Yesterday Quadrant Online took a look at the slick PR moves that earn Tim Flannery & Co’s panic factory endless and favourable news coverage. Today, how a lie — in this case a catastropharian marketing campaign that harms Australia — goes around the world before the truth gets its pants on
Yesterday at Quadrant Online we chronicled how the Climate Council finds it so easy to plant alarmist nonsense in the brain-dead popular press, further promising to report on the results achieved by their latest, artfully prepared and media-ready effort to promote the notion that climate change has placed Australia’s tourist industry at the very edge of ruin. This depiction suits the Council’s purposes, which it proclaims publicly as raising awareness of man’s purportedly catastrophic impact on our planet, but it is rather more insidious than that straightforward aim. To “do something” translates as further enriching the rent-seekers, lobbyists, barrow-pushers and allied activist groups. Get the public believing a few extra parts per million of a harmless gas will ruin the earth and — Presto! — you have a handy cudgel with which to attack coal, mining in general, the private use of cars and whatever else the Left’s agenda happens to be at any given moment. Why, even “third wave” feminist transsexual falsettos can get in on the act.
This morning Tim Flannery & Co must be tickled pink to see how much adverse publicity they have generated, and not merely in the domestic press. From Pakistan to the Caribbean there are stories today about the slow death of the Great Barrier Reef, the intolerable heat allegedly set to afflict the Red Centre and how big chunks of Hobart will be swallowed by the heat-swollen waters of the Great Southern Ocean.
That there are casualties and collateral damage as a consequence of one organisation’s blinkered determination to promote itself and its allies’ climate cause should not need to be stated, but sadly it does because, with one exception, the same media outlets which happily obliged the Climate Council with so much uncritical “reporting”of its latest scare campaign couldn’t be bothered calling, say, a Port Douglas motelier for his thoughts on what the campaign to present the Great Barrier Reef as diseased, dying and dead is likely to have on his bottom line.
One news organisation, The Gympie Times, did get a little curious and sought the reaction of the regional tourism manager, who said he wasn’t worried visitors would stop coming. After a few paragraphs re-capping the Climate Council’s claim that the area stood to lose $56 million as a result of no-show visitors, the article concluded with a conspicuous omission: there were no reassuring words from Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones. As she had been earlier quoted in the Courier-Mail, one guesses the Gympie Times didn’t regard her quotes as worth repeating, which they weren’t — except as a further example of climate confabulators’ success in cowing so many who have a responsibility to deflate their absurd and damaging claims.
What Ms Jones didn’t say is that the Climate Council is a peddler of dangerous and destructive myths, but then how could she have ever been so frank? Her Labor Party is both beholden to the Greens and at war with them, frantic to stop the harder left of its voting base defecting to DiNatale et al, as may be seen in the panic to stop the inner-Melbourne seat of Batman rejecting a Labor candidate for the first time since Federation.
So how did the tourism minister react to the Climate Council’s codswallop and bleak appraisal of tourism’s future?
Not only was her government spending $245 million, she said, to improve Great Barrier Reef water quality, she further insisted, “the Prime Minister needs to get serious about climate change and the risk to the Reef,” thereby putting her imprimatur on every loony prophecy the Climate Council had fed with slick aplomb to a lapdog press.
Oh, and there is a disturbing irony to consider as well. Some of that $245 million will undoubtedly flow to researchers at James Cook University, where Professor Peter Ridd is fighting for his academic career after questioning alarmist colleagues’ dubious scholarship, false findings and unverifiable results. Ridd insists the Reef is nothing like the disaster zone so often claimed by catastropharians in receipt of grants and fellowships, but actually doing rather well. In promoting the Climate Council’s hysteria Ms Jones is implicitly endorsing Ridd’s foes, the people who claim the Reef is dying — the same self-interested parties generating the adverse publicity that can only diminish the numbers of future visitors. Why head north to gawk at an attraction widely reported as being no longer attractive? Why head north to attend a university that makes a mockery of free inquiry and academic freedom? Perhaps, when Education Minister Simon Birmingham has finished alienating aspirational Catholic parents, he might venture his opinion of an institution which accepts taxpayer money while investigating a professor for dropping a vexed email to his wife.
That impression that North Queensland (and the Centre and Hobart, too) are not worth a visit would be hard to avoid in light of the Reef-is-dying coverage the Climate Council orchestrated. Below, a collection of international headlines and snippets re-broadcasting word of the Reef’s impending demise:
Australian Tourism Industry Under Climate Change Threat
Climate change threatens Aussie tourism
Australia tourism industry under climate change threat – study
Why are coral reefs important and why are they dying?
Tourism is the Australian industry least prepared for climate change, report says
Climate change to cripple Australian tourism industry: report
Australia tourism industry under climate change threat, study warns
Aussie tourism hotspots threatened by climate change
Australia’s popular tourist destinations are in the climate firing line: report
All in all, not a bad day’s damage for the Climate Council to inflict on an innocent industry. And it won’t be last, not with ministers giving credence to those who attack the very same industries and jobs it is their portfolio’s obligation to safeguard and foster.
And not with an indolent press allowing itself to be used — no, make that humiliated — in its unquestioning submission to the PR-savvy ideologues who write its stories for it and deliver them on a plate. There is no hope Australian politicians will collectively develop a spine, not even as climate hysteria and the smarties who profit from it push electricity prices to obscene heights.
But the press, maybe there is hope that one day a few journalists will look in the mirror and decide that a sluttish eagerness to be pleasured with ready-written stories does them, the news industry and the country at large no favours.