There have been some amazing scenes at the ABC this week as it prepares to broadcast the controversial The Great Global Warming Swindle film tomorrow night.
Research by ABC appointed journalists has revealed serious flaws in the film’s claims, to the point that the film seems to be willfully misleading — if not downright fraudulent. The problem is that in allowing an ‘answering’ program to follow the documentary, and getting Rottweiler Tony Jones to present it, the ABC ends up looking foolish for showing the film in the first place.
Apparently Jones conducted a searching interview with the film’s director, professional contrarian Martin Durkin in London last week. Perhaps too searching.
Outgoing head of popular factual programs, Denise Eriksen, unused to the rigorous standards of Jones and the News and Current Affairs Department, has been fighting a rearguard action to try and water down the tough approach. Insiders say she is acting on specific instructions from head of TV Kim Dalton who doesn’t want to look foolish for agreeing to run the flawed film in the first place.
Eriksen was personally dispatched to London too, and behind Jones’ back apologised to Durkin for the rough treatment and insisted on stacking the panel to discuss the film with climate denialists like Bob Carter.
The ABC’s own science unit — which Eriksen controls — had been all but cut out of involvement in the preparations for the answering program. This despite Kim Dalton claiming its award-winning unit was up to the task of answering Durkin’s claims.
Edit suites have been resounding all week to screams of outrage from Eriksen demanding that tough responses be cut out. Jones has more than once needed to make clear he will ‘walk’ rather than agree to a sanitised show. Eriksen has even gone as far as demanding a written rundown from Jones as to how he intends to conduct the live to air discussion after the Swindle film airs. He has refused to comply … the stand-off may lead to a sudden change of presenter on Thursday night, so stay tuned.
Jeff McMullen has been asked to be on standby in case Jones refuses to be associated with Eriksen’s intended whitewash. Meanwhile the ABC’s own discussion board for the film is already full of dozens of complaints about the decision to screen the program. And official bodies, like the Bureau of Meteorology, so outraged at the film, are refusing to cooperate. Should be an interesting night!