GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 565
29 October 2021
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NAKKIAH LUI BELLS THE ABC’S (GRATUITOUS) CAT
Stan Grant is by far the best Q&A presenter on the ABC team – mainly because he can manage a panel in an authoritative but engaging way. This is not much good for Media Watch Dog which operates on the principle that – for MWD at least – worse is better.
The highlight of last night’s program occurred towards the end when, to MWD’s surprise, the writer and actor Nakkiah Lui answered a question from Stan Grant on being defined – and had this to say:
Nakkiah Lui: I’m the only person here on the Q&A website where they have my – oh, maybe except for you, sorry, Stan – where, on this panel today, they said a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. I’m not ashamed of being Aboriginal – but we’re defined by colonial people, by whiteness telling us that we’re Aboriginal. We don’t call, you know, “white Mr John Bell” [Stan Grant laughing] – I can if you like. But, it’s like, why – so, this idea that we get to pick in and out of these things that define us, it’s – I don’t think it’s necessarily correct.
What fun. In recent times the intellectual fashionistas at the ABC and elsewhere have decided that it is appropriate to depict Indigenous Australians as, say, a Darumbal Woman or a Arabana Man. Ms Lui belled the cat last night that this ABC fad is just a gratuitous gesture.
Early in the program the author, academic and leftist activist Bri Lee railed at John Bell, the founding artistic director of Bell Shakespeare company – a Sydney Man if ever there was one. Let’s go to the transcript:
Bri Lee: I know you’ve worked previously with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. And for those who don’t know, that’s an organisation who [sic] give an extraordinary amount of money to a very small number of people. And its people who really, really like Western civilisation. And the organisation is run by people who set a tone that not only is Western civilisation really great, but in many ways, it is the best. And I would actually like to hear from you, who is a man who has spent the better part of his life thinking deeply, and in nuanced ways, about William Shakespeare. How does it make you feel to work with people, and to know that there are people who exist, who use Shakespeare as the poster boy for the supremacy of Western civilisation?
In fact, John Bell has never worked for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation – as a simple web search would attest. In November 2019 he did a Q&A at the Centre on Shakespeare. That’s all. Comrade Bri did not apologise when John Bell corrected her howler.
Then, later, leftist comedian Paul McDermott regretted that only 17 per cent of Shakespeare’s work focused on women. Forgetting, apparently, that that was quite a lot for 16th Century male writers.
As MWD recalls, the latter-day male feminist Comrade McDermott was once a member of the Doug Anthony All Stars. It was an all-bloke band – comprising comrades McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Richard Fidler. Not one sheila in this lot. Moreover, the Doug Anthony All Stars was a send up of Doug Anthony, the one-time Nationals leader. Okay. But Comrade McDermott could have called the group Margot Anthony All Stars. That he chose not to do so was a manifestation of rampant misogyny, according to his current standards.
Come to think of it, Paul McDermott’s sheilaless group in Australia in the 1980s makes William Shakespeare’s female consciousness in the 1590s look, well, most progressive.
Media Watch Dog fave William (Bill) Thompson established the website “Outside Insiders” – in which he would attempt (sometimes successfully) to interview politicians and commentators entering and exiting the ABC Melbourne Southbank studio where Insiders is filmed on a Sunday morning. Mr Thompson, who describes himself as the ABC’s Southbank Correspondent, has been a bit short of talent in 2020 and 2021 – due to the pandemic since much of the Insiders interviews/panel discussions are currently done online. So, for a time at least, MWD has borrowed Bill Thompson’s (clever) title – and presents a print version of “Outside Insiders”.
PK, PVO & Ms SAVVA ARE ALL HOPELESSLY WRONG (AGAIN)
Wasn’t last Sunday’s ABC TV Insiders a real morale-boosting hoot? Insiders’ executive producer Samuel Clark assembled the most qualified panel of Insiders regulars it is possible to find to discuss contemporary Australian politics in the lead up to the next election.
There was ABC’s very own Patricia (“call me PK”) Karvelas, Network Ten’s Peter (“call me PVO”) van Onselen and Nine’s Niki Savva. What this trio has in common is that all got the outcome of the 2019 election hopelessly wrong in having failed to recognise the possibility of a Coalition victory. So it made lotsa sense to ask them back on Insiders so that viewers could learn from their expertise in the lead-up to the forthcoming election and all that. As usual David (“call me Speersy”) Speers was in the presenter’s chair.
Discussion initially focused on the relationship between the Liberal Party and The Nationals with respect to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s intention to go to the COP26 in Glasgow with a commitment of net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
First up, Comrade Karvelas – true to form – threw the switch to prophecy. Let’s go to the transcript:
Patricia Karvelas: As we go to air this morning, it’s my understanding that the Nationals’ position has actually hardened against supporting net zero emissions by 2050. Hardened over the weekend. So, are we closer to a deal? I believe we are not.
A deal was reached the following day. In short, PK’s understanding was hopelessly wrong.
Then it was Peter van Onselen’s turn. PVO predicted that “ministers would have to quit” if the Nationals did a deal with the Liberal Party on net zero emissions by 2050. Speersy suggested that this might apply to such hang-outs like Keith Pitt and Bridget McKenzie and so on. PVO was hopelessly wrong. A deal was done between the Coalition partners – and no one resigned from the ministry. Indeed, Keith Pitt was promoted into the Cabinet.
Then Niki Savva had a go. She declared that if there was a Cabinet decision to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 “there will be ministerial resignations and there will be enormous upheaval within the National Party”. Hopelessly wrong on both counts.
MWD looks forward to more of those all-too-common Insiders panels where essentially everyone agrees with essentially everyone else on essentially everything – and there is often unity in ignorance. They’re just made for Jackie’s (male) co-owner.
MWD’s INTERRUPTION CHECK UNIT ON SPEERSY’S LATEST EFFORT
For those avid readers who want to know how David (“Oh yes, I’m the Great Interrupter”) Speers went last Sunday – according to MWD’s Interruption Check Unit, Speers interrupted NSW Coalition treasurer and environment minister Matt Kean on just 7 occasions. Speersy’s going rate for interrupting Coalition ministers is over 20 per interview.
How so? – MWD hears avid readers cry. The answer lies in this question. How can David (“Interrupter”) Speers’ interruptions be limited? Answer – get him to interview a Greens politician (like Adam Bandt), a Labor identity (like Ed Husic) or a moderate, i.e. left, Liberal (like Matt Kean). That’s how. Your man saves his best interruption days for the likes of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his ministers. In this sense, Insiders is yet another manifestation of the ABC as a Conservative Free Zone in action.
PETER FITZSIMONS BOASTS ABOUT HIS CERTAIN TALENT FOR SELF-PROMOTION
Geraldine Doogue is one of the best ABC interviewers – for example, when talking to authors she understands their work and is more interested in their replies than promoting her own views in questions. Indeed Hendo listens to Ms Doogue’s ABC Radio National Saturday Extra program most Saturday mornings, around Hangover Time, when walking Jackie.
And so it came to pass that, last Saturday, Hendo listened to Geraldine Doogue’s interview with Peter FitzSimons (the former Red Bandannaed One) about his very latest book The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins: Australia’s Greatest Explorer (Hachette Australia). At $49.99 for a whopping 549 pages it’s incredible value for anyone who needs to put a block under a car wheel when parked on a steep hill.
Reviewing Peter (“I wore a red rag on my head for a decade until I finally had to send it to the dry cleaners where it was lost”) FitzSimons’ very latest tome in The Australian on Tuesday, Professor Ross Fitzgerald referred to the author’s “posse of researchers”. This makes it possible for Australia’s most prolific author to produce what the learned professor called a “blockbuster” every month or so. Or so it appears.
Alas, MWD digresses – yet again. Let’s go to the transcript of the Doogue-FitzSimons discussion:
Geraldine Doogue: …He [Hubert Wilkins] – in your typical way – he’s “the Forrest Gump of Australian history” You actually found him by realising that his name was turning up in all sorts of research you were doing for other books. He was there, there and there, because he’s been in the thick of so many historical events. So, why don’t we know about him more? It is a bit of a surprise.
Peter FitzSimons: Well, Geraldine, you and I have known each other I reckon since I started doing the book on Kim Beazley – given that you’re a university friend thereof – and got to know each other then. And you may know that I have a certain talent for self-promotion. I was a very moderate [Rugby Union] Wallaby 30 years ago – was in and out in a few months, played seven tests and didn’t really make much of a mark. But I haven’t stopped talking about it since. And Hubert Wilkins was the total opposite…
You can say that again. When your man Fitz gets his posse of researchers to work on his autobiography it is destined to be around 2,000 pages with any unsold copies not remaindered but used as ballast for ships.
Now MWD is yet to see a copy of The Incredible Life of Hubert Wilkins. However, having read the chapter on Wilkins in Ian Macfarlane’s Ten Remarkable Australians (Connor Court, 2019), it’s hard to imagine the explorer Wilkins as a Forrest Gump type. As to Comrade FitzSimons’ revelation that he is always talking about himself – well, this is hardly news. Can You Bear It? [Alas, no. Not now that you ask. – MWD Editor.]
ABC LEFTIST FRAN KELLY DECLARES THAT THE ABC HAS NO LEFT-WING BIAS
While on the topic of Peter FitzSimons, as avid readers are aware, in recent times Nine Newspapers junked his self-important “Fitz on Sunday” column which used to appear on the back page of the Sun-Herald – and replaced it with sports coverage. This is where sports should always have been – on the paper’s back page.
For a couple of months or so, Comrade FitzSimons has been doing his “5 minutes with Fitz” column for the Sun-Herald which appears around the middle of the paper. Now, 5 minutes with Comrade FitzSimons can seem to be a very long time indeed – so MWD tends to avoid this usually boring question/answer column. But last Sunday, Jackie’s (male) co-owner did read his interview with Fran Kelly.
Now many journalists are self-important types. Even so, when stepping down from a program most journalists are content with a victory lap. Not so Fran (“I’m an activist”) Kelly. On 21 October, the ABC put out a statement titled “Fran Kelly departs RN Breakfast after 17 years”. Since then, Comrade Kelly has commenced not a victory lap but, rather, a victory half-marathon.
Along the way, Ms Kelly decided to spend 5 minutes with Peter FitzSimons in the Sun-Herald. It was not long before the leftist Fitz asked the leftist Kelly about the claim that the ABC exudes a leftist bias. Let’s go to the transcript:
Peter FitzSimons: What do you make of the criticism that’s levelled at the ABC by those who say it has a left-wing bias.
Fran Kelly: I don’t think it has. Now, of course, we all bring our values to our work. But you know, all of us learn the basic rules of journalism, which is objectivity and balance, and that’s what I try to bring to the table every single morning….
Yeah. Go on. Here you have a leftist journalist – who once proudly boasted that she is an “activist” – going into denial by suggesting that she’s always into “objectivity and balance”.
Anyone who doubts Comrade Kelly’s lack of self-awareness in this instance need do no more than compare her recent interviews with the Coalition’s Finance Minister Simon Birmingham (24 October 2021) and Greens’ leader Adam Bandt (25 October 2021).
Comrade Kelly adopted a hostile attitude to Senator Birmingham and challenged many of his claims. In one instance she declared: “I’m sorry to interrupt you, Minister” after he had spoken 68 words. The interruption took up 137 words. But Comrade Kelly gave Comrade Bandt a very soft interview – and did not challenge the Greens’ leader when he threw the switch to hyperbole with this comment on the Morrison government’s decision not to alter Australia’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030:
Adam Bandt: This is what this deal [Liberal Party/Nationals] is based on. Killing the Great Barrier Reef, having heat waves that happen much more frequently, droughts that happen twice as often and cooking our kids. These 2030 targets are a death sentence.
In fact, Senator Bandt spoke about “cooking our kids” on two occasions – without a shred of evidence to back up this assertion.
A comparison of the Birmingham and Bandt interviews did not indicate the objectivity and balance which Comrade Kelly convinced Comrade Fitz is part of her shtick. Also, Kelly and FitzSimons refuse to acknowledge that the ABC is a conservative free zone without one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. This is the issue which the likes of FitzSimons and Kelly will not address.
While on the Kelly half marathon, this is what she said on 21 October 2021.
I’ve been in this role for 17 years and I have loved every second of it. Each morning is an adrenalin-fuelled, non-stop live ride interviewing some of the greatest and most interesting minds in Australia and the world. I thrive on the thrill of both setting the day’s news agenda and engaging in the public discussions we have as a society.
Turn it up. As Sky News’ Chris Kenny has said, he listens to RN Breakfast every morning to find out what the left is on about. As to Comrade Kelly’s self-serving claim that RN has set “the day’s news agenda” for some 17 years – how come the Sydney Morning Herald’s Nick Miller reported on 21 October that when Fran Kelly arrives at the studio each morning, the Breakfast staff have set out on the tray the four newspapers available in Sydney at the time – the Australian, Australian Financial Review, Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald. This is what Mr Miller, who interviewed Ms Kelly for history had to say:
Her [Fran Kelly’s] routine has been tough: the alarm goes off at 3.30 am; an hour later Kelly is in the car with the BBC on. When she gets to work, there are four newspapers on her desk plus online news sites to speed-read in between pre-records, ready for a 6 am start.
Why would Comrade Kelly read such papers in the morning if she was already setting the news for the whole of Australia? Can You Bear It?
ALL QUIET ON THE RAF EPSTEIN FRONT AS NSW NARROWS THE GAP WITH VICTORIA ON COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS IN 2021
Avid readers will no doubt be aware of ABC Radio Melbourne 774 Drive presenter Raf Epstein. Raf has regularly tweeted hints about the Victorian COVID case numbers before they are officially released, though these leaks seem to be more frequent on days when the case number would qualify as good news for Victoria (Daniel Andrews’ Labor Government).
In the last month, with good news Victorian case numbers a rarity, Raf decided to sometimes accompany his (less frequent) case number leaks with a comparison between total Victorian and NSW cases and deaths in 2021. Here he is on 8 October:
Not a good case number in Vic today
Hoping – cos of vax rate – we can do a bit better that the 62K cases in NSW
vs 29K cases in Vic, so far this year
403 deaths in NSW vs 75 deaths in Vic
NSW had more than 1000 pple in hospital for almost all of Sept
Hope we don’t get there
— Raf Epstein (@Raf_Epstein) October 7, 2021
And here is he again on 20 October:
Vic Covid # today between 1750-1900
Vic will hit 70% 2nd dose (16+) today
Those arguing Vic should open faster like NSW.. comparisons are useful
2021 with vax
NSW 67K cases, Vic 49K
NSW 479 deaths, Vic has had 161
Good luck to both states https://t.co/Y7hPpBfHBB
— Raf Epstein (@Raf_Epstein) October 19, 2021
The implication in both tweets is that, although there were high case numbers in Victoria that day, Victoria was still doing better than NSW due to lower total case numbers and deaths (conveniently excluding the 820 deaths and roughly 20,000 cases seen in Victoria in 2020).
While compiling the numbers for his second Tweet it apparently escaped Raf’s notice that, in the 12 days between the two Tweets, Victoria had recorded around 20,000 cases, whereas NSW had only seen around 5,000. Similarly, while the total number of deaths in 2021 remained much higher in NSW the state had only recorded 76 deaths between the two Tweets, compared to 86 in Victoria.
A more observant Raf could have concluded from this that, although total case and death numbers for 2021 remained higher in NSW, Victoria was rapidly catching up in cases and beginning to see more deaths. Since deaths lag behind cases, it would then be reasonable to conclude that the number of deaths in Victoria would continue to increase while death rate in NSW would decrease.
Comrade Raf is yet to offer up an update to these numbers to his Twitter followers. For anyone curious here is how the comparison would look including today’s numbers:
- NSW 2021 cases: around 70,000
- Victoria 2021 cases: around 66,000
- NSW 2021 deaths: 510
- Victoria 2021 deaths: 280
So, in the week and a half since Raf’s second Tweet the gap between the states in 2021 cases has shrunk from around 18,000 to around 4,000. The gap in 2021 deaths has shrunk from 318 to 230.
Not that you would know any of this from checking your man Raf’s Twitter feed. MWD will let avid readers know if Raf Epstein decides to update his Twitter followers.
IN WHICH THE ABC’s JOHN LYONS RECEIVES A LONG AND SOFT INTERVIEW ON THE ABC ABOUT HIS BOOKLET
There was considerable interest in the Media Watch Dog editorial of 15 October 2021 titled “John Lyons’ Dateline Jerusalem says more about the ABC than it does about Israel”. Dateline Jerusalem: Journalism’s Toughest Assignment (Monash University Publishing 2021) provides a case study for what passes for editorial standards at the contemporary ABC – where Mr Lyons occupies a senior management role as Head of Investigative Journalism.
For starters, Dateline Jerusalem is an example of activist journalism. The author’s target is the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council and its leaders Mark Leibler (national chairman) and Colin Rubenstein (executive director). But neither was interviewed for the booklet – in spite of the fact that Lyons made allegations against them. Also, Dateline Jerusalem contains errors, hyperbole and conspiracy theories, and uses anonymous sources as would be expected in a polemic by a political activist. It’s just that John Lyons is a senior executive at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and, as such, should be capable of higher standards.
But Media Watch Dog digresses. MWD loves nothing better than when ABC journalists interview their ABC bosses on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster. So, lotsa thanks to the avid reader who drew attention to the interview conducted on ABC Radio National Breakfast by ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas with ABC manager John Lyons. The date was Tuesday 5 October 2021 – shortly after extracts from Dateline Jerusalem were published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Fran Kelly, who normally presents RN Breakfast, was on leave and Patricia Karvelas filled-in for her.
First up, Comrade Lyons told Comrade Karvelas that he was “speaking obviously as a former Middle East correspondent and author” rather than in his “ABC capacity”. This was not obvious at all. It is unlikely that an author of a small booklet would have obtained such coverage if he or she was a manager of a small-town newspaper.
Patricia Karvelas, who is known for her feisty interview style, asked John Lyons five soft questions to which he gave five very long and unchallenged answers. There was but one brief interjection. Here’s an example of one of Comrade Karvelas’ suck-up questions to her ABC boss; it was the first one asked:
Patricia Karvelas: You described working in Israel as the toughest assignment a journalist can face. What exactly is so difficult about covering that part of the world?
John Lyons: Well, thanks Patricia….
Well yes, thank you Patricia. The question was ridiculously soft. It’s absolute nonsense for Comrade Lyons or Comrade Karvelas to claim that working in Jerusalem – a First World vibrant city – is the toughest assignment in journalism. Compared to what? – Syria, China, Iraq, Sudan? He went on to talk about the fact that when he was editor of the Sydney Morning Herald he was criticised by Paul Keating, John Howard and media mogul Kerry Packer. How tough is that?
The segment, which ran for 10 minutes – a long interview for a breakfast program – ended with Patricia Karvelas saying to her boss: “John Lyons, Lovely to speak to you, thanks for coming on.” Lyons spoke for 86 per cent of the interview – so Ms Karvelas did not speak much at all.
And so it came to pass that John Lyons (the head of ABC investigative journalism) received a soft interview from the presenter on ABC RN Breakfast about his deeply-flawed booklet. Quelle Surprise!
As avid readers are aware, once upon a time Sydney broadcaster John Laws used to describe any mistake as a “Deliberate Mistake” and praised any listener who sought to correct his howlers. It was a clever idea – now brazenly stolen by Media Watch Dog.
TOM SWITZER AND THE ABC, THE BOLT REPORT & THE LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA
Just when you thought that Tim Switzer was too busy to read Media Watch Dog – the executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies, who presents Between the Lines on ABC Radio National and writes a column for the Sydney Morning Herald , found time on Friday to pick out last week’s John Laws Style Deliberate Mistakes.
As avid readers will recall, last week’s MWD reported that Tom Switzer presents The National Interest on RN. Wrong. And MWD reported that your man Switzer had appeared on The Bolt Report on 19 October with John Ruddick where both men discussed their decision to join the Liberal Democrats. Wrong again – Switzer appeared with Campbell Newman. By the way, Mr Ruddick has also joined the Liberal Democrats – doubling its membership in NSW, it appears. Well done Tom and well done John.
MWD also quoted your man Switzer telling your man Bolt on 19 October that he had “never really been a member of the Liberal Party”. Jackie’s (male) co-owner expressed surprise at this declaration – writing in MWD that “Tom Switzer stood for Liberal Party pre-selection for the safe Liberal Party seat of Bradfield on Sydney’s North Shore in 2009 – just over a decade ago”. Wrong? Well, yes – according to the brand new Liberal Democrat member. But a defiant No – according to MWD.
As avid readers know only too well, MWD goes out around Gin & Tonic Time on Fridays. Your man Switzer was quick out of the blocks last Friday as the following email reveals:
Tom Switzer to Gerard Henderson – Friday 22 October 2021, 4.11 pm
Gerard. I’ve never been a member of the Liberal Party or I certainly can’t recall being a member: I’ve never attended a branch meeting because I’ve never belonged to a branch. I did not appear with John Ruddick on Andrew Bolt’s Sky News show. (It was Campbell Newman.) And my ABC radio show is called “Between the Lines,” not “the National Interest.” Three mistakes in 300 words. Can YOU bear it? Tom
Jackie’s male co-owner did not notice the Switzer missive until Post Dinner Drinks Time and responded then:
Gerard Henderson to Tom Switzer – Friday 22 October 2021, 9 pm
Well done for picking the Deliberate Mistakes re Campbell Newman and the name of your ABC program. I shall correct this next Friday.
Meanwhile, I do not accept that the Liberal Party allowed you to nominate for Bradfield preselection – one of its safest seats in Australia – without being a member of the Liberal Party. As you may recall – at your request – I wrote you a reference for your Bradfield nomination application. The fact is that, if you had won preselection, you would be in the House of Representatives today and probably not bagging out the Liberal Party on The Bolt Report.
Good evening – now heading off for a gin and tonic.
You man Switzer did not reply. By the way, the reference above is to a special Post-Post-Dinner-Drinks-Gin & Tonic. But MWD digresses.
Reports from the Bradfield pre-selection in 2009 (the seat was vacated by former Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson) were that Tom Switzer did well in a highly competitive field – coming in third behind Paul Fletcher and Julian Leeser.
No wonder Tom Switzer has lost faith in the Liberal Party. Apparently he believes that the Liberal Party of Australia is so naïve and unprofessional that it allowed a bloke named Switzer to run for Liberal Party pre-selection who was not a member of the Liberal Party and who never attended a Liberal Party branch meeting.
Come to think of it, not even John Laws would accept this reference in last week’s MWD as a mistake – deliberate or otherwise.
[Perhaps you should have placed this in your (hugely popular) Can You Bear It? segment. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
DOWN THE MEMORY HOLE – HOW ROBYN WILLIAMS IGNORED THE MANY FALSE PROPHESIES ON POPULATION BY HIS LEFTIST MATE PAUL EHRLICH
As avid readers will recall, last week’s (hugely popular) Can You Bear It? segment drew attention to ABC Radio National’s The Science Show of 9 October 2021 – in which presenter Robyn Williams (born 1944) interviewed Professor Paul Ehrlich (born 1932) – Professor Emeritus of Population Studies in the Department of Biology at Stanford University – about population and all that. Professor Ehrlich trained as an entomologist, or insect biologist.
Comrade Williams’ program, titled “Paul Ehrlich after 50 years”, highlighted Professor Ehrlich’s performance on the (then) ABC TV program Monday Conference on 30 August 1971 where he was interviewed by Robert Moore (1932-1979).
The Williams/Ehrlich discussion was a leftist luvvies get-together in which two blokes agreed with each other on everything and looked down on those mortals (aka the hoi polloi) who do not agree with them. Needless to say, the exchange was replete with hyperbole – which was documented in Issue 564 and will not be repeated here. Except to remind readers that both your man Williams and your man Ehrlich pretended not to be able to remember President Donald Trump’s name. Funny, eh?
During the interview, Ehrlich told Williams that he is currently writing “a book on extinction and population”. This reminded MWD of Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb (Random House) which MWD said last week was replete with bad policy and hyperbole along with false prophecy about population extinction. As promised, here’s a summary of the (population) work of The (False) Prophet in 1968.
Paul Ehrlich – The Population Bomb (1968)
At Page 145 of The Population Bomb the author says he is an “eternal optimist”. However, he constantly agrees with the pessimists – re which see Page 25 as cited below. Note the quotes referred to as being in the “Fiction Section” are from “The Ends of the Road” of The Population Bomb section where the author uses fictional scenarios which might happen in the future.
Now here we go with what Professor Ehrlich had to say about population and all that in The Population Bomb written more than half a century ago. Try counting the false prophecies.
۰ “In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” (Prologue)
۰ “We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.” (Prologue)
۰ “Of these poor, a minimum of ten million people, most of them children, will starve to death during each year of the 1970s.” (Page 3)
۰ “In fact, the battle to feed humanity is already lost, in the sense that we will not be able to prevent large-scale famines in the next decade or so. It is difficult to guess what the exact scale and consequences of the famines will be. But there will be famines.” (Page 18)
۰ “What do you suppose American families would do if, after the last child was born, the average family had to spend 80% of its income on food? That’s the spot the Colombians are in.” (Page 22)
۰ “If the pessimists are correct, massive famines will occur soon, possibly in the 1970s, certainly by the early 1980s. So far most of the evidence seems to be on the side of the pessimists, and we should plan on the assumption that they are correct.” (Page 25)
۰ “With a few degrees of heating, the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps would melt, perhaps raising ocean levels 250 feet. Gondola to the Empire State Building, anyone?” (Page 39)
۰ “It now seems inevitable that death through starvation will be at least one factor in the coming increase in the death rate.” (Page 45)
۰ “But what if a much more lethal strain should get going in the starving, more crowded population of a few years from now? … It would be impossible for vaccines to be produced and distributed in time to affect the course of the epidemic in most areas.” (Page 46)
۰ “Almost a billion human beings starved to death in the last decade, and we managed to keep the lid on by a combination of good luck and brute force.” (Page 53 – Fiction section)
۰ “But with 27% of the population out of work, there were no jobs for black women with degrees in English literature.” (Page 54 – Fiction Section)
۰ “I think we’ve probably started an ice age spiral, but it won’t make much difference to us.” (Page 60 – Fiction Section)
۰ “A minimum of 70 million people died annually during the entire decade from starvation and starvation-related diseases.” (Page 76 – Fiction Section)
۰ “The competition will be rugged, for if our current rape of the watersheds, our population growth, and our water use trends continue, in 1984 the United States will quite literally be dying of thirst.” (Page 93)
۰ “We already know that is impossible to increase food production enough to cope with continued population growth.” (Page 101)
۰ “If present trends continue, in 20 years we [the United States] will be much less than 1/15th of the population, and yet we may use some 50% of the resources consumed.” (Page 129)
۰ “We’ve already reached a population size relative to our resources at which many of our institutions no longer function properly.” (Page 154)
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How shameless can a Stanford University professor with an insect biologist background get? Half a century ago, Paul Ehrlich made many predictions about population – all of which turned out to be false or exaggerated. And now, half a century later, Comrade Ehrlich is looking into his crystal ball again and writing a new tome on population extinction. It looks like a case of The False Prophet rises again. But Comrade Williams, in a 15-minute interview on ABC RN’s The Science Show, did not remind Paul Ehrlich of even one of his false predictions. Not one.
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Until next time
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