Bolt v Barry: War of words over drought link
TWO of Australia's most unflinching newsmen have locked horns on social media, accusing one another of "crimes against journalism."
ABC broadcaster Paul Barry launched an attack on Andrew Bolt this morning after the News Corp columnist published an opinion piece accusing the Media Watch host of using the program to "nail some sceptics" of the impact of climate change on drought.
"The ABC, the national broadcaster, has been hijacked by global warming extremists," Bolt wrote.
"Media Watch host Paul Barry was cross that I and fellow Sky News hosts had quoted Professor Andy Pitman, the warmist head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes."
Barry told his viewers on Monday night that Prof Pitman had become a "new hero" for Sky News commentators after telling a University of Sydney climate meeting that "there is no link between climate change and drought". During the segment, Prof Pitman clarified his comment, telling the ABC that while hotter temperatures don't lead to higher evaporation and risk of drought, global warming does lead to changes in rainfall patterns which can cause drought.
Bolt hit back in his column, alleging Prof Pitman was "covering his backside" and Barry "inexplicably" left out some damning parts of the scientist's speech.
In turn, Barry returned fire in an email sent to Bolt and News Corp editors this morning and posted on Twitter, accusing Bolt of the same thing.
"You have done exactly what you accuse us of doing, by omitting two of his [Pitman's] key points," Barry wrote.
"The first is that there IS a drying trend over the last twenty years. The second is that there is a long-term drying trend in some regions and not in others".
"I'm sure this must be a mistake on your part. Perhaps by the sub-editors. And one that you will want to correct".
"Because to omit those two sentences deliberately would be both hypocritical and dishonest."
In a public blog post and email reply, Bolt hit back again, slamming the email as "pathetic, deceptive. Ill-informed and evasive".
"So do you then admit you yourself omitted something very material? Then apologise and correct.
"Your implied defence - that I omitted something, too - is pathetic.
"First, pathetic even on your own terms - that two (alleged) wrongs make you right.
"Second, I have several times quoted the entire passage. Look it up.
"The omission is obviously immaterial. That "trend" over 20 years signifies nothing about global warming. There was a historically anomalous wet period around the 1970s in particular, with rainfall since falling back again, but to levels still above what we saw in the first half of the century. That's all."
Bolt signed off the post by calling Barry's argument "weak and totally unprofessional".