It’s just as well we humans have nothing to do with global warming because the amount of carbon the ABC is emitting to promote this apologia to right-wing conspiracy-thinking would thaw the Arctic tundra.
The ABC will simulcast The Great Global Warming Swindle tomorrow night on ABC TV and ABC 2 while pumping out debate on News Radio, local radio and online.
The investment might have been worthwhile if the program was any good or if there was some PR value in running it.
But there is neither. The documentary is a polemic. It raises some interesting points but it’s so wound up in whacko conspiracy theories as to make it laughable.
No-one is disputing that the ABC should air programs that are contrary. As ABC broadcaster Quentin Dempster told Crikey, “the freedom of expression argument wins. We all agree that a public broadcaster’s role is to inform and engage and to wade into controversies because we’re not here for partisan propaganda.”
The problem is that the ABC’s embrace of this show demonstrates how Aunty would sell its grandmother at the moment to appease the right and that, as a consequence, the editorial barriers to entry are lower for producers peddling programs that set out to attack the shibboleths of the left.
I once marvelled at a freelancer’s bright idea of writing an article about “the twenty best newspapers in the world.” It was pure genius because, when you think about it, there is no better way of ensuring one article runs in the twenty best newspapers in the world. The author must have known that each of the featured papers simply couldn’t resist publishing an article that ranked them in such elite company.
Well, now there is an equally clever way of having your pedestrian journalistic efforts embraced. Just find a public broadcaster that’s been beaten into almost complete submission by accusations of bias and offer it a get-out-of-jail-card in the form of a left-bashing diatribe about one of the most troubling issues on earth. The beauty of this idea is that the value of the program is inversely proportional to its journalistic credibility. The more nutty, the better it is at offsetting some of the criticism about left-wing bias.
But for this PR to work there should be no dissent in the ranks about the presentation of the program. The ABC’s head of factual entertainment, Denise Eriksen, should get out of the way and let talented professional journalists like Tony Jones get on with the job of questioning the program’s writer with all the rigour this topic demands.
Meanwhile, why wait for the ABC, check out the swindle here .