Wednesday, February 10, 2010

From the vault - one year ago - Antarctica cooling - yes or no?

Original Story: Antarctica cooling theory challenged Broadcast on AM 22 January 2009, ABC summary posted 10 February, 2009

What was reported: ABC reporter Shane Mcleod reported on an article in Nature that suggests that Antarctica is warming at the same rate as the rest of the planet. The Radio National Version of the story included an interview with William Kininmonth who disagreed with the results.

The Complaint: An audience member complained about the online version of a story on temperature studies in Antarctica which had been broadcast on AM. The audience member questioned why there was no transcript included online of an interview with William Kininmonth, who disagreed with the premise that the Antarctic is warming. The audience member felt that this was an example of bias in the ABC’s reporting of climate change issues.

Audience and Consumer Affairs response: The audience member was advised that the interview with Mr Kininmonth was broadcast on the Radio National edition of AM, but not in the Local Radio edition, due to time constraints. Owing to the prohibitive cost of transcribing reports, only the Local Radio edition of the program is transcribed and posted on the AM website, which is why the interview with Mr Kininmonth did not appear on the program website. The ABC did not agree that this was evidence of bias and the substantive complaint was not upheld. Nonetheless, audio of the interview was subsequently posted as a web extra on the AM page and it was re-edited to note Mr Kininmonth's relevance to the discussion. The complaint was upheld on complaint handling grounds as the program area responded directly to the complainant, contrary to ABC Editorial Policies.

ANW Comment: ABC should re-consider its policy of transcribing from the Local edition and should endeavor to provide a complete record of interview for posterity, especially on such a contentious issue. Arguments from a cost perspective ring hollow. One wonders if this is one of the areas of cost savings ABC director Mark Scott has used to fund the ABC’s new 24 hour new channel.

For those interested, flaws in the Nature study have been widely discussed on the internet including at Watts up with that HERE, HERE and HERE; Climate Audit HERE and Real Climate HERE and HERE. The paper in question (HERE) did contain some errors and Correction was published in Nature HERE. It’s a pity AM did not do a follow up report!

"From the Vault" - digging up past corrections and clarifications from the ABC archives

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