Climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Crikey‘s statement that “Scientists only believe in the data. Time to stop shooting the messenger” could equally be applied to climate sceptics. Remember that since 1998 the world has warmed just 0.06°, despite a third of all the CO2 humanity has ever produced having been poured into the atmosphere during this period.

So lots of extra CO2 with basically zero warming makes all that “believable” data hard to square with the global warming hypothesis. Perhaps that’s why leading climate scientists felt they had to “hide the decline”. You know, to make the data fit the theory better.  And hey, sceptics need hugs too, OK? Don’t shoot!

Gavin Greenoak writes: I do hope Crikey and its readership are absolutely clear about “data”. Data does not speak, it must be interpreted, and the interpreter must unequivocally serve the truth, however qualified it must be to so serve it.

Crikey and its readership may be less aware of how rare such a pure intent is in the scientific community. This is because the data must be generated from a phenomenon, a raw, rough and unscientific reality, and without this clearly if not passionately held in view, there is nothing to be true to.

Julian Assange:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Julian Assange — better off smuggling weapons in Baghdad?” (yesterday, item 2). Bernard Keane correctly writes that “The issue of non-intervention in other countries’ legal processes is a straw man repeatedly used by the government.”

If any of your readers believes that a formalised extradition agreement automatically provides its subject with adequate protection under the law, I commend to them the book A Price to Pay: The Inside Story of the NatWest Three, which chillingly chronicles the application of the American legal system under a “formalised” extradition agreement between the UK and America.

Their story especially highlights the use of plea bargaining whereby the extradited accused, separated from their support network and running out of legal funding while facing the weight of the federal legal system, is driven into a plea bargain — trading a guilty plea and a reduced sentence against a potential of (say) 25 years.

Whatever one’s views on WikiLeaks, Assange remains an Australian citizen and is entitled to the protection of his country.


Niall Clugston writes: David Hand’s argument (yesterday, comments) doesn’t really add up: it’s not all about publishing what’s profitable. The Australian, Channel Nine’s Sunday program, and the now-defunct Bulletin have owed their existence to their owner’s desire for political influence, not to their commercial viability.

Furthermore, in terms of preaching what the audience wants to hear, the Captain Emad example doesn’t work. The ABC, which broke the story, is usually said to have a left-wing bias. And Crikey, which Hand describes as catering to a “left-wing readership”, was founded by two disaffected Liberal apparatchiks, Steven Mayne and Christian Kerr.

The dynamic is more complex than supplying news to a demand, and the owners clearly have more power than the consumers.