The old adage that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on has never been more true than in the so-called “information age”.

The insidious demands of the 24/7 news cycle has coupled with the catastrophic decline of basic journalistic skepticism, let alone integrity. Consequently, the public is constantly bombarded with a barrage of lies, half-truths and wild exaggerations from a media which lacks even the most rudimentary faculties of critical analysis.

Worse, even when their lies are exploded, the media never, ever, recant. They just go galloping on to the next lie, leaving the truth choking in the cloud of bulldust.

This is nowhere more obvious than in climate change coverage.

Yesterday the global media were all a-flutter with the alleged news that 11,000 scientists had supposedly signed a petition declaring a so-called “climate emergency”. Any journalist worth their salt should have, firstly, pointed out just how piddling this number really is. It’s not known with precision how many scientists there are presently, but estimates range from 7-100 million. So, this petition represents anywhere from 0.01% to 1.5% of all scientists. Neither number is of any significance.

An even more important question to ask would be: just who are these “scientists”?

An Alliance of World Scientists petition declaring a climate emergency has been blocked online after questions were raised about some of its celebrity signatories.

Mickey Mouse from the Mickey Mouse School of the Blind, Namibia made it through onto an official list published with a major article in BioScience on Tuesday…Mickey was joined on the list by Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts.

The first signature on the online list was Araminta Aadvark, professor of Zoology at University of Neasden, UK. Neasden University does not have a zoology department.

Anyone with a skerrick of scientific or statistical nous knows that surveys are only as good as their methods. “Self-selected” surveys, where the participants choose to opt in, rather than being randomly selected, are notoriously poor sources of data. A famous climate change case is the “Doran survey”, the basis of the “97% of scientists” claim. It’s a junk survey with absolutely zero scientific merit. Yet the media have never questioned it.

Another, less famous, case is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). As Ben Goldacre pointed out, anyone can lodge a report of an “adverse vaccine event” and it will be duly entered into the scientific record. To prove his point, Goldacre lodged a claim that a vaccine shot caused him to turn into a raging green giant every time he got angry. That claim is now part of the “scientific” literature on vaccines.

This petition is junk. It’s as far from science as it’s possible to get. Yet the legacy media never stopped to question it before they churned the press releases into “news”. Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, was nearly giddy with excitement over the story.

Consulting geologist, Marc Hendrickx, who highlighted the errant signatures said “legitimate researchers passionate about the scientific method do not do science by social media”.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the likes of the ABC to publish a correction or retraction.


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