By Steven | April 3, 2014
I was watching Seven Sharp on Tuesday, and caught Mike Hosking’s closing monologue:
Bad news. I’m afraid the IPCC – the International Panel on Climate Change – has issued its latest report. It’s 2,600 pages long and spans 32 volumes. But I can sum it up for you. Ah, we’re stuffed. The seas are rising, the storms are coming, the locusts are close, we are going to climatic hell in a handcart. That’s of course, if you believe them. Which, as it turns out, I don’t. Twenty years ago they said we had 20 years to turn things around. We haven’t. The Kyoto Protocol was a last-ditch attempt to save us all. No-one adhered to it. The lesson they have not learned is that freaking people out doesn’t get buy-in. I mean if the met service struggles with the accuracy of a five-day forecast, I’m thinking the accuracy of a long-range prediction that takes in 86 years might be a bit dodgy. So my advice: don’t let it ruin your night.
I was gob-smacked. If you believe them? Is he really suggesting that hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists have conspired to make this up? Let’s be charitable to Hosking then: he’s merely suggesting that the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists are incompetent.
What expertise does he have to make that call? None, as far as I can tell. Has he even read their report? It doesn’t look like it. Does he disagree with their evidence or their analysis? He doesn’t challenge any of it. He simply thinks he knows better.
It’s as if he said: Almost all the world’s scientists say smoking causes lung disease. That’s if you believe them. Which, as it turns out, I don’t. Don’t lose any sleep over it.
It’s as if he just pooh-poohed the theory of evolution.
There comes a point during a scientific debate when things aren’t a matter of belief any more. The IPCC presents overwhelming evidence that climate change is happening right now.
Hosking’s reasoning is risible. He confuses weather with climate. He proffers the failure of Kyoto as evidence that climate change isn’t happening. He accuses the scientists of trying to “freak people out” in order to “get buy-in”.
Don’t let it ruin your night? This is the overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists warning us about what is probably the biggest issue facing the planet.
Let’s put aside the fact that Hosking’s view is deeply anti-scientific. Let’s even put aside that it’s staggeringly arrogant. He’s allowed to have moronic and galactically egotistical views.
What I can’t get past is that he and TVNZ would think it appropriate to broadcast a comment so inane on a matter of such importance on a prime-time show that TVNZ touts, however euphemistically, as current events. TVNZ is presenting Hosking as a journalist and a credible commentator.
However much slack you want to cut Seven Sharp (and in particular, that closing segment of the show) for its edginess and provocativeness, I think this crosses the line into something that no longer even resembles journalism. I think Mike Hosking has just disqualified himself as a credible journalist.
[I’m especially grumpy about this because I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading about climate change recently. If you are on the fence about this, I suggest you take a look at https://www.skepticalscience.com/ . I’ve become so concerned that I’ve joined the lobby group 350.org]
Topics: Media ethics |
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