Friday, September 17, 2010

Political bias at The Australian and the reporting of climate change

Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box.
The Australian, Editorial, 9th September, 2010

This week's Mediawatch on ABC "Gunning for the Greens" looked at how The Australian appears to be running its own political campaign against The Greens.

The role of the media in a democratic society is necessarily to report the news, cut through spin and to provide an honest critique of the policies of all political parties. However as the quote from the Editorial in The Australian shows, they have apparently decided to target a particular political party. In this they have crossed the line from reporting the news to political advocacy, the editors clearly think this is ok, I would suggest it is not. Does this now mean all articles regarding The Greens are now being written with the agenda to destroy them at the ballot box? Hardly the stuff a reputation for solid journalism is made of.

Why is The OZ so steamed at The Greens? For one it seems they are angry The Greens didn't vote for the CPRS and then attacked Labour for a lack of climate action. Now I don't think The Greens ever said they were going to vote for the CPRS so holding out for a stronger scheme wasn't all that hypocritical. On the other hand The Coalition did agree to support the CPRS before backflipping after a leadership change, while Labour declined to call a double dissolution over the senate CPRS logjam and chose instead to jettison its climate change policy altogether. Neither of those decisions left either major party covered in roses, so why is The OZ so steamed solely at The Greens?

Shift back to the present and we have a new Government reconsidering its policies on climate change and growing calls from the business world calling for the new Government to get on with it and put a price on carbon, so the debate about how best to reduce our emissions isn't about to go away. Given the results of the election, the Australian people have made The Greens a key player in this debate, so by declaring war on them has The Australian just limited its own ability to report fairly and credibly on this critical issue?

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