Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Credibility and mainstream news sources

Having a wander through the news, I always make a point of avoiding the BBC amongst others, because I'll only find something to make me snarl at the screen and waste precious life seconds on their biased coverage of the news, if that's what they're still calling it.

What has happened to journalism? Where are the investigations to find the facts, the truthseeking, the veracity? Much of so called news nowadays from what I can see is heavily biased, sensationalised and easily 'fisked' (Checked for accuracy and found wanting). Sorry to be boring dear reader (I think I've got one), but let's look at this global warming mallarkey (All right, who said "Oh no not again" Go and stand in the corner and be quiet). The news outlets go on about the 'ice free' Arctic which led this guy to try and paddle his kayak to the North pole to highlight the problem about thinning ice at the poles (Antarctic ice has been thickening over the past few years, but no one seems to mention this). He got to just past 80 Degrees North (A good 600 miles short of his destination) and was widely applauded for being the person to get the furthest North ever by this method. Weeellll, not really. An earlier explorer managed it many years ago, 1893 I think and managed to get a shade further North to past 84 Degrees latitude. Nuclear Submarines have been surfacing fairly irregularly at or near the North pole since 1959 (USS Skate) in big open 'leads' or ice free areas of the polar ice pack even as early in the year as March. Yet this is not quoted on the 'news'. This article details how icebreakers reached the North Pole in 1977. Yet the fact that open water has been historically quite common during Summer at the North Pole is ignored, and each yearly ice melt held up as 'proof of global warming'. Well, maybe not this year, or last.

On some news channels, environmentalist press releases are almost parroted as gospel, when I know for a fact that many environmental groups lie, exaggerate and use hyperbole in a way that would make the most foppish romantic poet grit his teeth and scream "No more! Stop it! I'll go and get a real job!" before putting on a grey suit suit and training to become an Accountant.

To think I used to support these organisations with regular donations. No more. They lost their credibility back in the mid 1990's as far as I was concerned when I found a couple of environmental statements a bit far fetched and started doing my own research. I mean, I'm no scientist, but then neither are they if accuracy is anything to go by. For example, Greenpeace and the WWF continually bang on about the 'declining' Polar Bear population and how many of them are 'drowning'. Actually, the Bears themselves seem to be doing fine.

I chucked out the Television five years ago when I found the TV news continually patronising and insulting. It was all misinformation and froth. No one seemed to do any proper research on the background of stories any more. The news stopped being news, it was (and is) either highly sensationalised or religiously parrots the party line. Counterknowledge and pseudoscience have become the new wisdom.

Why does this bother me so much? Because I am (I like to think) a decent and relatively honest man (For a given value of 'honest'), and I hate being blatantly lied to, then taxed or ripped off on the basis of that lie and told it's "For my own good".

Rant over.

The Gas price locally is down almost to pre panic levels at 136.9 with crude bouncing around US$91-96 a barrel. Brent crude has been under US$90 a barrel earlier today, although I didn't take a screenshot. Last time I looked it was trading at US$91.90. I think I'll give it a couple more days until filling up again.

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