ABC bias exposed… yet again

Bias in its genes

Bias is in its genes. It is part of what makes the ABC what it is. A shameless pro-left wing editorial stance is standard fare for national broadcasters it seems – just look at the truly awful BBC. We often report on the ABC’s blatant bias towards climate alarmism (see here for a selection), helped by a staff of science writers who are fully paid up warmists (think Robyn Williams and Bernie Hobbs to name but two).

Now Gavin Atkins takes their gruesome snake pit of lefty thinking, The Drum, to task in The Australian:

The ABC opinion website is not compelled by editorial policies to demonstrate any form of balance but merely to provide a “range of subjects from a diversity of perspectives”.

At The Drum, one conservative opinion is all it requires to legitimise a dozen from the Left.

Take, for example, the death of Osama bin Laden. Since his death, Drum readers have been provided with pretty much the same opinion every day from a total of nine writers: it was an extrajudiciary killing; the US was working outside the rule of law; celebrations of his death were disgraceful.

One of these writers, Greg Barns, went so far as to appear on The Drum’s television show to express doubt that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11.

Two contributors were eventually published wishing good riddance to bad rubbish, enough for the ABC to claim it has provided a diversity of perspectives, and publish another brace of tales from the hand-wringers.

But it is ridiculous to assert, as the ABC’s chief executive Mark Scott did following the launch of the ABC’s editorial policies in 2006, that this fulfils an expectation that “audiences must not be able to reasonably conclude that the ABC has taken an editorial stand on matters of contention and public debate”.

The real measure of bias at The Drum is not the range of opinion, it’s the frequency. Until the end of last month, 98 writers had been published eight or more times at The Drum, producing a total of 1880 articles. Only eight of these contributors (one in 12) would pass muster as being on the right of the political spectrum: Glenn Milne, David Barnett, Chris Berg, Kevin Donnelly, Tom Switzer, John Hewson, Niki Savva and Sinclair Davidson.

Of these, Milne is first and foremost a journalist rather than an opinion writer, Hewson rarely expresses any conservative viewpoint, and others are specialists in areas such as education or economics rather than political issues of the day.

This means, for example, that of all the writers who are given a regular platform on the ABC website, I could find only four articles that were in some way supportive of Israel and none in favour of the war in Afghanistan.

By comparison, there are dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Afghan war pieces on the taxpayer-funded website, most of them accusatory and damning. For example, there are at least nine anti-Israel articles by Antony Loewenstein alone, 12 anti-Afghanistan war rants by Kellie Tranter, and many more from Labor Party speechwriter Bob Ellis scattered among his 110 contributions. (source)

Also check out Gavin’s article on Asian Correspondent for more.

Utterly shameful for a taxpayer funded national broadcaster to be guilty of such blatant pro-Left bias. But one thing is certain, nothing will change in a hurry.

ABC delights in defaming sceptics

Genetically biased

Bias is in its genes. It’s not like it does it consciously, however, merely that evolution has determined that our national broadcaster hangs far to the Left, plugs climate alarmism, loves Tim Flannery and David Karoly, ensures that all its science presenters are fully paid-up warm-mongers, like Robyn Williams and Bernie Hobbs, and hates sceptics with a passion.

So it is little surprise that defamatory comments in an ABC blog concerning Hockey Stick destroyer Steve McIntyre of the incomparable Climate Audit blog remained unmoderated, requiring not just a formal complaint but an email from McIntyre himself before they were removed. As Marc Hendrickx explains:

In late November last year Sara Phillips, ABC’s environment editor, posted an opinion piece about climate negotiations at Cancun to her taxpayer-funded blog. I left a comment suggesting she might be better off covering a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate co-authored by Steve McIntyre. This work refuted an earlier study published in Nature in the summer of 2009 and widely covered by the ABC which claimed there was unusual warming in west Antarctica due to man-made global warming. McIntyre and co-authors O’Donnell, Lewis and Condon proved the statistical methodology of the Nature study was flawed and the results erroneous. I directed Phillips to a post on the subject by McIntyre, at his Climate Audit website.

The following anonymous comment was posted to Phillips’s blog shortly afterwards:

Annie : 03 Dec 2010 7:07:53pm

The denialist clowns return again . . . . . . run by Stephen McIntyre a known climate denialist and extremist right-wing provocateur . . . you are a joke as are your answers . . . laughing hysterically.

On seeing the comment I alerted Phillips, suggesting the comment should be removed as it contravened ABC posting rules, namely, 4.4.1 defamatory, or otherwise unlawful or that it violates laws regarding harassment, discrimination, racial vilification, privacy or contempt; 4.4.2 intentionally false or misleading; 4.4.4 abusive, offensive or obscene; 4.4.5 inappropriate, off topic, repetitive or vexatious; 4.4.9 deliberate provocation of other community members.

After a day or so it was clear my request had been ignored, so I submitted a formal complaint to the ABC. This was turned down by the ABC’s audience and consumer affairs. The reply I received on December 16 included the following rationale from Phillips: The moderator has explained this decision as follows: “Mr McIntyre is described by Annie as being an ‘extremist right wing provocateur’. Mr McIntyre’s views are seen by some as extreme. Annie clearly believes they are. He could reasonably be described as ‘right wing’ as a speaking member of the George C Marshall Institute, which is known for its right-leaning politically conservative views. ‘Provocateur’ is a name given to describe those whose thinking goes against that of the status quo, another label that could reasonably be given to Mr McIntyre. As such, the comments from Annie are not unfounded and therefore not defamatory.”

Read the rest of the article to see the lengths required to have that disgraceful comment removed. Yet any comment that dared criticise the consensus that even slightly tiptoed over the posting rules would have been removed in a trice.

Also read Marc’s blog post on the subject: ABC Bias yields no apology for Mr McIntyre

Groupthink at work YET AGAIN at Their ABC, paid for by Your Taxes.

ABC stews in fetid warmist juices

Groupthink rules

The bias of the ABC knows no bounds, especially when it comes to climate change. Maurice Newman’s complaint that the organisation displayed “groupthink” on such matters has gone totally unheeded, as is evidenced by a report on severe weather and the link to climate change on last night’s Lateline (link). I’m not even going to bother to review what was said – that, in the circumstances, is wholly unnecessary. All that needs to be considered is the list of contributors:

  1. Tony Jones Presenter of Lateline. Well, we all know Tony’s history on climate. This is the man who felt he had to caveat a broadcast of The Great Global Warming Swindle, and it’s common knowledge that he’s a fully paid-up warmist.
  2. Margot O’Neill O’Neill was the reporter on the piece in question, and we all know her history too. Back in late 2009, she wrote an alarmist blog on the ABC entitled Countdown to Copenhagen, which praised the efforts of the global community to “tackle climate change”, and smeared anyone who challenged the consensus (see here and here).
  3. Matthew England Well known warmist scientist –  see hereherehere and here.
  4. Andy Pitman Well known warmist scientist – see here for a classic Pitman piece.
  5. David Karoly Well known warmist scientist, in fact ACM’s “favourite” warmist scientist, completes the quintet – see here, here, here, here, etc, etc…

Five true climate change believers. Count them. FIVE. So where was the dissenting view for balance? Where was the scientist putting the valid points that nothing we have seen in the last few weeks is in any way unprecedented, and is simply a result of natural weather variation? Where was the scientist showing that flood records and cyclone records have shown no change in frequency or severity in the last 150 years (or if anything a slight decrease in frequency)? Where was the scientist explaining the link between La Niña and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, which resulted in the heavy rainfalls in Queensland? Where was anybody saying anything to question the orthodoxy presented here?

Answer: nowhere to be seen. Because the ABC is infected with the most virulent form of climate groupthink, just as Maurice Newman said. And they haven’t learnt a thing.

Their ABC, paid for by your taxes.

(h/t Graham)

ABC's Catalyst: increased CO2 is bad for plants

Cassava, soon to be cyanide if we keep driving SUVs

Another week, another “climate” scare story from Catalyst. The ETS is dead and nobody’s interested in reducing CO2 to “tackle climate change” any more, so the ABC goes looking for another reason to cripple Western economies and send our standards of living back to the Dark Ages.

And they find a corker. You thought increasing CO2 in the atmosphere would be good for plants? Wrong. It’s bad, and the ABC’s “science” programme jumps on this research without pausing for breath. Brilliant. Forget global warming, forget how the majority of plants would benefit from increased CO2, forget how we are actually living in a CO2 starved atmosphere. Now it’s “food security” that everyone’s worrying about, thanks to reduced nutrition and increased toxins:

Dr Graham Phillips
The next big food issue could be how rising levels of carbon dioxide are affecting our fruit and vegies. Now we know that plants love CO2 so rising levels of it will affect their metabolisms and it seems almost certain that for many foods the levels of nutrition will go down and for some toxin levels will go up. Both serious issues when you are trying to feed a world with an increasing population.

Dr Ros Gleadow
We’re tracking worst case scenario with carbon dioxide at the moment [what? – Ed] and we need to predict what sort of things are going to happen in the future.

Maybe they could predict the future with some dodgy second-hand climate models bought off the back of a truck from Michael Mann. That should do the trick. Or Madame Za Za’s crystal ball, perhaps? Just like last week: more scary music, more alarmism. And they’ve found a plant, cassava, that links rising CO2 levels with increased levels of cyanide. Almost a Holy Grail for the ABC’s alarmism department – cut CO2 or you’ll die of cyanide poisoning:

Back in the lab Ros’s group have been looking at how rising CO2 will affect the cyanide levels of cassava.

Dr Ros Gleadow
We grew cassava at three different concentrations of carbon dioxide. Today’s air, one and a half times the amount of carbon dioxide and twice the carbon dioxide of today. And we found that cyanogen concentration in the leaves increased.

Dr Graham Phillips
So as we get more Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere these will contain more cyanide?

Emeritus Prof. Howard Bradbury
More cyanide yes. The yield from the roots which is the main thing, will go down. So that is the most worrying aspect.

And the last word to Dr Gleadow:

Dr Ros Gleadow
I don’t want to be a gloom and doom person. I want to think okay clover’s going to become more toxic, let’s develop other cultivars. If cassava’s going to become more toxic, let’s look at some other cultivars. Let’s look at other ways we can deal with this problem.

Don’t say that! It’ll spoil the story!

Read/watch it here.

ABC: quotes "residents" in climate change article

Victim of climate change?

The ABC just can’t stop, can they? Any authority, no matter how worthless, will do in advancing their pre-conceived agenda of climate alarmism. In another bleeding heart article on the same government report discussed here, the ABC quotes the opinion of local residents as somehow worthy of reporting. Not only that but throwing in “Kakadu” is a cheap shot to grab the punters’ attention, with the breathless headline “Climate change could hit Kakadu food sources”:

[The report] says a projected sea level rise of 20 centimetres would irreversibly change the shape of rivers like the South Alligator and alter tidal flows and vegetation cover.

Rising sea levels would also reduce the availability of traditional food sources for Indigenous communities, like magpie geese, barramundi and freshwater turtles.

The report did not discuss the impact of climate change on mining projects, but residents raised concerns about how the Ranger uranium mine, near Jabiru, would cope with more intense cyclones and heavier rainfall.

So the report didn’t even mention mining, but the residents have raised concerns, and those concerns conveniently happen to fit the alarmist agenda of the ABC, so they get published uncritically! Forget the fact that more intense cyclones and heavier rainfall are chestnuts that has been debunked over and over again. And anyway, I thought climate change caused drought? Who cares. It’s just whatever fits the requirement at the time.

And what about the concerns of other residents that climate change is a crock and a complete waste of taxpayers money? No, they won’t get published, because according to the biased ABC, people who hold those views are just dumb bogans.

Read it here.

ABC: yet more scaremongering

More like science fiction

Another day, another hysterical climate piece from your publicly funded national broadcaster. This time, researchers claim that when wet bulb temperatures (dew point, in other words) reach 35 degrees, it will become “uncomfortable” for humans. They have used climate models to predict when this will occur, and we all know how reliable and accurate they are. The ABC uncritically publishes it all in its science pages, under the headline “Warmer planet to stress humans: study”:

Professor Steven Sherwood of University of New South Wales and Associate Professor Matthew Huber of Purdue University in Illinois, used climate models to predict where and when temperatures will increase to uncomfortable levels.

They found a global temperature increase of 7°C above pre-industrial levels would push temperatures in some regions above 35°C for extended periods, resulting in heat stress across the whole population.

Sherwood says while heat-related deaths among the elderly and young already occur, global warming will result in more of the population suffering.

“What we’re talking about here is something a bit different – these limits apply to a healthy person,” he says.

But the final paragraphs tell the real story:

Sherwood says a 7°C increase isn’t likely to happen until next century, but he says it’s important to understand the impact should it occur.

“When you’re planning sensibly for anything you plan for the worst case scenario,” he says. [In other words, take the precautionary principle to its logical conclusion – Ed]

“We’re saying this is the worst scenario, we’re not saying it’s going to happen soon, but to ignore it seems foolhardy.”

The researchers conclude further warming would have a more drastic impact.

“If warmings of 10°C were really to occur in [the] next three centuries, the area of land likely rendered uninhabitable by heat stress would dwarf that affects by rising sea level,” they write.

The average global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since pre-industrial times. Some scientists and environmental groups are pushing for limits on human-produced greenhouse gas emissions to limit the increase to no more than 2°C.

In other words, this is a worst-case, precautionary-principle-gone-mad study, which somehow makes it onto the ABC as mainstream science.

Read it here.

ABC: alarmist business as usual

Not science, but alarmism

I suppose we should have expected the green-left brigade at the ABC to go into alarmist overdrive in response to the government’s dropping of the ETS, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. The flagship TV science programme, Catalyst, opened last night with a hysterical piece on the melting Antarctic. Yes, the Antarctic. Note how, without dropping a beat, the ABC switches its attention to the South pole, since as we all know, ice levels in the Arctic are the highest they have been for years.

The segment played out like a disaster movie: scary voiceovers, scary music, dramatic footage of, er, melting ice, scary “what ifs”, and, to suck away any last vestige of credibility, quotes from James Hansen. Here are a few choice extracts, starting with the creepy opening:

NARRATION: The seas are rising [Yes, at the same rate they have been for thousands of years – Ed]. How fast and how high they will go is the big unknown. But one thing is certain. What happens in Antarctica will be critical. Around 90 percent of the planet’s snow and ice is found here. Is the sleeping giant stirring?

NARRATION: The Wilkins Ice shelf is the latest of seven ice shelves on the Peninsula to start collapsing, and it’s the furthest south. Ice shelves are already floating, so they can’t contribute to sea level rise. It’s what’s behind them that’s the big concern. But now it is all too familiar. Seven shelves on the Antarctic peninsula have collapsed in the past two decades. This is a region of the huge Wilkins ice shelf which collapsed in 2008.

Dr Ian Allison: If you take that barrier away, the big glaciers behind it will flow more quickly.

NARRATION: Glaciers that drained into the Larsen B ice shelf have sped up by a factor of seven.

Neal Young: That does contribute to sea level rise. The quantity of ice in the Antarctic Peninsula region though is small. The key message is what would happen in the east and to the major glaciers in the West Antarctic if such changes were to occur there? That would be a consistent, persistent and very ominous I think change in the scenario.

NARRATION: And there’s strong evidence that change is already occurring. In the Amundsen Sea region, glaciologists have found the major glaciers are speeding up and losing mass, thinning by up to nine metres a year. What’s remarkable is the thinning extends hundreds of kilometres into the grounded ice sheet.

Mark Horstman: It’s the middle of summer here in East Antarctica, and right now the air temperature is minus four degrees and dropping. There’s no way that air temperatures like this are going to melt any ice. And In fact, until just recently, it was thought that the ice sheet on this side of the continent was actually growing in size.

NARRATION: But alarming new evidence indicates this trend has reversed.

Mark Horstman: What we’ve revealed here is a complex story about Antarctica under changing climates. And the take home message, like the continent itself, comes in two parts. Here in the East, it appears that it’s a warming ocean that;s driving the changes in the ice sheet.

Dr Paul Willis: Whereas here in the West the ice is melting from above and below. When it comes to sea level rise, Antarctica the sleeping giant is waking up.

Business as usual at Their Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation.

Read it (and watch it) here.

ABC: presumption of bias

Biased unless proven otherwise

It has now reached the stage with the ABC that there must be a presumption of bias, towards Labor and climate alarmism. And, as in its legal analogue, where there is a presumption, that presumption must be rebutted on each and every occasion. That is the position from we have to view the ABC today. So when we read an alarmist article on climate change, we presume bias unless it can be rebutted. When we read an article critical of the Opposition, we must again presume bias, unless it can be rebutted. Unfortunately, since that rebuttal is almost never there, this means that our nationally funded broadcaster has ceased to be a serious media organisation, and is now nothing but a cheap shill for Labor and environmental pressure groups.

So it is no surprise that the ABC is still quite happy to use the derogative term “denier” in an article on climate sceptics published this morning (five times, no less). The story relates to a paper by John McLean, Chris DeFreitas and Bob Carter, originally published in July 2009 in Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), challenging the theory of human-induced global warming. This is a peer reviewed journal, and the article was accepted for publication at that time, following the peer review process. In January 2010, a critical response was prepared by a team of consensus scientists, which was also published in JGR. The original authors put together a response to those criticisms, which … JGR refused to publish. Understandably, the original authors were furious not to have the right to respond to criticisms of a previously published paper. They have subsequently published on SPPI a paper claiming censorship:

“The practice of editorial rejection of the authors’ response to criticism is unprecedented in our experience. It is surprising because it amounts to the editorial usurping of the right of authors to defend their paper and deprives readers from hearing all sides of a scientific discussion before they make up their own minds on an issue. It is declaring that the journal editor – or the reviewers to whom he defers – will decide if authors can defend papers that have already been positively reviewed and been published by that same journal. Such an attitude is the antithesis of productive scientific discussion.”

You can read the full SPPI paper here. This is how ABC’s reporting of this story begins:

The latest debate on climate science to emerge centres on a paper that suggests humans played no role in the recent warming trend and that El Nino activity is mostly to blame.

But a group of climate scientists say that is false, misleading and that the data has been manipulated by climate deniers. [Well, they should know. Alarmist climate scientists are experts in manipulation of data – Ed]

Central to the paper, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last July, was that the southern oscillation index, which is a measure of El Nino activity, was the most likely influence on global temperatures changing.

The senior author of the report, IT analyst [just thrown in to remind you he’s not a climate scientist – Ed] John Mclean, says man has had little impact on global warming.

The major force seems to be probably the southern oscillation, though you’ve also got to think that maybe that is just an indicator of something else. Whatever’s driving the southern oscillation therefore drives temperature,” he said. (source)

They give McLean a quote of just 83 words to explain the paper’s position. They then proceed to give Kevin Trenberth (of Climategate fame), a quote of 237 words, nearly three times as much, criticising it (did I mention anything about bias earlier?), and in total there are 369 words critical of the paper compared to just 164 words explaining it. You can read all that in the source article if you wish.

The ABC article then deals with the censorship claim, but fails to identify the key point, that this was a response to a criticism of an originally peer-reviewed, and published, article in JGR. To not give authors the opportunity to respond to criticism sure sounds like censorship to me.

Presumption of bias? Tick. Rebuttal? None.

ABC: Facebook comments passed off as "journalism"

ABC loves Labor, hates Liberals

More outright bias from the ABC, as it slams Tony Abbott’s maternity leave policy based on nothing more than random comments posted on its web site, and – wait for it – Facebook. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our public service broadcaster now gets ammunition to beat the Coalition from Facebook:

Parental plan a ‘cheap ploy’ to win votes

Reaction from ABC readers suggests many Australians are sceptical about the Federal Opposition Leader’s ambitious parental leave plan.

Yesterday at a lunch as part of International Women’s Day, Tony Abbott announced a plan to offer six months’ paid paternal leave if the Coalition wins the next election.

Mr Abbott says the Coalition will offer the pay for parents at their current salary, up to a ceiling of $150,000, rather than the Government’s scheme of 18 weeks paid at the minimum wage.

The plan would be funded by a new levy on big business, which has been quick to voice its opposition to the scheme.

ABC readers were today non-committal in their reaction to the plan, with some saying that although it sounds good, it will never happen.

“It won’t affect me at all because it will never be implemented by Tony Abbott, the Liberals or Labor in this current form and funding method,” Budovski commented on ABC News Online.

“It is a good idea, no doubt about that, but it is a totally disingenuous promise to woo voters.

On Facebook, some said the plan was a cheap ploy to win votes and that it would never be delivered.

“I will not be polite about it, he is hunting votes. If he thinks giving mums on that salary a break is fair then he has rocks in his head,” one commenter said.

Another said: “Simply put, Tony Abbott’s plan is just a con job for morons to soak up. It’s an empty promise that would never be delivered and he knows this. (source)

Ignoring the obvious fact that the ABC would never reprint such comments critical of His Royal Kruddness or his tawdry government, you have to hand it to the ABC – you know their standards have reached rock bottom when they simply reprint uninformed, anonymous comments from the public and Facebook!

This is a pitiful and frankly disgraceful excuse for journalism.

Their ABC – banging the Drum for the Left, Labor and Rudd.

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