SOME time ago I found myself seated next to a University academic – he had thin grey hair. We were squashed together at the end of a long table in a dim and noisy Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane [Australia]. The gathering was organised in support of alternative online media, so, I felt comfortable suggesting to him that the mainstream media had lost its way; that journalists at newspapers across the English-speaking world too often just repeat whatever is politically correct.
The professor was offended – what right did I have to pass critical judgement on his colleagues! So, I changed tack. I tentatively ventured that there seemed to be a lot of repetition in reporting of issues in the mainstream media.
He agreed, and went on to explain that there are established story lines – that journalists only add to these narratives, as one might add to a large tapestry.
I was struck by the metaphor. The mainstream news had to all fit together like a picture. What is reported tomorrow is expected to accord with what was reported yesterday.
THERE is a story regularly reported in the mainstream Australian media about the Murray River and the death of red gum forests based on a false and romantic notion of wilderness.
Politicians, wanting to ‘save forests’, support naive legislation based on the story. The red gum forests become progressively less, rather than more, resilient including to wildfires.
Every time there is a hot fire in the red gum forests along the Murray River koalas are burnt. This koalas just survived a forest in Barmah Forest, in the Central Murray Valley, on 17th October, 2008.
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Louis Hissink says
“He agreed, and went on to explain that there are established story lines – that journalists only add to these narratives, as one might add to a large tapestry.”
But where do these story lines originate in the first place? His initial reaction to your implied criticism of his colleages followed your change in approach seems to also imply that the MSM are nothing more than proselytisers of establishment dicta – AGW science, for example, is solely a government funded entreprise – no maverick scientist proposed it – so the MSM dutifully report it as instructed. Considering the tall poppy syndrome affecting most Australians, does this mean that the cutting fo of those poppies is the means by which mavericks are culled from the collective?
But I have to admit to mixed feeling about Koala’s suffering burns when natural forest fires occur – it is Nature at its most malevolent, depending on your point of view.
But when a post like this occurs asking us to support indepedent media, or otherwise the essence of classical liberalism, then one has to conclude that we have approached a state in which the establishment has determined what is politically correct, necessitating the creation of independent outlets of expression.
And this is not a surprising development since it is a logical outcome when one rejects the principles underlying capitalism.
The concept of storylines added to a tapestry is not limited to journalism. I would call this a herd mentality, that you see with with a lot of elite intellectual disciplines such as science, education, and other fields (the finacial markets?). The size and direction of the herd gets amplified by the way funding gets re-directed to the hottest field. As a materials science person I’ve seen it in ceramics, super-conductivity, nano-technology. Fields become hot, explode with scientists working in the field, a lot of papers get published, patents get filed, press releases are made and before long we have an emerging industry that’s going to save us. Two years later you are reading about collapsing stock prices, bankrupcies and a few severly wounded survivors who might actually go on to accomplish something once the harsh spotlight has been turned off. I can’t imagine a more innefficient way to do science & engineering. The financial markets have analogy for this concept for why bubbles form; you start with innovators, who are followed by imitators and get swamped by the idiots.
What I am trying to say is that weaving a thread of a story into a grand tapistry looks like a good idea at the beginning. As more stories come along and get woven into the tapestry, the image may become less clear until so many stories are woven into the same topic that it becomes an ugly knot to anyone who stands back a few feet to see how its developing. I think the current ecomonmic crisis will force a lot of people to stand back from the AGW tapestry and see if a good picture has developed or an ugly knot.
“seated next to a University academic – he had thin grey hair.”
WTF? What has this academic’s hair colour and strand thickness got to do with your post? If it’s a way of trying to suggest who this particular person is surely you could pay more attention to professional achievements than personal appearance. Then again…
“SUPPORT politically-incorrect independent media that can provide an alternative perspective and challenge some of the non-sense. Support this blog.”
Ha ha ha! Maybe you should dress up in a koala suit and harass people on street corners to support your NO-sense.
…suggest “change tack” as in sailing, rather than “tact.”
Thanks Ayrdale, Done.
Patrick B says
“MSM are nothing more than proselytisers of establishment dicta – AGW science”
Of course this statement is completely inaccurate if one reads our national daily here in Australia. The Oz is very anti-AGW and gives plenty of space to those who are of the same opinion as that expressed in this blog. Likewise here in Western Australia the appalling local rag serves as a platform for the anti-AGW apologists. As to Fairfax I’d say it is indifferent and will give prominence to a story that sells rather than pushes an ideological line as do the two papers I mentioned. There isn’t space here to critique TV but I’d say that on balance there is a definite attempt in some quarters to promote the anti-AGW agenda whereas AGW itself is reported in a far less partisan fashion.
Patrick B, which journalists, as opposed to columnists, reporting the skeptical perspective?
Patrick B says
Ah that’s the difference and that’s what you need to be more specific about. The current dominant narrative is driven by the large amount of scientific research being published and then reported. Whether there is an ideological nature to the selection of this information for publication is much more difficult to show than it is with regard to opinion pieces.
With regard to the two newspapers I mentioned, both report the scientific research in much the same way as any other MS newspaper. The point of difference is to be found in the editorial line. I would ask you to comprehensively demonstrate that there is a mass of scientific evidence that overwhelming shows AGW theories to be incorrect and ideologically driven and that is not being reported, if you could then you would probably have uncovered the greatest conspiracy of modern times. However I would suggest that to try and show that the all the media is consciously selecting reports that support an agenda that they have agreed to amongst themselves is a pointless task and one best left to fringe groups with far too much time on their hands. Media select information for too reasons:
To sell advertisers to audiences.
The two are not unrelated.
Patrick B says
BTW, the West recently had a large article reporting the comments of Bjorn (can’t remember his last name) a well known (and much loved by the West) sceptic, I think he may be at UWA. This would appear to be an editorial story (it is a report of what someone said rather than opinion) being used as part of the sceptic’s ideological war.
Dallas Beaufort says
What about our beloved goanna’s, native spiders,rats and green tree snakes which are not so political/media correct. Translocating Koalas into areas not nutritionally sustainable is incompetent and lies at the heart of the corrupt greens,media and their political master manipulators.
Fire is natures urban renewal. Healthy forests, grasslands… burn regularly.
If we decide that we are going to STOP fire, then, we must step in and replace those functions that fire accomplishes. If not, we end up with unhealthy areas that are dying, and/or, as here in California, fires that become more disastrous until the land is sterilised.
Patrick, The journalists simply don’t turn up at functions when the alternative perspective is put. The bottom line is that when it comes to any number of environmental issues the reporting is ideological and fits a particular paradigm. It is not just a problem with AGW, when I was involved with Great Barrier Reef issues I was frequently told by journalists that they uncritically reported the views of, for example, the WWF representative, because she was simply a good person dedicated to saving the environment. In contrast, the same journalists could not honestly report the view of industry because, they told me, industry was bad. There appeared to be no attempt to understand whether what was actually being said by industry and WWF representatives was correct … the journalists seemed much interested in assumed motivations and the idea of playing victims, villians and saviours than reporting the actual facts.
Sid Reynolds says
Jennifer, have just pushed the Orange Button up the top and made another donation.
Keep up the good work, the worm will eventually turn, and the “Global Warming” Industry will be exposed for the total fraud it is.
Much thanks Sid.