The First Thing the ABC Should Question is Itself

Mild scepticism mixed with hopeful anticipation are jostling emotions whenever I see ABC TV’s current promotion for its new show, Question Everything, coming soon to a loungeroom near you. Why mild scepticism? Because a recent experience with a complaint I made to the ABC about inaccuracy led me to the sad conclusion that it is not prepared to question itself. Once the ABC has set its hive mind to a position on an issue, there’s no budging it. It has been prepared to question others, but not itself. My experience was that the national broadcaster is more interested in putting walls around its reputation than truly questioning whether one of its assertions could possibly be wrong. No room for self-doubt at the ABC.

One the other hand, why the hopeful anticipation? Fact is I’ve been an ABC snob most of my life, still watch it and, while there are interesting programs, the degree of my snobbery is waning. At 6:00pm I watch a commercial channel’s news and find it informative. Possibly afflicted with an entrenched prejudice that the ABC TV News is the real news I then flick over to Auntie at 7pm. It’s interesting to compare the differences: minor points of illustrative detail left out of the ABC version, significant events not reported, the alleged public mood presented by five-second vox pop sound bites from people in the street. Against the background of my fading allegiance, I still cling to the idea that ABC can mend its ways and exercise more rigour in its presentation of some issues. Maybe Question Everything is our and mine great hope fulfilled.

I am so hopeful about this new opportunity for rigour, that I ask the ABC to deeply challenge – deeply question – an ever-present meme that arises whenever the Great Barrier Reef is mentioned. Be it on the news, a current affairs program, a panel discussion or a science report, the idea goes undisputed that both sea level and surface temperature are rapidly rising. It is the accepted narrative, so deeply accepted that it is not worth the effort to question it. Maybe in the brave new world of questioning everything, ABC could  be the one to question it.

Questioning in this way would fit the spirit of the Royal Society of London’s famous motto, ‘Nullius in verba’ or ‘take nobody’s word for it’.  It is surely the mood to which the ABC is alluding in choosing this particular program title. Yes, question everything – even the things that are widely believed in the general community and even the things that prestigious scientific institutions may solemnly announce as truth. Question everything – a great challenge for the ABC.  

My challenge to ABC is to question the issues of sea level rise and sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef. Readers of Quadrant may recall a previous article on this topic in which I pointed out that the sea surface temperature record taken at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) wharf at Cape Ferguson, near Townsville, does not show a rising temperature trend in its 29.5 year collection of data. It doesn’t show a rising trend and most certainly anything that could be described as ‘rapidly’. Australian government data collected and published by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), as well as data analysis by former NSW Department of Natural Resources senior research scientist Dr Bill Johnston, were provided in my earlier article to show that the data does not support the belief in rapidly rising sea surface temperatures.

Well, for the purpose of the ABC challenge, things have moved on  from the original Quadrant article, with Johnston set to release a series of papers I’m tempted to describe as blockbusters. What they have to say about the alleged rise of sea level and surface temperature on the Great Barrier Reef refutes much of what the ABC has accepted and publicised without question. Johnson’s detailed analysis shows that there has been no significant sea level rise on the Townsville coast and no increase in sea surface temperature since the earliest scientific measurements, dating as far back to 1871, were recorded by a scientific expedition to observe a solar eclipse from Cape Sidmouth on the north Queensland coast. The readings were taken on both the voyage up to the Cape and the return to Sydney.

Temperatures of the East Australian Current, which flows south from Cairns, vary with the month of the year and the latitudes at which the temperatures are taken. Once the 1871 data from the seaborne scientific expedition are compared with the AIMS data and other sources from today, and are correlated with the relevant latitude and time of year, the readings are the same. No difference — zip, nil, zero, nothing, no change.

The detailed papers will be published on the website www.bomwatch.com.au and my challenge to the ABC on the noble call to ‘Question Everything’ is threefold. Firstly, to ask itself where this belief came from?’ Was it merely intuitive? Was it from raw data? What is the benchmark? Is it a reflection of an underlying belief that all things are getting worse? Was it from projections and models about the future?

Secondly, to question those organisations and institutions that claim sea level and sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef are rising and rising rapidly.

Thirdly, to challenge the papers which Bomwatch will shortly publish. If they are false, flawed or simply wrong, please present these conclusions in reasoned and detailed argument based on actual data and sound statistical methods. The complete method of analysis, data, tables of information are all shown in the papers.

Let’s look to the day when my diminished faith in the ABC begins to grow again.

David Mason-Jones is a freelance journalist of many years’ experience. He has researched and written extensively on environmental issues. www.journalist.com.au or  publisher@bomwatch.com.au


Dr Bill Johnston is a former NSW Department of Natural Resources senior research scientist and weather observer. scientist@bomwatch.com.au

To view the graphs and tables of the sea level and temperature data in full visit http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/abslmp/data/monthly.shtml  

For more information about climate of the GBR visit http://www.bomwatch.com.au 


9 thoughts on “The First Thing the ABC Should Question is Itself

  • nfw says:

    Their ALPBC is not interested in facts, it’s interested in the woke SJW snowflake narrative. If Their ALPBC had to stand on its own it would go under within the year as the “friends” like using other taxpayers’ money but not their own to support a left wing make work easy job and obscene salary machine for the public servants they are. There is no politician with the guts to stand up to this monster and the luvvies know it.

  • Adelagado says:

    Not a chance David. Just look at the promo pic. Those two smug lefty ‘comediennes’ already have form.

  • March says:

    Been smashing my head against ABC’s complaints wall for years. This show another piece of woke BS that will only put Tax payers dollars into the accounts of D grade celebrities. I see no merit whatsoever in the ABC. Get rid of it.

  • Lewis P Buckingham says:

    The ABC logic is deeply pervasive and misleading.
    It just misses out on whole areas of available data and ideas about this data.
    My significant other is getting the ABC news feed so she was quite convinced that hurricanes are getting stronger and more dangerous.
    That the GBR was dying.
    That there are no other theories about global warming that have currency.
    That Greenland’s snow cover is decreasing. Because of the ABC she did not know
    that Antarctica stubbornly refuses to melt, except the bit on top of a whole lot of calderas.
    That lithium batteries are potentially dangerous if strapped to your house.
    That the electric truck was a con.
    That climate models not only fail to predict the future, they are not even able to ‘predict’ the past when run backwards.
    The facile Pell analysis by the ABC tipped her over.
    There was a lot of meat in this case, due to those running this site, that just blew the ABC analysis away.
    Now that the ABC has clearly lost trust her trust, I just send her the data.
    She is a smart lass, smarter than the average ABC investigative journalist.
    Rather than getting angry, its best to start this process with others.
    ‘The truth will set us free’.
    As a side note.
    YouTube just banned Sky.
    Note this happened just before the big climate conference in the UK.
    Remember, these are the genre who tried to tell us that the GBR was endangered, as a lever to have more legislation to ban coal etc. at the conference.
    Those Danes should have stuck to burning and pillaging the English coast, instead of trying to wreck our reef, by telling untruth about it.
    Talk about noble cause corruption.
    Now they want to tax our principal exports but, of course, China, India and Brazil needn’t pay.
    Talk about starting another trade war.
    The problem with the ABC is not that it lacks balance.
    It has not sufficient insight or knowledge to determine this.
    That’s why it needs reform.

  • ChrisPer says:

    The ABC cannot be reformed.
    Shut it down.
    Fire them all.
    Salt the earth where it stood.

  • pgang says:

    ‘If the aim is merely to survive this “revolution” and win elections, then we have only delayed the cycle a little while longer. To break the cycle, the engine of intrigue must be destroyed. We need the equivalent of the Hungarian “Stop Soros” laws. Entire federal agencies must be downsized and outright abolished. We must take to task corporations that have bankrolled mayhem and misinformed the public through censorship. If we do not do these things, elections will not matter in the end. ‘

    Pedro Gonzalez – American Greatness

  • brandee says:

    Thank you David for these insights into that publicly funded behemoth, the ABC.
    For many years now under a Conservative government there has been no reform. The present Minister for Communications, the mild mannered Paul Fletcher, would be reluctant to suggest the unsuitability of the present Chair of the ABC, Ita Buttrose, appointed by fellow Liberal and PM Scott Morrison. Reform has to be lead from the top and ‘middle management’ Morrison does not show that skill.
    We also recall that both Fletcher and Morrison were supporters of that consistent friend of the ABC, [but who has now unfriended the Liberals], Malcolm Turnbull.

    Might it help if the urban ABC were to be cut loose and funded only by subscription and advertising whilst the ABC in the regions could stay as is?

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    As a scientist involved in some aspects of this barrier reef work, I can only encourage readers to study the referenced reports more deeply than usual.
    There has been a barrage of ‘scientific’ reporting of claims that the waters are warming from climate change. Dr Johnston has performed a careful, thorough analysis that shows no significant change in sea temperatures since the 1871 expedition.
    So, you can confidently jeer at your mates in the pub and say “The Reef waters have not warmed.”
    But, there is more than that. Why have the people paid to research matters like this not discovered and publicised this evidence, as they are paid to do? Bill Johnston is retired, a volunteer who has done this work free (and therefore possibly with more purity).
    Partly related to the present work of Dr Johnston and David mason-Jones is work that I did 5 years ago, also done free in retirement. I looked at the widespread claims that heatwaves in Australia were getting hotter, longer and more frequent. I looked at Australia’s 6 State capital cities using official data back to the 1960s. (Our capital city heatwaves affect most of our population, our demands for hospitals, our future designs for buildings and so on). What was the finding? Heat waves in most of the cases were NOT getting hotter, longer or more frequent.
    I have no hopes that our ABC would even want to hear about such findings, let alone do a critique, such is the influence of advisory people whose science is poor or shallow.
    Geoff S

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    “Question Everything”? What a good idea.
    But will it be a genuine truth-seeker, another narrative-pusher or incessant self-promoter.
    The trouble with so-called “facts”, is that they are so often theory-laden, as in the case of climate-change waffle, ideologically-laden, or both.. One has to DIG DEEPER to find them.
    Is there the sufficient time, talent, or inclination to do so at the ABC? Anyway, going for a Gotcha Moment is so much more exciting.
    Socrates dug deeper and look what happened to him in 399BC. Convicted on two contrived charges: “impiety” and “corrupting the young” by a jury of 500, selected from the Athenian demos.

Leave a Reply