Who’s Payin Who?
UPDATE: No news is good news.
The winner James Fong of the Oursay.org project called ‘Climate Agenda’ ,did not get to join the panel group at the Wheeler Center.
The web page that clarified that the winner would go to the New News Conference can be seen here but the Oursay website doesn’t have a link to get to that page now.
Having dug around, the only information regarding the New News Conference was by the Public Interest Journalism Foundation and the winner from the previous Oursay.org projects’ winner Kevin Rennie.
Having looked at the PIJF website, one gets the sense that the keynote speakers present, the members of the panel, and the articles singling out climate skeptics failed to produce a head hunting job that the Fairfax Media Group attempted to undertake.
Instead, what we do know is, is there is only one article on the web that discusses the results of the project, and of course that is only the Fairfax Media Group paper(s). No other news reported on this propaganda that attempted to put climate skeptics in a sort of class as witches.
A ‘Climate Skeptic Witch Hunt Failure’ would be my headline’, but Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood at the moment is doing everything possible to put this behind him.
Otherwise, the article that started all of this, “Who Is Funding Climate Change Skeptics?“, would have created a media storm if Mr. Hywood could have gotten away with manipulating the media.
So, No news is good news.
An interesting story(propaganda) is brewing down under.
On August 10th, 2011, Michael Bachelard wrote, “Who Is Funding Climate Change Skeptics?”
Here is an image of that article:
The Climate Agenda ?
The source of this article comes from OurSay.Org . OurSay.org is hosting an online media event called, “The Climate Agenda.”
In their words, they say:
“Worried about climate change? Furious about the carbon tax? Confused about the science? Walkley-award winning journalist Michael Bachelard will lead The Sunday Age team investigating the 10 most popular questions on OurSay which will be featured and updated on The Age’s Climate Agenda website.”
The website encourages its readers to post a question, then have others vote on it. The person who’s question has the most votes, gets to be part of a three member panel that will attempt to answer the question.
Later in the article, Michael Bachelard writes:
The top question so far, with more than 230 votes, listed by Jason Fong soon after the project opened on Sunday, asks: ”The very point of Australia’s carbon tax is to reduce global warming. How much will reducing 5 per cent of Australia’s around 1.5 per cent contribution of global CO2 emissions reduce global temperature by?”
The second most popular question question asks The Sunday Age‘s reporters to find out who, if anyone, is funding prominent climate change ”sceptics” in the media, including Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt and Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones, and whether those people had a vested interest in maintaining ”the industrial status quo”.
While the top vote-getter was on topic about carbon tax and reducing emissions, the headline here is about the second most vote-getting question on who funds skeptics.
The very next day, Andrew Bolt, who is mentioned in the article, takes the article to task.
Andrew Bolt blogged about the top 5 vote-getting questions from OurSay.Org.
Andrew was mostly defending against this question/statement that he mentions as question 3(notice that the statement has moved from 2 to 3 now) on his blog :
“There are some very vocal and seemingly influential climate change sceptics who have been given well supported platforms by some media organisations in Australia. 2GB’s broadcasting of Alan Jones and News Limited’s publishing of Andrew Bolt is a couple of examples that spring to mind. It appears that these media organisations have the goal of destroying the credibility of anyone who supports the science of and actions to mitigate the effects of human civilization’s influences on earth’s climate. Do these media organisations obtain funding from any corporate, organisational or individual entities with a vested interest in maintain the industrial status quo where unlimited greenhouse gas emissions are largely the norm?”
– Mark Dennis
To which Andrew responds, “The answer to question three is “no, no funding to influence the debate”. Indeed, the official policy of News Ltd(Rupert Murdock) is to “give the planet the benefit of the doubt”. But look at the sponsors, backers and designers of this Sunday Age project. Haven’t their funds and support influenced the Sunday Age’s coverage? Is this ethical?”
Having read this, I decided to see what Mr. Bolt meant by sponsors,backers and designers of this project, and if there were indeed anything unethical about the project.
The green-think tank group known as, ‘ Creating Democracy Online(CDO), LLC’, is peddling the concept that skeptical journalists is funded by oil companies to muddy the waters, in the climate debate and I’ll show you how.
When it comes to peddling muddy waters, maybe those behind this hoax should themselves look in a mirror.
Little is known about CDO(a.k.a. OurSay.Org), but those that back this little known think tank are very well known.
A foundation, a gov’t agency, a media mogul and a marketing director all helped fund/sponsor/design this not-for-profit endeavor. The foundation is called the Centre for Sustainability Leadership(CSL), and the government agency is the EPA of Victoria. The media mogul is Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media Group, of which The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are both property of that media group. The marketing director is Mark Scott of the Australian Broadcasting Company.
The CSL is a proud sponsor found on OurSay.Org’s website and the EPA of Victoria is a proud sponsor on CSL’s website.
Greg Hywood not only owns the paper that printed the article written by Michael Bachelard, but he will also be a panel member along with Mark Scott of ABC at the New News Conference in Melbourne, immediately following this project.
Did I fail to mention that Michael Bachelard is also the Senior Journalist that is leading this project at OurSay. I do want to give credit to where credit is due.
In a follow up story to,”Who is funding climate skeptics?”, Bachelard writes, “Robust and heated start as readers speak out” in the Sunday Morning Herald(another paper owned by Fairfax Media).
There is no mention of the climate skeptic funding question, but instead, Micheal writes:
“One question, by Jason Fong, has led from the start. It streaked ahead in the days after climate change sceptic and Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt highlighted it and encouraged readers of his blog to ”vote here”, providing a link to the OurSay forum.”
I seriously doubt Andrew Bolt would consider encouraging his readers, when the actual word he used was ‘lodge'(i.e. complaint) to what he refers to a ‘ fiercely warmist Sunday Age.’
Micheal Bachelard wanted to task Andrew Bolt and other climate skeptics for being a shill, when in point-of-fact, OurSay.Org itself was funded by CSL and the EPA of Victoria, both of which support green technology and alternative sustainable energy’s and Greg Hywood, the CEO of both the SMH and TheAge, was not only instrumental in the printing and the promotion of the OurSay project, but will also be a keynote speaker at the conclusion of the project.
Go figure. I was right to take this story to task.
It seems if anyone is being unethical, it would be everyone involved with OurSay, from top to bottom.
I would normally end my post with a ‘Good Day’, but something caught my attention that may or may not add up to anything, but I have found troubling none-the-less.
The comment/question that Andrew Bolt was referenced in, was written by a commentor named Mark Dennis. Mark Dennis was the ‘originator’ of this whole who’s funding who story to begin with.
Who is Mark Dennis and why did the Senior Journalist for the OurSay.Org project give his comment more weight than the other top comments and why did The Age allow Micheal Bachelard to highlight the skeptic angle and not the carbon tax angle?
I suppose it could have been because it just sounded good. Or it could be because the paper has an ax to grind against Rupert Murdock. Or maybe bashing climate skeptics just sounds more fun than another old story on carbon tax.Or maybe all of the above. I am just speculating though.
But while I am speculating, I want to speculate that there might be a connection(or not) that Mark Dennis is part of this whole unethical project and that his comment was planted/framed/used to supply a platform upon which Bachelard could write about and Greg Hywood could talk about at the New News Conference.
Mark Dennis just may in fact had been some poor soul that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Blachelard seized upon the comment to advertise the weakened attention that OurSay was getting. Or not. Either way, the project got the attention it needed.
I did a search on ‘Mark Dennis’ and ‘Climate Change’ anyway, and this was the only hit that was remotely questionable:
In a .pdf from the Advisory Board on Agriculture we find this quote,
“The survey, conducted by the Advisory Board of Agriculture (ABA), is part of a follow-up to January’s Think Tank. ABA Chair Mark Dennis said that the survey was important in providing members with a forum to having their thoughts and views on the future of farming heard.”
While there may or may not be a story here and no direct connection between this Mark Dennis and the one that made the comment at OurSay, I still say there is enough unethical behavior on all parties involved with OurSay.Org to warrant my initial question I started this article with:
Who’s paying who?
Before it is all over, those at OurSay, pointing the finger at whose behind a ‘Climate Agenda’, might actually be the ones with an agenda of their own.
Good Day !