Fairfax staff are filthy with Media Watch this morning after it accused The Sydney Morning Herald of beating up a front-page splash on climate change.


Taking issue to its front-page characterisation (“Carbon pollution to reach ‘point of no return’ within days”), host Paul Barry pointed out that in some parts of the world it had already hit Fairfax’s 400ppm CO2 measurement, and that the 400ppm figure wasn’t particularly significant, but was a nice round number.

Both these points were also in Fairfax’s story, by environment reporter Peter Hannam, who quipped on Twitter last night and again this morning that Media Watch must not have read his story, and hadn’t contacted him (Media Watch did contact Fairfax’s PR man Brad Hatch, who got back to them saying they wouldn’t be commenting).

The reading, the story explained, was also significant because it’s the first time the reading has been reached in the southern hemisphere (at Cape Grim in Tasmania). Previous 400ppm CO2 readings have occured in the Northern Hemisphere, where readings fluctuate more than they do at Cape Grim (hence why the latest readings are unlikely to retreat).

To our reading, Media Watch‘s gripe appeared as much with the story’s treatment as its content (acknowledging all the above facts — though not telling viewers they’d been in Fairfax’s piece — Barry asked: “why beat that up to be so much more than it is?”). On Twitter, Barry responded to the torrent of criticism by saying The Age’s treatment of the story (below) had been different …


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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey