Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recommended Reading

Some insightful Op Eds in today's Australian....

First a piece by Greg Sheridan that puts ABC's decision to throw Australia's relationship with Indonesia under a bus into perspective:

Spy story shows ABC at its left-wing worst
THE ABC emerges from the Indonesian spy scandal a diminished organisation, morally compromised and journalistically discredited.

The second exposes ABC's willful ignorance of what may be one of the biggest news stories of a generation:
When Aunty turned a blind eye
THIS year, the ABC has studiously ignored every major development in the Victoria Police major fraud squad investigation into the Australian Workers Union scandal. Even the proceedings of Victoria's courts on the matter - the bread and butter of local journalism - have eluded the national broadcaster's local reporters. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

James from Perth or NEW South Wales. ABC don't give a stuff

In October we noted some conflicting ABC reports about where the new climate council's first donation originated from. At the time ABC reported the following:

James in Perth?
'We had our first donation in last night from James in Perth - $15,' Dr Flannery told Breakfast this morning.

or James in New South Wales?
"We had our first donation from James in New South Wales for $15 at midnight," he said at the time.Tim Flannery suggested

We requested ABC follow this disparity up and yesterday we received this report from the Head of Audience and Consumer Affairs, Kirstin McLiesh:

Thank you for your email.  I regret the delay in responding to you.

The ABC accurately reported Dr Flannery’s statements on both occasions, as demonstrated by the video and audio footage accessible on the webpages to which you refer.  Whether the $15 donation was made by James in Perth or in New South Wales was not a material fact for the purposes of either of these reports and the ABC will not pursue this matter further.

ABC provided the climate council with free advertising and they can't even bother asking simple questions about un-important things like, um... facts!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Which Pm's partner first in a war zone? UPDATE

Back in July we asked the question: Which Pm's partner first in a war zone?

This followed some conflicting history from the ABC and the National Archives Prime Ministers page. The later suggested Dame Pattie Menzies was worthy of the title. After some questions and suggestions National Archives now advise the following:

Thanks for your feedback.
We've had advice from the Museum of Australian Democracy, and have changed the text on Robert Menzies' "In office" page to reflect that advice.
Thanks for your contribution.

The conflicting history has been removed and the text now reads....
While in Britain, Robert Menzies experienced first-hand the devastation caused by German air raids. He was deeply moved by what he saw and visited a number of provincial British cities and war factories to help boost morale. But Menzies was unable to achieve an increased commitment from Britain for Singapore's defence. With the blitz still in progress and the threat of German invasion not yet passed, Churchill promised only to keep Australia's concerns in mind.

Rather than...
While in Britain, Robert and Pattie Menzies both experienced first-hand the devastation caused by German air raids. They were deeply moved by what they saw and visited a number of provincial British cities and war factories to help boost morale. But Menzies was unable to achieve an increased commitment from Britain for Singapore’s defence. With the blitz still in progress and the threat of German invasion not yet passed, Churchill promised only to keep Australia’s concerns in mind.

ABC NEWS WATCH we take it one fact at a time!

PS this service provided free of charge, ABCs fact checking unit on the other hand...

Coral Reefs Delay the Effects of Ocean Acidification

One wonders if ABC will look into this good news story...

Can Coral Reefs Delay the Damaging Effects of Ocean Acidification?
Research shows that reefs are able to counteract the trend toward acidity through their own biochemistry, but at a cost 
Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego
According to a paper published Nov. 17 in Nature Climate Change, coral reefs may respond to ocean acidification in ways that will partially offset expected changes in seawater acidity taking place as the oceans take up human-produced carbon dioxide.

Andreas Andersson, a chemical oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and lead author of the paper, said that most predictions of seawater acidification on coral reefs are based on observations from the open ocean. But the effects of increasing CO2 on coral reefs are very different than the changes in the open ocean, because the reef itself modifies the chemistry through various biogeochemical processes.

The study, based on observations of the Bermuda coral reef ecosystem, predicts that changes to this system in response to ocean acidification could offset human-induced, CO2-driven decreases in pH by 12 to 24 percent. Andersson and colleagues also predict that these reef responses will counteract a predicted decrease in the seawater aragonite saturation state, a measure of the availability of carbonate ions, by 15 to 31 percent.  This is an important parameter because corals need these ions to build their calcium carbonate (CaCO3) reefs.

“Other researchers have shown that different benthic communities can alter the chemistry on the reef, but we’re the first to show it on this scale, the whole ecosystem scale, over five years of observations,” Andersson said.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide has gone up by 42 percent and global average temperatures have increased by 0.8°C (1.4°F) since the Industrial Revolution. These changes have well-defined effects on the open ocean, increasing both the acidity and temperature of surface seawater. This decrease in ocean pH has left many scientists concerned about the detrimental effects it could have on coral reefs.

Increasing temperature and decreasing pH make it harder for corals to build calcium carbonate, and also cause calcium carbonate to dissolve more readily. The reef’s total ecosystem organic carbon production (photosynthesis minus organic matter consumed) will also be affected. All of these processes – calcification, dissolution, and ecosystem organic carbon production – affect seawater pH. By modeling how the balance between these processes will change in the future, Andersson and his coauthors discovered that the expected changes may actually increase the pH on the reef relative to the open ocean, thus partially offsetting the decrease in pH owing to uptake of COfrom the atmosphere.

Many laboratory and field experiments have studied the effects of rising temperatures and ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems. Although scientists aren’t sure exactly how much reef processes will change, they are confident that calcification will decrease and dissolution will increase as the ocean becomes more acidic. These changes to calcification and dissolution could be so drastic that eventually the coral reefs’ dissolution rate will catch up to the rate at which they build, resulting in stunted growth or deterioration.

“This is something that a lot of experiments and models have predicted will happen,” Andersson said. “This means the reef is dissolving as fast as it’s producing calcium carbonate, and this was the scenario in which we saw the greatest pH offset.”

A reef’s survival depends on putting down more calcium carbonate than is dissolving or it won’t be able to grow, so a reef in this state is not a healthy one, even if it’s able to maintain a more beneficial pH.  This outcome tempers the seemingly good news that corals can “fight” ocean acidification—these offsets will come at the cost of major changes to reef processes and ecosystem composition. The reefs may change from being dominated by calcifying corals to non-calcifying algae, a condition that may diminish their functional and biological diversity.

But there is some positive news in these results, Andersson says. Scientists believe some marine organisms may have “tipping points,” certain pH thresholds below which they aren’t able to survive. This reef feedback may buy them some more time.

“The take-home message [of these results] is that to understand the effect of ocean acidification on a coral reef we have to consider not just how seawater chemistry on the reef is changing owing to uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and how that affects the biogeochemical processes on the reef, but how these processes actually control the chemistry,” Andersson said.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FOI Request

ABC is in deep doo doo over its publication of secret information stolen and leaked by a rogue US intelligence contractor.

We submitted the following FOI this morning. Based on past experience we are not too optimistic. But ABC have managed to release sensitive data by accident so who knows maybe it will eventually get out through unofficial channels. (ed This should be of concern to Australia's intelligence authorities).

Dear Sir/ Madam,
In an op ed piece in today's Australian Newspaper, ABC's Director of news Kate Torney states:

"As the ABC's managing director made clear at Senate estimates last week, that simply isn't true. We did not publish everything we had access to. We took advice from Australia's intelligence authorities on the matter and redacted sensitive operational information that might have compromised national security. What was left was the central revelation that we considered then and consider now to be a matter of legitimate public debate. The allegation that we recklessly dumped unfiltered data doesn't stand up to the most cursory examination."


Under FOI can you please provide me with copies of the advice provided to the ABC by Australia's intelligence authorities on this matter mentioned by Ms Torney above. It is in the public interest to see exactly the advice ABC were provided to better judge ABC's handling of this sensitive issue. For instance which particular advice did ABC apparently ignore while participating in the publication of information that has damaged Australia's relations with Indonesia, putting lives at risk?

We note Ms Torney closes her piece with the following line:  "We will not succumb to pressure to suppress or ignore legitimate stories to protect those in power." Given ABC does not want to be branded a hypocrite we expect the documents will be expedited through ABC's FOI process.

what you get when you pay peanuts

A good article in The Australian by Hedley Thomas looking at errors made by the ABC's Fact Checking unit about Clive Palmer...

ABC Fact Check unit's Palmer report riddled with errors
THE ABC's Fact Check unit has made a series of factual mistakes in its analysis of Clive Palmer's business interests, wealth and companies and relied on accounts that are almost 17 months out of date. 

It just goes to show that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ABC in the news round up 6

In this week's brief edition, ABC throw Australia under a bus, and amazing rates of pay....

Part 1. ABC throw Australia under a bus. ABC decide to reveal the contents of illegally obtained secret DSD documents and throw Australia under a bus in the process. If the ABC is more interested in supporting Indonesian interests than those of the Australian tax payer  perhaps it is time they sought their funding from Jakarta rather than Canberra. The IBC has a certain ring to it. Perhaps Tony Abbot can gift it to Indonesia. 

Astonishing Mark Scott said this: And I am confident that the job of advancing Australia’s international interests is in not just the most efficient and effective, but the safest possible hands.

Part 2. Your taxes at work. The Australian reported on leaked documents that reveal the salaries of notable ABC presenters. No doubt this will now cause considerable internal disruption as the trough feeders find out others have been scoffing up more than their fair share. 

The leaked documents which ABC Chief Mark Scott formerly denied access reveal former Media Watch Presenter Johnathan Holmes was paid an amazing $187380 for 2011-2012. Assuming this covers the 39 15 minute episodes for the 2011-12 financial year. This works out to be about $320 per minute. Not bad money. 

Andrew Bolt has more under the headline: Bloody, bloody ABC hypocrites

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The significance of numbers

ABC are quite excited about the Climate action rallies held on Sunday. ABC report that:
"Organisers say about 60,000 participated at the rallies, which were held in capital cities and more than 130 towns and regional centres."

With Australia's population now over 23,283,000, this would mean that the rallies involved 0.26% of the population. 

It seems the real story is that 99.74% found something more worthwhile to do!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

more one sided coverage

Honestly the pap and crap just goes on and on at our expense. This week's Media Report featured an interview with the un-sceptical  activist Wendy Bacon. This was a one sided affair, the sort of one sided conversation that only happens in the Goldfish bowl that is our ABC. Ironically an organisation that is supposed to represent us all.

Don Aitkin, foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra. Provides a much needed counterpoint.....

I listened last week to an astonishingly ignorant radio interview of a professor of journalism who had measured the proportion of news stories in the Australian press that dealt with ‘climate change’ between 2011 and 2012 in the same three-month periods, and had discovered not only that the numbers declined over the period but that the proportion that seemed sceptical in tone had risen. ‘Quite extraordinary’, said the professor, and went on to say that scientists and journalists were both seekers after the truth, and when 97.4 per cent of scientists said that human beings were caused climate change, and they (the scientists) are truthful, why would newspapers be saying in effect that ‘climate change’ was a matter of open debate?

Read the rest at the link. 

Andrew Bolt, subject of much of Bacon's attention also offers this reposte....

Last night I said Wendy Bacon should resign from teaching journalists at the University of Technology, Sydney.
My reasons: 
Her new report on media coverage of global warming notes in approval a ban by Fairfax newspapers on articles by people sceptical of the so-called “consensus” position on catastrophic man-made warming.
Bacon is critical of News Corp editors for letting me write articles critical of the consensus position.
Bacon’s report devotes pages to criticising my writing on global warming issues without once identifying a mistake. The implication is that my error lies simply having a bad opinion - one that many (but very far from all) climate scientists don’t share. 
Bacon is advocating not reporting but a shutting down of debate. A closing of the mind.
This is promoting not journalism but propaganda.