Thursday, March 18, 2010

Updates-We let you infer the facts!

The following articles have been updated following responses from ABC Audience and Consumer affairs. It seems you can't take anything for granted when reading news on the ABC! "We let you infer the facts, too bad if you don't have access to the internet or an alternate news source!" Main findings below. Our score table remains unchanged. More errors in reporting Penn State Climate Gate inquiry
ABC News acknowledges that the inquiry did not consider every email Dr Mann had written or received, only those leaked from the University of East Anglia and those specifically related to the fourth IPCC assessment report.  But given the report’s headline clearly heralds the fact that the inquiry is about “climategate”, Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that sufficient context was provided for the audience to conclude that the emails related to that particular matter. 

Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that is accurate for the report to state that Western Australia is on track to record its hottest summer ever.  That means the hottest since records were first kept.
Your belief that the report should have included the fact that state records date from 1950 is duly noted.

This article is not a program promotion and has no relevance to section 2.11 of the ABC Code of Practice.  The claim, by Clive Hamilton in his opinion article, that an organised cyber-bullying campaign is targeting Australian climate scientists was considered newsworthy, and was reported by ABC News.  It is common practice for news organisations to report newsworthy comments made by prominent citizens in other publications.  Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that the report was based on news values and is in keeping with section 5.2.2(d) of the ABC Editorial Policies.

The reporter achieved balance through the publication of the ABC News online article Cyber-bullies on both sides of climate debate, on 25 February.  Section 5.2.2(e) of the ABC Editorial Policies state that balance will be sought but may not always be achieved within a single program or publication; it will be achieved as soon as reasonably practicable and in an appropriate manner.  I have attached a link to that report, for your reference:

Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that ABC News online’s coverage of this issue was suitably questioning and in keeping with section 5.2.2(f) of the Editorial Policies.

Source of iceman DNA study goes AWOL
Scientists crack ancient iceman’s DNA code was first published at 6am AEDT on February 11, using a transcript of a report which went to air on the AM program on ABC radio.  The story was subsequently updated with the final version published at 11:47am AEDT that morning.  The fifth paragraph of that version of the story notes that the findings were published in the journal Nature. (Our complaint was sent 08:24 on 11/2/2010)


  1. Just a suggestion: perhaps you could publish an explanation of the scorecard? It's not really clear why it's remained unchanged given that the ABC seems to have rejected several of your complaints. If that's not the gauge of whether the complaints have merit, what is? Have you taken them to ACMA?

  2. Good suggestion.
    It's based on complaints about factual content only. The ABC rarely admits bias and the reasons are highly subjective on both sides.
    A score to me if a factual complaint is upheld.
    A score to the ABC if a factual complaint is turned down.
    No score on non-factual items.
    We'll review current score card based around these principals over the next few days.


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