If you’re looking for a dose of sheer entertainment, then hop on down this Wednesday to Bloomsbury in London, for a public meeting about the dreaded, sharptoothed, hairy, boogle-eyed, Ye Olde Skeptik Backlash :-
There you should find Dr David Adam, esteemed and seriously reputable journalist from The Guardian newspaper, and an itchy-and-scratchy, rabble-rousing Ben Stewart from Greenpeace and George Marshall (no, not that George Marshall) of pork-pie-eating, Trilby-wearing-whilst-cycling and Climate anti-denial fame :-
They will be delving into the problems with the public “debate” on Climate Change and Global Warming, including asking the great unanswered questions like “why oh why oh why does the Daily Express publish such turgid blats on Global Warming ?” and “who’s really in charge of the Climate Change news ?”
I rang Phil Thornhill, organiser of said event, and asked him why there were no women speakers at the event. To which he replied he had tried. I volunteered myself. He said it was a bit late to throw in somebody new (yes, I know a polite put-down when I get one).
I then asked good old Phil with the biodiesel van, whether I would be permitted to ask a couple of questions from the floor of the meeting :-
a. Is anybody setting up a network of “first call” scientists, who journalists could turn to to get pronto views, corrections and insight on Climate Change stories, in a hurry ?
b. Is anybody going to set up a basic training course in Climate Change science to offer to all journalists to make sure that anybody writing on the subject has at least a basic grounding ?
Phil thought these were not the most important issues, and suggested that in his opinion, the biggest problem is the fact that anti-science people run the Media, such as Rupert Murdoch. And the second-most worstest problem is that people actually buy their newspapers.
I asked Phil what he thought could be done, practically and pragmatically and positively to address his most serious problems. Phil did not really know.
Journalists are on the front-line. They are the ones who provide the copy and the tapes and the film. If they could be convinced to improve their knowledge of the science and widen their network of first-name-terms scientist contacts, I’m sure things would improve.
Phil, love, go ahead and rail and moan against big Media moguls, by all means, but until you come up with a plan to turn the great ship of Press around, please lay off the tried-and-tested strategy of worrying and depressing us all.
I mean, if you don’t have a suggestion for what to do about the problem, Phil, how fair is it to tell us all it’s an outrage ?
Where’s your campaigning creativity, Mr Thornhill ? You could use the meeting on Wednesday to offer us a plan of action at the very rock-bottom least…
Somebody, sometime soon, has got to take the lead with dealing with the mess that Climate Change Media has become.
Lead us, Phil Thornhill, lead us !