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Hot in the Air and Under the Collar

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There were two stories dominating the news in Australia in July, inextricably linked. What are they?

First there was continued debate on climate change, following Julia Gillard’s announcement on the carbon tax. The BNET audience seems to be split on the issue. Professor Corinne Le Quere, author of the last few assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, challenged assertions made by Bob Carter from the Institute of Public Affairs. Our audience was split 50:50 on who was right — pretty much the same as when David Havyatt and Chris Gollis debated the issue on a recent BTalk episode.

The media has a big part to play in the carbon debate. Murdoch’s papers have been accused of one-sided reporting on the issue. Their defence is that they are simply reflecting community opinion. But Stephen Mayne argued that this is an indication that Murdoch has too much power in the Australian media. UK journalist Brendan O’Neill believes campaigning against Murdoch by the press is no better than the ‘name and shame’ campaigns that News International engaged in over the years. It’s not a great moral transformation in the standards of the media, he said on BTalk.

Climate change and the power of the media were two hotly debated issues last month. Both reflect another issue I notice bubbling under the surface — why can’t people discuss these topics without getting so angry?

First published on CBS News 

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