Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

‘Climate denial’ ad pulled from The Australian after regulator deems it ‘deceptive’ | Weekly Beast
Climate World News

‘Climate denial’ ad pulled from The Australian after regulator deems it ‘deceptive’ | Weekly Beast

For almost a decade, the Australian has been running “climate science denial” ads from the Climate Study Group (CSG) that claim burning fossil fuels is hunky dory and even necessary for life on Earth.

But the latest ad has been “discontinued” after Ad Standards found it contained misleading or deceptive environmental information.

Way back in 2015, Graham Readfearn (then at DeSmog, now Guardian Australia’s environment reporter) was writing about CSG’s advertisements (and their links to the Institute of Public Affairs).

Last year, Readfearn took a forensic look at some of their claims about atmospheric carbon concentration.

Someone complained to Ad Standards that CSG had “published climate denial [and] disinformation in The Australian” and that it was “indistinguishable from editorial content”.

In its judgment, the Ad Standards community panel found the ad was sufficiently marked as an ad, but “considered that the advertisement was making the environmental claim that fossil fuels can be used without concern that they will have a negative impact on the environment”.

It found the claim was “misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive” and therefore breached the environmental code.

CSG, in its defence, dished out a gish gallop of claims – essentially repeating the claims it had initially made. But in the end it acquiesced and said it would discontinue the ad.

Uhlmann back in the ring

Journalist Chris Uhlmann, whom most will remember for his time at the ABC, is joining the Australian. The national broadsheet’s regard for the national broadcaster is well known.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Australian announced Uhlmann was joining Murdoch stablemate Sky News. Many of Sky’s people also have passionate views about the ABC.

Uhlmann left the ABC for Nine in 2017, and left Nine after the 2022 election. He told the Australian he had wanted to get out of the daily news cycle, but now wants back in the fight.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Speaking of fight – Uhlmann’s shown his willingness to engage in a bit of biffo with the “woke” was on show after the 2022 federal election, which could stand him in good stead in Murdochland. Guardian Australia’s then political editor, Katharine Murphy, was unimpressed with the leaders’ debate Nine hosted. Calling it a “genuine shit blizzard” was the least of it.

Uhlmann did not turn the other cheek, saying of the Guardian: “It is odd that an organ so angrily post-Christian behaves so much like the medieval church, because it has appointed itself the guardian of the constantly shifting sands of modern virtue.”

According to the Oz, in his new gig he will “address subjects as diverse as Christianity and philosophy, Aukus and the net zero transition”.

Uhlmann will appear on Sky News after dark, but will also appear during the much less opinionated daytime.

The move comes not long after Peter van Onselen – who had also had enough of journalism in his role as Ten Network political editor – picked up a new gig as political editor of the tabloid Daily Mail.

X’s incremental shift

In the early days after belligerent billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter (now X), the press office started responding to all queries with a poo emoji.

In a clear sign of X’s maturation, that emoji was replaced more recently with the auto-reply “busy now, please check back later”.

This week, there was yet another mindblowing change in policy at the social media company, with an actual person (apparently) actually replying to an actual media inquiry.

Sure, it was five days late. And on the wrong topic.

But still, Guardian Australia’s inquiry about X’s reaction to opposition leader Peter Dutton’s switcheroo on misinformation laws was technically responded to, with a link to a generic statement about X’s intransigence in the face of the Australian government’s attempted takedown of videos of the alleged Wakeley stabbing.

skip past newsletter promotion

Sam Kerr AI likeness falls silent

Speaking of celebrities, Beast checked in on the celebrity AI chatbots unveiled by Meta last year. One of them – “good time Sal” – is embodied by footballing legend Sam Kerr.

The celebrity bots also include Snoop Doog, Kendall Jenner and Naomi Osaka, and they have accounts on Instagram but will eventually be the chatbot interfaces on Insta, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Kerr may be having some trials and tribulations in her own life, but her chatbot Sal is overwhelmingly zen, posting pictures of waterfalls, sunsets, meditation bowls, and “getting into the artsy zone” by painting a watercolour of a beach.

Sal’s account, which has about 2,760 followers, has been quiet since the start of March.

Albrechtsen’s surprising ‘no sides’ sermon

In among the myriad court actions that began after allegations surfaced that Bruce Lehrmann raped his Liberal party staffer colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House was the inquiry into the failed prosecution of Lehrmann. That had adverse findings against ACT director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold, who then launched his own legal manoeuvre to quash those findings.

When the ACT supreme court handed down its findings in that matter, there were 293 mentions of Janet Albrechtsen, columnist at The Australian. That is just a tot higher than the number of interactions she had with the head of the inquiry, Walter Sofronoff.

Albrechtsen had 273 “interactions” with Sofronoff, including “private and secret” text messages. Lawyers for the ACT government and the board of inquiry told the court there was no “proper basis” to suggested she was an “advocate” for Lehrmann or had “infected” Sofronoff with bias.

Some still had concerns. “We have seen [Albrechtsen] become a player, rather than a mere reporter,” Margaret Simons wrote in Guardian Australia last week.

But Albrechtsen wrote this week that, in fact, too many other people took sides in the Lehrmann-Higgins saga. And the Australian was not among them. “When guided by principles, there is no taking sides,” she wrote.

Dias’s departure ruffles feathers

News that ABC’s south Asia correspondent Avani Dias left India after the government there made her job and visa application “too difficult” hit headlines around the world, including in the New York Times, the Independent and Hong Kong’s paper of record, South China Morning Post.

Most were critical of the ongoing pressure on press freedom under the prime minister, Narendra Modi, who is seeking a third term at the current elections.

Indian news outlet NDTV, however, spoke to anonymous sources who said Dias’s claims were “misleading”. That’s the same NDTV that has been bleeding journalistic talent in the wake of concerns about its independence since being taken over by billionaire Gautam Adani, a close friend of Modi’s.

At the time, Reporters Without Borders raised concerns that Adani’s “unconcealed proximity to India’s ruling party raises serious questions about respect for NDTV editorial independence”.

Some might think that such coverage risks supporting Dias’s point.

Source: theguardian.com