In Australia, carbon dioxide pollution is a hot political topic. The country recently enacted a fairly moderate carbon tax — and the right wing went bananas.
Including talk radio “shock jock” (Australia has shock jocks, I guess) Alan Jones. Jones, who apparently belongs to the Limbaugh/AEI school of factual accuracy, said this on air last year:
The percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air. Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.
Which is wrong and dumb. So the Australian Communications and Media Authority did something that would never happen in the United States. It decided to make Jones go to an actual school of factual accuracy:
Controversial shock jock Alan Jones has been ordered to undergo “factual accuracy” training, and to use fact-checkers, in another damaging blow to his credibility.
External trainers will conduct training sessions for Jones and other news and current affairs staff at [radio station] 2GB. …
University of Melbourne climate change scientist David Karoly said Australians were in fact responsible for .45 per cent of total carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “Obviously, we would much rather prefer that the comments of people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt were, in fact, correct, so it is pleasing to get this ruling from ACMA,” Dr Karoly said.
2GB used the ol’ Fox News excuse:
The radio station told ACMA Jones’ claims should have been taken as commentary, because his show was neither news nor current affairs, but, “overwhelmingly … the personal opinion and comment of Jones”.
But the authority said any “ordinary, reasonable listener” would have taken his claims to be fact.
- Do “ordinary, reasonable” people listen to this guy?
- Close your eyes for a second and imagine the FCC mandating factual accuracy training for Rush Limbaugh. Funny, right?
Jones can find consolation in one thing: If he thinks the media landscape in Australia is too oppressive, there’s at least one country that would welcome him with open arms.