Accuracy, balance and rigor on talk-back radio…in the week after hell freezes over?

A very interesting episode of Media Watch screened tonight which threw a spotlight on the waves of climate skepticism that are the norm across Australian talk back radio.

Apart from recently chastising the Prime Minister for being 10 minutes late to a interview, 2GB radio host Alan Jones has also been busy drumming up support for a rally against the proposed carbon tax,set to happen at Parliament House this Wednesday (where you could choose to sport a hand made Pinnochio-style Julia Gillard mask courtesy of the Climate Skeptic Party. Check the legal disclaimer -they’ve got all their bases covered on inexpert advice).

A couple of interesting snippets – the first is the not-so surprising bias towards giving air time to reknowned climate skeptics over practicing climate scientists:

Let’s ask Chris Smith. He’s certainly got no time for the people the Prime Minister listens to …

“She said she knew who she’d rather have on her side, not Alan Jones, not Piers Akerman, not Andrew Bolt, but the CSIRO, The Australian Academy of Science, the Bureau of Meteorology, NASA, the National Atmospheric Administration, and every reputable climate change scientist in the world. Did you hear that?

There was no mention of leading Australian scientists who question climate change including Professor Ian Plimer, Professor Bob Carter and Dr David Evans, among others. What, none of them are reputable now?”

— 2GB Sydney, The Chris Smith Afternoon Show, 17th March, 2011

In fact, the bias was greater than I expected:

Not one orthodox climate scientist – not one – has been interviewed by any of the climate sceptics on Fairfax stations.

Despite the skewed viewpoints that are constantly being broadcast over the airwaves, we’ve all become so used to it that it seems pointless to consider anything different on talk back radio. Radio broadcasters do have to adhere to a code of practice, but interestingly, so far no-one has made any complaints:

As we’ve seen, there are requirements for accuracy and diversity of view in Code of Practice No 2. The problem is, the regulator won’t or can’t enforce the Code unless someone complains it’s being flouted. And, says ACMA…

“The ACMA does not have any current code 2.2 or 2.3 complaints or investigations into these programs on their coverage of global warming science…

— Response from ACMA, 18th March, 2011

Time to write some letters?

Watch the episode in full here


3 thoughts on “Accuracy, balance and rigor on talk-back radio…in the week after hell freezes over?

  1. I had a problem with a blogger last year who had a very similar disclaimer – happy to repost the guff, but left it up to the reader to work out if it was correct or not.

    You’d hope we were so used to all this that the audience would stop taking them seriously… apparently not.

  2. There is a sense of panic in the way the radical response to the science is playing out through the shock jocks.

    I tend to agree with Tim that we should focus away from the deniers and more on the path we need to take. People out in the real world realy do support strong action. They generally know there is a problem and want leaders to fix it up even if they don’t understand the full scope of the issue.

    Focussing on the solutions and ways of changing our behaviour is the most constructive approach we can take. Thats why I support the Beyond Zero project. They are trying to show how we can make a difference. Plans for replacing our fossil fuels should be our first priority.

  3. “Not one orthodox climate scientist – not one – has been interviewed by any of the climate sceptics on Fairfax stations.”

    There’s no point interviewing “orthodox climate scientists” because you all sing from the same songbook and already get extensive media attention. Just like you Ove – you’ve been crying the end to the GBR for many years now. So Alan Jones interviewed another marine scientist, Dr Peter Ridd, who totally contradicted everything you have been saying. The MSM haven’t interviewed Dr Ridd have they? – they fall into line and interview you and get your exaggerations.

    Tim Flannery was a recent guest on MTR radio in Melbourne and he’s an orthodox climate scientist, well so he says – he’s actually into mammals.

    Ian Plimer and Bob Carter have been regular guests on 2GB as has Dr Christy from UAH and Prof Linzden from MIT. These are the reputable scientists that disagree with you and your AGW fantasies and in a world with cooling oceans, not hot spot, and stable temperatures your ideas and projections appear to be just that – fantasy.

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