Leaked emails have shown ABC journalists and producers conspiring together behind closed doors to push an ideological line on global warming.
The first leaked email was sent on Sunday, to journalists at the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster, by Melbourne executive producer Barbara Heggen. Heggen wrote that she was inquiring after “interest in an ABC-staff climate crisis advisory group”. The purpose of this new group was to “gather together the brains trust of the ABC staffers to develop ways to report on and inform Australians about the climate crisis using a solutions journalism approach” (my italics) and “to report back to ABC management our ideas and strategies for responding to the climate crisis both internally and externally”.
For those unaware, Ms Heggen is the woman responsible for such sterling journalism as this article discussing the possibility of fleeing to Tasmania to escape climate change and this radio segment talking about whether or not Australians should stop having children, to save the planet.
The “solutions journalism approach” she advocates is a theory of journalism developed in the late ’90s which suggested that journalists shouldn’t simply report the facts, but should suggest “solutions” to social problems. How this fits in with the obligations of the ABC charter is, of course, an interesting question.
Barbara’s friends and colleagues were excited at the prospect of what would effectively be an internal lobby group inside the ABC pushing for even more extreme alarmism and bias than currently appears. The ABC’s national rural reporter, Dominique Schwartz, replied: “I’m keen. I have just been looking into how other media organisations are dealing with coverage of climate change.”
Investigative reporter Stephen Long agreed: “Also keen to discuss this. You should be aware also that [Editorial Policies] is having a look at this issue.” To get an insight into Stephen’s view on the matter, one only needs to peruse the more-than-two-dozen articles he’s written slamming the proposed Adani coal mine, plus his other articles spruiking the benefits of renewables and downplaying the threat of blackouts caused by them.
ABC PM Presenter, Linda Mottram, also agreed: “We must report established science, the evidence, and not myth.” Presumably, when Ms Mottram is speaking of reporting “evidence” instead of “myth”, she’s referring to stories such as the one from earlier this month where the ABC breathlessly announced that 11,000 scientists were “declaring a climate emergency. The ABC of course neglected to mention during this “evidence”-based reporting that many of the signatures were obviously false and that one of the signatories was a Professor “Mickey Mouse”.
If they want to improve their “evidence”-based reporting, I guess they can always give Tim Flannery another bag full of money to film yet another series. Maybe this time he can expand on his belief in a Gaia-like earth spirit.
The ABC receives more than a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funds. If its journalists weren’t publicly funded, then these leaked emails showing them conspiring to slant coverage behind closed doors would be simply annoying; but as an organisation funded by involuntary contributions of taxpayers, it’s enraging.
The ABC will never reform unless it is under the threat of complete defunding. The time to start threatening that defunding is now.