Australian news, and some related international items

Attacks on scientists by News Corp – bias in supporting Adani coal mine

News Corp attacks scientists assessing Adani coalmine – and ignores science, Guardian, Sarah Bekessy Hugh Possingham, James Watson, Georgia Garrard and Alex Kusmanoff, 16 Feb 19  Damaging the credibility of scientists when we need their fearless advice more than ever is socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

Scientists unite against Adani attack on report into endangered finch  The relentless, sustained, needlessly personal attacks on the scientists analysing the impacts of the Adani coalmine undermines the role of science – and scientists – in important decisions that affect our future.Mediawatch last week called out the Courier Mail’s bias in reporting on the proposed Adani coalmine in northern Queensland, including blatantly false statements. One example is a claim that the “endangered black-throated finch faces extinction if the Adani coal mine does not go ahead”, when mining is the very thing threatening the future of the species.
What Mediawatch did not report is the pointed attacks on the scientists engaged to critically assess the likely impact of the mine. The following sentence in the Courier Mail on 27 January is just one example: “If you were in the bunny hugging business and were hiring you’d look at Prof Wintle’s resume and say “impeccable”.In the past month, there have been numerous News Corp articles published about the review under way regarding the impacts of the Adani coalmine on the critically endangered southern black-throated finch. Most have attacked the scientists behind the review or quoted statements undermining the scientist’s integrity. We could find none that have critically discussed the science, apart from one article that cites an anonymous ecologist who claims that the mine is the only way to conserve the species. No evidence is provided to support this claim.
The attacks have consisted of unsubstantiated efforts to smear people instead of addressing the substantive issues. Wintle’s comical tweet of school children protesting (“I’ll stop farting if you stop burning coal”) is the only evidence provided that he is indeed a “self-proclaimed anti-coal activist”, as claimed in the Queensland Times on 21 January and again on Friday mentioned in the Australian. Yet, apparently“questions still loom as to whether Professor Wintle, an open anti-coal activist, would be able to carry out the review with impartiality”.In addition to seeking to degrade political debate and balanced decision making on important topics, this kind of journalism also seeks to damage the credibility of science and scientists in the eyes of the general public. This is arguably socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible, but importantly may also discourage scientists from engaging in policy and planning processes where their expertise is essential………

February 17, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media

1 Comment »

  1. this is serious but one situation that scientists and businesspeople have to work together and harmonize


    Comment by Ihagh G. T. | February 18, 2019 | Reply

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