Sunday, October 3, 2010

Slander on the Science show

ABC's Science Show Saturday 2 October 2010 featured an interview between presenter Robyn Williams and Bob Ward under the title “Sceptics’ publishing record on climate”. The interview aired Bob Ward’s views about the quality of scientific research by internationally respected scientists Richard Lindzen, Robert Carter and Ian Plimer.

How does the ABC justify allowing Mr Ward time on The Science Show to provide an evaluation of the scientific work of Lindzen, Carter and Plimer when apparently Mr Ward, a Public Relations director, is not a working climate scientist, has no qualifications in climate science, and has no record of peer reviewed publications in academic scientific journals on climate science.  The interview misrepresented the publishing record of Lindzen, Carter and Plimer who all have long records of academic publishing in the peer reviewed academic science literature. No statement about Mr Ward's apparent lack of expertise or political bias in the area of climate science was provided by presenter Robyn Williams, misleading ABC's audience. The obvious hypocrisy of Mr Ward's argument was not challenged by Robyn Williams. A piece on The Drum might be appropriate, but space on The Science Show gives unwarranted credence to Ward's spurious opinions.

While the ABC provided an opportunity for Bob Carter to respond to the allegations made in the interview, it seems no such opportunity was provided for either Richard Lindzen or Ian Plimer to respond to statements made by Bob Ward, left unchallenged by Robyn Williams. As such this piece lacks balance and contravenes ABC editorial policy.

It appears the ABC, The Science Show, Bob Ward and Robyn Williams owe an apology to those it has slandered.

Here's what Roger Pielke Jnr recently had to say about Bob Ward in a post titled Empty debate and climate attack dogs: "Ward's frequent efforts to reduce debate over climate change to tabloid-style mud wrestling is symptomatic of a debate that has lost touch with what matters.  It is remarkable to me that an institution of higher learning such as LSE would hire a spin doctor to systematically engage in attacking reputations across the blogoosphere and letter pages of newspapers.  "

Once again ABC's audience is left in the dark.


  1. From Bob Fernley-Jones, (professional engineer, with eclectic interest in science)Melbourne.
    I'm in the process of lodging a formal complaint to the ABC at Email:; attention of: Kirstin McLiesh. Head, Audience and Consumer Affairs, after the chairman of the board referred it there.
    However, I was also appalled at the biased journalism of Robyn Williams in two topics on the 21, August, 2010 show, involving climate change, and will include complaints on that too.
    I’ve asked Kirstin about their expertise resources, like lawyers versus scientists whatever, so that I may best work-out how to word my complaints, but there has not been a quick response.
    Have you tried that approach through Kirstin; might it be a whitewash; or can you offer any advice?
    PS, why do you make it so complicated to make a comment?

  2. Thanks for the comment. ABC have a very formalised complaints process that can be accessed through the contacts page on the ABC website via
    I have not tried the informal route you suggest but let us know how it goes.

    Sorry if you found the comments complicated, but I don't plan on making changes to this in the near future.



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