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February 04th 2010 print

Bill Muehlenberg

Oz media ‘debate’ Monckton

Monckton is given only seconds of air time, while his many attackers are given all sorts of time to abuse and vilify him. And abuse and vilification is exactly what he has been getting. Instead of dealing with his actual arguments and the mountains of evidence he provides, they simply attack his person and cast aspersions on his character.

And this they call "debate"?

In any important debate, what is supposed to happen is each side presents its best arguments, offers the relevant data and facts to back up those arguments, and submits its case to the court of public opinion, hoping that the best man – or best argument – will win. That, at least, is how it is supposed to work.

But with many important hot potato social debates of the day, that is exactly how things do not operate – at least for those on one side of the debate. Take any contentious social issue, whether same-sex marriage, abortion, the existence of God, or climate change, and there seems to be a consistent pattern from those of the secular left: instead of actually debating the issue, they instead prefer to attack their opponents, resort to character assassination, and simply throw mud. Not always, but often enough to make one wonder whether these folks actually have any decent arguments at all.

The nasty and vicious ways the other side tends to operate in these debates is as alarming as it is predictable. But it is not just those on the other side: there is also the absolutely shameful way in which the mainstream media so often aids and abets these guys.

Indeed, I have written before – and documented before – how the MSM can so easily skew the news, create the news, censor the news, and prejudice the news. On most controversial issues of the day, it will simply feature those who share its own left-of centre and secular views. If and when a competing voice is heard, it is simply a token conservative voice which is then mercilessly attacked.

A common tactic here – and I should know, because I have personally been involved in this dozens of times – is for a “debate” to take place in which a sole conservative voice is pitted against two, three or four opposing voices. And almost always the “moderator” is on the other side as well. Thus the MSM considers a ‘fair debate’ to be a sole conservative pitted against four or five lefty-trendies.

Consider the most recent, most blatant, and most despicable example of this. I refer to how the mainstream media has been treating the visiting English climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton. Just tune in to any ABC, SBS or similar media outlet, and invariably Monckton is pitted against a number of hostile critics.

Monckton himself is given only seconds of air time, while his many attackers are given all sorts of time to abuse and vilify him. And abuse and vilification is exactly what he has been getting. Instead of dealing with his actual arguments and the mountains of evidence he provides, they simply attack his person and cast aspersions on his character. I have lost count of the number of times has he been called “controversial,” “eccentric,” “extreme” and the like.

Of course a favourite term of abuse is to call him, not a climate change sceptic, but a climate change denier. By referring to him (and others like him) as ‘denialists’, these folk are deliberately using smear tactics by trying to put such sceptics in the same camp as those who deny the holocaust. It is a cheap and dirty trick.

And while they are busy engaging in character assassinations, they are also even resorting to attacks on the way he looks. Lord Monkton of course has bulging eyes, and he has been mercilessly ridiculed and derided because of this. Never mind, as others have noted, that this is actually the result of an illness he has been battling for decades now: Graves disease.

There are plenty of examples of this junk journalism to choose from here. Consider an article in today’s Age. You don’t have to wait long. Indeed, the nasty attacks come immediately, both in the headline and the photo of Monckton directly below it.

The headline reads as follows: “’Mad Monk’ meets Monckton”. Well there you go: in addition to attacking Monckton, they manage to abuse Tony Abbott before the article even gets started. And look to the link I provide to the Age piece. What do you find by way of a photo? A head and shoulder shot of Monckton? A picture of him lecturing with one of his many scientific slides behind him? No, you simply have a close-up shot – you guessed it – of only his two eyes.

Talk about gutter journalism. Talk about a bunch of wretched miscreants who can only poke fun at the man’s looks instead of addressing his arguments. Indeed, simply look at any of the dozens of articles that have appeared in the MSM this past week. Hardly any deal with Monckton’s’ actual presentation. None of the numerous facts he mentions are given attention; none of his stats are mentioned; none of his scientific arguments are dealt with.

All these articles do for the most part is to attack Monckton, poke fun at him, mock him, seek to discredit him, and vilify him. They attack the messenger, in other words, and completely ignore the message. That sure beats offering an intelligent argument. That sure beats dealing with the facts and the data. Just throw lots of mud and forget the facts altogether.

Now consider some other visiting international speaker on the topic of climate change, such as Al Gore. Because he gives the PC line on this, the media swoons over him like a rock star or visiting deity. They will provide him with countless free hours of air time, promote his views at every turn, and refuse to ever ask him any difficult or penetrating questions.

He will be treated with kid gloves, and genuine critics of his – and their arguments – will nowhere be found. And if any journalist dared to resort to gutter tactics – like attacking his looks or smearing his name without addressing his arguments – he or she would be decried and censured. They would be reported to the Press Council and probably fired from their job.

Yet when the visiting lecturer is someone like Monckton, then any dirty trick, cheap shot, or ethically irresponsible tactic is allowed – even encouraged. That is the sort of media we today have to deal with. Fortunately I am not alone in such concerns. See for example Andrew Bolt’s take on this as well.

So be forewarned. If you plan to enter into the public arena, arguing the conservative case for any number of contentious issues, watch out. Your opponents will do little to address your arguments, but do plenty to attack your person. They will talk much of tolerance and openness, all the while intolerantly shouting you down and seeking to silence you.

And the MSM will be up to its ears in helping the forces of PC to keep your voice from being heard. And if it is heard, it will mainly be allowed in order to attack you, discredit you, and insult you. No wonder so many people simply stay out of these hard-core debates. The abuse and vicious assaults can certainly take their toll. I know that very well from personal experience. So does Lord Monckton.

But the reassuring thing is this: we have at our disposal a weapon the other side seldom uses: truth. And in the end truth will always prevail. No matter how ugly the attacks become, no matter how hard the other side tries to drag your name in the mud and refuse to deal with your arguments, in the end, the truth will prevail. That we must count on.