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On Climate Change, RTÉ doesn’t even pretend to be balanced

The point of the media, in a democracy, is supposed to be to provide voters with the information they need in order to play an active role in the governance of the country. That’s it, really.

We may readily provide our own opinions on certain issues, and, being voters ourselves, have very strong preferences about what should be done, and so on. But when we tilt from providing information into concealing information, then we are no longer informing the voters, but deceiving them.

On Climate Change and Climate Policy, it is the openly stated objective of the national broadcaster to deceive the voters by depriving them deliberately of certain perspectives and views and facts, in order to promote certain policies. That is not an argument I am making – it is a statement of fact. On Monday night, for example, RTÉ had some form of television programme about Climate Change.

What RTÉ did not tell its viewers, at the beginning of that programme, is that RTÉ has signed up to an activist campaign called “covering climate now”, which actively requires member organisations to suppress all information or perspectives which argue, or might lead a viewer to believe, that Climate Change is not the most urgent problem facing humanity. My colleague Ben wrote about that campaign last year if you want more information.

In Irish media coverage of climate change, the Government’s policy of achieving certain carbon reductions is never questioned. By that, I mean, the only question that may be asked is “how” – “how can we do this fairly? How can we allocate the reductions across society?”. That’s why you get endless coverage of whether farmers are being asked to do too much.

There is not, and will never be, any “why” – “why are we doing this in the first place?”. That question is, literally, banned from RTÉ’s airwaves. You are not allowed to ask it. If you try to ask it, you will be banned from their programming. This is not exaggeration; it is a statement of fact.

But the “why” is a fundamental question, and the answers to it are not easy to come up with, which is, in part, why they’re banned. If that was an easy question to answer convincingly, there would be no need to ban it. It’s banned precisely because that question might make you think, not because it’s a stupid question.

For example, why should we trust that Climate Scientists are right, when they have been consistently wrong?

Climate Science, for example, has given us endless warnings before. In the early 2000’s, we had just five years to save the polar icecaps. Those icecaps, stubbornly, remain. In the 1990s, we had just five years to save the Polar Bear: The Polar Bear, blessedly, has seen its population explode. In the late 1980s, we had just 20 years before sea levels rose to a degree where New York City would become New Venice: That, too, was wrong. There are more. There are, literally, thousands of examples of predictions of climate doom that are now past their sell-by-date, and did not come true.

If anybody else was as persistently wrong as Climate Scientists have been in making predictions of doom, we would laugh at them. Nevertheless, here we are again: Just five years, or whatever it is, to save the world. Climate Science has much in common with those American religious types who, now and then, predict the date of the rapture and the end of the world, and get much media amusement when it does not happen.

You are not allowed to point this out because, if you do, you are a climate denier. A science denier. Somebody who doubts the word of your betters. But here’s the thing: I for one don’t doubt the qualifications of climate scientists – I just judge them on their record.

But ask yourself, if all of this is so true, and so certain, where is the urgency? Do we think, for example, that the Government of China lacks scientists? That the people who run that country are content for a billion Chinese people to face Climate Doom? Because that is what they will face, we are told, if they do not turn away from their godless coal plants and dirty industries. Yet, China does not act as if there is a crisis at all.

In fact, nobody does, except for those poor upset sods who spend their time assaulting works of art, or gluing themselves to roads, in the name of science. But those people are not scientists themselves: They are just people convinced that the world is burning. Meanwhile, many of the wealthy who claim the sea levels may soon drown us all are content, in summer, to retreat to their coastal getaways. You’d think they’d be selling those.

Bad things happen, when science cannot be questioned. Look at Covid, if you do not believe me.

RTÉ were never given a mandate for this, either. We are forced to pay for them on the basis that they are a public service broadcaster, supposed to help the public to make informed decisions based on all the information and relative perspectives. But at the same time, they actively ban discussion of relevant perspectives, and information. You are supposed to trust them, though they do not trust you.

Because this is what it’s about: You don’t ban arguments that you can easily defeat. The reason RTÉ bans opposing perspectives on Climate Change is not because they think the people making those arguments are stupid; but because they think their viewers might be too stupid to agree with RTÉ.

You’re not being informed, you are being insulted.

In the meantime, Ireland is pursuing a ruinously expensive project on Climate Change, one driving up costs right across the economy. It drives up housing costs. And heating costs. And transport costs. And electricity costs. It discourages you from having Children. It encourages you to feel anxious about the future. It tells you to be guilty for your sins, and to repent.

And all on the basis of what? That the people who have been predicting imminent doom, incorrectly, for fifty years, are right this time.

You deserve better.

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