ABC finally corrects 2011 ANU death threat story

FOI request

UPDATE: Marc has written to the ABC requesting they amend the sloppy and partisan wording of this update. We’ll see how far he gets…

Thanks to Marc Hendrickx for this update, which now appears on the original 4 June 2011 story. It still however refers to “climate sceptics” as if the only reason they were forced to issue the correction was because of evil deniers, rather than the fact that the story was incorrect:

UPDATE (June 4 2012):  Following  the release  of specific emails under Freedom of Information request, climate change sceptics have claimed that the released emails contradict suggestions that any death threats were received, but a spokesperson for the ANU says the university is standing by its claims that death threats were received. Questions have also been raised about whether one of the released emails did, in fact, constitute a threat to use a gun, with a person involved in the kangaroo culling program claiming the comments were made by him, and were in no way intended as a threat. The specific emails released under FOI were found by the Privacy Commissioner to contain abuse, but not overt threats.

Note the ANU still claims “death threats” were received – I’m still waiting for the ANU to provide them.


  1. thingadonta says:

    Nobody is a ‘climate change skeptic’. It is more correct to say they are man-made climate change skeptics (or AGW skeptics), and more especially, they are skeptics of dangerous, man made climate change. They can’t even get their retraction correct.

  2. Baldrick says:

    Q1. Which organisation was responsible for falsely claiming climate scientists received death threats from climate change skeptics in 2011?
    a] ANU
    b] ABC
    c] ALP
    d] all of the above ✓

  3. Marc Hendrickx says:

    Not very far…

    This From ABC’s Alan Sunderland, this afternoon:

    “Dear Marc,
    I note that it was an update, not a correction.
    The reference to “climate change sceptics” was not specifically a reference to you at all, but to the response from a range of sources.
    I think the broad term is accurate in its use. I am aware of the sensitivity and level of contest around the use of terms like “climate change deniers”, but I have always considered “sceptic” to be a neutral and accurate description to cover the broad range of views among those who question what they see as the “consensus” view. The Macquarie defines a sceptic as ” someone who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be knowledge.”, which I think is appropriate in the circumstances.”

  4. Amfortas says:

    Weasels when cornered, cringe and bare their teeth, spit and snarl and make gutteral noises and shrieks.

    ALP, ANU, ABC.

  5. Sean McHugh says:

    From the ABC quote above:

    “with a person involved in the kangaroo culling program claiming the comments were made by him, and were in no way intended as a threat.”

    The ABC could have said: “the [invited] comments were made by him”, but that would have removed and made ridiculous the innuendo of a death threat, something that the ABC would like to retain. They are still trying for a save. The only reason they are making any concessions at all is because they have been caught out, not because they care about being honest.

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