The Australian: Twitterati have got our climate change stance wrong

The Australian has dedicated a full page feature to defending its stance on climate change, arguing that its position has been consistently misrepresented, particularly by those using social media to prosecute a “culture wars” campaign against it.

The Weekend Australian article by Graham Lloyd examined the newspaper’s coverage of the issue over the last five years, arguing that it has reflected a full variety of views although its own editorial line has always acknowledged the existence of climate change.  

Stating The Australian’s position, it says: “This newspaper supports global action on climate change based on the science.”

The News Ltd paper has been at the centre of debate since academic Julie Posetti reported on Twitter comments about its policy made by former member of staff Asa Walhquist at a conference late last month.

Editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell has claimed that the comments were libelous. The paper has suggested she should visit its newsroom saying: “Posetti has been invited to visit The Australian’s offices to get first-hand experience of the industry she has been tweeting about.”

The invitation may be a reference to the fact that although Posetti worked for the ABC for 13 years, from 1990 to 2003, she does not have any significant newspaper experience. She teaches radio and TV journalism at the University of Canberra. She is also the Australian editorial director of Media 140, which organises conferences around Twitter and social media. She moved into journalism academia seven years ago.

Posetti is currently undertaking a PHD in the “Twitterisation of journalism”.

In an accompanying editorial headlined “Truth is Twitter’s first casualty”, the paper argued that the greens have a “stranglehold on much of the media and, increasingly new social media such as Twitter.” It added: “The hothouse environment of Twitter has become a breeding ground for falsehoods that quickly become received wisdom with repeated telling.”


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