Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Senator Brown challenged to "put up" or "shut up" on the cause of the Queensland floods

In keeping with its mission to attack and embarrass News Limited outlets at every opportunity, Crikey, via the Pure Poison blog, the other day announced in a post by PP boy Dave Gaukroger "News verbals Bob Brown", the point of the post being that News.com.au had misquoted Greens Senator Bob Brown in an online "headline" reading "Coal miners caused floods".

Gaukroger couldn't find that particular quote, however.
That’s a pretty explosive quote, even for Bob Brown, so I quickly read the story to get some context. Strangely, the quote was nowhere to be found.
Gaukroger is indeed correct that Brown did not utter those words in that sequence, but as is so often the case with Crikey, and Pure Poison in particular, the facts are subtly manipulated: the News.com.au piece is not linked; News.com.au did not present the story as a headline but rather as one of many "teaser" links on its homepage, hence Gaukroger needing to enlarge the "headline" in his screen grab; Gaukroger does not quote what Brown actually said in public; and Gaukroger ignores that Brown does say that coal mined in Australia causes global warming and that global warming in turn caused the floods.

Rather than link to the original News.com.au piece which would allow readers to see what Brown actually said, Gaukroger instead links to Brown's media release, which clearly lays the blame anyway:
"It is unfair that the cost [of the floods] is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits," Senator Brown said.

"Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels."
For Gaukroger the really big error here is that News.com.au "misquoted" Brown rather than Brown's bogus claim to a scientific underpinning for his contention that global warming "caused" Queenland's flooding:
"Scientists agree that current floods come from record-high temperatures of Australian oceans this season."
Senator Brown is wrong, of course: scientists do not agree that human induced warming "caused" the floods:
"It's a natural phenomena. We have no strong reason at the moment for saying this La Nina is any stronger than it would be even without humans," said Neville Nicholls of Monash University in Melbourne and president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.
Now whereas some scientists might be willing to "link" the floods to climate change I challenge Senator Brown to provide a list of recognised climate scientists who agree that coal mined in Australia caused Queensland's floods. If he can't do that he should publicly retract his assertion.

By the way, here's what Brown said in public, as quoted by News.com.au:
"It's the single biggest cause - burning coal - for climate change and it must take its major share of responsibility for the weather events we are seeing unfolding now," he said in Hobart today.

"We know that the oceans around Australia are at record high temperatures, and that's causing the moisture in the air which is leading to these catastrophic floods.

"It is costing billions of dollars, besides the pain, the anguish, the loss of life, the destruction and it should not be left to ordinary taxpayers to bear the full brunt of that."
Senator Brown elaborates in an ABC radio interview, here.


PP boy Jeremy Sear cryptically attempts to make a point concerning the foreign ownership of Australia's coal mining operations:
The problem with multinationals is not who’s behind them, but where they continue to be based, and what that means in respect of the goods they mine and the money they make.
Say what?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In spite of the fact that

"The problem with multinationals is not who’s behind them, but where they continue to be based, and what that means in respect of the goods they mine and the money they make"

appears on the surface to be a completely juvenile and frankly idiotic statement, I think the fact that he clearly has some sort of serious disorder, yet still manages to type anything at all, should be seen as quite an achievement.

Or perhaps its one of his cats ghostwriting

either way you should be encouraging the poor sod to greater heights

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Chistery said...

Anytime, anywhere, if anyone says something mean about Greens stupidity or hypocricy , the PP Boys are ready to pounce to their defence. Sear monitors Bolt, Gaukroger monitors News. Commenters are ready with the 'hear hear's'. All flanks are covered. It's war.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can only laugh at Sear's hypocrisy. Foreigners are bad when they want to legally own shares in our businesses. The Liberal party is evil because it puts foreigners behind barbed wire when they enter Australia illegally.

You do the maths on that one.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PP post may have been changed. It currently says that Brown did say words to that effect but "paraphrasing a few things that he did say doesn’t give you the right to put quotation marks around it. This is pretty elementary stuff that any high school student would know."

Looked up google cache, only goes back to last night.

Have the PP boys been amending their post to cover themselves, or has JF made a mistake?

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:12, based on their past behaviour it wouldn't be a stretch to think they had been amending on the sly, they have form for that. That's why, IF ONLY they would acknowledge when they made changes, then they wouldn't have these continuing credibility issues on shit like this.

I like their posts on some things but they really shoot themself in the foot with all the secret editing, they do it to comments too, and once you've seen it happen once or twice and they won't say what they did or even that they did it but you KNOW they did, it means even though I want them to have got it right on this one I think there's a good chance they didn't and just went in and cleaned it up and edited it later.

It's really stupid, them doing that. It also means that when they catch Bolt or someone doing it they can't exactly take the high moral ground, which I wish they could, it shits me when ANYONE does sneaky edits to make themself look better.

11:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home