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Call for TVNZ Balance on 'Alarmist Doomcasting'

New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

26 September 2005


Challenge to TVNZ for Balance on ‘Alarmist Doomcasting’ About Global Warming

A challenge to TVNZ to balance what he termed “alarmist doomcasting” in its Tuesday evening 6 pm OneNews, has been issued by the secretary of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, Terry Dunleavy.

“TVNZ chose to broadcast a hugely exaggerated claim about global warming by an American supporter of global warming, James Hansen, on precisely the same day that Mr Hansen was being denounced in the U.S. Senate, by Senator James Inofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I challenge TVNZ to balance the record with the following except from Senator Inofe’s speech,” said Mr Dunleavy:

“On March 19 of this year ‘60 Minutes’ profiled NASA scientist and alarmist James Hansen, who was once again making allegations of being censored by the Bush administration. In this segment, objectivity and balance were again tossed aside in favour of a one-sided glowing profile of Hansen.

“The ‘60 Minutes’ segment made no mention of Hansen’s partisan ties to former Democrat Vice President Al Gore or Hansen’s receiving of a grant of a quarter of a million dollars from the left-wing Heinz Foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry. There was also no mention of Hansen’s subsequent endorsement of her husband John Kerry for President in 2004.

“Many in the media dwell on any industry support given to so-called climate skeptics, but the same media completely fail to note Hansen’s huge grant from the left-wing Heinz Foundation.

“The foundation’s money originated from the Heinz family ketchup fortune. So it appears that the media makes a distinction between oil money and ketchup money.

“’60 Minutes’ also did not inform viewers that Hansen appeared to concede in a 2003 issue of Natural Science that the use of ‘extreme scenarios’ to dramatize climate change ‘may have been appropriate at one time’ to drive the public's attention to the issue.

“Why would ‘60 Minutes’ ignore the basic tenets of journalism, which call for objectivity and balance in sourcing, and do such one-sided segments? The answer was provided by correspondent Scott Pelley. Pelley told the CBS News website that he justified excluding scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism from his segments because he considers skeptics to be the equivalent of ‘Holocaust deniers.’ “

Mr Dunleavy said that the foregoing excerpt from the Senator’s speech should serve as a warning that news media should check validity of those whose views on global warning they choose to feature.

“It is galling to us to to read that Senator Inofe saw fit to quote from two members of our New Zealand coalition, Dr Vincent Gray on Upper Hutt, and Professor Bob Carter, of James Cook University in Townsville and a graduate of Otago University, when we seem unable to have their opinions on global warning accepted by New Zealand news media.

“I challenge all news media in New Zealand to publish the website link where anyone interested can read the full text of Senator Inofe’s speech, probably the most comprehensive and compelling summary of arguments yet made against the notion of catastrophic global warming. That link is: http://www.epw.senate.gov/speechitem.cfm?party=rep&id=263759

“Here is a chance for New Zealand news media to demonstrate that there is no basis for the claim that they as one-sided on the issue of global warming and climate change as Senator Inofe has accused the media in his country,” said Mr Dunleavy.


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