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Jan 28, 2010

Hamilton: Fran Kelly falls for Monckton's media manipulation

Fran Kelly and the ABC are the latest victims to fall prey to notorious climate change sceptic Lord Monckton's media manipulation. Why did Kelly not question her controversial guest and his preposterous claims?

Fifty metres from where I sit at the ANU, 300 meteorologists and oceanographers are listening to the latest research on climate change at the annual conference of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

But you wouldn’t know it. Instead of sending someone over to hear what the scientists are saying, Radio National this morning decided to give over its program to a charlatan, Lord Monckton, who expounded unchallenged his bizarre theories.

He earnestly told Fran Kelly on Radio National that decades of climate science research could not be believed because the scientists are being paid by governments and governments want to cede national sovereignty to a “world government”.

He compared climate scientists, like those at the conference next door to me, to the eugenicists of Nazi Germany and to the Soviet scientific fraud Trofim Lysenko. It was one of the most shocking slanders ever heard on the ABC.

Fran Kelly allowed Monckton to present himself as a credible scientific voice, and could not challenge his repeated absurdities. She did not ask him what his qualifications were. She did not ask him why he lied about being a member of the House of Lords, or why he claims to be a Nobel laureate.

She did not ask him about his preposterous claims to have won the Falklands war or to have invented a cure for Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, and HIV.

Nor did she ask Monckton why Kevin Rudd, Barack Obama and the leaders of Europe, Japan and the developing world would participate in a process designed to relinquish national sovereignty to a communist world government.

Monckton’s views are so extreme that even some of Australian’s hardened climate deniers will not go near him. Tony Abbott will not meet him. Even Barnaby Joyce regards him as too dangerous to associate with.

Janet Albrechtsen, the Australian’s right-wing attack dog, laments the fact that “…while Monckton has mastered the best arts of persuasion, he also succumbs to the worst of them when he engages in his made-for-the-stage histrionics.”

Most of Australia’s leading climate scientists have declined requests to debate Monckton on air because they understand that debating him on the science carries the implication that Monckton is a scientist with something worthwhile to say.

They also know that what Monckton lacks in credibility he more than makes up for in showmanship. In a 10-minute radio or TV debate the showman who is willing to lie brazenly will usually come out on top, especially against a scientist hamstrung by the quaint belief that truth emerges from the careful presentation of the evidence.

One of his former editors said of Monckton that he has the ability to talk nonsense in a very compelling way; some naïve members of the public lap it up.

Fran Kelly is not the only journalist suckered by the denialists, although one would expect the ABC to have a better understanding of the scam than Channel 7’s Sunrise.

Some in the profession have been known to express bewilderment at the rise and rise of climate denial. When Al Gore was interviewed on Lateline a while back, Leigh Sales spent the first half of the interview asking him to respond to the claims of the sceptics.

She then asked “Why do you think the sceptics are so influential?”, apparently unaware that she had answered her own question by spending half of the interview talking about them.

Over recent months we have witnessed a sustained assault on the reputation of Australian climate scientists led by the Australian newspaper, which magnifies and gloats over every real or confected mistake by the IPCC and promotes the opinions of every mad-eyed denier, including Monckton.

Throughout this trashing of scientists, the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have been missing in action. The Academies of Science have been silent too. It’s well past the time they roused themselves from their slumber and muscled up to those now ditching three centuries of science in favour of a fanatical belief.

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159 comments

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159 thoughts on “Hamilton: Fran Kelly falls for Monckton’s media manipulation

  1. Evan Beaver

    I didn’t realise you’re just over at ANU Clive. I’ll come by and say Hi one day.

  2. David

    I listened to Ms Kelly’s acceptance of the mad man Monckton’s diatribe this morning in disbelief. But also in dismay at either the lack of preperation for the interview or ignorance of the topic by Kelly. As I listened I pleaded, Fran don’t let him get away with it, ask him to back up his lies, his phoney offering of truth, she did not and because she did not try to bring some balance to the interview, she failed dismally both as a broadcaster of some repute and as a professional. The idea that Kelly would go into such an interview without being able to not only get information of sustainable substance, but unable to question him from research and knowledge she had gained previously. If she did research it was not evident this morning.
    The ABC failed dismally this morning. Not for the interview itself but in the way the interviewer failed the listener, both for and against climate change. It is be hoped interviewers with more ability than Ms Kelly get the chance to put Monckton through his paces, with more knowledge of the subject than that shown by Fran Kelly.

  3. scot mcphee

    Of course Fran, the ABC’s very own Liberals-talking-point-regurgitator, had a completely uncritical interview with Monckton. When I heard her announce after AM had finished, that Monckton will be on her show, I merely cursed her reappearance on Radio National after a blessed summer without her News-Ltd-driven agenda and turned the radio off.

    Fran Kelly is without doubt the laziest and most asinine journalist that I’ve heard on the ABC.

  4. Glenda Gartrell

    Kelly’s program could also be known as the clean slate – anyone [preferably from the right] can come along and write on it. At least the ABC must be saving on production costs.

  5. scot mcphee

    Glenda certainly they are not spending anything on research!

  6. Mr Squid

    if you thought fran kelly’s program was a joke, you should have seen the rubbish Monckton coverage on ABC Online. Still, I suppose we can’t expect anything else from Newscrap Lite dopes who do lambourgini and nullabor.

  7. Michael

    Slander, insults, innuendo but not a scintilla scientific fact to repudiate Monckton’s claims. What a pathetic, greedy, lying lot you mad scientists are.

  8. Tom McLoughlin

    Err Clive, methinks you are frothing a bit. Fran ran him after 8 am today?

    Therefor in the shadow of the (say Sydney) last edition of AM show? Or after 7.45am in the shadow of the Sydney main news bulletin over 15 minutes?

    In other words it’s the B list of content. I haven’t gone to the web link to see Lord Twit (agree he is a fraud) but I do know my ABC scheduling quite well.

    I am pretty confident it was a token balance piece. In terms of real politik influence that segment would be about a 2 out of 10 in that broadcast shadow, with Michelle Grattan at 7.35 am an 8 or 9 out of 10. A ten minute variation and real credibility is all it takes.

    Perhaps of much greater concern was Alan Jones unscientific ideology of pandering to big business energy sector with his climate denialism on Australia Day broadcast last Tuesday, promoting Lord Twit event at Sheraton on the Park on 2GB. Sad stuff. Where is a patriotic prostrate cancer service when needed?

  9. Most Peculiar Mama

    @Clive Hamilton

    “…He compared climate scientists, like those at the conference next door to me, to the eugenicists of Nazi Germany…”

    Appears YOU like dishing out the Nazi missives though:

    “…Instead of dishonouring the deaths of six million in the past, climate deniers risk the lives of hundreds of millions in the future…”

    “…Holocaust deniers are not responsible for the Holocaust, but climate deniers, if they were to succeed, would share responsibility for the enormous suffering caused by global warming…”

    “… climate deniers are less immoral than Holocaust deniers, although they are undoubtedly more dangerous…”

    “…So the answer to the question of whether climate denialism is morally worse than Holocaust denialism is no, at least, not yet…”

    Sound familiar Clive?

    “…It was one of the most shocking slanders ever heard on the ABC…”

    No Kettle, that would be your “A letter to your father”.

    You. Are. A. Pathetic. Joke.

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