There are two discussions of the threat to free speech here in Australia by two old friends of this country. Both look at the treatment of Alan Jones and the way in which he had been sanctioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for comments he made about climate change. Both find it bizarre that ACMA has now become a fact checker on climate science. Weird world!
The first is from James Delingpole. He begins by going through the story of Andrew Bolt and then the Finkelstein Report and then adds that as dead as freedom of speech was becoming in Australia, “Freedom of speech is even deader in Australia” than it had been before.
Now to this list of shame we can add a third item of gob-smacking imbecility: the consignment of Australia’s most popular broadcaster, Alan Jones, to a political re-education class for having got a factual detail wrong on one of his radio shows.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority yesterday released a damning report on Jones’ show, finding he breached broadcast rules by falsely claiming Australians contributed just ‘1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air’.
‘The percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air,’ Jones told his listeners on March 15 last year. ‘Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.’
2GB told the media regulator Jones had done his own research for the claims, but neither he nor the station could provide any evidence.
University of Melbourne climate change scientist David Karoly said Australians were in fact responsible for .45 per cent of total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. ‘Obviously, we would much rather prefer that the comments of people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt were, in fact, correct, so it is pleasing to get this ruling from ACMA,’ Dr Karoly said.
The second commentary is from Mark Steyn:
Down Under, something called the ‘Australian Communications and Media Authority’ (that’s to say, the usual bunch of statist hacks) has just ordered Alan Jones, the country’s Number One morning man, to undergo ‘factual accuracy training’ (that’s to say, re-education camp) for saying the following:
’The percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air,’ Jones told his listeners on March 15 last year. ‘Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.’
Apparently, according to a global warm-monger of dubious provenance himself, the correct figure is 0.45 per cent. So the percentage of non-Australian carbon dioxide in the air is 99.55 per cent rather than 99.99999 per cent. For this outrageous crime, Alan Jones must report for ‘factual accuracy training’.
They’re laughing at us, and so they should. But it’s not really a laughing matter. Steyn concludes:
The death of free speech doesn’t seem immediately relevant to people worried about jobs and mortgages, but it is: When it’s a crime to be skeptical of ‘climate change’ alarmism, it’s harder to object to the diversion of tax dollars from you and yours to Solyndra and other ‘green’ boondoggles. Killing freedom of expression renders honest discussion of everything from the economy to foreign policy all but impossible – which suits both the left and Islam just fine.
If Australia keeps this nonsense up, I may have to come back for another nationwide tour. If they let me in.
Why when I see such stories of organisations such as ACMA do I think of the Salem Witch Trials, an analogy that for many of these smug, self-satisfied witch hunting ignoramuses would seem completely far fetched? But they and their supporters are the enemies of not just free speech but of freedom itself, not us but them.