Published on June 26th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill
Rinehart, The Age, and the End of Australian Journalistic Integrity
What could arguably be labeled the most reliable and intellectual newspaper in Australia is having its future journalistic integrity threatened by a mining magnate who believes that in exchange for her financial help, she should not only receive director positions on the board as well as editorial input.
This may seem a little out of left field for Planetsave, but one need only look at a statement presented to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in which Gina Rinehart — the heiress of Hancock Prospecting and the world’s richest woman — made it clear she would sell her 18.6 percent stake in Fairfax Media, parent company of newspaper The Age, if her demands were not met.
Gina Rinehart wants director positions on the board that do are not attached with “unsuitable conditions.” Now the single largest shareholder, Rinehart seems to think that these “unsuitable conditions” include allowing The Age editorial independence, specifically, not allowing board members any input into the content of the journalism. Mrs Rinehart is apparently attempting to resist this restriction.
Here is where it makes sense for me to comment on this at Planetsave. Mrs Rinehart believes that The Age “should also permit to be published that climate change has been occurring naturally since the earth began, not just the views of the climate extremists.” Apparently, “she remains concerned by the lack of understanding in the media on this issue.”
Her statement went on to state that “it is a fact that there have been ice ages, then periods of global warming to end the ice ages, and these have occurred naturally, including due to the earth’s orbit, and not due to mankind at all.”
All very well and good, but it goes to prove her own point, really.
What a fundamental misunderstanding of the science behind the matter! What a perfect example of exactly why newspapers and media institutions should hold to editorial independence, so that those who are not trained in the sciences behind big issues are not allowed to enforce uneducated opinions simply because they differ to their own.
There are any number of reasons why editorial independence is important, and we’ve seen it time and time again. There was a reason that Edward R. Murrow was allowed such leniency on the air, as there was for Walter Cronkite during the Vietnam War. Truth must be spoken to power.
Yes. I absolutely agree with Mrs Rinehart. The media should be allowed to publish articles that show that there have been many cycles of warming and cooling. Because then the science will rule out, and the facts will show that this particular period of warming has very little to do with natural cycles and everything to do with the horrific infliction of humanity upon our planet’s climate and ecosystem.