The Australian has printed an opinion piece by Mark Hendrickx (who presents his own views on global warming in this stunning multimedia presentation alleging that comment moderation at an ABC blog demonstrated bias. I’m guessing that you are thinking that Hendrickx is complaining because he had an off-topic, inaccurate comment removed. But no, his comment wasn’t removed and his complaint is that a response to his comment wasn’t removed fast enough.
In late November last year Sara Phillips, ABC’s environment editor, posted an opinion piece about climate negotiations at Cancun to her taxpayer-funded blog. I left a comment suggesting she might be better off covering a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate co-authored by Steve McIntyre. This work refuted an earlier study published in Nature in the summer of 2009 and widely covered by the ABC which claimed there was unusual warming in west Antarctica due to man-made global warming. McIntyre and co-authors O’Donnell, Lewis and Condon proved the statistical methodology of the Nature study was flawed and the results erroneous.
Overall, we find that the Steig reconstruction overestimated the continental trends and underestimated the Peninsula – though our analysis found that the trend in West Antarctica was, indeed, statistically significant. I would hope that our paper is not seen as a repudiation of Steig’s results, but rather as an improvement.
Hendrickx did a whole Gish Gallop in comments for Sara Philips’ post, with several more comments, all off topic and each one getting at least one thing wrong. (For example: “Global sea ice levels are currently at average levels.” Not so). He naturally drew comments disagreeing with him. According to Hendrickx, one of them was this:
The denialist clowns return again . . . climateaudit.org . . . run by Stephen McIntyre a known climate denialist and extremist right-wing provocateur . . . you are a joke as are your answers . . . laughing hysterically.
On seeing the comment I alerted Phillips, suggesting the comment should be removed as it contravened ABC posting rules, namely, 4.4.1 defamatory, or otherwise unlawful or that it violates laws regarding harassment, discrimination, racial vilification, privacy or contempt; 4.4.2 intentionally false or misleading; 4.4.4 abusive, offensive or obscene; 4.4.5 inappropriate, off topic, repetitive or vexatious; 4.4.9 deliberate provocation of other community members.
Well, yes it was off topic, but that was because it was a response to Hendrickx’s own off topic comment. I’m reminded of the story of the man who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.
Anyway, after a bit of back and forth, the comment Hendrickx gets his way and the comment he doesn’t like gets removed and that it is the end of it. Ha ha! Just kidding. He wasted taxpayers money by making an official complaint to the ABC because they hadn’t apologized to McIntyre as well as removing the comment. And then The Australian printed his opinion piece about how the ABC was wasting taxpayers money with its blogs.
And three days later The Australian ran another story about a blog comment that was deleted. Apparently Matthew Franklin, a journalist at The Australian, who previously featured in The Australian’s War on Science 45, was ego-googling for “Matthew Franklin” and found a comment on a blog post at Crikey that was a parody of a Matthew Franklin story. Matthew Franklin complained to Crikey and they removed the comment. The headline in The Australian the next day? “Crikey forced to remove fake Abbott story“.
John Quiggin has now created a category, #Ozfail, for this and similar skirmishes in The Australian‘s ongoing war on everything.