Stephen Mayne versus Glenn Milne:

Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes writes: Re. “Mayne: it all goes back to Bolt’s unhinged resignation prediction” (yesterday, item 17). I’m sure I won’t be the first or only reader to boggle at Stephen Mayne’s chutzpah. Here he is having a go at Glenn Milne in yesterday’s Crikey:

“Glenn Milne got done over by Media Watch in 2004 when he produced the following in most of the News Ltd Sunday papers on the morning of the much-hyped Channel Nine profile on Mark Latham produced by John Lyons for the now-defunct Sunday program:

‘Allegations about Mark Latham’s treatment of his first wife, Gabrielle, threaten to derail the Labor Leader’s run for The Lodge … And over the past 48 hours, there’s been fevered speculation in Canberra about the existence of a raunchy ‘bucks night’ video involving Latham — and whether that was the smoking gun about to be fired by Sunday.’

It was all rubbish and Milne’s reputation took a significant hit.”

Click on the link, and what do we find?  The first person to be “done over” by Media Watch for running the rubbish about a raunchy Latham buck’s night video was not Milne, but…

“Stephen Mayne. On the Friday afternoon of that wild week, Mayne’s email newsletter reported:

‘It’s happened. Mark Latham’s dream run with the media has come to a screeching halt and Canberra is awash with feverish expectations about the next 48 hours. It began with the news of Ross Coulthart’s impending 40-minute Sunday profile on the opposition leader and now there are rumours of a potentially embarrassing videotape of Latham’s bucks’ party ahead of his last wedding. —, 2 July 2004’

And the source for Crikey‘s revelation?

‘Stephen Mayne: … that came from a email out of Sydney from someone sort of connected to a commercial radio station… — Sally Loane Morning Show, 702 ABC Sydney, 6 July 2004’


Only Stephen would do it. Does he think nobody actually clicks on his hyperlinks?

The Power Index’s Adams profile:

Philip Luker, author of Phillip Adams: The Ideas Man–A Life Revealed (JoJo Publishing), writes: Re. Extract from The Power Index, Tuesday Item 6, with direct link to The Power Index Item 10 by Matthew Knott: Some statements about Adams are straight lifts from my book without any accreditation.

Examples: “Bob Carr said he (Adams) is prone to ‘smugness and predictability’ (Page 91 of book).  “Former NSW Premier Bob Carr describes the program (Late Night Live) as ‘a corner of the radio universe free of the cacophony of climate change denials, rank racism, manufactured grievances and fake indigation that is the currency of commercial radio”  (Page 91).  “Bob Hawke calls him (Adams) ‘a pain in the arse’ and ‘a non-event as far as I am concerned’ (P. 80). “Even Adams’ arch enemy, Sydney Institute director Gerard Henderson, admits to enjoying his radio show” (P. 84).

I spent considerable time trying to help Knott.  I resent the fact that the only reference to the book is in the third last paragraph.

[The Power Index have since updated the story.]

Pot and kettle:

Marcus Vernon writes: On Tuesday Crikey ran an informative piece about the change of editors at the profitable News Ltd publication, the Gold Coast Bulletin. Crikey has led the way in reporting the Bully’s woes, no doubt about that, and good on you. But you stumbled badly yesterday in running a headline naming the outgoing editor as David Gould, right above your detailed story which accurately named him as Dean.

You also ran a photo right next to the David/Dean names which is actually a pic of incoming editor Peter Gleeson, without making that clear. Most readers would have thought the pic was of Gould. As of Thursday your site still had this mistake.

So maybe the next time Crikey wants to point out some typo or bad caption/heading by one of your competitors, you take a deep breath and remember that it is easy to do in the rush to publish. It shouldn’t happen, but it does.

Climate change, “truthiness” and “egregious misprepesentivyness”:

Matt Saxon writes: “Truthiness” does not do just justice to Tamas Calderwood’s latest effort (yesterday, comments), “egregious misprepesentivyness” would be nearer the mark.

He begins with his usual quoted figure of “just 0.7C of net warming in the past 150 years” and the proceeds to juxtapose that against a figure of 0.47C for the period of 1910 to 1940. He has presumably arrived at this number by multiplying the period against the trend (1.5 * 3.1). If you go ahead and do this for the rest of the time periods in the piece you get a figure of 1.75C, which is what he should be using if he wants to compare apples to apples.

All this is irrelevant however as the obvious fallacy is that if Tamas wants us to see that Jones “admits” that the periods in question were “similar and not statistically significantly different from each other” then the longest of the periods will of course have the largest temperature rise by virtue of the useful property of numbers in that if you multiply the same number by a series of larger numbers then you will get a series of larger answers.

In fact, if you look at the table you will see that the trend identified for the period is actually the lowest and only comes out as a higher number by virtue of the period being the longest. Indeed Tamas analysis is so nonsensical I’m forced to admit that my claim of “egregious misprepesentivyness” is unfair, it has to go down more as “gross failure to comprehendiness”.

Alan Harrington, aka Lord Alan Harrington of Blackwood BE MBA FIEA, writes: Tamas Calderwood gives himself away immediately as a true follower of “truthiness” with his statement “there is the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998.”

As has been pointed by numerous climate scientists, this “Lord!!!!” Christopher Monckton furphy is an absolutely prime example of selecting the data to suit your hypothesis … 1998 was an abnormal peak, way above the trend line.

The overall trend is inexorably up, as even a cursory look at the NASA data will show.  Quoting individual year’s figures when talking about climate, as opposed to weather, is, in my opinion, the mark of a scoundrel or a fool.

Andrew Davison writes: Hot on the heels of News Limited’s assertion that facts don’t matter in an opinion piece, Tamas comes up with the corker “fact that there has been no global warming since 1998.”

Once again, he’s wrong; the NASA GISS global data shown here (Climate Graphics by Skeptical Science: 2 hottest years: 2005 & 2010) didn’t take an FOI request to find. And he’s still banging on about three separate “warming spurts”as if they might have different causes. Tamas — it’s CO2. Let us deal with it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey