WHY THE GRUMPY OLD SOD WON'T BE BUYING THE SUNDAY TIMES ANY MORE
The one thing we expect from our newspapers is that they will tell us the truth - or at least, as none of us are completely all-knowing and completely impartial, something that we can perceive as the truth from our own particular perspective.
In the past I have always felt that the Sunday Times was a newspaper I could trust to a reasonable degree. It tells its stories in fairly good English, it assumes a good level of intelligence in its readership, it is a campaigning newspaper without sinking to the rabble-rousing depths of the Daily Mail, it employs some excellent columnists including Jeremy Clarkson, India Knight and Simon Jenkins, and it has always in the past appeared to present both sides of major issues.
No more, alas.
In their wisdom the management of the Sunday Times have taken it into their heads to include in four successive editions of their colour magazine, four large posters about global warming. I have one in front of me. Surrounded by glossy artwork and bold simplistic diagrams, it includes the message "HOW BAD IS IT? The effects of climate change are now accelerating so quickly that statistics are out of date before they are printed …."
Elsewhere on the page we find "Climate sceptics argue that changes in global climate can be explained by natural variability. It cannot."
I suppose one has to be thankful for small mercies - there are no pictures of polar bears, though their (alleged, and in the face of all current evidence) imminent extinction is mentioned in the long article on the back of the poster. The article also says "Sea levels are rising only slowly" and goes on to quote the IPCC prediction that sea levels may rise by between 30 and 60 centimetres this century. However, the little flyer in the corner for next week's poster shows that it will feature a map of the British Isles with absurdly large areas under water, à la Al Gore.
For a document that proclaims in its header "a unique series of dramatic wall posters offering the definitive guide to global warming. We sort the fact from the fiction: what we can prove and what we have to do", it's total garbage - alarmist, one-sided, hysterical, dumbed-down journalism of the worst kind. The greatest shame is that these posters are likely to find a home on the walls of most of the nation's classrooms. The upside is that kids will take as much notice of them as we did of all those arty pictures of beautiful flowers and cute creatures with slogans like "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" and "In the Earth beneath us, in the heavens above, at the core of our being, in us all, there is love".
Luckily many readers of the Sunday Times aren't going to be taken in either. Here's an email from Alan Johnson of Alton …
I notice that no author seems prepared to claim ownership for the content of these posters; and no wonder; the text is a typical mix of alarmist exaggeration and straw-man argument from the George Monbiot school of ignorance and delusion. In yesterday's edition (12 Nov), any contrary opinion was described as "idiotic" and funded by oil companies - how sophisticated is that? I'm sure that all the scientists who genuinely question the current "consensus" will be impressed by the sheer force of argument. And since when did black smoke come from cooling towers? This series is a laughably clumsy attempt at promoting quackery as science.
That's right, Sunday Times, you've blown it. This is not the factual, rational, intelligent, balanced reportage we have a right to expect from you. Next week I'm buying the Sunday Sport. At least it's honest - it doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: crap.
Meanwhile, the Independent is even further down the same line. Reported on the Global Warming Politics blogsite this week that the Indie, which is infamous for its doom-laden front pages on `global warming' (and many other PC topics), is clearly in trouble.
According to The Observer, "the relaunched, more anorexic Independent on Sunday is 8.37 per cent off October 2006 (with only 132,000 UK readers prepared to stump up £1.80 pounds)" and, at the news-stand, the "Independent, with not much of a net presence at all, is down 6.72 per cent in a year." The circulation of the Indie in August 2007 was a mere 240,116, a 5.37% drop from November 2006 and way below The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Times.
Moreover, unlike The Guardian (c. 18 million unique users), the poor Indie is unlikely to be saved by its website, which must be one of the dullest in the world. The word `anorexic' again crosses one's mind.
And now the financial section of The Times reveals that "Denis O'Brien, the Irish telecoms billionaire, has called on Sir Anthony O'Reilly to sell The Independent newspaper and resign as the chief executive of the company behind the loss-making London-based title. "The Independent has to go, as do other vanity projects" Mr O'Brien told The Times".
The Global Warming Politics website comments "Well, I never like the loss of media and debating outlets, but I have to say that the demise, if that were ever to happen, of the Indie would bring fewer tears to my eyes than most. As a purveyor of gloom and doom, it has been second to none. Even one environmentalist confided to me that, when on the tube or the bus, she felt she had to read it hidden between less lurid covers. Clearly doom and gloom on a daily basis doesn't sell. After all, why bother to read a newspaper when the triffids are lurking behind every page?"
Right, so there is some justice after all. Out of my entire male acquaintance (close friends, friends and colleagues of Mrs.GOS, casual acquaintances, the tradesmen one chats to, plumbers and carpenters who come to the house to fit the new kitchen, as well as my many email-only contacts etc.) I can only think of two who are completely convinced that man-made Global Warming is a reality.
The press, the rest of the media, the government, local councils, the IPCC, environmental pressure groups and George Moonbat all need to realise that the vast majority of us simply don't accept what they say. They need to learn from the Muslims: the only thing you get by preaching to those who are determined not to be converted, is to make yourself bloody unpopular.
Copyright © 2007 The GOS
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