Monday, November 22, 2010

ABC's climategate

Gavin Atkins look at ABC's failure to cover the CRU email scandal:
How Australia's ABC missed Climategate
"But, astonishingly, what was quite possibly the biggest story of 2009 was not reported at all on the main 7pm bulletin of the ABC television news."

ABC's war against reason

Quiet week ahead,meanwhile Jo Nova, points out ABC 's climate change propaganda campaign continues:

And again, the ABC uses our taxes to promote the smear campaign,  support neolithic reasoning, and does everything it can to stop people talking about scientific evidence (by spreading misinformation or slurs about all the characters on one side). Orsekes and freelance writer Graham Readfearn can’t discuss the evidence (or lack of) for their favourite faith, but they spend a lot of time digging up irrelevant details instead.

Rest at:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

ABC-government propagandists!

See ABC admits it’s a propaganda arm of the government
By Jo Nova
"THE ABC managing director, Mark Scott, has told an audience of film and television producers that the way he had been able to secure additional funding was by convincing the government the national broadcaster was working in its interests"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update: IPCC errors remain un-corrected-Sri Lanka Melting

IPCC's Press Officer Rockaya Aidara sends the following reply to our recent email:

"Thank you for your message. Please note that your first email has indeed been forwarded to Working Group 2 in August. Working Group 2 is responsible for handling such requests. Please trust that they will carefully check the scientific facts you pointed out, and will get back to you as soon as possible.
 Thank you again for drawing it to our attention.
 With kind regards"

To which we replied:
Thankyou for your response. It's a pity an acknowledgement of my earlier email was not sent in the first instance, perhaps the IPCC can undertake to alter this policy in the future, to avoid confusion. 
Given the clear nature of the errors that were initially pointed out several times by IPCC reviewers I am surprised it has taken  WGII so long to "check" the facts.  IPCC's claim that Sri Lanka is warming at 2 degrees per year is obviously a mistake that WGII authors failed to pick up on. Can you please advise when a correction is posted?

Table 10.2 currently (15/11/2010) includes the following: 

Sri Lanka 0.016°C increase per year between 1961 to 90 over entire country, 2°C increase per year in central highlands 
According to IPCC between 1961 and 1990 there was an increase of around 60°C degrees in the central highlands of Sri Lanka!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

IPCC errors remain un-corrected

We note that IPCC have yet to correct errors with its AR4, WGII report table 10.2. Here's the list of errors sent to the IPCC secretariat in August. We did not receive a reply to our email.

The following errors are noted for AR4 WGII Table 10.2.

1. Table 10.2 indicates that warming in the Himalaya is 0.09º C.yr-1 and the trend for Si Lanka is 2°C increase per year in central highlands. 
2. IPCC provide the incorrect reference to back their temperature figure for the Himalayas. They cite two conference papers and one peer reviewed paper that related to precipitation, not temperature. The correct reference is found to be: Shrestha, Arun B.; Wake, Cameron P.; Mayewski, Paul A.; Dibb, Jack E., 1999. Maximum Temperature Trends in the Himalaya and Its Vicinity: An Analysis Based on Temperature Records from Nepal for the Period 1971–94. Journal of Climate, 9/1/99, Vol. 12 Issue 9 pp:2775-2786.
3. The references for the Sri Lankan Temperatures are not from peer reviewed journals, they relate to precipitation, not temperature-see FOD Expert Review Comments .
4. The figure quoted for the Himalaya is the winter trend, not the annual trend. The annual trend is 0.057 º C.yr-1.
5. The highest annual trend for Nepal cited in Shrestha et al., 1999 is 0.09º C.yr-1 for the Trans-Himalaya.
6. The basis of the Himalayan trends (Shrestha et al 1999) is just 6 weather stations,. The average trend of 5 of these stations dating back to the 1960s is (Max/Min) 0.013º C.yr-1, much less than the 0.057º C.yr-1. All five of these stations are located in the eastern Himalaya. There are problems with use of Kriging method to obtain regional trends.
7. The trend cited for Sri Lankan is incorrect and was brought up in the review of IPCC AR4 WGII:
Watts Up With That reader Justcherrypicked notes:
Timeline:First Order Draft, 10.2.2 Observed climate trends and variability, Table 10.2 does not have a “change in temperature” entry for Sri Lanka, but does have entries for “Change in Precipitation”, and “References”. Which contain, “Increase trend in February and decrease trend in June” and “Chandrapala and Fernando, 1995; Chandrapala, 1996″ respectfully. Clearly, the two references relate to changes in precipitation, not temperature.
The missing entry is noted by Dr. Basnayake in FOD Expert Review Comments. He states:
“”Table 10.2″ under Sri Lanka -change in temperature “minimum and maximum temperatures have been increasing during tthe last centurary. 0.016 C increase per year during 1961-90 period over the entire country. 2.0 C increase per century over the central highlands.” under the references “Basnayake, B.R.S.B. et al 2002″”
. Note he said 2.0 C per century.
Dr. Basnayake’s comments are accepted by the lead authors and is then included in the Second Order Draft (SOD) as
“0.016°C increase per year between 1961-90over entire country, 2°C increase per year in central highlands”
Note they changed century to year, and left out the reference as well.
The error is picked up by Xiuqi Fang during the SOD expert review comments ,
“table 10.2. Check the temperature increasing rate in Sri Lanka. 2C increase per year is too high
(Xiuqi Fang, Beijing Normal University)”
, to which the LA responds “Table entries corrected”. Clearly they are not.
Sadly, Dr. Basnayake does not seem to be involved with the SOD as no reviewer comments for him exist.
Clearly, the IPCC statement “2.0 C increase per year” is an error that was pointed out and ultimately ignored. Additionally, the claim is without a citation.
Please correct the mistakes. It is leading to misleading statements in the media such as this ABC report:
Marc Hendrickx
This issue is raised in a Watts Up With That post titled:

Himalayan warming – pulling another thread from IPCC’s fragile tapestry.

Note the errors were found thanks to our follow up of an ABC report that failed to meet journalisitic standards.see Update 2: Mt Everest melting! But who says it's so?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ABC Counterpoint the New Science show

ABC's The Science show recently featured an interview with Bob Ward, a Spin doctor working for the Grantham Institute, in which Ward made unsubstantiated comments about a number of climate scientists including Bob Carter, Richard Lindzen and Ian Plimer. Ward is not a climate scientist. We sent a complaint Slander on the Science Show. Based on ABC's response (below) it seems that if you want to hear science and opinion that challenges the mainstream you will be better off tuning into ABC's Counterpoint than The Robyn Williams hour.

Here's an independent assessment of Mr Ward's recent research by journalist Graham Young, under the title

Why you should be careful dealing with Bob Ward, Director of Communications for the Grantham Institute

Here's ABC's reply, received 10/11/2010:

Thank you for your emails regarding the 2 October broadcast of The Science Show.

As you would be aware, your concerns have been referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC.  You would also know that we have the role, under the ABC's Editorial Policies (  of examining the compliance of material, about which a complaint has been made, against the relevant editorial standards.  In the course of these examinations, we seek and consider material provided by the relevant Division, in this case, ABC Radio.

Radio National’s Science Show is classified by the ABC as a topical and factual program.  As such, it must adhere to the guidelines set out in section 7 of the Editorial Policies.  These state, in part:

“7.1 Through its topical and factual content the ABC reflects a wide range of audience interests, beliefs and perspectives, presented in a wide variety of formats and styles. This content includes for example:
7.1.1 specialist topics such as arts, children’s, education, entertainment, history, Indigenous, lifestyle, natural history, religion, science and sports.”


“7.4 Staff must also observe the following principles:
7.4.1 The ABC is committed to impartiality: where topical and factual content deals with a matter of contention or public debate, a diversity of principal relevant perspectives should be demonstrated across a network or platform in an appropriate timeframe.
7.4.2 Factual content requires accuracy. (a) Every reasonable effort must be made to ensure that factual content is accurate and in context."

While we note your view on the credentials of  Bob Ward to speak on the subject matter, our role in Audience and Consumer Affairs is to assess whether  the interview complied with the relevant editorial requirements outlined above.  The first point we must consider is whether Bob Ward can be regarded as a “principal relevant perspective” for the purposes of the discussion.  We understand from ABC Radio that Mr Ward was invited on to the program to discuss his views on the quality of climate sceptics' publications as this is a subject of his research.  Given his position as Policy and Communications Director for the Grantham Institute, a group lead by Lord Nicholas Stern which is based in the London School of Economics, and his ability to strongly and coherently argue his views, we are satisfied that he constitutes a “principal relevant perspective” on this matter.  We note that Robyn Williams did state that Mr Ward’s position at the Grantham Institute was as Policy Director, in the program.  His full title was included on the website.  

During the interview, Mr Ward expressed views on the quality of some climate research which were clearly contentious and as you are aware he was particularly critical of a paper authored by Professor Bob Carter.  We note that Professor Carter was asked on to the show to respond to the criticisms made of his views and others by Bob Ward and that he declined, as Robyn Williams noted during the broadcast. Nevertheless the program has published on its website links to the initial paper published by Professor Carter, Mr Ward's critique of the paper, and Professor Carter's written response to the claims made by Bob Ward (  In our view, the invitation made to Professor Carter to appear on the program, and the publication of his paper and response on the program website, indicate that the program was seeking to present its audience with a diversity of views on this subject.  We should note that the ABC’s  policies do not require that all those criticised during an interview in topical and factual content have a right of reply or that their views need to be represented in order for the standard of impartiality to be achieved.

We should also explain that for topical and factual content like the Science Show, the relevant impartiality standard requires that a diversity of principal relevant views be demonstrated across the network in a reasonable timeframe.  In this case, the network is Radio National.  In considering whether Radio National has met this standard (notwithstanding Professor Carter declining the invitation to appear on the 3 October program), we note that the views of so-called  climate sceptics have been featured across a range of Radio National programs in an appropriate time frame.  In our view, these broadcasts provide the required diversity of views to augment those expressed by Mr Ward on 2 October, and taken as a whole, this coverage satisfies the impartiality requirements.  By way of example, UK politician and lobbyist Lord Christopher Monckton appeared twice on the network during his recent visit to Australia, in the Counterpoint program ( and on Radio National Breakfast ( Counterpoint has also featured  Professor Aynsely Kellow, from the  School of Government at the  University of Tasmania discussing the  IPCC review (   Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Richard Lindzen, who Bob Ward critiqued in the Science Show on 2 October has also appeared on Counterpoint discussing his views on flawed climate science  ( as has Australian Jennifer Marohasy ( More recently, Professor Ian Plimer was interviewed on the Counterpoint program of 18 October discussing the Royal Society and its updated guide on climate change ( 

Nevertheless, please be assured that your views have been noted by Radio National and the Science Show team.

For  your reference, the ABC Code of Practice summarises the major principles which guide ABC content and is available here -

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Yours sincerely
Audience and Consumer Affairs

red back army

Alarmism of a different nature. 
Scary Headline: Deadly red-backs invade New Zealand
Send shivers down their spine: "Australia's deadly red-back spider has established itself in New Zealand, posing a significant risk to humans as it threatens to colonise major cities, researchers have found."
Leave the most important facts till the end: "there have been no fatalities since an anti-venom was developed in the 1950s."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


ABC's Q and A and Media Watch are finished for the year. Rest assured presenters are not on holidays but merely enjoying a well earned break. Meanwhile in early November the rest of us, outside of that land over the rainbow that is the ABC, get on with it. As part of our productivity survey we may look at January to see how ABC's productivity fares while the organisation takes its WEB. Perhaps we can outsource summer programming to the private sector?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

a lack of diversity in the views presented

"Suitable balancing content in other recent editions of Four Corners was not found."
"there was a lack of diversity in the views presented"

From ABC Upheld complaints: Four Corners, 23 August 2010
Summary published: Friday 29, October 2010
Complaint: Four viewers* raised concerns about a Four Corners program ‘Overdose’ which looked at events leading up the global financial crisis. Concerns included that the program was a one-sided propaganda piece.
Finding: Upheld against 5.2.2 (e) and 5.2.2 (d) ABC Editorial Policies (revised 1 March 2009)
Audience and Consumer Affairs response: ‘Overdose’ was produced by an external company and was acquired for broadcast in the regular Four Corners timeslot in order to augment the program’s previous coverage of the global financial crisis. Much of that coverage had addressed the risky activities of private sector companies which had in turn prompted government intervention, whereas this program examined and was critical of government fiscal and monetary policies. Nonetheless, the ABC acknowledged that ‘Overdose’ reflected the established perspective of the author on whose book it was based; that while the program did include interviews with some relevant and appropriately qualified individuals, there was a lack of diversity in the views presented; and that the tone and style of the presentation was not consistent with expectations of objective journalism. Suitable balancing content in other recent editions of Four Corners was not found. Accordingly, the program did not meet the high standards of impartiality and balance which are required of ABC news and current affairs content.

(*-not us)

From the vault - all Greek to me

Reporter feels mob’s hate

Monday, August 24 2009, News Online
On July 6, 2009, in a story about a protest in Jerusalem, the reporter said the protesters were speaking Hebrew. They were, in fact, speaking Yiddish.

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't mention the "G" word

Fresh from a sabbatical studying climate change reporting at the University of Oxford, the ABC's Margot O'Neill somehow manages to string 1200 words together about the Media's coverage on the subject without any mention of the ABC's own woeful performance that ABC Chairman Maurice Newman described as "GROUPTHINK". Seems like someone didn't get the memo! It also seems with the absence of any introspection on Margot's behalf that more tax payers money has been wasted for no improvement in performance, or will Margot be providing a refund?

Monday, November 1, 2010

The other BER

During 2009–10, the ABC spent $3 227 083 on consultants. ABC's annual  report for 2009-2010 indicates this included $1,467,602 on four "Business effectiveness reviews", unfortunately none of it ended up with ABC News Watch. This despite our Productivity survey demonstrating significant issues with ABC's "business effectiveness".

It also spent $47893 on a review of Editorial Policies. As we saw no changes we guess that ABC paid consultants nearly $50K to state "They're Okay by us", or words to that effect. No doubt the actual report contained a few filler pages, we presume mostly made up of ABC's editorial Policy as the main Appendix. This is one we'll be putting our hand up for next year.

There was also $342031 for unspecified "International Development Projects". More information required here-are these staff holiday's we're talking about?

ABC also spent $10 925 949 on marketing and advertising, about $840K more than in 2008-2009. For an organisation that does not permit ads it certainly spends a few bucks on self promotion. Presumably some of these dollars spent promoting material authored by staff.

The ABC advisory council once again proved their worth offering 2 recommendations, and 10 commendations.

Surely confirms ABC as the other BER for 2010.

2010 Productivity survey update-not good!

ABC have released their 2009-2010 Annual report. In our productivity survey we based ABC 2010 News Staff numbers on a growth curve that predicted staff levels for June 2010 of 942.33. The actual figures were 947.36. We were out by half a percent! This means adjusted productivity figures for 2010 are as follows:

Year Staff
2003 766.24
2004 735.04
2005 756.6
2006 770.68
2007 842.37
2008 865.59
2009 913.14
2010 947.36

Productivity: With stories at a record low and staff at record highs, it comes at no surprise that ABC news productivity is at a record low of just 7.04 stories per staff member for the month.

Year  Stories per staff per month
2003 9.435685947
2004 9.414453635
2005 9.118424531
2006 9.076400062
2007 9.482768855
2008 10.27507249
2009 7.812602668
2010 7.036395879