It’s Official: You REALLY Shouldn’t Listen To Alan Jones’ Comments On Climate Change

The media watchdog today confirmed exactly what every sane Australian already knew. Will that message get through to his audience?

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By now, everyone knows that Alan Jones is much more of a self-inflating whoopee cushion than any kind of real authority on national political debate. Or, more accurately, this is something people with both a brain and a memory repeatedly try to convince everyone else of; Jones’ endlessly controversial 2GB breakfast show took out its 100th straight ratings period last November, and has only got more popular since.

Here’s a picture of him celebrating his continued relevance by dressing as Toad from Toad Hall:

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.44.40 pm

Despite what the cake may suggest, it was not his birthday.

But today, the Australian Communications and Media Authority have hopefully given all these fans one more reason to doubt him, ruling that the things he says are sometimes objectively wrong. Not opinion. Not exaggeration. Just a 74-year-old man sitting in a padded room presenting the nation with a series of untrue things as if they are fact.

After an excruciatingly long investigation mired with legal challenges from the station itself, the media watchdog have decided 2GB and its parent company were in breach of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice for a segment they aired in September 2013. More specifically, it was in breach of the all-important section concerned with “accuracy”.

What He Said vs The Actual Truth

Speaking about a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Jones had said the body had “got it wrong by almost 100 per cent”. “The 2007 Assessment Report said the planet was warming at the rate of 0.2 of a degree centigrade every decade,” he said. “Well, the update now says the true figure was 0.12. The IPCC for a week has been denying it’s locked in crisis as they talk to scientists and don’t know what to do about the fact that their former theories of climate change have been disproven.”

“Over the past 60 years the world in fact has been warming at half the rate claimed in the previous IPCC report in 2007,” he said, with no qualification in the matter at all.

In (actual) fact, this is something which had already been proven untrue. The stats he was quoting were from an article in The Australian from earlier in the week, originally sourced from The Daily Mail. Three days prior to Jones’ segment, the paper had printed a full retraction and admitted their mistake: their own figures were wrong. The IPCC had instead cited the number of 0.12 degrees each decade, which is pretty much the same one from 2007 (0.13) — and Media Watch were about to run a full segment on it that night.

After realising this 90 minutes later, Jones then went on to make a complex on-air correction far too long to re-publish here. Suffice to say: after stating the correct figure, he went on to complicate the matter with those from other sources, criticise “the UN body given a Nobel prize for its climate alarmism” and finish by saying “so basically the temperatures have all but stopped rising”.

Sorry. This week I’ll take any opportunity to include a Channing Tatum gif.

What Happens Now?

Because of all this, ACMA’s final ruling has now decided Jones “did not make reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material was reasonably supportable as being accurate” and “did not broadcast a correction which was adequate and appropriate in all circumstances”.

They also maintain hope that this ruling will compel other broadcasters to generally get their shit together. “The ACMA is satisfied that [the comment] would have been understood by the ordinary, reasonable listener as statements of fact made by Mr Jones … The ACMA expects that the licensee (indeed all commercial radio licensees) will be guided by the Federal Court’s endorsement of the ACMA’s views on what is an ‘adequate and appropriate’ correction ‘in all the circumstances’,” they wrote in a media release this morning.

And while that’s a great idea, it seems unlikely. Jones was in similar trouble with ACMA in 2013 for making unsubstantiated comments about power stations and climate change officials, and again the year before for more inaccuracies in his discussion of environmental science. It’s clear he has no real interest in changing, so it’s probably just up to his listeners to tune out.

You’d think there was only so much of this you could take: