(DAILY TELEGRAPH) – Australia is a deeply puzzling land, especially to foreign media types. Even basic geography is sometimes a cause of bewilderment.
by Tim Blair
For example, in 2011 Britain’s Daily Mail tried to depict the extent of that year’s Queensland floods with a helpful map of eastern Australia. This isn’t a particularly difficult cartographic assignment, but the Mail managed to get it wrong, inventing the brand new state of Capricornia to Queensland’s north.
The current NSW fires have prompted similar blunders. Last week the US television network NBC ran a graphic intended to show the range of the fires. They turned out to be far more extensive than anyone in Australia was aware.
NBC may have sourced their information from a Geoscience Australia monitoring site that lists hazard reduction burns and other non-threatening fires along with the massive conflagrations throughout NSW. The result was a graphic showing almost the entire northwest of Australia covered with flames. Darwin hasn’t seen the likes of this since the Japanese bombing in World War II. Poor Capricornia copped it again as well. So did arid desert areas, which apparently now feature rare combustible dirt.
Elementary geographic and factual errors are one thing. It gets worse when ignorant outsiders lecture us about our own country. Former US vice-president turned global warming millionaire Al Gore barged in on local affairs last week, courtesy of the ABC.
“The Australian Prime Minister has said in the last couple of hours that bushfires are a function of life in Australia and nothing to do with climate change,” presenter Annabel Crabb asked. “What do you make of those remarks?”
“Well, it’s not my place to get involved in your politics,” Gore replied, before doing exactly that.
“It reminds me of politicians here in the US who got a lot of support from the tobacco companies and who argued to the public that there was absolutely no connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer,” Gore said. “And for 40 years the tobacco companies were able to persuade pliant politicians within their grip to tell the public what they wanted them to tell them.”
Gore should know. He was one of those pliant politicians, accepting campaign contributions from tobacco companies even after his older sister died of lung cancer. If you could burn hypocrisy, Al Gore would be the planet’s single largest energy source.
Time magazine’s Brooklyn-based Bryan Walsh also took aim at Abbott in a subtle piece headlined “Climate Change Affects Australia’s Epic Wildfires – No Matter What Prime Minister Says.”
Oddly, Australian leftists lap this stuff up. Show them a non-interfering British royal and they scream about independence and a republic. The same types usually wail about US cultural domination of Australian. Show them a couple of climate clowns from Brooklyn and Nashville, on the other hand, and they can’t wait to put a link up on Twitter.
Anyway, the grand authority of Walsh’s Time piece was slightly undermined by a few subsequent corrections. “An earlier version of this article misstated that New South Wales is in south-western Australia. It is in south-eastern Australia,” read one of them.
This was followed by another: “An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a former Prime Minister of Australia. She is Julia Gillard, not Gilliard.”
So Walsh doesn’t know anything about Australian politics or even where the fires were, but he sure knows what caused them. He’s able to work that out from New York. For a more accurate view, let’s turn to former CSIRO bushfire researcher David Packham, who described the supposed link between fires and climate change as “absolute nonsense”.
“If there is any global warming, the global warming is so slow and so small that the bushfire event is totally overrun by the fuel state,” Packham continued. But what would he know? He’s only an Australian who happens to have studied bushfires for more than 50 years. Warmies prefer their climate advice to be global.