Thursday, 13 July 2017

Addressing media distortion

The Broadcasting Standards authority can be contacted HERE.

Letter to Radio New Zealand


Dear Mr. Edwards.

I wish to register with you my strong distaste for the coverage of Radio NZ’s coverage of the calving of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica which came some hours after other media covered it.

The print media correctly reflected the fact that there is some disagreement over the nature of this phenomenon

"Some climate scientists believe the warming in the region was at least in part a consequence of human-caused climate change, while others have disputed that, seeing a large role for natural variability — and noting that icebergs have been breaking away from ice shelves for many millions of years. But the two camps agree that the breakup of ice shelves in the peninsula region may be a preview of what is in store for the main part of Antarctica as the world continues heating up as a result of human activity»

One of these people saying this calving is related to planetary warming is glaciologist Dr. Eric Rignot of NASA.

Glaciologist Professor Eric Rignot previously described the potential loss of the ice sheets, which make up the Antarctic continent, as being "like an eggshell that became too thin".

"It's not going to melt away. It's going to fracture," he said.

"It's going to reach a limit beyond which it is not stable.»

The Radio New Zealand piece was deeply biased as it created the impression that there is a consensus that this phenomenon is NOT CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE, something that could not be further from the case.

It is my understanding that in the case of controversy like this BOTH sides of the argument should be given equal status.

Instead I find it hard to escape the impression that your coverage on this (and prior to this) is government-led propaganda to softpeddle the impacts of climate change and to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.

RNZ, as a public broadcaster has a responsibility to inform its listeners and not to "manufacture consent» for the National governments refusal to take any action on something that is a dire emergency.

One way to redress this egregious imbalance would be to invite comment from someone of Dr. Rignot’s stature,

Unless I detect an attempt to correct this bias I shall take a case to the Broadcasting Standards Authority on the grounds of bias and a failure to present both sides of the argument.

Your sincerely,
Robin Westenra

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