Opinion

If we’re to believe the government and the mainstream media, disinformation — the dissemination of intentionally false information to deliberately confuse or mislead — is an existential threat to our democracy.

Which is odd, because some of the most egregious disinformation is disseminated by governments and mainstream media.

For some governments and media, of course, lying is wholly ingrained. Think of the Chinese communist government and its tightly-controlled media, for instance. The Covid pandemic was far from the first time Beijing systematically lied about a disease outbreak and, deliberately or not, facilitated its spread around the world.

What was more alarming about the Covid pandemic was how willingly, knowingly, government bureaucrats, elected politicians, and almost the entire mainstream media, went along with the lies.

Another constant deluge of misinformation from governments and media is the topic of climate change.

This uncountably large group includes battalions of politicians, academics, activists, journalists and a few dozen billionaire energy-hobbyist carpetbaggers.

Take the deeply entrenched belief that global warming is causing more extreme weather. This is so ubiquitous as to be unquestioned. It is an article of faith and there is almost no weather event nowadays that does not come with a blizzard of declarations it is proof of climate change.

We can’t have a cyclone, a bushfire, a drought, a flood, or a heatwave, without demented shrieking from the top of the pyramid of power, down, that it was “due to climate change”.

Among myriad examples, let’s pick Tropical Cyclone Jasper, which hit far north Queensland in December. It dumped a massive amount of rain and none of what follows denies the fact it caused great damage and suffering. In its wake the Red Cross released an Instagram video declaring “Disasters like Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper in Far North Queensland are happening more often due to climate change”. Greenpeace called it a “frightening portent of what’s to come under climate change”. The Climate Council warned “climate change is making (tropical cyclones) more destructive”.

Remember, these aren’t some Joe Randoms on Twitter or Facebook, these are supposed “authorities”, from the UN Secretary-General, down to “Australia’s leading climate change communications non-profit organisation… formed to provide independent, authoritative information on climate change”. Note that emphatic statement: authoritative information.

Except that their “authoritative information” is a barrage of lies.

This isn’t mere “misinformation”: incorrect or misleading information mistakenly spread without specific malicious intent. These are supposed to be authoritative sources. Scientists, and the “curated media”, as Barack Obama lauded them.

These are people who should know better. If they’re flagrantly contradicting even the IPCC, then the only conclusion is that they’re deliberately lying.

Because, flagrantly contradicting the IPCC, supposedly the authority on climate change, they are.

If The Science of global warming has a bible then surely it must be the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. It is the latest accumulation of all the best research and it runs to a mind-numbing 2391 pages.

On page 1586 it says: “(Tropical cyclone) landfall frequency over Australia shows a decreasing trend in Eastern Australia since the 1800s, as well as in other parts of Australia since 1982. A paleoclimate proxy reconstruction shows that recent levels of (tropical cyclone) interactions along parts of the Australian coastline are the lowest in the past 550-1500 years.”

Pause on that. Not only does observation show there are fewer cyclones since the industrial revolution began belching extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, there is evidence to suggest cyclone activity in Australia is at its lowest ebb since the days of the Tang dynasty and the decline of the Western Roman Empire.

The lies don’t stop at cyclones. Remember that Australia’s taxpayer-funded national broadcaster “fact-checked” Nationals MP Craig Kelly’s statement that there was no observed drying trend in Australia for over a century, and that the first twenty years of the 21st century were wetter than the first twenty years of the 20th. Kelly was 100% correct, the ABC lied.

The IPCC finds […] there is low confidence in observed trends, or projected changes, to droughts in central and eastern Australia as the climate warms. In northern Australia there is medium confidence of a “decrease in the frequency and intensity of meteorological droughts”. So, more rain for the Top End then.

The IPCC also points out that droughts and fires in Australia are strongly influenced by well-known natural climate events such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

And, in case you were wondering, “There is no evidence of a trend in the Indian Ocean Dipole mode and associated anthropogenic forcing” and “The amplitude of the El Nino–Southern Oscillation variability has increased since 1950 but there is no clear evidence of human influence” (p1104).

Whenever some upper-middle-class lunatic with a hyphenated surname glues they/themselves to a road or throws paint at a priceless artwork, they are guaranteed sympathetic coverage from the media.

The media will certainly never point out that their apocalyptic nonsense is entirely without foundation.

Again, this is not just my view but one shared by British professor Jim Skea, who was appointed chairman of the IPCC last year.

“The world won’t end if it warms by more than 1.5 degrees,” Skea told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel last year. “It will however be a more dangerous world. Countries will struggle with many problems, there will be social tensions.

“And yet this is not an existential threat to humanity. Even with 1.5 degrees of warming, we will not die out.”

The Australian

Yet, some gibbering Boomer in silly fancy-dress, or scowling, wealthy Swedish teenager, can shriek that We’re All Gonna Die, and the government and media will solemnly nod along. Not call them a lying nutcase, which in fact they are.

You want to stop the avalanche of misinformation?

Start with the government and the mainstream media.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...