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Australian Political Debate
23rd-Apr-2009 11:52 am
Slag off
This is what passes for journalism at the right-wing newspaper, the Australian:

Peter Garrett shifts from claim of 6m rise in sea levels

FEDERAL Environment Minister Peter Garrett has moved to water down his claim that sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of the melting of Antarctic ice.

Mr Garrett has also been forced to qualify his suggestion that ice across the whole of the Antarctic continent is melting.
The Weekend Australian reported that while some ice-shelf melting is under way on the peninsula and in other parts of west Antarctica that may be related to global warming, ice shelves in east Antarctica remain intact.

East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica.

At the same time, the area of sea ice around the continent is expanding, with sea ice growth in east Antarctica and the Ross Sea more than compensating for losses in west Antarctica. Contrary to public perceptions, parts of Antarctica have been cooling.
Mr Garrett claimed that ice was melting across the Antarctic continent. "I don't think there's any doubt that global warming is contributing to what we've seen both on the Wilkins ice shelf and more generally in Antarctica."

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said Mr Garrett had been alarmist. "There is a need to take practical action to tackle global warming, but using alarmist and patently wrong information to back his case will do nothing to instil confidence in his arguments," hesaid.

"If Mr Garrett is going to get it so wrong on sea-level rises, how can people have confidence in comments he makes on glacier melts?"

James Cook University geophysicist Bob Carter said Mr Garrett's claims were typical of the political misinformation surrounding the global warming debate. "Like Al Gore and the other dark greens that they seek to mollify, politicians completely fail to comprehend that we live on a dynamic planet Earth," Professor Carter said.

In response to questions from The Australian, Mr Garrett said he had received advice suggesting the impacts of global warming in east Antarctica were "less pronounced" than in west Antarctica. "However, it remains critically important that we continue to work collaboratively with our international partners on the important scientific endeavours under way across the Antarctic."

Mr Garrett said through a spokesman that the suggestion of 6m sea level rises had been made by Lateline and not by him; he was commenting only that those "kinds" of predictions were consistent with IPCC forecasts.

A few facts:

* Though ice is growing in east Antarctica, and east Antarctica is larger than west Antarctica, that does not mean, as the article implies, that ice is growing over the majority of Antarctica. Ice is growing in parts or Antarctica, the sea ice is spreading in certain places around Antarctica. In other places, vast ice sheets are in danger of collapse.

* The Arctic is melting a lot faster than the Antarctic is freezing. The north pole is dropping about 4% of its ice cover per decade, the South Pole is gaining about 0.97%.

* This was a known, but not proven, phenomenon already, and is built into various climate change models.

* There's no ozone hole over Greenland, that is going to be a huge problem before long unless we can do something about it.

* Climate change is not about left vs right, and I sincerely doubt the qualifications of Bob Carter, as he seems unable to separate his obvious massive bias from any scientific opinion he might have. And Greg Hunt is a wanker who can't be trusted in any capacity over the environment for the same reason.

* The title of this article and its introduction are deliberately misleading. But who's going to read all the way to the bottom of the article?
23rd-Apr-2009 02:26 am (UTC)
I hate the global warming debate. I think people should just put up with the face that with the rate the global population is growing and the way we live, we should expect environmental consequences. We push our environment it will push back.
23rd-Apr-2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Oh get over it. News articles are always he-said she-said because the idea is to present both sides. Garret gets to talk, Hunt gets to talk, an academic with good quotes from a university that does a fair bit of research into such things gets to talk.

Read, draw your own conclusions, stop bitching when people quoted don't agree with you.
23rd-Apr-2009 11:39 am (UTC)

The idea is NOT to present both sides. The idea is to present FACTS. FACTS WITHOUT OPINION. There used to be a time when you got opinion on the editors page, that was it. Now the whole freakin' paper is an opinion piece.

And why get over it? This is once of the biggest papers in the country? Is there something wrong with calling bullshit on journalists? That's like saying we should shut up about politicians.
23rd-Apr-2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yes it is. Journalists don't have opinions, we don't tell you what is and isn't fact by our own merits. We tell you what people think are the facts, how they interpret them and what their opinions regarding them are. If you have information to include in the article, you attribute it to someone or something unless it's obvious (a person's birthday, the capital of Spain, football results, whatever). News isn't about presenting "truth" or even "facts", its about reporting what people are saying and doing. Even if they're idiots. That's how objectivity works.

I'm telling him to get over it because he's all wah that an article doesn't quote the people he'd like it to, and therefore the paper is right wing. Please. Histrionics. I've seen a lot of bad articles, this one isn't bad it's just a bit lazy in that the author could have talked to another academic with an opposing view.
23rd-Apr-2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
That's nonsense. There is no objectivity in this article. The journalist has set the tone of the entire article to throw doubt on the reality of climate change and generally ridicule Mr Garrett. It does not present the facts, it cherry picks and misrepresents the facts, as I pointed out. It doesn't just talk to some expert on the matter, it talks to Bob Carter, renowned climate change denier and professional obfuscator, who happens to be part of a research committee funded by Big Oil. He's probably the only climate change denier in Australia with any credentials, he certainly wasn't a random choice. It doesn't talk to Mr Garrett at all, but instead goes to his opposition for a juicy bit of mudslinging. And it lies about what Mr Garrett said.

You really need to try harder than that.
27th-Apr-2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
You've cherry picked, actually, only quoting here the bits of the article that offend you. In the whole article, Garrett gets quoted a fair bit - both from the Lateline interview and more recent comments, which are almost entirely stupid politician rhetoric. Bob Carter gets a run because the article needs a dissenting expert (and he gets one line, whoop-de-do), and you *always* talk to the relevant shadow minister. A climate change-proponent from academia would have been a good idea, however.

Your claim that the journalist somehow distorted the facts to advance some anti-climate change agenda is also baseless. You have strong views on this topic, and that is clouding your reading of it. The story here is that Garrett said some things on Lateline and had to clarify/change his position, or at least what he meant to say - which is news. Furthermore its news because it means he was either inarticulate or incorrect on Lateline. That's how the article has presented the events. It's not calculated to do anything political - that's not how newsrooms or journalists work or think.
23rd-Apr-2009 11:36 am (UTC) - Reason why your business model is failing #485
"Why aren't people reading news papers anymore? Why are they getting their information off the internet?"


I can get hyperbole and half truths from livejournal thanks Greg, how about some freakin' NEWS once in a while.
17th-Jun-2009 07:36 am (UTC)
I reckon the Australian has taken a big jump to the right on this subject of late - (that's not possible I hear you exclaim!!) and have seen similar poor reporting recently in regard to Professor Peter Newman - who the Oz deliberately misquoted to suit a political argument the journalist was wanting to push. The reporter suggested that Newman had criticised the Feds - where in fact he had made no comment on the Feds at all - he made some qualified criticism of the slowness of the states in rolling out infrastructure - and the headline becomes "Newman slams the Fed Government" - which he was understandably very upset about...
I think the Oz is at risk of getting right down in the gutter with the Telegraph...
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