The Australian's War on Science 69: Michael Asten

In The Conversation Michael Ashley writes about The Australian's War on Science, with emphasis on Michael Asten's misrepresentations of the science:

When I contacted The Australian's opinion editor late last year to express dismay at their bias, I was given the example of Michael Asten, a part-time professorial fellow in the school of geosciences at Monash University, Melbourne, as someone who was well-qualified to comment. ...

So, Asten, with no expertise in the field, is using a paper published in Nature to argue the opposite of what the paper actually says.

He then spins this as "top scientists cast doubt" on the IPCC. ...

But once again, Asten misunderstands the science. The Riva et al paper wasn't an observation of the total sea-level rise at all, just an estimate of the contribution from melting ice. ...

You would think The Australian, if it had any editorial integrity, would have called a halt to Asten's ready access to the opinion pages after serious flaws were found with each of his contributions. But the lure of publishing an opinion supporting their editorial bias, from an apparently reputable source, was just too strong to resist.

You can get an idea of the extent of The Australian's campaign against climate science if you consider that even though I'm up to number 70 in this series, only one of Asten's four opinion pieces was previously covered here (as number 55).

More like this

Michael Asten has sent me a response to my comments on his opinion piece (See also John Quiggin on that piece). My reply is at the end of this post. I thank Tim Lambert for his interest in my commentary article, and for the opportunity to provide a response. First the title, "The Australian's War…
The Australian takes another one of its shots against science with apiece by Michael Asten who claims: A recent peer-reviewed paper by Svetlana Jevrejeva from Britain's National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, provides a calculation of 0.6m-1.6m by 2100 using a range of climate models. However,…
A few days ago a team of climate scientists (Catherine Ritz, Tamsin Edwards, Gaël Durand, Antony Payne, Vincent Peyaud, and Richard Hindmarsh) published a study of “Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice-sheet instability constrained by observations.” The study asked how much Antarctic ice…
Christopher Monckton was so annoying when interviewed by Adam Spencer that Spencer hung up on him before finishing the interview later on. The Australian was so impressed by Monckton's performance that they posted a partial transcript. Moth at New Anthropocene corrects many of Monckton's…

A great article by Ashely. It deserves broad disemination. And I like this teaser at the end:

>And if you think the bias in The Australian only affects its choice of OpEd pieces, wait till you read Tim Lambertâs examination of news reporting in his article later in this series for The Conversation.

Mark Hendrickx has shown up at the conversation to continue his vapid promotion of uncertainty. He doesn't say much about The Australian's mis-representation of their non-experts' qualifications, though.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 30 Aug 2011 #permalink

David Karoly presented analysis of Reporting from The Australian, which I heard in an audio presentation perhaps last year or earlier this year. Can anyone remember where that was?

Thanks Tim, that's the one.

I think, Vince, that that is because there is considerable uncertainty on those qualifications. Could be they're experts, could be they're cranks, but with all that uncertainty there's no way of telling!

An excellent article, I wondered why Asten didn't get any follow up last December after his articles on Pearson's research.

And the war goes on yesterday and today.

Perhaps if the denialist press promoted action rather than stagnation on AGW there would be less room for pessimism.

Nice one Marco.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 31 Aug 2011 #permalink

Don't forget, The Oz has its reputation as the originator of post-modern science (it's all equally good, just opinion, choose a point of view you like) to uphold.