There’s an old slogan in Sydney: “Is that true or did you read it in the Tele?”. Now they’ve upped the ante to declare war on truth.
The Herald published a funny piece taking aims at the “bogan” mentality, and the lazy consumerist mentality that follows the decrees of both populism and celebrity in the context of the latest climate change campaign with Care Blanchett. The self-described aim of the Boganomics column is to highlight the “…the gullibility of the modern Australian consumer”, and I thought it did that reasonably well in this case.
But , oh no, the Tele gets all huffy and claims that so called climate change believers have “decided that the problem is you, because you’re stupid”. Rejecting offers of simplified explanations for the science, they declare a class war is taking place between the “self-appointed intelligent folks” and the “common morons they despise”. Unfortunately the Tele denies that there is such a thing as objective facts that have been independently verified across decades in various disciplines, showing that global warming is a fact and that it is the man-made component of it that is causing the greatest problem. People are willing and able to explain the research Â and identify the fallacies that deniers depend upon to confuse people, but the Tele is obviously part of that camp of deniers.
I laughed at the speciousness of this argument:
Having witnessed general rejection of various do-as-I-say high-profile climate activists, what was the latest tactic from pro-taxers? They got a list up of 140 “Australian leaders” who want the carbon tax.
If anything is going to drive people further away from their cause, it’s a “We Say Yes” letter from the likes of Rebecca Gibney, John Hewson, Suzie Wilks and Malcolm Fraser. The title “Australian leaders” is enough to cause a double-digit support drop. Who made Rebecca Gibney the boss of us?
Under most uses of the word “leader”, I guess that Gibney is not one, but she is a reasonably well-known Australian celebrity and probably looked up to by the segment of the population that would rather buy New Idea than a newspaper. However, the Tele brushed past other names on the list – Hewson and Fraser. Who made them the boss of us? All the people who voted for them and their political parties when they became Prime Ministers.
And, of course, no-one has a “unquestioning belief” in climate change. In fact the topic would be non-existent if there wasn’t scientific research that indicated there was a problem, and an overwhelming amount of further evidence that supported the initial research. This is not religion – we don’t deal in beliefs. There are hypotheses that are tested (using data from the real world) by assuming the falsehood of those hypotheses. When we can’t prove one wrong it becomes a theory, like gravity, and global warming is a fact.
Not only do they want a war but they appear to condone the use of threats of physical violence against scientists. By comparingÂ humorousÂ videos etc. calling people stupid to actual threats of scientists becoming “collateral damage in the war”, the Tele is making light of the damage that might be carried out by people who feel validated in their fundamentalist anti-science beliefs, and are effectively egged on, Â by the stand the Tele is taking. I just hope that the ACMA starts investigating them (as is happening for Alan Jones, I understand).
Update: I forgot to mention when I originally wrote this that it’s my opinion that the Telegraph is the entity that is undervaluing its readers intelligence. Rather than linking to the Herald article it complains about, it engages in quote mining to try and hide the context of the extracts used. The Telegraph obviously feels its audience is too dumb to ask for evidence to back up the claims made,and makes it hard for anyone who isn’t dumb to chase up that evidence.
I for one, don’t assume my audience is dumb, and I have nothing to hide – unlike the Tele – so I link to the source material on both sides.