The ABC often is a law unto itself - thanks to The Australian. For the article (not the fact that.....)
It's a rank thing to do, to compare those who question AGW, something so contentious, with so many views and theories - with paedophilia. It's just terribly bad taste, boorish and superior. But it's officially OK at the ABC.
It's OK to link climate denial to pedophilia, ABC tells ex-chairman Maurice Newman
- by: Rick Morton
- From:The Australian
- December 18, 201212:00AM
Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman says the national broadcaster suffers from 'groupthink' when it comes to climate change. Picture: Nikki Short Source: The Australian
A COMPLAINT by former ABC chairman Maurice Newman over a radio program that linked scepticism about human-induced climate change to advocacy of pedophilia has been dismissed by the national broadcaster.
Mr Newman, who retired from the ABC's top job in March when his five-year term ended, said the broadcaster had been "captured" by a "small but powerful" group of people when it came to climate change groupthink - a claim rebuffed by the broadcaster.
He said comments by the network's science reporter Robyn Williams in a November 24 broadcast of The Science Show were indicative of a broader failure of the "public interest" test at the taxpayer-funded ABC.
"What if I told you that pedophilia is good for children, or that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, to be encouraged?" Williams said at the top of the show, which was dedicated to discussing attitudes on climate change.
In his written complaint to ABC managing director Mark Scott, Mr Newman raised the issue of personally "offensive and defamatory" material and content that compared climate sceptics to pedophiles "more generally".
The radio segment had also referred to an article that Mr Newman had written in The Australian last month comparing climate change believers to the religious. Mr Williams referred to it as "drivel" and his guest, psychology professor Stephen Lewandosky, said that those who denied climate change were "driven by ideology rather than evidence".
Mr Newman objected to the imputation that he was a flat-earther.
"Speaking up publicly is not the sort of thing you do lightly," he told The Australian yesterday.
"I still have a deep affection for the ABC but at some point someone has got to make a stand. The ABC is not being frank and open about the way global warming is portrayed on its various platforms, although the sense of imbalance is becoming more overt, I feel."
Mr Newman said he was the first person to admit he was not a scientist and described himself as a human-induced climate change "agnostic". "I considered the report to be defamatory because it went on to discuss me personally and an opinion piece I'd written comparing some in the climate change camp to religious believers," he said. "In lumping me in with despicable flat-earthers, they also, through their introduction, likened people like us to pedophiles and drug-pushers."
An ABC spokeswoman said the complaint was dismissed because the editorial context of the segment was reasonable, meaning "harm and offence" was justified.
"ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have carefully considered the complaint, reviewed the program and assessed it against the ABC's editorial standards for harm and offence which state in part: 7.1 Content that is likely to cause harm or offence must be justified by the editorial context," the spokeswoman said.
"ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs have also sought and considered a response from ABC Radio. Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that there has been no breach of the ABC's editorial standards for harm and offence." The former chairman said he had not made the complaint to the ABC to air a personal grievance; rather he wished to highlight that the national broadcaster had a duty to all taxpayers to provide more considered and balanced reports.
"In this particular segment, I don't think the issue received fair treatment," Mr Newman said. "It certainly wasn't open-minded and I believe it misrepresented the perspective of people who have considered doubt."
ABC policies also make note, on scientific and other matters, that standards must strike a "balance that follows the weight of the evidence".
"Who does the weighing?" Mr Newman said. "Who re-weights and when? Or, is it set and forget?"
The ABC spokeswoman said the network did broadcast and publish views from dissenting scientists.
"Unlike the BBC, the ABC acknowledges there are climate scientists who question the core thinking about climate science," she said.
"The ABC gives them and their views air time."
In its direct response to Mr Newman, the ABC maintained it did "not equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles".