There is only one mainstream Australian television news program that has made a real attempt to explain the situation along the Murray River and there is only one mainstream Australian television news program that has made a real attempt to present the climate skeptics perspective. I am of course referring to Sunday on Channel 9.
On Friday, Channel 9 announced that it plans to axe the program.
Journalist, Darren Devlyn writing for News Ltd explained, “There is no question that in its 27 years on air Sunday was at times at the forefront of ground-breaking television.”
But according to Channel 9 boss John Westacott, ‘Today’s realities impose much tougher cost and performance benchmarks across the media industry than those of the past, and sadly there is not sufficient economic appeal for a loss-leader like Sunday, as good as it has been for Nine and television journalism.”
What is it about the public and television executives that they fail to get behind journalists and producers who really seek to make a difference.
How can it be that with so much information available in so many different forms, that the television viewer has become less rather than more discerning?
Perhaps the average news watcher just doesn’t have time to be challenged any more, or is the issue that we don’t want to really think at all. We just want to be entertained?
On a News Ltd blog site Robyn writes: “This program set the agenda for many other news programs with ethical and confronting journalism, which served not only the purpose to entertain, but also informed people about what was really happening … Why would Channel 9 make such a bloody mistake. Damn fools!”
My sincere thanks and congratulations to investigative reporter Adam Shand and guru producer Nick Farrow for making a difference and making us think with their recent cover story on Sunday entitled ‘Questioning Science’ screened on June 29, 2008.
And my sincere thanks and congratulations to investigative reporter Ross Coulthart and again to guru producer Nick Farrow for critically examining many of the popular claims about the Murray River in ‘Australia’s Salinity Crisis: What Crisis’ screened on May 26, 2006.
May you continue to entertain and inform us – even if it is not with ‘Sunday’.
1. Questioning Science
June 29, 2008
Reporter: Adam Shand
Producer: Nick Farrow
The theory of anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming has become an unchallengeable fact, a piece of black letter law almost unique in the world of science.
Proponents of the theory say the time for scientific debate is over. It would irresponsible to fund any further research into counter views on the relationship between elevated levels of carbon dioxide and a rise in temperatures since the mid-1970s.
It’s regarded as career suicide for scientists to advocate any counter view of the causes of global warming, let alone deny the orthodox consensus view as adopted by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, there is a school of thought that our knowledge of climate systems is as yet insufficient to be so conclusive on the causes of global warming.
Today Sunday examines the political consensus building that has portrayed global warming as the most urgent crisis humankind has ever faced.
Skeptics point to the gaps in the knowledge base and the flaws in the measurement of vital climate and weather data upon which the consensus is based.
Social researchers also highlight the dangers of conducting science as a form of religion, divided into believers and deniers.
They warn that as governments prepare to make expensive policy decisions, such as carbon emissions trading schemes, this consensus may not reflect the best science.
Watch the program here: http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/article_2493.asp
2. Australia’s Salinity Crisis: What Crisis?
May 28, 2006
Reporter : Ross Coulthart
Producer : Nick Farrow
This week on Sunday, reporter Ross Coulthart takes a look at the real threat posed by salinity — and finds things are going badly wrong in public science.
As Coulthart reveals, some of the claims being used to support calls for billions of dollars to be spent on fixing a “looming salinity crisis” are simply not true. Salinity is a problem. But it seems nowhere as bad as we’ve been told by environmental groups, government departments and many in the media.
Claims that an area of land twice the size of Tasmania is under threat are false. The reality is a fraction of that. Even top scientists now admit the predictions of a disaster have been exaggerated.
They say this may be because the theory about what causes salinity in non-irrigation areas is flawed.
Worse still, scientists suggest a cheaper and easier solution for salinity problems is being ignored — for very unscientific reasons.
“It’s a disaster for science. It’s a disaster for farmers,” one former CSIRO scientist tells Sunday.
Taxpayers have now given Government scientists billions of dollars to spend on efforts to understand and tackle salinity. But how solid is the science behind it?
Watch the program here: http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/article_1991.asp