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Jennifer Marohasy and ABC’s MediaWatch tribal warfare

UPDATE: While MediaWatch (ABC) is hassling Jennifer Marohasy, Marc Hendrickx at ABCnewswatch responds in kind, posting an excellent open letter to MediaWatch, asking if they can outline their own scientific qualifications to judge Jennifer Marohasy’s scientific work. ABC staff want to know her motivations, but Marc wants to know theirs. And “given that they employ 11 staff full time” and produce “one 15 minute show per week”, do they consider that this represents good value for the Australian taxpayer? Touche!

Brilliant Marc. It’s a must read.


Jennifer Marohasy has extraordinary influence. She’s so powerful that the ABC’s Media Watch program has singled her out, asking questions about her income and disclosures that they don’t even bother to ask Tim Flannery. Presumably they don’t think anyone still takes Tim seriously.

They sent her a barrage of questions last Friday, which she hammered in a detailed reply on the weekend. I hear they are still sniffing around anyone they can think of who may know something about Marohasy, asking leading questions and volunteering information that isn’t correct.

Media Watch (aka Witch Hunt) thought this was a question worth asking:

[To Jennifer Marohasy] In your recent opinion columns in The Land and you appear to make no declaration to your readers about your long-standing history of public campaigning on the Murray. Do you think you have any obligation to do so?

Would they ask Tim Flannery the same thing?
[To Tim Flannery]  In your recent opinion columns in [The Australian, The Age, ABC, SMH, blah blah blah] you appear to make no declaration to your readers about your long-standing history of public campaigning on climate change, the fact you profit from selling books on this topic, that your income as a member of the climate commission is dependent on selling a government policy, or that you own shares in Geothermal Coy which received $90 Million in Government support. Do you think you have any obligation to do so?

The bias is obvious. Activists in the ABC tribe don’t need to explain anything. The pathological ad hominem focus (where did she get her money?!) reveals a stone-age tribal brain and their loyalty to the regulating class. The ABC is yet again, shown to be an intellectual sink.

Reader Jaymez writes: “Firstly, how stupid is it to expect writers of opinion columns to make declarations about their activism on matters when by it’s very nature — an opinion column — it is declaring the writer’s position on the subject. There is nothing hidden. However, the fact that Media Watch acknowledge that Jennifer’s campaigning on the Murray has been public, obviates any need to make a declaration. It is not a hidden agenda in any way. Media Watch are simply posing the question to deliberately paint Jennifer in a poor light by suggesting that she was somehow hiding a fact that even they acknowledge was in plain view!”

This is a Tribal war, it’s got nothing to do with the environment

Jennifer is taking the highest moral ground in the environmental stakes. She wants to restore the estuary to its estuarine (salty) form. The end of Australia’s biggest river (the Murray) has barrages across it, to stop the salt water entering. The farmers near the end now depend on the freshwater, just as the farmers in the middle of the long river depend on the highly variable water there too. This is a big policy dog-fight I’m not in on. But I suspect if someone were suggesting putting barrages across the Yarra, the Swan or the Brisbane, the Greens and the ABC would not be attacking people who opposed the barrages. There is no higher principle or policy sense at work here.

Marohasy is being the strong environmentalist on this, yet the push-back from the Green-loving-ABC is getting personal and aggressive. This is tribal warfare, and not about the environment. Marohasy belongs to the wrong team. It’s not the policy that counts. It’s the people. In just the same way when it comes to the science, for the tribe it’s not the evidence that counts, it’s the “reputation” that matters. (As if the inflow of dollars to a commentator is more important than the inflow of the Great Southern Ocean.) These are neolithic minds at work, living in a logical vacuum. Who put these weak intellects in charge of giving out “National” views?

The ABC answers to no one

Insidiously, in the long run, Jennifer Marohasy points out that the ABC is unaccountable. They are not subject to FOI’s, and no one votes for the board, the shows, or the “stars”. They could use taxpayer money to put ten full time staff onto phone around campaigns to impugn upstanding citizens … and us taxpayers would never find out. Marc Hendrickx explains how the ABC complaints process is among the worst of all major media outlets, taking weeks to correct even the most minor of points, and denying errors even when they are obvious and documented by British judges.

What is it when a government agency “questions” all your friends and acquaintances, digging for dirt and spreading untruths, because you criticize government policy? When state-funded psychologists like Lewandowsky call you crazy for disagreeing with the government’s policy to control the climate? What sort of state do we live in now?

There is no half-way measure worth taking. It’s time to ask for our money back. Let the ABC raise their own from voluntary consenting citizens, or give us a vote that counts so we can object when our tax dollars are used against us.

Pop over to Jennifer’s site to show your support for free speech and dissenting, informed opinions:

Media Watch Under Scrutiny

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Two Questions for Your Federal Parliamentarian

For those interested in the environment, rather than the politics, see also:  Saving the Coorong by Restoring Its Native State Available Online .


UPDATE #2: This is a hot trending topic and article picked up by Bolt, the Bunyip, Catalaxy. People are angry.

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