Today, for your amusement, Misha Ketchell, ex-ABC journalist, editor and ED of The Conversation scrambles to justify why banning half the population from speaking is not censorship. It’s almost a form of satire, but it’s not that clever.
He pulls out the old Argument from Authority and Ad Hom fallacies, known since Aristotle. He’s only 2,300 years behind the leading edge of rhetoric. Worse, the journalist doesn’t even understand the basics of journalism — as in, to research, present the best of both sides, and let the readers decide. Instead Ketchell, whose top scientific qualification is watching the ABC for twenty years, has decided that climate sensitivity of CO2 on planet Earth is 3.3C give or take nothing.
The biggest scandal of university research and science is there waiting to be told, but Ketchell-the-journo is 100% obedient to a collection of unaccountable foreign committee members who do unaudited work with unvalidated models.
Here come the excuses:
There’s a good reason we’re moderating climate change deniers: uninformed comments undermine expertise’
Real experts just answer the questions, they aren’t scared of the uninformed. Why is it only climate science where we need to protect the public from know-nothing comments? Either the punters are too stupid to spot the expert, or perhaps the fake experts need to be protected from the punters?
This absolutely is about free speech
Just saying it isn’t won’t make it so:
This is not about a denial of free speech. Media outlets have always curated the ways in which they feature audience feedback. Think about the big bags of letters newspaper editors used to sift to pick a dozen or so to publish every day. The skill was always about giving a debate a chance to be aired, to allow all sides to be heard, and then to move on.
But Ketchell isn’t banning misinformation, he’s banning a whole class of people, even “locking their accounts”. That makes it absolutely about “free speech”. Read his words, “deniers are dangerous”. No matter what they say, how well they say it, or how qualified they are, some citizens are the unmentionables who shall have no voice sayth Cardinal Ketchell. It doesn’t get more unfree than a namecalling pogrom with no right of reply.
The Conversation has become the definition of unfree speech. It’s the case study of 2019. The GoTo classic story of censorship for scholars a hundred years from now. The only uncertainty here is if Kenchell has the faintest idea of what free speech is?
Does he just realize he’s banned half of meteorologists?
Say hello to the false equivalence and strawman meme of your doctor versus your untrained friend:
Imagine you discovered you had a serious illness and went to a doctor who recommended an operation. Then you surveyed 10 of your friends about whether they thought you needed an operation. Then, rather than have the operation, you spend the next 10 years, in deteriorating health, every day hearing from your doctor the operation is needed, while a small subset of your mates comment on how the doctor is a nutjob.
What if your friends were engineers, dentists, doctors, PhD’s and Professors? What if your doctor was caught hiding declines, adjusting figures, manipulating reports, using fake photos, and resorted to bluster and coercion? What if he refused to answer questions, explain his methods, hid his data, his history and just called his critics petty names? Let’s say your doctor was paid handsomely to do risky operations with wildly exaggerated outcomes that failed every basic cost benefit test?
Misha Ketchell says “don’t ask” just pay the bill, take the drugs — your doctor is practically a God
When we do this to experts of any sort, these uninformed comments undermine their authority. People are less inclined to believe experts when their views are presented alongside hostile opinions. But the two things are not the same; they are entirely different types of information and they don’t deserve equal weight.
The right approach, if you don’t believe your doctor, is to seek a second opinion from another medical expert. And maybe a third or a fourth. And then you make a decision on how to act, based on the evidence.
What if there are other doctors all performing the exact same unnecessary operation, collecting huge fees, being treated like Planet Saving heroes on the ABC and getting nice two week junkets in Bali as well? They are the leading “experts” eh? Who cares that their expertise, status and income is also totally dependent on that type of operation. Complete patsies will ask them, ignore the conflicts of interest, and sign up to have a lung removed to stop their cough.