Imagine if a prominent Australian scientist propagated the idea that AIDS was not a deadly disease.
Imagine if this scientist declared the existence of an elaborate conspiracy perpetrated by the medical establishment to help cover up that “fact”.
Imagine that for a period of time sections of the media faithfully reproduced the claims of this scientist without fact checking. Indeed contrary to all the evidence, this scientist was allowed to make these claims in print, radio and on TV.
Imagine if it was discovered this scientist had been receiving thousands of dollars from an ideologically motivated think tank to spread such misinformation.
Imagine if governments refused to fund programs to curb AIDs based on the claims of this scientist because “the science wasn’t settled”.
Imagine if thousands of individuals listened to this scientist, and ignored conventional medical advice about practicing safe sex.
What would be the result of this deceit?
Shattered lives, a medical emergency and billions spent on helping those afflicted with the disease.
Indeed this has already happened in South Africa.
But what if this had happened in Australia?
Would the media report on this tragedy?
Would the media ask itself why it allowed itself to be deceived – and in turn deceive the public?
Would the scientist come under scrutiny for their actions?
Now imagine if a scientist took funding form a think tank to deny global warming, another emerging crisis…
Oh wait, we don’t have to imagine that.