News Corp should "set example" by silencing sceptics

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is the presenter of the ABC’s Media Watch, and a well-known true believer in man-made climate change (see here, here and particularly here, where he implies that anyone who is sceptical is just plain stupid). So it’s little surprise that he has a go at News Corp on ABC’s The Drum today for their alleged hypocrisy in trying to become “carbon neutral” whilst at the same time allowing balance on the climate debate to appear in the pages of The Australian. You see, Holmes is from the brand of journalism, sorry, environmental totalitarianism, that believes that only the acceptable view on any issue should ever be published. Acceptable to whom, you may ask? Why, the liberal intellectual elite, of course – like Holmes – that’s who!

Matthew England (another well known climate alarmist, see here, here, here and here) had made some dubious points about 2010’s record temperatures in a telephone interview with Debbie Guest for a piece in The Australian, and in particular about the transition from El Niño to La Niña. England claimed that there was “very strong La Niña for about eight months of the year”, so therefore 2010 should have been relatively cool, when in fact it was hot, hot, hot! And of course it was all the work of the Green Climate Monster. Holmes uncritically accepts all of this. But England doesn’t qualify that statement by explaining that temperature doesn’t respond to the El Niño/La Niña phase switch immediately – there’s a time lag of a few months. The satellite record shows that global temperatures only even began to cool (after a very strong El Niño) in October (see here for a text file of global temperatures). Which means at least 10 months of the year was influenced by a very strong El Niño, and as a result, 2010 was warm.

Holmes complains that whilst England’s on-message alarmism was cut from the Australian article, it managed to find space for Christopher Monckton’s scepticism, and to the propaganda merchants and the eco-totalitarians, this is completely unacceptable:

The Oz had carried an AFP wire story about the WMO announcement [that 2010 was the “hottest year on record – see here – Ed] on the Friday, discreetly placed on an inside page. Debbie Guest’s piece for the Saturday dealt with the apparent paradox that a cool year in Australia was the hottest on record globally. But her story didn’t make it into most editions of the Weekend Oz the next morning. A severely truncated version did appear in early editions, and online, but the quotes from Professor England were conspicuously absent.

When he asked her why, Ms Guest told him that her story had had to be shortened for space reasons – though why that should have affected the online story, she didn’t explain.

Professor England says he’s satisfied Debbie Guest was genuinely trying to do a good job. The shortening was done by someone above her in the hierarchy.

So what did appear in The Weekend Australian that day? Well, nothing in the newspaper (as far as I can see) about the WMO’s announcement– although this alarming story from AFP was posted on The Australian’s website that day.

But The Weekend Oz did find room on its opinion pages for this piece by the ineffable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. If you can’t understand its tortured mathematics, don’t worry. You’re not intended to. You are intended to think, “Well, I don’t really follow it all, but this bloke seems to be impressively learned, and he says it’s not worth doing anything about climate change”.

That, of course, is precisely the opposite message to the one Rupert Murdoch was trying to send his own troops back in 2007. The evidence for climate change, since then, has only got stronger. The reasons for taking precautionary action have only become more compelling. Of course News Ltd can’t, on its own, affect the global climate by reducing its carbon footprint, and nor can Australia. But if every company, and every nation, acted – or refrained from acting – on the basis of that logic, the chances of eventually stabilising global temperatures at less than catastrophic levels would be reduced to zero.

And here’s the money quote:

Well, you may argue, but doesn’t Christopher Monckton have a right to be heard? Don’t news stories get shortened every day? What does all this prove?

Nothing, in itself. You have to be an alert and habitual reader to notice that week after week, year after year, The Australian and The Weekend Australian massage their news coverage and grossly unbalance their opinion pages so as to send the message that the existence of human-induced climate change is highly debatable, and that any action by Australia to reduce its emissions would be economically ruinous and politically foolish.

As one of the world’s great media companies, News Corporation has the power to do far more to counter the risk of catastrophic climate change than merely to reduce its own emissions.

The unwritten conclusion being that News Corporation should silence anyone who questions the Holy consensus, and The Australian should not give space to sceptics on its op-ed pages. Holmes seems to overlook the fact that Fairfax and ABC are fully on message, rarely if ever giving space to filthy “deniers”, and The Australian is the only paper that gives even a small hearing to sceptics.

None of this should surprise us. What I always find myself asking is this: if the case for man-made global warming is so strong, why the need to silence dissent? Surely they will simply make fools of themselves? But unfortunately, the eco-totalitarians in the liberal intelligentsia want to control the media, and therefore the message, so the proletariat will be kept in the dark on the true uncertainties in the climate change consensus.

Read it here (if you must)


  1. I’ll bet Holmes would be kicking and screaming if he had any of his views “silenced” because he disagreed with a “consensus”. Holmes chose to be in the media; he shouldn’t be complaining that open debate is part of it. Otherwise, he should choose something else.

    • From the horse’s mouth:

      “As a scourge of bad journalism (Media Watch) performs an invaluable function.

      “But I’m hoping we’ll be able also to expose the more egregious antics of the industry that all too often tries to sway, or mislead, or simply stonewall journalists who are trying to do an honest job: the army of ‘media relations’ people, employed by government and business at every level, which has so much influence these days on what we read and hear and watch.”

      “bad journalism”? “egregious antics”? “sway, mislead, stonewall”? Look in the mirror, Mr. Holmes!

  2. Here’s silencing of a different kind that is more likely to catch on!

  3. Thank goodness for people like Holmes who can set us stupid people straight! What would we do without these clever intellectuals to tell us just how dim we are because we don’t believe?

  4. rukidding says:

    You have got to laugh one paper out of all the news outlets in Australia that gives the opposite view on AGW a voice and the warmists are all over it.
    You would think there would be a buck to be made running an opposing view but I guess not.


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