times distorting the science.”

    Sounds like a statement referring to the majority of “climate experts”

  4. Ken Ward via Facebook says:

    The Climate believers should all be [snip] as Communists.

  5. Bernd Felsche via Facebook says:

    Under Julia’s new laws, being offended is reason enough to sue. So let’s go with that. :-)

  6. David Adkins via Facebook says:

    ‘One thing we can be absolutely sure of: nothing at the taxpayer-funded broadcaster will change an inch.’
    But things will change when Tony sells the ABC to balance Swan’s budget.

  7. Brent Wilson via Facebook says:

    [snip - sorry]

  8. Anita Bugges via Facebook says:

    at least it is a change from holocaust deniers?

  9. It is hard not to think that the once informative science show should be renamed the “Climate Alarm Hour.”
    I wonder though if the presenter of the show will no longer be traveling to London to chat to his chums from Oxford and other exotic locations to do his bit to stop the emissions of greenhouse gasses.

    • A while ago, RW interviewed a noted particle physicist while he was OS one one of his many jaunts; the good Professor mentioned that the sun had something to do with climate change. If RW was consistent, he would surely have asked the good Professor if he thought asbestos was good for you. But, he didn’t! It appears that only conservatives that get that sort of treatment.

  10. Cathy Myors via Facebook says:

    *shrugs* example of flawed science bespoken by a flawed scientist. Well done.

  11. Dehumanize your opposition then dispose of them as if they are things.

  12. I’ve possibly said it before on here, but I like the Science Show, and I still like to think that you’d be hard pressed to find any similar programme anywhere. Just ignore the (more and more common) pro-AGW rubbish, and it’s still got some quality content.

    However, it annoys me immensely that Robyn Williams can’t help but carry on about AGW in a most alarming (ahem) manner, and it does make me wonder what other things on his show are discussed in an equally biased way…

  13. It’s about time the likes of Hundred Metre Williams and Moon Landing Lewandowsky were challenged on their behaviour . Good work Mr Newman.

  14. I refer to the comment ‘Global warming is today more about politics than it is about science.’

    Actually, it is all about politics and nothing to do with science. You just had to listen to Obama’s climate alarmist comments, for example, during the presidential election, which were completely at odds with real world observational data. You just have to consider the Doha conference and its concern over catastrophic man-made global warming, which was completely at odds with the real world observational data.

  15. I find that picture of Williams offensive could we change it please

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