[ CORRECTION FROM JOABBESS.COM IN BOLD ]
Mr Ben Stewart, Head of Media at Greenpeace UK, may have no hair, but he does have a considerable number of brain cells, and he says that journalists who are Climate Sceptics need to be afraid, very afraid.
Last night at the “Sceptic Backlash” event hosted by the “Campaign against Climate Change” (what a mouthful, Phil Thornhill ! Get the name or your organisation changed ! Immediately !), Ben Stewart said, “we need to pull together a community of activists to hold journalists to account. We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.”
Well, you could call this bravado, or you could call it a statement of intent. I think I’d probably plump for the latter.
So here’s a message to all those Climate Change sceptical journalists and sundry denier-obstructer bloggists out there : brace yourselves. Climate Change is coming !
Here’s a rough record of what Ben Stewart said. Please don’t complain, if you, dear reader, are a Greenpeace devotee. I might have taken something down mistakenly, or got the wrong end of the stick. Just tell me I need to make a correction and I will judge whether or not I need to.
Ben Stewart’s comments on Climate Change scepticism in the Media, as I noted them :-
– I don’t think that we have the answers [to Climate Change scepticism in the Media] yet. I don’t think anyone’s got it [completely] right.
– Climategate has set back Climate Change communications by two years (optimistic). One opinion is that the Climate Change story will not be the same for a lifetime.
– I first heard about the Climategate story breaking on 19th November  – thinking something very bad was about to happen.
– We contacted Annie Ogden at the University of East Anglia about the UEA Communications Strategy. She said there was nothing in these e-mails and that their communications strategy was to turn off their computers and go home. We pleaded with her and she said she thought we were getting a bit excited. We even asked a senior Media personality [that would be George Monbiot, then, wouldn’t it ?] to contact her but to no avail.
– The “denial machine” started rolling and unshakeable perceptions were formed. The UEA thought that being right was enough. We thought being right was enough – smug. The “other side” is a well-funded campaign against [Climate Change Science]. We were “swiftboated”. [There followed some discussion of how John Kerry’ presidential campaign was sunk. The book by the Veterans was published by Koch Industries…the same people who are behind a lot of Climate Change denial. ]
– [It’s no use] waiting for the Media to get the story right. [Some discussion of how Obama went on the Media offensive to combat spin about Jeremiah Wright.] Obama fundamentally changed the narrative with his speech on race. [YouTube was involved.]
– I think that we need to run a Climate Change communications campaign around the world – putting pressure on journalists – a rolling campaign – we need to get serious.
– [Climate Change sceptics] have formed these opinions because of exposure to the Media. That’s where the problem lies.
– This process is central to the Climate Change myths – they jump straight from the Internet to the Press. Bill McKibben says that the UK Media has caused as much damage as Fox News. [Showing some key Climate Change Denial websites.]
– When the Climate Denial noise machine gets into gear, it’s impossible for the mainstream Media to ignore – the [denier-sceptics] accuse the Media of being biased and the UK print Media picks it up fast. This gives the story the “imprimatur” [cachet, official-looking authority] of being credible. If the Times of London is going with it – it goes global.
– Why do the British Media feel OK to get the story so wrong so often ?
– Amazongate [the myth that the Amazon was not going to suffer from Climate Change] caused enomous problems for Climate scientists. [Shows a rebuttal by Simon Lewis.]
– I think that Climategate has tilted the balance of legitimacy.
– [Shows a written opinion of a senior journalist, who now questions the working practices of Scientists. “We’ll never look at scientists the same way [again].”]
– The Climate Change Denier-Sceptics are waging “asymmetric warfare”. The established position has to be right 100% of the time. If they’re 1% wrong (for example, the Amazongate wrong reference to the right science), [then the sceptics win.] The sceptics only need to be right 1% of the time and win.
– The Climate Change Science [conclusions] have become the established position – there to be shot down.
– People are used to Science being an exact discipline. They are not used to uncertainties.
– As the Science position gains the ascendancy, the stories have to move to new ground. We’re bored hearing about Climate Change [we need some new titillation or stimulation].
– [Shows picture of Ian Plimer and gives history of his book and Australian politics.] Ian Plimer – this guy has power and he’s full of *********.
– Christopher Booker, read by millions, noted that the Arctic Sea Ice was increasing – during a period known to the rest of us as “Winter”.
– We need to re-tilt the balance of legitimacy in the newsroom back to where it was before November .
– We have to make “brand sceptic” toxic.
– We need a new, compelling narrative, and pull together a community of activists determined to hold journalists to account.
– We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.