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Murdoch’s media monopoly misinforms Australia on Climate Change

Nowhere has the reliance on spin been more apparent than during the coverage of the climate “debate” by the Murdoch media and allied shock jocks.

Australia’s climate scientists expose shock-jock distortion tactics, Academics catalogue the deluge of spin and misinformation of climate science by various Murdoch-owned papers, Stephan Lewandowsky   1 September 2011, Guardian UK,  Australia has unwittingly become a social experiment. A ruthless experiment on the fate of a society when a single media conglomerate, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, owns 167 newspapers and controls around 70% of the printed media market.

After the phone-hacking scandal rocked Britain, News Corp officials in Australia struggled to put some daylight between its local operations and the rest of the empire, assuring the public that the country was spared phone hacking and other unethical practices. It is perhaps unlikely that wire tapping or phone hacking was practiced in Australia, simply because the local specialty of the Murdoch organs and their shock-jock allies has been a fairly low-tech reliance on outrageous spin.

Nowhere has the reliance on spin been more apparent than during the coverage of the climate “debate” by the Murdoch media and allied shock jocks.

The Australian government is currently seeking to introduce a rather modest tax on carbon, which will have little effect on low-to-moderate income earners, but which will nonetheless help cut emissions, thus finally getting Australia to live up to its historical responsibilities as one of the world’s largest per capita carbon emitters and one of the dirtiestproducers of power.

The resultant “debate” about the carbon tax has turned into a fact-free brawl that is sufficiently devoid of ethics to make football hooligans blush. Segments of the media, alas, do not blush….

rage has been no isolated incident. At a recent talkfest byvaudevillian denialist Lord Christopher Monckton, a journalist of the ABC was jostled by the hostile crowd……

In response to all this, and in the absence of politicians with sufficient courage to take on the hate-mongers, some Australian academics have started to provide a platform for accountability by shining a light on the media’s practices.

Using the Conversation, the world’s first daily paper written primarily by academics in co-operation with journalists, academics are beginning to catalogue the excruciating and tortuous daily distortions of climate science by various papers, especially by the Australian, Murdoch’s flagship publication.

This catalogue reveals much that is humorous, albeit involuntarily so…….

all this deluge of spin and misinformation before we even get to the opinion pages of Murdoch’s flagship paper. Those opinion pages, offering a smorgasbord of denialist talking points, resemble the event horizon of a black hole.

And all this before we descend into the netherworld of the gutter press and shock jocks.

It must also be noted that the editor-in-chief of the Australian, Chris Mitchell, received the “JN Pierce award for media excellence for leading the newspaper’s coverage of climate change policy” in 2009. This annual award is presented by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.

More recently, the Australian used its considerable moral weight to vow that they would help destroy the Greens at the ballot box. The Greens are the party whose politicians, according to recent research, exclusively rely on scientists to shape their views on climate. In contrast, only 44% of conservative opposition politicians relied on scientists, with the remainder seeking information from other sources – perhaps the cat palmist who opines on climate on TV.

A vow to destroy the party that relies on scientists for scientific advice – how extreme! how radical! – is what many people would call an agenda.

And it is pursuit of that agenda which has arguably contributed to the increasingly fact-free state of Australian public life, in which eruptions of populist rage trump peer-reviewed science, in which climate scientists receive death threats, and in which reporters who practice actual journalism are subject to legal threats.

That is what happens when a media conglomerate and their allies go out of control and escape accountability. …


September 7, 2011 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media

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