Recall Robyn Williams:
NOW what if I told you pedophilia is good for children or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthma? Or that smoking crack is a normal part, and a healthy one, of teenage life and to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous. But there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths again and again in recent times, distorting the science (of climate change).
Well it seems the ABC takes notice of what happens outside their little world. This morning Michael Millett – ABC Director of corporate affairs – wrote a letter to the Australian. It seems they didn’t do nothing to nobody.
Contrary to the assertion in the front page story on December 18 (“It’s OK to link climate denial to pedophilia, ABC tells ex-chairman”), repeated on December 20 (“ABC sets lower standards bar”), the ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs did not rule that it was acceptable to equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles. Nor did it state that in the program at issue harm and offence were justified.
The precise finding was that, when taken in context, the introductory comments by presenter Robyn Williams “did not equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles”. Also, that since Williams’s personal criticism of Maurice Newman was limited to Mr Newman’s opinion piece in The Australian, there was no breach of the standards regarding harm and offence.
This is markedly different to the Press Council adjudication against The Australian over the use of the word “pedophile”, despite the best efforts of the newspaper to link the two judgments. In the case of the offending article in The Australian, the Council clearly ruled that there was a deliberate attempt to link wind-farm proponents with pedophiles and that this was offensive and unjustified.
Note the weasel words “when taken in context”. I’m just wondering in which context it is appropriate to “equate climate change sceptics to pedophiles”? Alas I fear Michael Millett may have a bit more explaining to do.
The bottom line is this: an ABC presenter likened climate change deniers to pedophiles and there is only one appropriate response the ABC can undertake. Abject apology. Anything else that is not an abject apology is spin and should be rejected with utter contempt.
Remember, your tax dollar pays for this.