Politics, Polls, and the changing climate: How the journos distort the facts.

I’ll be referring mostly to the following piece by the Daily Telegraph: Gillard’s hot but women cool on Abbott. It’s not a go at Ben Packham; I could have used anyone of a number of articles recently published by different groups. What I find troubling is what is being reported in these pieces: that the female vote is in favour of Julia Gillard.

Based on Galaxy polling, it’s being reported that 58% of women favour Julia, while 31% of women favour Tony.  This is a distinct difference to the polled males (51% to 40% respectively).

The first point that I would like to make will lose me some friends.

My fiancée faces a little bit of guff from me as being a racist. A positive racist. Of course, I’m joking when I call her this, however, I point out that by unevenly favouring certain cultures/people, she is, in a way, (positively) judging people based on culture and/or race.

Now, likewise, I argue that gender preference is a form of sexism. I know that this is Australia’s first female PM and as I mentioned in my previous piece, I am a little disappointed that such a move happened not by voters, but internally – removing the opportunity from Australian’s of this hallmark moment to prove that we are beyond sexism. What is demonstrated by this poll is that the very people who have been fighting for equality are potentially demonstrating their own form of gender favouritism. That said, it’s also a fair enough call to suggest that the women polled are generally smarter, which in turn was highlighted by their dominant preference (she may not be “moving forward”, but at least she’s not moving backward, unlike, I would argue, Abbott largely stands for).

The more serious point that I would like to make (yes, I was being lighthearted above) is the wonderfully illogical job it is to be a journalist! It’s not just Ben here, but all the media outlets that I’ve come by that have suggested the female bias towards Gillard. Not only have they merely suggested it, many have talked it up. This is, remember, 58% of women favouring Julia and 31% favouring Tony. NEWS!!

Yet, 95% of related experts support, not only the reality of climate change, but that our emissions are a major factor in this change and yet the media portrays a highly energetic debate? How is this logical and reasonable?

Encouraging a false “debate” and “balancing” the discussions with a range of climate sceptic *cough* experts has done nothing but distort the reality, build up cowboy citizen scientists and greatly tarnish the reputations of professionals who have worked hard for their expertise.

Last week I made the call for known misinformers to face the same level of scrutiny as they demanded of the climate scientists. Obviously this is near impossible to enforce and it’s well known that journalism is not restricted by the same level of accountability and peer-scrutiny as science (arguably transparency as well with the fallout of the non-event, “Climategate”).

There is no reason for journalists to report the truth, especially when sensationalism and hogwash sells more papers. Please, by all means, talk up a mild gender bias in a poll and feel just as free to talk down the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence that supports anthropogenic global warming. However, I feel that such fictitious entertainment should own up to its true colours and stop relying on this façade of responsible and truthful reporting. Provide the cheap trills at rock bottom prices, but at least the reader is informed enough to have a laugh, disregard the rag and get on with living an informed existence.

Obviously, to keep afloat in the Age of Information, most papers have had to sell their souls and stoop to appalling levels. As much as this is all “just business”, I feel that the low standard of reporting rightly removes the authority that many journalists enjoy. We should just face the facts.


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