Doomed Planet

Lateline, biased and unfair

From the Australian Spectator:

Almost two years ago, ABC1 presenter Tony Jones told Crikey publisher Eric Beecher and a Melbourne audience that between 2001 and 2008 the members of the Lateline team made up their minds about the science of climate change. The sceptics, they’d decided, were wrong.

Jones prefaced the admission by saying he was in favour of scepticism. But not, apparently, about climate change. On 6 April 2008, Jones said: ‘From around the year 2001 on Lateline, we began interviewing everybody we could about this subject; and we interviewed all the main scientific sceptics. And gradually, over a period of time, we resolved in our own minds that the sceptics had it wrong and the vast majority of scientists disagreed with their position, that there was a developing consensus and if we didn’t take it seriously we were in grave danger of moving to a position where [it] would simply be too late to do anything about it. And I’m still not sure right now whether we aren’t in that position as we speak.’

Jones’s claim that Lateline had interviewed all the main sceptical scientists was puzzling. Presumably, by the term ‘interview’ he was referring to those long, one-on-one conversations like the nine he has had with Gaia fan and true believer Tim Flannery.

But a dip into the Lateline transcript archive in search of one-on-one interviews with sceptical scientists conducted between 2001 and April 2008 returned just one — with Russian economic adviser Andrey Illarionov.

Sure, Lateline included a few sceptical climate scientists in some packaged reports. But in-depth, information-seeking chats of the Flannery kind have been scarce. Not so rare were interviews with climate change believers. A trawl through the archive netted more than 20 one-on-one interviews in the same period with experts on the true-believer side of the debate. It is a scandalous scorecard: believers 20+, heretics 1.

Read John Styles’s article here…

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