October 23, 2011

Blue Army: Communications

Global War on Disinformation

George Megalogenis (1964):
[News Corp] deploys more resources to attack to the [ABC, the Australian public broadcaster,] than analysing the economy.
(Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal, Quarterly Essay, Issue 61, February 2016, p 3)

Fair, Balanced and Wrong

Australian Press Council
General Principle 1:
Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

The Press Council has considered [and upheld] a complaint about a number of items published in The Australian in September 2013, a week before the release of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …

[The Australian has] acknowledged … that the headline …
… and [central premise] of the original article were incorrect,…
The Australian:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment reportedly admits its computer drastically overestimated rising temperatures, and over the past 60 years the world has in fact been warming at half the rate claimed in the previous IPCC report in 2007.
(16 September 2013)
[but that,] in all other respects, the article was fair and balanced. …

The Australian said there was no reason for it to have suspected errors in the articles in The Mail on Sunday
The linear warming trend over the 50 years from 1956 to 2005 (0.13 [0.10 to 0.16]°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the 100 years from 1906 to 2005.
(Climate Change 2007, Synthesis Report, p 30)

The Australian:
The 2007 assessment report said the planet was warming at a rate of 0.20°C every decade, but according to Britain’s The Daily Mail the draft update report says the true figure since 1951 has been 0.12°C.
(16 September 2013)
[And it] noted that The Wall Street Journal had also published an article containing the same error. …

An editorial headed
was published the following day.
Amongst other things, it said:
Exaggerated, imprecise and even oxymoronic language pollutes the climate change debate,
and emphasised the need to have regard to the facts of climate science, not simply “beliefs”.
It accused specific people and organisations of inaccurate and unbalanced contributions which had generated undue alarm about climate change.
It reiterated the key [false] assertion in the previous article, saying:
Later this month, the next iteration of the IPCC’s climate assessment will revise downwards (by close to 50 per cent) warming trends.

The same issue included a letter to the editor from David Karoly, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Melbourne and a contributor to the IPCC report, which pointed out [the factual error in the reporting of the findings of the 2007 assessment report.]
The letter was placed fifth amongst six letters published on that day under the general heading
The writers of the first four letters were highly critical of the IPCC, clearly having assumed the newspaper’s original article was correct.

{[The Australian] said the IPCC had been asked to comment but had declined to respond as the assertions were based on the alleged contents of a draft report which had not been completed or published.}
[This was characterised as:]
The Australian:
[The] IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks.
(16 September 2013)

The Council has concluded that the erroneous claim about the revised warming rate was very serious, given the importance of the issue and of the need for accuracy (both of which were emphasised in the editorial that repeated the claim without qualification).
Although based on another publication’s report, the claim was unequivocally asserted in The Australian headline, "We got it wrong on warming, says IPCC", which also implied the IPCC had acknowledged the alleged error.
The impression that the claim was correct was [further] reinforced by The Australian saying the IPCC had been “forced to deny” that it was in crisis talks. …

Four days after the original article appeared, the online headline was changed to read "Doubts over IPCC’s global warming rates".
A brief “Clarification” was added [regarding the Mail's misreporting of the AR4] stating
In fact, the new rate of 0.12°C every decade is almost the same as the IPCC’s 2007 figure of 0.13°C every decade over the 50 years to 2005.
It also acknowledged the original article erred in saying the IPCC conducted its own computer modelling, explaining:
That error was made in the production process.
Five days after the original article, a single paragraph headed “Correction” was published in the lower half of page 2 of the print version of The Weekend Australian.
It provided the same information as the online “Clarification”. …

The Council considers the gravity of the erroneous claim, and its repetition without qualification in the editorial, required a correction which was more substantial, and much more prominent than a single paragraph in the lower half of page 2. …

The Council welcomes the acknowledgements of error and expressions of regret which the publication eventually made to it.
But they should have been made very much earlier, and made directly to the publication’s readers in a frank and specific manner.
It is a matter of considerable concern that this approach was not adopted.

(Adjudication No 1598, 24 July 2014, emphasis added)

Chris Mitchell

Former Editor in Chief, The Australian

[John Howard] was too pragmatic.
We would have liked him to be more ideological. …
(p 16)

[The] evidence for man-made global warming is equivocal. …
(p 17)

[Surfers] who have frequented the same beaches for 50 years have found no increases in sea levels.
(p 18)

(David McKnight, Rupert Murdoch — An Investigation of Political Power, Allen & Unwin, February 2012)


Media Hubs

Fox News and The Wall Street Journal

The Australian
Murdoch's Australian and the Shaping of the Nation

News Corp split approved by board


Between The Lines


The War on Science

Network Hubs

Global Warming Policy Foundation

Media Hubs

The Australian

Rupert Murdoch: Proprietor.
  • High Court judgment a reality check on refugees, 10 September 2011.
    Mike Steketee.
  • Who's to Blame - 12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on Global Warming: Rupert Murdoch, Rolling Stone Politics, 19 January 2011.

    [At Murdoch's] media outlets, manufacturing doubt about global warming remains official policy.
    During the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, the Washington editor of Fox News ordered the network's journalists to never mention global warming without immediately pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.
    The Wall Street Journal routinely dismisses climate change as "an apocalyptic scare," and Fox News helped gin up a fake controversy by relentlessly hyping the "climategate" scandal — even though independent investigations showed that nothing in the e-mails stolen from British climate researchers undercut scientific conclusions about global warming.

    In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government.

  • Bad News: Murdoch's Australian and the Shaping of the Nation, Quarterly Essay, No 43, Black Inc, September 2011.
    Robert Manne.
  • Sceptical writers skipped inconvenient truths, The Australian, 11 December 2010.
    David McKnight.

    [As CEO] of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch … warned in 2007 that climate change posed "clear catastrophic threats."
    As the scientific evidence for climate change strengthened, the [The Australian] newspaper's attitude went in the opposite direction.
    On climate issues The Australian still gives voice to a global PR campaign largely originated by the oil and coal companies of the US.
    On this score genuinely sceptical journalism is missing in action.
    Instead, an ideological sympathy with climate sceptics has been concealed behind a fig leaf of supposed balance.

    But what shines through in the attitude of the newspaper is its lack of intellectual and moral seriousness in dealing with the consequences of climate change.
    Climate issues are always taken as an opportunity for cheap shots about what The Australian calls "the Left" or "deep greens".
    This attitude stands in stark contrast to the deep seriousness of the newspaper's endlessly re-affirmed belief in free markets, competition and privatization.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Some sceptics make it a habit to be wrong, 20 November 2010.
    Mike Steketee.
  • Why I support the ETS proposal, edited speech to parliament, 9 February 2010. Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Town of Beaufort changed Tony Abbott's view on climate change, 12 December 2009.
    Stuart Rintoul.
  • No science in Plimer's primer, 9 May 2009.
    Michael Ashley.
  • Thatcher saw climate threat, 5 March 2009.
    Mike Steketee.


Keith Windschuttle: Editor.
  • Climate science and public debate, Ockham's Razor, ABC Radio National, 13 March 2011.
    Robyn Williams.

    The trouble with Quadrant is it's getting a bit too left-wing for me and it also has unusual definitions of expertise on some topics.
    For instance, the current March edition … has a long piece called 'An Intelligent Voter's Guide to Global Warming'.
    It's written by a poet, a businessman, and … a medical engineer, who's the chairman of a firm that treats snoring.

  • The IntelligentVoter’s Guide to Global Warming, March 2011.
    Geoffrey Lehmann, Peter Farrell and Dick Warburton.
  • Neglected truths of climate change, 9 September 2011.
    Walter Starck.

Network Hubs

Global Warming Policy Foundation

  • Global Warming Policy Foundation, SourceWatch, Center for Media and Democracy, 5 October 2011.
    Nigel Lawson: Chairman.
    Benny Peiser: Director.

    The GWPF was founded, curiously, at the same time as the climategate emails were released on the University of Tomsk's server.
    At the time of it's foundation the average age of it's trustees was 74.

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation does not reveal where its funding comes from. …
    The accounts show the extent to which the secretive Foundation is funded by anonymous donors, compared with income from membership fees.
    Its total income for the period up to 31 July 2010 was £503,302, of which only £8,168 came from membership contributions.
    The foundation charges a minimum annual membership fee of £100. …

    The GWPF is a registered charity (Number 1131448) …

    The GWPF's academic advisory council includes (among others):

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