The Australian's War on Science 70: We know where you live

I have an article in The Conversation on the misrepresentation of the science on sea level in news stories in The Australian:

In August The Australian had a story by Ean Higgins on Tim Flannery's waterfront home.

Higgins' message was the fact that Flannery had a house near the water showed he was insincere in his warnings about sea level rise. The article also suggested Flannery had frightened the elderly into selling their seaside homes to him.

But the Hawkesbury River where Flannery's home stands has steeply rising banks. Waterfront homes there are several metres above sea level and are not endangered by a one metre sea level rise.

Flannery made this point to Higgins but declined to say exactly how far above sea level his house was because he was concerned about revealing information about the location. A not unreasonable concern, given the death threats climate scientists have received in Australia.

So The Australian printed a map showing the exact location of Flannery's house.

This was too much, even for The Australian - the on-line version of the article has been removed, and The Australian published an apology to Flannery.

More like this

So The Australian printed a map showing the exact location of Flannery's house.

What jerks.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 Aug 2011 #permalink

The Australian has officially gone feral. It is no longer a newspaper, it's a not-for-profit conservative propaganda pamphlet. Poo on them.

By Pete Bondurant (not verified) on 31 Aug 2011 #permalink


Extract from a letter to the editor that I had printed in a regional newspaper this week, A reply to claims of hypocrisy ,

.Your claims re politicians, scientists, purchasing waterfront properties is pointless unless they have all purchased less than thirty two centimeters above sea level, a recent projected rise by 2050 (Rignot 2011). Kevin Rudd's beach house is about 10 metres AMSL and quoting Tim Flannery " My house is very close to the water but also very high up" (metres).Combett's Newcastle East home also above the 2100 projections (see NSW gov map 2100 SLR Newcastle).


By john byatt (not verified) on 31 Aug 2011 #permalink

Hendrickx is at it again:

"In regard to the Oz's coverage of Phil Watson's paper I'm afraid I cannot see what the fuss is about. It provided a balanced account of some of the current issues wrt sea level rise both local and global."

How do you reason with someone who can make this claim?

If, by "balanced", the mean, "we studiously avoided reporting what the experts say, and dressed up our monkey in expert clothes before reporting what he had to say", then, yes, The Australian was very, very "balanced".

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

Unless Prof. Flannery goes them, they will continue.

Ditto for the News Ltd attacks on the PM.

I've heard Bob Hawke boast he netted $3million out of the bastards during his time as PM in defamation payouts. He demonstrates I think, if you want the press to modify their behaviour then continuing to reward or let slide current behaviour will not achieve that, or so I'm told by Dr Phil.

Run the bastards in, I say - I hope :)

OK, let's try a little experiment.

  1. Find the addresses of each of the journalists, sub-editors, editors, and all responsible executives higher up the food chain, who have anything to do with promoting climate change denialism.
  2. Create - and publish - a list of their names and addresses, and their locations on Google Earth.
  3. For bonus points, write an iPhone app for easy promulgation of the information.
  4. Sit back and document the outrage from the right-wing hypocricy...
By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 Aug 2011 #permalink

So the Murdoch's minions are now "outing" scientists and "warmists" in a thinly veiled attempt at intimidation.

I have so much I could say about this, but it would not be acceptable fare for this fine blog.

Breathtaking. Just breathtaking. The bastardry of these shits is beyond words.

An excellent article in the Conversation, Tim and what an appalling story regarding Tim Flannery.

Once again you have the tenacity to take on the might of the Murdocracy. Congratulations.

A million years ago, during a peace march in Washington, we were on the sidewalk when the crowd passed. We looked at each other, shrugged, and stepped into the flow. It turned out, we'd joined a group primed for confrontation with the government. They had Vaseline-soaked scarves to cover their mouths and noses in case we were tear gassed. (inevitable) They had pouches of bricks. And they had attitude. Their chant:

Attica Means ...
Fight Back!
Attica Means ...
Fight Back!

[Attica was a notoriously foul prison in New York where a prison riot had been recently quelled by a huge display of force.]

One of our group, lightly tinted with Aspbergers, piped up during a rare lull:

-Will the Mets repeat? [an American baseball team known for losing had just won the World Series]

I'm torn on how to respond to obvious provocations. On the one hand, you suspect that an ogre like a right wing newspaper would just love to row in court. On the other hand, we're not punching bags. My best advice: pick your moment when they've crossed the legal line and then sue the bastards till they scream for mercy.

By Jeffrey Davis (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

I think the Oz thinks its the end game for this government and so may feel everything is fair game (the way all bullies operate). What the Labor party needs now is a few bastards like Hawke and Keating though by the time Abbott the Impotent gets in (well if he gets in - there is still hope he wont) he maybe such damaged goods that he will have no authority at all i.e. he will be unable to repeal the Carbon Tax and will have such a tenuous hold on power that he won't dare sell his arse for a double disolution.

Its a funny thing but I have had a chance to have a look at the Sky operation here in the UK and its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint is genuine and proactive (they are building beside their new sustainable broadcast centre designed by Arup their own CPD power plant that will use waste pellets for fuel) and this has been led by James Murdoch who apprently believes very much that AGW is real and dangerous. I'm not excusing him on the phone hacking saga.

Then we get another part of the Murdoch empire commited to war against science and climate science in particular. Go figure???

The anti-climate change, anti-conservationist, anti-renewables attitude threads it's way right through The Australian - from a page randomly used to wrap a block of cheese from a local store I got lines like ..."the Green's obsession with killing anything but renewable power as a source of energy" and "the loony tunes are winning the day". Oddly the author (John Durie) praises a carbon price as good policy whilst attacking the renewable energy and renewable energy targets in his article spruiking the gas industry as the solution to emissions. I somehow doubt the cost of stranded gas plants that can reach the easy early targets but will fail utterly to reach the harder but necessary later ones gets factored in to the equation that makes renewables look so bad and gas look so good. Nor do fugitive emissions.

By Ken Fabos (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

The discrepancy in the attitudes to climate change and climate science of The Australian and the Fox network, compared to Sky in the UK is very interesting.

A hypothesis I'm playing with is that it's simply politically expedient for the Australian and Fox to run with the anti-climate-change attitude in order to help get their party of choice (Coalition in Oz, Republicans in the US) across the line. Both Labour in Australia and the Democrats in the US have campaigned on a platform supporting the mainstream scientific evidence and action on climate change. By attacking the supporting science in every possible way they are just opening another flank against their designated political enemy. The accuracy or not of their statements and their personal beliefs about climate change are irrelevant and have fallen by the wayside of a larger political debate.

Any thoughts?

As Bernard J. said,

We need to shine the light on these cockroaches and watch the bastards scatter.

Another pointless opinion piece to add to the Oz stockpile. With a quick scan I saw Gore, Gore, and Gore and gave up.

An extract from Robert Manne's Quarterly essay on The Australian has [appeared](…) in The Sunday Age.

The printed copy acknowledged Tim's blog although the reference is missing from the online version.

On editor Chris Mitchell

Mitchell inherited a newspaper that had accepted the consensual core of climate science. Although The Australian never formally abandoned this position, for nine years its editorials welcomed anti-climate science challenges from unqualified people that consistently denied that the science was ''settled'', consistently failed to draw the distinction between the core theory of climate science that was consensual and the climate scientists' predictions about the future that were not, and expressed grave and growing doubts about the solidity even of those parts of climate science that were entirely consensual.

Mitchell's December 2010 claim that his paper had provided consistent editorial support for the findings of climate scientists is simply false.

The essay has been produced as an [e-book](…).

Yes, News Corp is dominated by halfwitted syncophants, thankyou Mr L for regularly adding to the tottering pile of evidence for this fact (sincerely).

However, since media regulation is nonexistant in this country and both major parties remain invertebrate on the issue, there will be no change without some unorthodox thinking.

So, what if science defended itself, using solidarity and good communications?

Proposal: all gov & university employed scientists refuse to deal with News Corp until News corrects their outstanding factual errors in any science related articles.
"So you want an interview on our latest cancer cure/obesity drug/tech gadget? Sure, just print a pg3 correction on that sea level rise article of 22nd Aug."

Outstanding errors can be compiled on say a page on where anyone can check them & propose additions. Can apply it to Fairfax & ABC too, just for looks.

Keep intimidating, it just makes you look as bad as things really are. Now you want to make the news only print your side of the debate---real great for free speach! Any researcher that disagrees with the forgone "science" is already having to put their reputation on the line just to disagree.