columnists on the Bush Fires, a caution

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: columnists on the Bush Fires, a caution
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 22:26:51 +1100 (EST)
Hi all,

The media commentary on these terrible fires gets worse as we go on. Just
read the Andrew Bolt item which appears to be actively obscuring the facts
regarding who "got in first" when it comes to hysterically attributing
blame for these terrible fires.

The facts are that four people in particular - David Packham, Peter
Attiwill, Rod Incoll, and Phil Cheney - have all scored very early and
very public hits directly blaming "greenies" and environmentalists for the
terrible fires and loss of life. Their exploitation of the tragedy to
enhance their own credibility has been facilitated by Asa Wahlquist, rural
writer from "The Australian" newspaper, among other media organisations,
including the ABC and the programme "After the Firestorm" which gave Peter
Attiwill the chance to rant without any measure of balance or democratic
debate and deliver blame to environmentalists.

I wish pieces like Bolt's were not important in the scheme of things, but
alas they are: right-wingers like Bolt and the Herald Sun and a raft of
other organisations/commentators know that they are on to a ratings winner
as they drive the media agenda with the blame-greenies spin. But there is
more to it than mere advertising dollars.

Because of the anti-environmentalist and populist rubbish being promoted
to grab media hits there is a very real danger that the announced Royal
Commission risks being stacked by ex-forestry cronies and self-appointed
experts on fire behaviour across Australian ecoloogies.

I should note that Attiwill has claims as a "scientist", but has other
associations that should be more fully aired, including a penchant for
delivering the odd address to right-wing organisations such as the
Australian Adam Smith Club. Naturally, he has every right to do so.
Andrew Bolt sometimes delivers here as well, by the way. See this link for
a list of "Dinner Speeches" for this organisation since 1999:

and the flyer for Attiwill's address:

I have not noticed any media organisation making it clear that Packham,
Attiwill, Incoll and Cheney are representatives from one organisation,
Forest Fire Victoria Inc, a partisan outfit with very dubious credentials
when it comes to claims of "bushfire science". No journalist has attempted
any critical interrogation of their claims: naive acceptance at face value
has been the order of the day.

I have now had the misfortune to have read quite a bit of this
organisation's material: currently my humble conclusion is that they are
promoters of the view that "disturbed forest", that is, extensively logged
and burnt forest, is essential for the "health" of "the bush". Cheney is
the best of a bad bunch, but even he cannot resist putting the boot in and
pre-empting findings of the Royal Commission in the media-frenzy following
this tragedy.


PS I noticed Brad Norington's piece in the Australian a few days ago, just
after the two shark incidents around Sydney: the title was 'Rush for green
vote aids predators'. You be the judge.

  > Hi all
> For those who really advocate for the rest of us, read only what one
believes in or agrees with!  Try some green therapy and follow this
> Regards
> Ian
> John Leonard wrote:
>>I see that Miranda Devine has another screed on the Bush Fires and
"greenies" in the online SMH.
>>Whatever your views of Ms Devine and her views it is important to
realise that newspaper columnists are now paid partly according to the
number of clicks on their columns online. So it's not worth clicking on
the column of someone you know you are going to disagree with merely to
exercise scorn and contempt.
>>On the other hand, click away on the columns of those writers you like!
No virus found in this incoming message.
>>Checked by AVG -
>>Version: 8.0.237 / Virus Database: 270.10.24/1954 - Release Date:
>> 02/15/09 18:09:00
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