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Mar 11, 2010

Group think: a Crikey graph

ABC Chairman Maurice Newman believes "group think" is at work on climate change. Consider this graph...

ABC Chairman Maurice Newman on ABC’s PM last night, after urging a large group of ABC staffers yesterday to avoid “group think” on the issue of climate science:

MAURICE NEWMAN: The media hasn’t been good at picking these things up and it’s really been the question of what is conventional wisdom and consensus rather than listening perhaps to other points of view that may be sceptical.

And I brought in as well in that vain what’s been going on in climate change where there’s been clearly a point of view which has been prevailing in the mainstream media, and the fact that again perhaps consensus and conventional wisdom may not always stand us in good stead.

Below is the number of media mentions (c/o Media Monitors) this year of scientist James Hansen (currently in Australia) — head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University — graphed against media mentions of Christopher Monckton — 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, British business consultant, policy adviser, writer, columnist, puzzle inventor and climate sceptic:

climatemediamentions

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22 comments

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22 thoughts on “Group think: a Crikey graph

  1. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    That graph nicely puts that furphy to bed.

    Newman is a plank who clearly does not understand what ‘science’ means; it is not politics, for example, nor ‘opinion’. It is also not religion. So why do presenters on the ABC ask, as Tony Jones did last night, of Martin Ferguson, “Do you believe in man made climate change”?

    It’s not an article of faith FFS.

    When even good journalists use this sloppy language what hope is there that the public will get educated about what the science says?

  2. Tom McLoughlin

    Just another science gumbie, of a certain generation fraught with guilt.

  3. syzygium

    Good one. I was incensed by Neuman’s comments on PM last night. To truly represent both points of view we should have 19 scientists whose work supports human induced climate change for every 1 that doesn’t (and Monckton, of course, is no scientist). When presenting the errors in the IPCC report, one should also report the thousands of correct findings, and so on. Of course, no media organisation has the time for that and no media consumer has the stamina. Failing that, report on the overwhelming consensus view, and, now and again, some minor deference can be given to alternative points of view.

  4. Meski

    @Christopher: No it isn’t an article of faith, or it shouldn’t be, but it is often presented in such a way that if you question it, you are regarded as a ‘denier’ or a heretic. Me, I think that there’s a high probability that it exists. But I’m not close-minded enough to reject future evidence that goes against my Weltanschauung. 🙂

  5. Jennifer Dillon

    “…in that vain…” What is this – a terrible attempt at a climate related double entendre or is EVERYONE just losing their grip on the English language???
    Jennifer Dillon,

  6. Roger Clifton

    When a manager of an organisation charged with the responsibility of conveying truth to the people admits publically that he “doesn’t believe in the science”, we have cause for alarm.

    Whereas the commercial media will always be able to claim the excuse that they will lose advertising if they draw attention to the spin of business-as-usual, the ABC must be loyal to science.

    If the ABC has a special role at all in the climate struggle, it is to offer clarity to those who have been confused by the barrage of anti-science. If that role brings ABC into conflict with the interests of some big business, then it is no time to have an equivocator in the Manager’s office.

  7. Tim Villa

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Monkton received greater media coverage on account of that an inbred lunatic is much more entertaining than a climate scientist?

    I would wager it was less about his position than that accent, that circus and those eyes!

  8. Jack Dempsey

    Newman sounds like a nut

  9. Holden Back

    Any relation to Sam?

  10. Keith Bedford

    The ABC has ben severely impacted upon by the 11 years of Howard and the campaigns carried out by various coalition members caliming ABC bias to the left. This was not true but it has produced an ABC that echoes the Murdoch press in Queensland which is extremely right wing biased. In Queensland we only have one state newspaper , the Courier Mail and we repatedly find the ABC echoing news from that paper. In fact one of its journalist is also on the Courier Mail. What we need is an ABC that tries hard not to be biased and does not try for synthetic balance by quoting the deniers on Climate Change equally or with greater emphasis than those who are the scientists with knowledge of the science. This should be the commonsense approach for the ABC not the stupid way they now perform.
    Climate Change is a matter of the sciences warning us of the consequences of ignoring climate change and has nothing to do with politics. We ignor their warnings at our decendants peril. Why run the risk of doing nothing in the face of the warning?