A stern warning over our use of expert opinion from Stephen Glover in the London Independent:

Modern news is a remarkable thing. One day none of us has heard of Sir Nicholas Stern. The next his prophecies about the effects of climate change are raised to the level of holy writ. Pretty soon we will forget all about him.

My particular objection to the media’s response to his report is that it was so credulous. Like almost everyone else, I know nothing about the science of climate change, but I am prepared to believe that much of it is soundly based. But even the most ardent pessimist should surely recoil at the way Sir Nicholas’s crystal gazing is treated as though it were hard fact.

Sixty million people could be exposed to malaria in Africa, we are told by Sir Nicholas. Why not 10 or 50 or 100 million or even none at all?

It is babyish for journalists to parrot these figures — the BBC is the worst offender — as though they are somehow inevitable and set in stone.

Quite soon we shall be able to dispense with real news altogether, and simply report what the “experts” say is going to happen.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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