One of the better sites focussed on the economic and business aspects of climate change is Climate Spectator. Apart from some great coverage on business, climate change policy and the energy industry, they also publish thought provoking opinion pieces.
Thus I’d like to point readers to a great piece by Tristan Edis titled The Mad Monk and Monckton’s mates. To my mind it is indicative of mainstream media (MSM) now understand the fact that Monckton and many climate sceptics are – to put it ever so politely – barking mad.
Edis notes in somewhat amazed fashion Monckton’s connection to the political fringe:
“So why was a person who made their name questioning global warming invited to launch such a party? Because Monckton dreams up many of the stories that feed these people’s sense of paranoia and victim hood. Monckton’s beef is not so much with the science of global warming; it’s with the liberal-left agenda more generally. In a January article in WND Weekly, he labels Obama a communist that will bankrupt America within a matter of a few years, claims he has faked his birthplace and confidently predicts will be jailed in five years time. He rails against Obama for allowing “unfettered immigration”, “baby-butchering”, gay marriage, and being “soft on Islam” (whatever that means – presumably nothing to do with executing Osama Bin Laden).”
For many of us, this isn’t new. More importantly, Edis notes by associating itself with Monckton, the conservative Liberal National Party (LNP) have hurt their brand:
“A number of individuals and groups that are influential within the Liberal Party and its membership have embraced and championed Monckton’s views on climate change. These include the Institute of Public Affairs, Andrew Bolt, Hugh Morgan, and Gina Rinehart. Cory Bernardi, who was one of the key backers of the coup against Malcolm Turnbull that installed Tony Abbott, expresses views and is involved in organisations which are closely linked to Monckton and websites like WND Weekly.
The Liberal Party needs to guard themselves against being infiltrated by this kind of extremist nonsense. Abbott was persuaded to meet Monckton back in 2010 just a day after releasing their climate change policy. This was a mistake…”
Let me reiterate that point: climate change scepticism is damaging the conservative “brand”. It may have had a political utility at one point, but no longer. Let’s not forget the cash thrown at conservative politicians by the fossil fuel industry – one wonders if that influenced their views on the science:
Fossil fuel lobby: Campaign donations anyone?
Conservative politician/s: Oh, that’s lovely innit! Thanks, but is there a catch?
During the last American election the Republicans ran on a platform that included the explicit denial of climate change. Readers may recall the events of November 2012 and how that strategy worked out… hint it didn’t go well for the Republicans.
Still, I can appreciate why those in the MSM may have baulked on reporting the actual world view climate change deniers – who are neither sceptical or dispassionate on climate change, but fringe dwelling conspiracy theorists.
Firstly, News Limited owns 70% of the news print market in Australia and has been championing the views of extremists like Monckton for years. Not many journalists, in an industry in considerable turmoil and declining job security, are going to take on editors such as Chris Mitchell at The Australian – or the Sun King himself, Murdoch – who push the sceptic agenda.
Secondly, if my experience is anything to go by, once you start pointing out the obvious connection to conspiracy culture and start criticising said beliefs it brings out an army of angry, embittered trolls. Your inbox and article/website comes under sustained assault.
Fun? Well suffice to say over the years I’ve developed a very thick skin.
Thirdly, much of the activities of these climate sceptics and conspiracy theorists happen on the fringe: you have to know where to look in the very dark corners of the internet. Sites such as World Net Daily (heck even Jo Nova’s blog) aren’t exactly choice online destinations for mainstream Australia.
But crucially it takes time to become attuned to what sceptics are saying – as in what they are really saying.
When deniers like Monckton reference “Agenda 21″ the phrase and its connotations will go over the heads of the MSM and average punter. But to those attuned to the world views of conspiracy culture, the phrase “Agenda 21″ is a reference to the “sceptics” belief in a coming New World Order, black helicopters, death camps for pensioners and micro-chips embedded into the skulls of every living person on the planet.
At this point it is safe to say Monckton’s down under tour is a damp squib, fizzing out like firecracker under a torrent of indifference. In previous years he enjoyed far more attention, getting gigs on the ABC, Channel 7, televised debates at the National Press Club, radio chats with disgraced shock-jock Alan Jones and huge support from conservative columnists and News Limited. All of which seems to have evaporated.
If you want a picture of Monckton 2013 Australian tour, imagine a doddery, elderly crank standing in an empty lecture theatre muttering aloud “Good lord, where did all my good friends go?”