Lapkin’s Shame

Posted by John Byatt 13/12/2012

http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/387130.html

Under the by-line CLIMATE SHAME 28April 2011 Ted Lapkin (IPA) sought to tarnish the name of one of the world’s most respected scientists, the late Stephen Schneider.

He used this claimed quote attributed to Schneider as his proof that scientists were playing fast and loose with the truth.

Stephen Scheider said: “We are not just scientists, but human beings as well. Like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

A Complaint I made to the ABC, included the full Schneider quote and clearly stated that Lapkin had doctored it for his own purpose

“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

My complaint was rejected by the ABC because I had referred to the full quote in the comments section which should suffice, and that out of context quotes are not a breach of the ABC’s new policy.

In light of the recent adjudication that Bolt’s article regarding HADCRUT’s temperatures had misrepresented the science I hope that the ABC now amends their own policy and that blatant misrepresentation is no longer a part of the deniers arsenal at ABC unleashed,

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