Media sheds tears for axed carbon tax


It's all too much! Sob!

It’s all too much! Sob!

The inner-city basket-weaving yoghurt-knitting sandalistas that make up the Fairfax and ABC’s environment desks are already writing the eulogies for their beloved tax.

First cab off the rank is the ABC’s Sara Phillips (see ACM here), who attributes the public’s lack of enthusiasm to an ignorant fear of the unknown, stoked up by who else? Tony Abbott:

In the lead-up to last year’s election, Abbott repeatedly told us that the carbon tax would be a wrecking ball through the economy. He told us that electricity prices would be all kinds of terrible as a result of the carbon tax. He told us that the carbon tax wouldn’t bring down Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a tax, he said. A Great Big New Tax On Everything.

He was wrong on all of these accounts, of course. But the damage was done.

‘Of course’ he was wrong! You fools! She continues:

But like Shelley’s creation, it was not quite the horrendous beast we feared. The economy continues to defy prediction, quietly growing.

The latest figures from December show that Australia’s emissions have dropped 0.8 per cent, with most of the fall being explained by a 5 per cent drop in emissions from electricity generation.

It grew thanks to putting adults in charge of the shop last September, and the removal of that hopeless bunch of pre-schoolers who had spent six years grinding the country into the ground with their incompetence. But nice try, anyway. Just remind me what difference those emission reductions would have made to the climate again… oh, that’s right, zero.

Fairfax isn’t far behind, with a gushing, tear-stained hymn of praise for the Senate climate warriors of the Left. Be warned, strong stomach required:

Amid ongoing speculation over Christine Milne’s leadership style and future, the Greens leaders’ Senate performance has been passionate, emotional and, most of all, resolute. Senator Milne had a great deal invested in the legislation that created the price on carbon that kicked in on July 1, 2012. Its abolishment [sic] on Thursday was personal.

She has spent much of this week seamlessly switching between offering forceful condemnations of the government’s undoing of the legislation and in promising renewed vigour from her minor party in restoring action to address global warming.

Just moments before the final Senate action that killed the carbon tax 39 votes to 32, Senator Milne appeared very much a political leader determined to keep climate change at the forefront of the political debate.

“This is a critical moment for our nation and there are a number of new senators in this chamber today,” she said.

“Their vote today and the vote of every person in this debate will be the legacy of their political career.”

And with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committing Labor to campaign on an emissions trading scheme as a central theme of the next federal election, his party’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, championed the cause with her usual skill and smooth, calculated passion.

Another standout performer in this debate has been Tasmanian Labor senator Lisa Singh, grasping her new junior environment and climate change portfolio with gusto.

The shadow parliamentary secretary was Labor’s most riveting advocate this week for keeping the price on carbon.

Again, just moments before that argument was lost, Senator Singh delivered a stinging rebuke to the government and those senators who joined with it in repealing the legislation.

“We are sending this country backwards,” she said.

“All for what? For playing politics. Playing politics with Australia’s future; playing politics with the environment; playing politics with our children.

“And it is an outrageous moment in Australia’s history.”

Too much for my stomach… Pass the sick bag.

Hypocrisy of the BBC


BBC: loves Gore, hates Lawson

BBC: loves Gore, hates Lawson

Censorship now rules at the British publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC.

On a current affairs programme in February of this year, Lord (Nigel) Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) was brought in to debate Sir Brian Hoskins of the (ultra alarmist) Grantham Institute, home of the odious Bob Ward.

Subsequently, a Greens activist (naturally) complained that the BBC was guilty of giving ‘false balance’ to the flat-earthers. Hugh Muir of the Grauniad takes up the story:

It still sends a frisson down the spine of certain producers to give airtime to the former chancellor Lord Lawson so that he can chip away at the widespread scientific agreement over the causes and impact of climate change. The temperature is always a little higher with a heretic in the room. And yet this route towards excitement has its dangers. As the go-to guy in the thinktank of his own creation, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lawson was called in February to the studios of the Today programme for debate with Sir Brian Hoskins, a climatologist from Imperial College London.

Things did not go as they should, and the broadcast became the subject of a complaint from Chit Chong, a Green party activist. Reviewing the broadcast, the BBC’s head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel, took a dim view. “Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research,” Steel says, “and I don’t believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience … Furthermore the implication was that Lord Lawson’s views on climate change were on an equal footing with those of Sir Brian.”

And they aren’t. Sceptics have their place in the debate, Steel says in his provisional finding, but “it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight.” Chong is only partially satisfied. He’d like a right of reply and perhaps a balancing programme. And others say “due weight” should mean not having Lawson on at all. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Furthermore, the Telegraph reports:

Lord Lawson wrote that Fraser Steel, head of the unit, apologised to Mr Chong “for the fact I was allowed to appear on the programme and to make clear this will not happen again”.

In other words, they won’t be inviting Lawson back, effectively censoring his contribution to the debate.

But let’s look at whether the BBC sticks to its own rules, and, guess what? Surprise! The ‘false balance’ argument only applies to sceptics.

A Google search of “Al Gore” and climate on the bbc.co.uk site reveals nearly 12,000 hits, and top result is from just three days ago! Didn’t they get the memo? You can’t have unqualified people speaking about climate! We all know that Al Gore has no science qualifications and therefore has no right to speak on climate change, apart perhaps from having made a ludicrous and inaccurate propaganda video in 2007.

But that doesn’t stop the BBC giving Gore a platform to spout yet more propaganda, unchallenged.

See? It’s not a question of false balance, it’s a question of getting the right message out – the alarmist message. As Lawson rightly says:

“If there is to be a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change issues (which I do not, of course, support), this should in the best BBC tradition be an even-handed one. That is to say, they should also ban non-scientists such as energy secretary Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, Lord Deben (chairman of the government’s climate advisory committee), Lord Stern (former adviser to the government on the economics of climate change and development) and all the others who are regularly invited to appear.”

Let’s have a look at the ABC (the Australian Bolsheviks Collective) here in Australia. Top of the list must be cracked-crystal-ball-wielding Tim Flannery, he of the many and varied dud predictions. A Google search of his name on the ABC web site reveals nearly 7,000 hits with ‘climate’. Just last week, the ABC spruiked Flannery as a ‘climate scientist’ (see image).

Flannery a 'climate scientist'?

Flannery a ‘climate scientist’? [click to enlarge]

He is nothing of the sort, of course. He’s a mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist (whatever that is), and… ta da! … ‘global warming activist’. Thus spake Wikipedia. So it doesn’t matter if you’re not a climate scientist, global warming activist will do just as well.

We can add to our list other favourites of the ABC, Stephan Lewandowsky (psychologist), Clive Hamilton (no idea, but certainly not climate science), Robyn Williams, etc etc. So it’s all fine and dandy for our public broadcaster to drag in unqualified persons to rattle on about climate change, as long as it’s the approved message they’re spouting.

But think about the reverse – if engaging Lawson to debate Hoskins is false balance, how about the BBC get on the phone to Dr Roy Spencer, or Pat Michaels, or Richard Lindzen? They are as distinguished climate scientists as you could hope to get, so that should satisfy the ‘false balance’ conundrum, right?

Er, no. Roy Spencer manages a tad over 300 mentions on bbc.co.uk, and only one in the last 12 months… and a fair amount of those hits may also be reader comments.

Surely Lindzen will do better?

Nope. The learned professor manages just over 200 mentions, and in the last four years, just three…

How about Pat Michaels?

Zero. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.

Clearly the BBC isn’t trying very hard to find any kind of balance on climate, and would rather censor debate in its own Stalinist fashion.

Catalyst’s catastrophism


In cinemas now!

In cinemas now!

Catalyst is supposed to be a science programme, but ends up looking more like a low-budget disaster movie.

Last night’s episode was a case in point:

NARRATION
… But fire is changing. Over the past decade, every forested continent has seen an alarming surge in large, uncontrollable fires. [pause for dramatic effect] Mega-fires.

Prof David Bowman
The sort of metaphoric equivalent of an atomic bomb, that’s what a mega fire is, it’s muscular, it’s mean, it’s big, it’s aggressive.

Prof Tom Swetnam
Really fast burning fires. And their local intensity is just amazing.… these are extraordinary fire events.

NARRATION
So extraordinary, they demolish the very ecosystems that have thrived with fire for millennia.

[Read more...]

Yet another excuse for The Pause


Age-old excuses

Age-old excuses

UPDATE: One of the other ABC reports (and there are plenty) leaves no room for any doubt:

Stronger than normal trade winds in the central Pacific are the main cause of a 13-year halt in global surface temperatures increases, an Australian study reveals.

Note: “are” the main cause. Not might be, or perhaps, but “are.” And if that weren’t enough, we have a D-word alert:

The authors reject the study gives impetus to climate change deniers and instead suggest that when the winds ease, global warming will accelerate rapidly.

The ABC really is a piece of shite.

The ABC breathlessly reports that a well-known warmist has worked out yet another reason for The Pause, and another factor that the climate models apparently didn’t know about.

Matthew England of the University of New South Wales (see here and here, for example of his impartiality on the matter) proposes a variation on the ‘Dog Ate my Warming’ excuse, accepted uncritically as usual by the ABC:

Scientists have come up with an explanation for the pause in global warming, which has long been a point of contention raised by climate change sceptics.

Over the past 15 years the rate of global warming has slowed – and more recently almost stalled.

Sceptics say the slowdown suggests warming is not as bad as first thought, while most climate scientists say it is just a natural climate variability.

Now an Australian-led team of researchers has found strong winds in the Pacific Ocean are most likely to be behind the hiatus.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) researcher Matthew England said oceans were much more dominant in terms of their heat uptake.

“Obviously we have implications of that such as sea level rise,” Professor England said.

Professor England led a team of researchers from around the world that has come up with an explanation for why the oceans soak up the heat.

Their research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, has found the answer lies in stronger than usual trade winds whipping across the Pacific Ocean.

It was found the winds were churning the Pacific like a washing machine, bringing the deeper colder water to the surface and pushing the warmer water below.

“The phase we’re in of accelerated trade winds particularly lasts a couple of decades,” Professor England said.

“We’re about 12 to 13 years in to the most accelerated part of the wind field.

“It’s important to point out there’s a cycle we expect to reverse and when they do reverse back to their normal levels we’d expect global warming to kick in and start to rise.” (source)

Note how the day of reckoning, when warming is set to resume, has been pushed out to some unspecified point in the future. Personally, I think it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster that’s tinkering with the climate, reaching out with his noodly appendage to fool the warmists… no more ridiculous than the above, I would say.

Add it to the list.

Abbott knifes the ABC – labels it ‘unpatriotic’


So far left it's coming back the other way…

So far left it’s coming back the other way…

Tony Abbott finally makes noises against the ABC’s incessant bias. From global warming to asylum seekers, from Julian Assange to Edward Snowden, from Obama-worship to apologists for Islamist atrocities, from smearing our Navy to damaging the relations with our international neighbours, the ABC is always of the hard left. It even criticises Labor and the Greens from the left! I repeat my post from September 2013:

Reform of the ABC long overdue

This blog has frequently exposed the barely-concealed left-wing bias of our publicly funded broadcaster, the ABC. As Gerard Henderson points out regularly on his must-read Media Watch Dog, there isn’t a single conservative presenter or editor on any mainstream current affairs programme, earning the corporation’s acronym the alternative interpretation of “Anything but Conservatives”.

In their stead we have had to suffer “Red” Kerry O’Brien (whose “old leather bag” visage will be gracing the ABC’s election coverage tomorrow, naturally), Tony Jones (adding another lefty voice to the already skewed Q&A panel every week), Fran Kelly (activist presenter of Radio National’s Breakfast show), News Radio’s political editor and resident Lefty, Marius Benson, Jonathan Green (editor of the Drum, which is banged repeatedly for Labor/Green causes) and Mark Scott himself – wilfully blind to the “groupthink” that is endemic in his organisation – to name but a few.

Then we have all the climate change alarmists, like Dr Karl, Robyn Williams, Adam Spencer, Bernie Hobbs, Tony Jones again, all the Catalyst team etc., 95% of the contributors on the online site, extremists like Clive Hamilton, Stephan Lewandowsky etc, and the list goes on.

It is galling that taxes paid by all Australians go towards funding that Lefty/Green echo-chamber, which caters for a small urban elite, staffed with inner-city Ultimo types who couldn’t run a chook raffle. Privately owned media organisations stand or fall on their output, witness the enduring success of News Corp, and the rapid decline of Fairfax, as it too panders to the latte-sipping, sandal-wearing intelligentsia, and in the process ignores the vast majority of Australians. The Age astonishingly endorses Labor for the election tomorrow – as one commentator pointed out, after asylum disasters, NBN, massive debt, waste, dysfunctional leadership, knifings, in-fighting, Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, what would it take for them not to endorse Labor?

But the ABC is paid for by all of us, and it should be representative of the views of all Australians, not just a mouthpiece for the Left. It is probable that a Coalition government will be elected tomorrow, sweeping away six years of Labor incompetence. Yet you wouldn’t believe it listening to the ABC this morning, with the majority of stories either puff pieces for Rudd and Labor, or criticism of the Coalition and Abbott. Maybe they realise that the clock is ticking, time is running out, so they have to make the most of it, like the last gasp of the Roman Empire.

It’s time for the ABC to be subjected to significant reform. Balance must be restored in current affairs broadcasting, and the ABC must fully reflect the diversity of Australian opinion. Whether this is by some form of privatisation or otherwise, the population have switched off in droves, with Sky taking over as the de facto national broadcaster.

When the ABC isn’t trusted to run the election debates, something is seriously wrong. Let’s hope Tony Abbott and the Coalition will start to fix it.

It looks like they might. The ABC itself reports (ouch, that must hurt…):

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stepped up his criticism of the ABC, accusing the national broadcaster of being unpatriotic in its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks and asylum seeker abuse claims.

Mr Abbott also questioned the ABC’s newly established Fact Check unit, saying he wanted the corporation to focus on straight news gathering and reporting.

“A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s,” he said in an interview with Ray Hadley on Sydney radio station 2GB.

“I think it dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but its own and I think it is a problem.”

Asked if he shared those sentiments, Mr Abbott said he was “worried and concerned” by the ABC taking a lead in reporting leaks from Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor.

The NSA leaks revealed Australia’s spy agencies tapped the phones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudohoyono and his wife in 2009.

The revelations caused a rift in the Australia-Indonesia relationship early in Mr Abbott’s prime ministership.

“The ABC seemed to delight in broadcasting allegations by a traitor,” Mr Abbott said.

“The ABC didn’t just report what he said, they took the lead in advertising what he said, and that was a deep concern.”

Mr Abbott’s attention was also drawn to a Facebook post published by an ABC researcher seeking off-the-record discussions with Navy personnel.

In the post, the researcher said her “boss” doubted asylum seekers’ claims they were mistreated during a boat turn-back operation.

The asylum seekers say they suffered burns when Navy personnel forced them to hold onto hot pipes coming out of the boat’s engine.

The Navy has denied the allegations and the Government has strongly defended the military, without confirming or denying the operation took place.

“You can’t leap to be critical of your own country and you certainly ought to be prepared to give the Australian Navy and its hard-working personnel the benefit of the doubt,” Mr Abbott said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the ABC should apologise for casting doubt on the reputation of Royal Australian Navy sailors if the organisation felt it was wrong.

If the ABC now finds that these allegations were utterly unsubstantiated then it should come out and say so,” Ms Bishop told reporters in Brisbane.

The first step on a long road, Tony. Don’t waver. You can listen to the interview here.

You’d think we’d never had a heatwave before…


Safe CO2 heatwave…

Safe CO2 heatwave… (source)

The ABC is acting as the taxpayer-funded PR agent for the privately-funded Climate Council, which itself is behaving as if it had never seen a heatwave before:

Heatwaves in Australia are becoming more frequent, hotter and are lasting longer because of climate change, a report released today by the Climate Council says.

The interim findings of the report, titled Australian Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, Earlier and More Often, come as southern Australia swelters through a heatwave, with the temperature in Adelaide today forecast to hit 46 degrees Celsius.

The report says heat records are now happening three times more often than cold records, and that the number of hot days across Australia has “more than doubled”.

It says the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased between 1971 and 2008, and the hottest days have become hotter.

And it predicts that future heatwaves will last up to three days longer on average, they will happen more often, and the highest temperatures will rise further.

“It is clear that climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and severe,” report co-author Professor Will Steffen said in a statement.

“Heatwaves have become hotter and longer and they are starting earlier in the season.”

After notching up two consecutive days over 40C, Melbourne is on track to record its second-longest heatwave since records began in the 1830s.

Second-longest?

The longest heatwave in Melbourne was in 1908, when there were five consecutive days over 40C.

When CO2 was under 300ppm, well below the ‘safe’ 350ppm. Shurely shome mishtake?

Despite the IPCC and many other climate scientists refusing to link ‘extreme weather’ to climate change, the Climate Council and the ABC are quite happy to do so as part of a co-ordinated scare campaign:

Professor Steffen says the extreme weather patterns can be attributed to climate change, with the continued burning of fossil fuels trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere.

Professor Steffen says large population centres of south-east Australia stand out as being “at increased risk from many extreme weather events, including heatwaves”.

“The current heatwave follows on from a year of extreme heat, the hottest summer on record and the hottest year on record,” he said. (source)

But where’s the warming, Willy? Global temperatures have barely risen for over a decade. Whilst Australia is experiencing a heatwave, the US is freezing. Oh wait, that’s climate change too. Everything’s climate change.

All of the above is ably abetted, naturally, by the Bureau of Meteorology, which suddenly finds it an appropriate time to announce that it has introduced a definition of “heatwave”. Which begs the question, in a country which has been ravaged by heat waves since the dawn of time, why has it taken until now to define what one actually is? I’m surprised that the Bureau stopped at ‘severe’ in their heatwave categories, and didn’t jump the shark with ‘catastrophic’ (like the bush fires), or even ‘calamitous’, ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘cataclysmic’! My own suggestion would be ‘OMG we’re all gonna fry’…

Once again, the ABC dutifully does the Bureau’s PR work here.

BBC’s shameful climate propaganda seminar exposed


Activists, all of them...

Activists, all of them…

I wonder how much of the same goes on at our own publicly funded broadcaster? Probably all of it.

Whenever there is a climate change story to be covered, the ABC will rush to its favourites: David Karoly (alarmist), Matthew England (alarmist), Clive Hamilton (Green, activist), Stephan Lewandowsky (“scepics are conspiracy theorist fruit cakes”), Will Steffen (alarmist), Tim Flannery (alarmist), and the list goes on.

After lawyering up and spending thousands of licence fee payer’s cash on opposing Freedom of Information requests, the story is finally out, as the Daily Mail reports:

The BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds over six years trying to keep secret an extraordinary ‘eco’ conference which has shaped its coverage of global warming, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The controversial seminar was run by a body set up by the BBC’s own environment analyst Roger Harrabin and funded via a £67,000 grant from the then Labour government, which hoped to see its ‘line’ on climate change and other Third World issues promoted in BBC reporting.

At the event, in 2006, green activists and scientists – one of whom believes climate change is a bigger danger than global nuclear war – lectured 28 of the Corporation’s most senior executives.

Then director of television Jana Bennett opened the seminar by telling the executives to ask themselves: ‘How do you plan and run a city that is going to be submerged?’ And she asked them to consider if climate change laboratories might offer material for a thriller.

A lobby group with close links to green campaigners, the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), helped to arrange government funding for both the climate seminar and other BBC seminars run by Mr Harrabin – one of which was attended by then Labour Cabinet Minister Hilary Benn.

Applying for money from Mr Benn’s Department for International Development (DFID), the IBT promised Ministers the seminars would influence programme content for years to come.

The BBC began its long legal battle to keep details of the conference secret after an amateur climate blogger spotted a passing reference to it in an official report.

Tony Newbery, 69, from North Wales, asked for further disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC’s resistance to revealing anything about its funding and the names of those present led to a protracted struggle in the Information Tribunal. The BBC has admitted it has spent more than £20,000 on barristers’ fees. However, the full cost of their legal battle is understood to be much higher.

Read it all, then go and visit Tony’s blog: Harmless Sky

‘Mediacracy’ creates consensus


"Stop telling me what to think!"

“Stop telling me what to think!”

People don’t have to think for themselves any more, because the media does it for them.

The ABC, like the BBC in the UK and the majority of mainstream media outlets in the US, parrots the same liberal-left slant on every story, including the absolute belief in the alarmist position on climate change. Daniel Greenfield writes:

A nation where governments are elected by the people is most vulnerable at the interface between the politicians and the people. The interface is where the people learn what the politicians stand for and where the politicians learn what the people want. The bigger a country gets, the harder it is to pick up on that consensus by stopping by a coffee shop or an auto repair store. That’s where the Mediacracy steps in to control the consensus.

The media is no longer informative, it is conformative. It is not interested in broadcasting events unless it can also script them. It does not want to know what you think, it wants to tell you what to think. The consensus is the voice of the people and the Mediacrats are cutting its throat, dumping its body in a back alley and turning democracy into their own puppet show.

Media bias was over decades ago. The media isn’t biased anymore, it’s a player, its goal is turn its Fourth Estate into a fourth branch of government, the one that squats below the three branches and blocks their access to the people and blocks the people’s access to them. Under the Mediacracy there will still be elections, they will even be mostly free, they just won’t matter so long as its upper ranks determine the dialogue on both sides of the media wall.

The Mediacracy isn’t playing for peanuts anymore. It’s not out to skew a few stories, it’s out to take control of the country. In military empires, the military can act as a Praetorian Guard. In political empires, it’s the people who control the political conversation who also control the succession.

The remainder of the article looks at the US angle, but from an Aussie perspective, so much of this is applicable.

We have the ABC, a conservative-free zone, which never, EVER, reports any story about climate change which challenges the accepted consensus, and which demonises and ridicules those who do, supported by liberal-left academics who claim that any media outlet which does, or which criticises their politically correct opinions, is part of an evil “hate media” which should be muzzled by legislation.

For those of the population which rely on the ABC for their news, there is no doubt about climate change, just as Tony Abbott is as wicked as John Howard, and that Julia Gillard had nothing to do with a union slush fund which was allegedly defrauded by her ex-boyfriend.

Fortunately, however, the media cannot control the direct effects of their agenda on the population, such as losing one’s job or house because the economy has slumped, or losing one’s property rights because of crazy planning laws resulting from climate change alarmism, and people wake up to realise they have been duped.

We can see this happening in Australia, as more and more people are discovering just how much of a lefty echo-chamber the ABC has become. Despite all attempts by the ABC to derail Abbott and the Coalition at the election in September, the people weren’t fooled, and for that we should be grateful.

The ABC’s Charter


Leans to the Left

Leans to the Left

Pinched from Biased-BBC and tweaked remarkably little:

  1. The BBC ABC is an institution that must always be part of the public sector & funded by the licence fee taxpayer,
  2. Any criticism of the BBC ABC is simply the result of politicians attempting improper influence,
  3. High public expenditure is good: the public sector is preferable to the private sector, which by seeking the profit motive, is inherently evil,
  4. Margaret Thatcher John Howard was an evil woman man whose policies ruined Britain Australia [and Tony Abbott is likewise an evil man whose policies will ruin Australia]: BBC ABC spokesmen should, wherever possible, use the word “Thatcherite Howard Era” disparagingly and contemptuously,
  5. The Murdoch empire is inherently evil and must be shown to be such at every opportunity, The Guardian, Observer and Independent The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald are fine newspapers, whereas the others are beyond the pale.
  6. Left wing comedians such as Jeremy Marieke Hardy, Mark Steele, David Mitchell and Jo Brand Catherine Deveny, the Chaser Boys and the team from The Hamster Decides are to be hired as much as possible by the BBC ABC: the more obscene and offensive their output, the better the BBC ABC likes it,
  7. Christians who openly wear a cross are suspect (Israelis are similarly suspect) whereas Muslims must always be granted craven levels of deference,
  8. High levels of immigration are good, and anyone seeking to limit uncontrolled mass immigration is racist,
  9. The EU UN is ” A GOOD THING” and people opposing it should have their views ridiculed and disparaged,
  10. Global warming due to man’s activities is a fact: it cannot be disputed,
  11. Public and Grammar Private schools are inherently bad whereas comprehensive public schools are inherently good. Failing comprehensive public schools do so because of lack of funding, political interference or being located in areas of deprivation: however their failings can never be blamed on the teaching profession,
  12. The state must always protect all people from any harm or misfortune irrespective of cost to the taxpayer, or their behaviour.

One more added in the comments:

  • No government was in power between 2007 and 2013. All the bad things happening to Britain Australia are entirely attributable to the Tory-led coalition after 2010 Abbott government since September 2013 or to Thatcher Howard (see 4 above).

And one of my own:

  • A highly doubtful story about a conservative politician allegedly punching a wall in the 1970s (but which nobody actually saw) will be afforded widespread and continual coverage, whereas a well documented alleged fraud of union funds in which a bunch of Labor goons appear to have been in it up to their necks, and which is currently before the courts, will be suppressed as not being newsworthy.

Please feel free to add to the list in the comments!

Group-think described


Group-think rules…

Group-think rules…

Christopher Booker, writing in the UK Telegraph, points to a fascinating extract from a book entitled “The Blunders of our Governments” by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. The extract in question refers to the work of an American psychology professor in the 1960s, Irving J. Janis, who studied the cultural phenomenon of group-think.

When reading the following paragraphs, keep in the forefront of your mind the following:

  • the ABC (and its ideological twin the BBC);
  • John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science;
  • Stephan Lewandowsky and his psychology mates, and
  • the majority of the ‘consensus’ community in climate science

and see how much of it can be applied to them.

Janis became intrigued by a sequence of unfortunate episodes in modern American history that seemed to him to display a number of common characteristics: the Roosevelt administration’s faiure in 1941 to prepare for a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; the Truman administration’s rash decision in late 1950 to invade North Korea; the launching of President John F. Kennedy’s clownish Bay of Pigs expedition in 1961; and Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s. To that original list, he later added President Richard M. Nixon’s attempt to cover up his own and his henchmen’s complicity in the notorious Watergate break-in of 1972.

According to Janis, whose views are now almost universally accepted, group-think is liable to occur when the members of any face-to-face group feel under pressure to maintain the group’s cohesion or are anyway inclined to want to do that. It is also liable to occur when the group in question feels threatened by an outside group or comes, for whatever reason, to regard one or more outside individuals or groups as alien or hostile. Group-think need not always, but often does, manifest itself in pathological ways. A majority of the group’s members may become intolerant of dissenting voices within the group and find way, subtle or overt, of silencing them. Individual group members may begin to engage in self-censorship, suppressing any doubts they harbour about courses of action that the group seems intent on adopting. Latent disagreements may thus fail to surface, one result being that the members of the group come to believe they are unanimous when in reality they may not be. Meanwhile, the group is likely to become increasingly reluctant to engage with outsiders and to seek out information that might run counter to any emerging consensus. If unwelcome information does happen to come the group’s way, it is likely to be discounted or disregarded. Warning signs are ignored. The group at the same time fails to engage in rigorous reality-testing, with possible alternative courses of action not being realistically appraised.

And the following paragraph could have been written for our friend Professor Lewandowsky:

Group-think is also, in Janis’s view, liable to create “an illusion of invulnerability, shared by most or all the members, which creates excessive optimism and encourages taking extreme risks”. Not least, those indulging in group-think are liable to persuade themselves that the majority of their opponents and critics are, if not actually wicked, then at least stupid, misguided and probably self-interested.

Denial, conspiracy ideation, extreme free-market adherents – add those to the list and we’re done! It continues:

Irving Janis’s own conception of group-think is tightly bounded. It refers only to situations in which members of a face-to-face group feel, consciously or subconsciously, a need to maintain the internal cohesion of the group. It is, in that sense, a purely psychological concept. But of course the notion of group-think can be extended and used more widely to refer to a variety of situations in which there exists such widespread agreement among the members of a group about the desirability of a given course of action that no threats to the group’s internal cohesion ever arise. Because there really are no dissenters in the group, no one in the group ever expresses dissent. There are no nay-sayers. Everyone is agreed. But such situations can be just as dangerous as the ones Janis describes. The decision-making processes associated with unforced agreement may be just as defective as the ones associated with suppressed dissent.

As Booker concludes:

[Janis's] account of “the illusion of unanimity”, and how group-thinkers regard anyone daring to question their belief-system as an “enemy” to be discredited, superbly characterises the mentality of that small group of “climate scientists” at the heart of driving the warming scare. This was never more clearly brought home than by those Climategate emails, showing how they were ready to fiddle their data to promote what they themselves called “the cause”, and to suppress the views of any scientists they saw as a threat to their illusory “consensus”. We all casually use the term “group-think”, but I had not known how comprehensively Janis explains so much that is puzzling about this world we live in.

Perhaps Cook, Lew, Nuccitelli and the rest of the “consensus” crew should take a good, long, hard look in the mirror now and again, instead of applying pseudo-psychology to their critics.

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