I’ve written plenty of stories over the years having a go at the way Rupert Murdoch’s loss-making newspaper The Australian covers climate science.
So it would be a bit churlish if I didn’t point out when its coverage is, shall we say, a little more mainstream.
But first, some context.
The Australian can always be relied upon to give fringe views and conspiracy theorists a forum on its pages, with no better example being the column inches afforded to the bizarre rantings of former Abbott Government business advisor Maurice Newman.
Newman wrote in The Australian in 2015 that the UN is using climate change to bring about a “new world order”, and how the whole global warming thing is a scam.
In fact, Newman’s views on climate change are almost identical to those of new far right One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, who also thinks the UN are using climate science as a cover to bring in a world government. He also absolutely, unconditionally and confidently insists there is no evidence whatsoever, none at all, not even a bit, that burning fossil fuels is changing the climate.
With all this in mind, a mouthful of my morning coffee went down the wrong way after I was pointed to the latest High Wired column in The Australian’s education section.
The column was commenting on Roberts’ appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program, which has received international news coverage thanks to the fact that he was put in his place by Professor Brian Cox, who is the nearest thing to a rock star that physics has got, in that he used to be an actual rock star.
Wrote High Wired:
As the exchange on Q&A last night proved, once a conspiracy theorist, nothing can fault your logic and rationale — simply because there is no logic and rationale so your thinking is immutable. In many ways Q&A was a humiliating and belittling experience for everyone concerned — studio and TV audiences, panellists, Tony Jones alike. Obviously someone who believes NASA is manipulating climate data is a complete nutter.
Ouch! High Wired also described Roberts as “nothing more than a climate troll.” In short, they don’t think Roberts is all that credible.
But that wasn’t the bit that interfered with my morning long black.
It was the next bit, when The Australian pointed approvingly to a story I’d written on how Roberts is a serial complainer who targets climate scientists, government science agencies, journalists and politicians.
How could all this have happened?
Either the long arm of the UN’s new world order doesn’t extend as far as the education desk at The Australian, or there’s a glitch in the matrix.
There can be no other explanation.
Oh, and it does get weirder. Monty Python’s Eric Idle has joined Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in having a crack at Roberts’ climate science denial. Twitter was the forum.
I was brought up on a strict diet of Python. I have always thought that the Black Knight from the Holy Grail illustrates perfectly the mentality of someone like Roberts, who fails to see the jig is up.
The part of Science is played by Arthur, King of the Britons. Playing the Black Knight is a climate science denialist.
Watch it again.