Why are supposedly quality journalists so misguided on climate change?
Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan have clearly taken on board the alarmist global warming narrative. To explain the context for overseas readers, Kelly and Sheridan are very senior and respected journalists on The Australian, the one national daily that Rupert Murdock established in 1964. That paper along with a handful of other metropolitan dailies represented the quality journalism in the country. The Australian maintained that reputation longer than several others but the situation had changed since the woke offspring of Rupert Murdock have assumed more control.
Never mind the performance of the hacks, what has gone wrong at the top of the profession and the once-were reputable newspapers?
Global warming and the reduction of CO2 emissions will probably be seen as the signature issue of public policy at the start of the third Millenium alongside the emerging role of China.
In this situation it behoves journalists who have access to a large readership among the educated public to obtain the best grasp of the issues that they can manage, given their training and their capabilities.
This does not mean that they have to become experts in the field or make it a major focus of their output, given that their briefs are wide-ranging.
In view of their reach and their potential impact on public opinion they had better take care that the opinions that they express on signature issues are carefully considered and offered with a warning when they are operating outside their areas of competence.
Area of competence are those where they have engaged with experts in the field over a long time to become familiar with the complexities and nuances of the subject matter. In these areas they will be clear about the differences of opinion that are held by professionals and experts in the field and if they are not experts themselves they had better not commit to one side or the other.
Warming emerged as an issue during the 1990s and it became a matter of significant concern after the turn of the century. This means that journalists have had two decades to do their homework on the topic. During this time they should have discovered the very wide gap between the views that the mainstream media have made into the dominant narrative and the views offered by a small galaxy of climate science stars who are flatly opposed to alarmism.
Responsible commentators should have discovered this situation and told their readers about it. They could also be expected to read enough of the more accessible literature and talked to enough well-informed people to realise how the field has been invaded by politics. They should know how alarmism is driven by various interest groups inside and outside the climate science community.
Kelly and Sheridan are pre-eminently political commentators and of all people they should be alert to the political currents that drive public debates on controversial issues.
As for coming to grips with the issue, we are talking about two decades or more. Warming did not emerge in the last year two years like the pandemic where working journalist can be allowed more time to come to grips with the science and the conflicting opinions among the people who are supposed to be the experts.
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November 20, 2021 at 04:12PM