Spiking the ‘expertariat’

ebellWe hear much lately about ‘fake news’ and, really, there is quite a bit of it about. Indeed, every day that the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Guardian, ABC and other organs continue to publish, the mother load of misinformation  expands. That’s the bad side of the internet: lies, half-truths and outright falsehoods will continue to be turned up via Google searches for years and years to come. For example, someone hunting a little information on British ‘human rights lawyer’ and man of the left Phil Shiner might well come across any one of multiple ABC profiles and be led to believe he is an upright and honourable man, rather than the scoundrel who has been recently and so thoroughly exposed. Unless and until the ABC adds a footnote to those reports — an unlikely prospect, one suspects — Shiner’s archived reputation will remain wreathed in approving words for evermore.

There is a valuable side to the internet, however, and a report published on January 30 by Fairfax’s man in Europe, Nick Miller, makes the point. Let it said from the outset that there is nothing wrong or inaccurate about his account of a London press conference by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, who recently stepped down as the Trump transition team’s man in charge of preparing the Environment Protection Agency for what will likely be massive re-focusing and reforms. The quotes Miller selects are accurate and his reporting of Ebell’s informed speculation that the US will withdrawn from the Paris agreement spot-on.

What is missing, other than in passing reference to a few incidental words of Ebell’s disdain for grant-snaffling careerists who have turned a trace gas into their meal tickets, is just how often and how strongly he made that point. That Miller would focus his report almost entirely on the Paris angle is entirely understandable. Fairfax’s remaining readership frets mightily about global warming, and corporate policy quite deliberately has made its newspapers into safe spaces for the dim and triggered; they will find no opinions or news counter to their righteous preconceptions. When your editors are sufficiently dim as not to realise they are gleefully promoting a blatant libel, not to mention being easily triggered by views at odds with their own, the emphasis on the Paris angle, rather than the rest of Ebell’s briefing, is to be expected.

Here is where the internet must be appreciated as the antidote to omission. The screen grab atop this post was lifted from a YouTube video of Ebell’s presser. The clip runs for more than hour, is unedited and, best of all, unfiltered by pencil-chewing third parties who presume to decide what the public needs to know and how much of it will be shared.

The press conference video is here and well worth watching, every minute of it.

After that, follow this link or the one one below to share James Delingpole’s delight in the discomfort Ebell sowed among the assembled hacks. As he puts it (his emphasis):

They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. They curled their lips. They laced their questions with the bitterest scorn. But they didn’t really tune into Ebell’s measured, silken, soft-spoken answers because, hell, they knew what he was saying just had to be wrong and they didn’t really understand what he meant anyway.

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