Have “old media” failed us? Yes. Yes they have.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave an impassioned speech in Parliament the other day on misogyny which caused the world’s media to pay attention. However the Australian media seemed inattentive or unaware of its importance.

I don’t agree with every decision of the current Labor government, and remain disappointed on a number of fronts. But it was a brilliant performance: the PM clearly spoke with conviction and passion – something that has been lacking for some time.

Within minutes of her speech, people in my work were talking positively about it. Tweeters and social media took to it with gusto and shared it around the world.

That’s how powerful her words were.

This public and social media response prompted journalist Jacqueline Maley to ask the question “did mainstream media get it wrong?”

The bubble of the Canberra press gallery has been decisively popped this week. 

After Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s scorching oration against Opposition leader Tony Abbott on Tuesday, the gallery, those of us writing and broadcasting in the so called ‘mainstream-media’, came to a general consensus: sure, Gillard had given a great speech, but it was founded on hypocrisy. Many of the nation’s premier political commentators focused on this fact – that the speech was made trying to save the political career of Peter Slipper, himself accused of disrespect to women. 

But as the press gallery pundits (mostly middle-aged men, it must be noted) scribbled and spoke, something very different was happening on the internet and in the community…


Yes, mainstream media has got it wrong.

On this issue and so many others.

I believe this: on one of the most important issues of the 21st century – environmental collapse – the media has not merely ignored the problem, but have mislead the public.

When future histories are written, the myopia and subsequent collapse of public trust in the “old media” (radio, newspaper and television) will be related to this failure to inform.

“Old media” should have helped educate our society about the risk of climate change.

Instead, print, radio and television either ignored the issue or facilitated denial.

When I began this blog I was an avid reader and watcher of “old media”.


I rarely depend on those sources for news – except to critique the gross mischaracterization of science.

As a blogger and commentator I don’t “live off” the hard work of old media and hard-working journalists.

I go direct to the sources; I bypass the gate keepers who for far too long have got it wrong.

I’ll go to the science, and scientific community. I’ll turn to other informed bloggers and commentators outside the media. Thanks to the Internet, information and facts are readily available. As an individual passionate about finding out about the world around me, I ignore “old media”.

The old media is dead.

Long live the new media.


76 thoughts on “Have “old media” failed us? Yes. Yes they have.

    • klem says:

      Black swan? Hardly. You greenies come up with bizarre alarmist claims like this one every day. Even if a real Black Swan suddenly happened, it would have to take a number and get in line behind all of the others.

      I have been saying this for years; climate alarmism will do tremendous damage to the environmental movement in the end. It’s a sin.

    • rubber taster says:

      “It’s a sin”

      LOL, God this is funny!

  1. James says:

    So you’ll enjoy watching Julia discovering here how Tony Abbott is “every day in every way a sexist, misogynist”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57AZoqKQyZQ&feature=share

  2. Eric Worrall says:

    OK, a couple of issues.

    Tony Abbott using the shame reference so soon after Allan Jones insulted the memory of Gillard’s father was grossly insensitive. He shouldn’t have done it, or, when offered the opportunity, he should have apologised afterwards.

    But “mainstream” media failing you guys on environment issues? Come ON. People are simply fed up with the gross lies and exaggerations, the alarmist hype, and several prominent episodes of alarmist insensitivity, such as the British drowning puppy campaign, and of course the 10:10 exploding children comedy.

    And of course, we have the fascinating insight into climate science hiding declines and telling nice tidy stories (refs available on request), provided by Climategate.

    As Prof. Muller, author of the BEST study says, people, rightly or wrongly, believe alarmists have lied to them.


    And through your arrogance, you are simply making things worse.

    What you *should* be doing is working to repair the damage, making amends for your misbehaviour, and approaching the public with humility and openness.

    What you *are* doing is arrogantly demanding that only your version of the truth be heard, that people with other opinions be silenced, and that the public be “educated” to agree with you.

    Good luck, you’re going to need it.

    • john byatt says:

      No we just ignore you and continue to get the real message out.

      even TCS blog concedes that the science is winning, tough titty

      • Eric Worrall says:

        If you guys are winning, then why is Mike complaining about being “let down” by traditional media?

        Noone important bothered to attend Rio, who do you think will attend the next international climate conference? Will there even be another big international climate conference?

      • rubber taster says:

        He’s not complaining, he’s pointing about the weakness of the Australian media.

        You however have done nothing but whine about arrogant scientists and spout dopey conspiracy theories. At least come up with some original denialism, the stuff you regurgitate has been blown away too many times to be fun anymore.

        I quite liked the way you headed towards the alien gamma ray transmissions theory. Keep working on this one champ!

    • rubber taster says:

      Ah Eric, back to the mothership at WUWT for your quotes (maybe they use gamma ray transmissions like your alien friends?).

      I see now your delusions run so deep that you honestly believe the guff you spout.

      Try reading some science rather than conspiracy theories. As I said before the science shows your dopey mates to be…dopey. Not arrogance, science.

      But keep denying, that’s what deniers do best…

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Rubber, I wasn’t discussing whether alarmism is a correct interpretation of the science, I was discussing whether you guys are winning the battle for hearts and minds.

        And I put it to you that there is some pretty substantial evidence that you are not winning the battle for hearts and minds.

      • john byatt says:

        It is not about winning a battle for hearts and minds, if that is how you read it then it just shows that you are in fact engaged in just that pursuit.. all we wish to do is get the real evidence out there, people will make up their own minds but many that may come here and read your nonsense will get a pretty good understanding of the inanity of the AGW denying morons, so keep it up

        • Eric Worrall says:

          You won’t get your version of the evidence out there, if you don’t win a few hearts and minds in journalism. I put it to you that in this arena at least you are slipping. The media used to be a lot more pro-alarmist than it currently is.

  3. Eric Worrall says:

    Rubber, just out of curiosity, if you were say PM of Australia, what would you do to address the “weakness of the Australian media”?

  4. klem says:

    ” I’ll turn to other informed bloggers and commentators outside the media. Thanks to the Internet, information and facts are readily available. ”

    Exactly right, I could not agree more. Like you I ignore the old media, I get my facts from blogs like Delingpole, Watts up With That, Bishop Hill, JoNova and many other reputable sources.


  5. Eric Worrall says:

    As we seem to have mentioned computer models vs reality, here is a beautiful example of modelling gone mad, from WUWT:-


    The scientists WUWT are discussing, asserted, based on their computer modelling of molecular structure, that increased CO2 weakens polar ice.

    The point is, all they needed to do to actually *test* this hypothesis was to get a cylinder of CO2, a freezer, a bucket of water, and an industry standard breaking strain testing device – to see whether CO2 actually does weaken water ice.

    But why do a real world test, when you can have lots of fun building a computer model?

    • john byatt says:

      Yes I had a good laugh at the ignorance displayed in the comments, it took about thirty comments from the choir before they worked out the 80% figure that was obvious at first read, how come all the really dumb people gather at the one site?

    • john byatt says:

      Buehler, along with his student and co-author of the paper, Zhao Qin, used a series of atomistic-level computer simulations to analyse the dynamics of molecules to investigate the role of CO2 molecules in ice fracturing, and found that CO2 exposure causes ice to break more easily.
      Notably, the decreased ice strength is not merely caused by material defects induced by CO2 bubbles, but rather by the fact that the strength of hydrogen bonds — the chemical bonds between water molecules in an ice crystal — is decreased under increasing concentrations of CO2. This is because the added CO2 competes with the water molecules connected in the ice crystal.
      It was shown that CO2 molecules first adhere to the crack boundary of ice by forming a bond with the hydrogen atoms and then migrate through the ice in a flipping motion along the crack boundary towards the crack tip.
      The CO2 molecules accumulate at the crack tip and constantly attack the water molecules by trying to bond to them. This leaves broken bonds behind and increases the brittleness of the ice on a macroscopic scale

      The point is, all they needed to do to actually *test* this hypothesis was to get a cylinder of CO2, a freezer, a bucket of water, and an industry standard breaking strain testing device – to see whether CO2 actually does weaken water ice.

      You will of course be reporting the results of “all they needed to do” that you will now perform. how will you observe what happens to the hydrogen atoms, with a magnifying glass? goose


      • Eric Worrall says:

        Part of your confusion about climate is due to you mistaking model output for evidence.

        You don’t *have* to look at hydrogen atoms under an electron microscope, to determine whether different concentrations of CO2 affect various physical properties of ice.

        All you have to do is measure the changes in properties, by adding the CO2, and using industry standard measuring tools – tensile strength, breaking strain, etc.

        The fact they chose to use a model, rather than doing a simple set of physical tests using well known techniques which would have taken them no more than a day or two to perform, and the fact that you are defending this lunacy, speaks volumes for the madness of models.

      • rubber taster says:

        john, you talk science, Eric sticks his fingers in his ears. So invested in his conspiracy theories, he cant even read the science. He seems a bit lonely, poor thing.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I normally don’t bother with the bizarre religious beliefs of others, I couldn’t care less if you want to live in a yurt eating organic tofu. But sadly you guys want to inflict the tenets of your religion on me, through imposition of measures such as carbon pricing, so I have no choice but to take an interest.

  6. john byatt says:

    doing the simple test will not explain the WHY?

    of course they will continue to study this further,

    every scientific institution on earth uses models for all aspects of science

    • Eric Worrall says:

      You still don’t get it.

      They used a model *instead* of a simple physical test.

      Of course, once you have the results, you can build a model based on your observations, and validate the model by using it to make predictions which you can test.

      But these clowns skipped the whole physical testing and validation part, and went straight to relying totally on the model.

      Do you honestly think this nonsense is real science?

      • john byatt says:

        “It is difficult for experiments alone to directly measure the nanoscale properties of ice as a function of carbon-dioxide concentration,” says Buehler. “That is why we decided to use a series of first-principles-based atomistic-level computer simulations to investigate the very detailed mechanisms”

        the methods have been used before in science

        Buehler says that the technique used in the study has also been applied to study the mechanical properties of protein materials and polymers, whose structures are typically stabilized by hydrogen bonds. “For these structures, we found that the chemical conditions, for example, pH, ion concentration and ion type, are very important in affecting the material structures and mechanical functions,” he says. “Our current result, which shows that carbon dioxide decreases the hydrogen-bond strength at the crack tip, agrees with the findings from our former work but makes an important contribution to the understanding of one of the most critical, and abundant, materials for our planet’s climate – frozen water, or ice.

        you have all the attributes of the DK syndrome Eric,

        • Eric Worrall says:

          There is no need to “measure the nanoscale properties of the ice as a function of carbon dioxide concentration”.

          All you have to do is see whether CO2 makes ice weaker.

          FFS, that is basic materials science – you take pieces of ice, prepared with different concentrations of CO2, then try to break them, and measure how much force is required.

          That way you get a nice evidence based graph of CO2 concentration vs breaking strain, which you can use to make predictions which are likely to correspond to what happens in the real world.

          But I guess this doesn’t make sense to you. You think a computer model is more valid than a physical measurement, otherwise you wouldn’t be an alarmist.

      • john byatt says:

        Has the penny dropped yet Eric?

      • rubber taster says:

        you gotta have a penny for it to drop Eric.

  7. john byatt says:

    No you are a denier eric,
    these scientists are not scientists that study ice, see above

    after finding that CO2 affects mechanical properties of protein materials and polymers, whose structures are typically stabilized by hydrogen bonds. “For these structures, we found that the chemical conditions, for example, pH, ion concentration and ion type, are very important in affecting the material structures and mechanical functions,”

    they wondered what affect that it would have on ice also with these same bonds.
    so they ran the same type of model that they had applied to other substances

    guess what.

    scientists that study ice would never have even thought that this may happen nor even thought to test it. unknown unknown.

    now they will …….

    A black swan and once confirmed another positive feedback

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Are you saying that it is acceptable not to perform real world tests, because they aren’t those kind of scientists, and they couldn’t pick up the phone to the material science lab, to request outside expertise?

      I mean, people who are testing say the mechanical properties of car crashes have to perform real world tests, but scientists who are testing the mechanical properties of ocean rise catastrophe are OK just to run a few computer simulations, when it is too much bother to ask a few materials scientists for some help?

      Is this really what you are suggesting is acceptable?

      • john byatt says:

        How absurd, you do not ring up and say hey why don’t you test this to see what happens unless you have some reason to suspect that,

        what will you ask those material scientists to do? have you got a spare planet to perform some tests on?

        the fact that the sea level will rise in a warming world is common sense from physics, ice sheets melt and thermal expansion, models do not predict that will happen, physics does. what the models try to do is capture the rate of that SLR as the temperature rises,

        you do not get much at all

  8. john byatt says:

    Buehler reiterated that this may or may not happen to a glacier-size chunk of ice in the real world. “The levels of CO2 we used in the simulation are much higher than the concentrations in the atmosphere,” he said. Buehler’s work also doesn’t address the question of how CO2 molecules would get into the ice; in a simulation, you just put the molecules where you want them.

    But in the simulation, at least, you don’t need much CO2 to get things going. “Even just a single molecule,” Buehler said, “can lead to the nucleation [that is, the start] of a fracture.”

    “I hope that this might lead to more studies of ice fracturing,” he said. “It might be interesting to look at.”

    Given the potential significance of the new research for the future of planet, “might be interesting” is pretty clearly an understatement.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      It must be fun to be a climate scientist. You don’t have to check anything, all you have to do is run a few computer models, and your pronouncements of impending doom are accepted as gold plated fact.

  9. john byatt says:

    And this from ERIC “FFS, that is basic materials science – you take pieces of ice, prepared with different concentrations of CO2, then try to break them, and measure how much force is required”

    clearly shows that he does not have a clue about how the process may work, in fact you have not even bothered to go beyond the WUWT crap. call yourself a sceptic

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Trying to break pieces of ice which contain varying levels of CO2 would test the basic premise – that CO2 weakens water ice.

      The fact you are defending a panic constructed on NOTHING BUT COMPUTER MODELS, and are defending the lack of real world verification, even when a simple, real world test is available, shows why you are an alarmist.

      • john byatt says:

        It is not about how much CO2 is concentrated in ice, it is about even just one molecule entering and starting nucleation,

        Ice cracks form, they have been doing so for ever, we have only thought of things like physical stress causing that, if there is another reason,ie CO2 causing nucleation that starts a crack then that is another reason and may increase more as CO2 levels rise.

        So we have CO2 enhancing the Green house effect and warming the planet

        we have CO2 causing acidification of the ocean

        we may now also have CO2 increasing the rate of ice sheet and glacier decline on top of the temperature caused reduction

        that we should act to reduce rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is apparent to all but the mentally impaired

        • Eric Worrall says:

          You don’t even know if CO2 weakens the ice – all you have is a computer model, which you believe is better than real world observation.

          Any premise so far discussed could easily be tested with an experiment. For example, if the premise is that CO2 helps ice cracks to form, you could use lab equipment to place the ice samples at the brink of breaking strain, then try different concentrations of CO2, to see if they make any difference to the probability of the ice cracking.

          This is what they should have done, to verify their model. But alarmists have never been keen to test their models in ways which might lead to falsification.

      • john byatt says:

        Going back to the start

        john byatt says:
        October 12, 2012 at 12:34 am
        doing the simple test will not explain the WHY?

        of course they will continue to study this further,

        every scientific institution on earth uses models for all aspects of science

        comprehension 101 Fail

        • Eric Worrall says:

          No reputable scientist trusts a model which has not been validated against real world measurements.

          All these clowns have done is run a model they borrowed from the pharmacology department, used it for a purpose which is radically different to the purpose for which it was built, then announced the output, as if it is some kind of result.

          They have not performed any basic tests to validate the model for this purpose.

          Models are only useful when used within their design parameters. The Newtonian model of physics breaks down near the speed of light, because it was never validated against such extreme conditions – it took Einstein to explain the discrepancy between observation and Newtonian prediction.

          Even then, noone trusted Einstein’s model, until it had been validated against more real world observations – non trivial predictions from Einstein’s theory.

    • rubber taster says:

      John, well played sir! Poor old Eric has tied himself in knots trying to answer this one and seems to have bamboozled himself. D for Denial. D for Dissonance.

  10. john byatt says:

    Now old DK knows more than the scientists that used the model to discover this

    Now where is your evidence for your inane claims?

    The model is the most basic element of the scientific method. Everything done in science is done with models,

    • Eric Worrall says:

      No, observation is the most basic element of the scientific method. Models are created to explain observations, and stand or fall on their agreement with observation. A model without an observation to back it is speculation, not science.

      • john byatt says:

        Observation alone tells you that the sun revolves around the earth

        models have put a man on the moon

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Models based on Newtonian mechanics and Einstein’s Relativity put men on the moon – two of the most thoroughly validated models ever proposed.

          And even then, scientists know there is something wrong with Einstein’s Relativity. Noone can reconcile Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, and Relativity breaks down at the event horizon of black holes, so there is something missing, or not quite right.

          In other words, Relativity is a model – an approximation – good enough for a certain range of values, utterly useless outside known, validated ranges of values.

  11. john byatt says:

    eric ” models stand or fall on their agreement with observation.

    Models predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures (observations) and then a bug was found in the satellite data.

    so it works both ways doesn’t it?

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Thats just models disagreeing – the satellites are calibrated from ground stations, they do not measure temperature directly.

      • rubber taster says:

        Utter crap Eric.

        I put your stupidity about climate modelling down to your indoctrination but maybe it is just because you have no ides how science works (by the way, the models are based on sound principles of atmospheric chemistry and physics, unlike your dopey WUWT parroting)

        Onto temperatures…tell me how the SST is ‘calibrated’ in the middle of the pacific ocean? Dolphins with calibrated thermocouples?

      • rubber tatster says:

        Now you are just being dopey Eric.

        SST is measured in the IR (MODIS) – do some homework please.

    • rubber tatster says:

      Good of you to admit you were wrong about ‘calibrating’ the satellites.

  12. Eric Worrall says:

    Breaking News – Travesty Trenberth loses faith in the IPCC.

    Remember the other day you guys were assuring me that according to Gavin Schmidt, the IPCC would deliver a verdict more damning than the 90%+ confidence in dangerous anthropomorphic climate change?

    According to Travesty Trenberth, you’re all going to be sorely disappointed.


    • rubber taster says:

      Only thing that sorely disappoints me is that you might have children that have to listen to your lies and distortions – it’s like kids that grow up with neo-Nazi parents. Hopefully they wont be scarred for life.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        At least my children wont grow up believing there is no hope for the future, that we, their parents, are responsible for ruining the world, and because of us, they our children are destined to live short, damaged, painful lives full of hunger, hopelessness and despair.

        And you guys wonder why so many kids drop out and turn to drugs.

      • rubber tatster says:

        Your children and grandchildren will spit on your grave and wonder how their ancestor could have been as stupid as you are. You might also want to get the cemetery to provide a micturation clean-up fee for your headstone – I think you’ll need it!

        (nice non-sequitur about kids and drugs and climate science btw)

  13. john byatt says:

    Remember the other day you guys were assuring me that according to Gavin Schmidt, the IPCC would deliver a verdict more damning than the 90%+ confidence in dangerous anthropomorphic climate change?

    arse about tit as usual


    warming now is unequivocal

    90% likely due to human fossil fuel emissions

    • Eric Worrall says:

      If Trenberth is losing faith and complaining about second tier science, I suggest what is actually happening is the sceptics have breached fortress IPCC, and alarmism is being diluted by other voices.

      Who knows, maybe AR5 will contain a chapter on Svensmark’s theory.

      • john byatt says:

        Trenberth is commenting on WG1 currently under review, the evidence.


        warming now is unequivocal

        90% likely due to human fossil fuel emissions

        is from the AR4 synthesis report

        • Eric Worrall says:

          90% probability is not unequivocal. And let’s not forget AR4 is also the report which brought us the Glaciergate scandal.

          A group capable of claiming Himilayan glaciers will all melt in 35 years, and which persisted with the claim after their error was pointed out to them by the chief glaciologist of India, is not a credible source of climate estimates.

      • rubber taster says:

        “90% probability is not unequivocal…”

        Put down statistics as another one of your failed subjects.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Last time I checked 90% confidence means 10% doubt.

          In any case, given that AR4 also brought us the Glaciergate comedy (the IPCC promoted and defended grey literature claims about melting Himalayan glaciers), I dispute the IPCC / AR4 as a credible source of climate estimates.

    • rubber tatster says:

      “Last time I checked 90% confidence means 10% doubt”

      LOL, like I said Eric a fail for statistics for you. Put down the shovel.

  14. john byatt says:

    Eric “Who knows, maybe AR5 will contain a chapter on Svensmark’s theory.”

    it was in AR4

    read it

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