More on Stuff’s climate change conversation control

Not surprisingly there has been a lot of discussion on Stuff’s decision to exclude climate change “scepticism” from articles and discussions. See Anti-climate change comments no longer allowed.

I linked to that post on Twitter and got this response:

In political debates ‘ignorance’ and ‘differing views’ are often confused. There seems to be increasing attempts to shut down discussion at variance to one’s political view – this is common from political activists, but when major media like Stuff do it, it becomes alarming.

A key quote from Stuff:

Mature adults can disagree about the impact of climate change and how we should react. We’ll feature a wide range of views as part of this project, but we won’t include climate change “scepticism”. Including denialism wouldn’t be “balanced”; it’d be a dangerous waste of time. The experts have debunked denialism, so now we’ll move on.

I think it is alarming that they implied that “scepticism” of an issue as reliant on science as climate change would be excluded. Scepticism is a fundamental tenet of science.

Using the term ‘denialism’ is also a concern – that is often used to dismiss any arguments that question and aspects of climate change and action to mitigate it.

It reminds me of people holding religious power condemning anyone who doesn’t by their dictates unquestioningly.

We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change, but do not intend to provide a venue for denialism or hoax advocacy. That applies equally to the stories we will publish in Quick! Save the Planet and to our moderation standards for reader comments.

Certainly “hoax advocacy” and arguments that aren’t based on facts or commonly accepted science should not be supported, but Stuff implies they are going much further than that.

Adam Smith:  Stuff admits it is a biased rag and not a newspaper

This is totally disgraceful. A newspaper now saying it will censor any views that differ from the viewpoint it chooses to advocate for.

It means that all stories in Stuff should be read as opinions not as fact. It means their journalists are advocates, not reporters.

Whilst this may well have been the case for many years, their blatant disregaard for alternative views, especially in such a public way is very concerning.

Yet Stuff  should be applauded as well for openly stating their bias, but will they clearly state that bias when publishing articles on climate issues?

Clearly, they will not publish climate sceptical articles. In that regard it could well be argued, they are failing in a publication’s duty to hold authority to account.

That was also discussed at Reddit:

Stuff has a terrible comment section which does not encourage proper discourse, does not have adequate moderation against hate speech or racism, uses a completely pointless and easily rigged voting system, and only requires an email address to post anonymously.

For a news agency these are appalling standards in my opinion. As a news agency you should be holding yourself to certain standards when it comes to reporting the news and yet those standards are completely disregarded when it comes to their social media aspect. Why? Why work so hard on reporting in a quality fashion just to have all your readers scroll down to an absolute cesspit of a message board after they read the article and risk having that as their parting impression? Why open comments to controversial subjects when you’re well aware most people are just going to announce their opinion regardless of what your article has just said? Why claim you stand up for things you care about but allow users to post vile comments? Why close comments on hugely important but non-controversial issues?

Well, we know why. You don’t actually care. You want to retain visitors as long as possible and you know that engagement is the key and you clearly don’t give a fuck how they go about it. And this stand, this stand against climate deniers, is your attempt to try and claw back some iota of self-respect.

Your peers are closing their comment sections because they know it has failed miserably.

Like countless other news outlets, NPR found itself overwhelmed by trolls, anonymous contributors who had too often hijacked comment threads with offensive and inappropriate submissions.

Wise-up, Stuff.

I linked to my pos

Stuff seem to be limiting their coverage and discussion to “the appropriate response to climate change”. What an appropriate response is should still be very much up for discussion, and that should allow for questioning the responses that some advocate – some extreme responses are advocated by some, like rapidly eliminating the use of fossil fuels and halting meat production. Counter arguments should be allowed.

Leave a comment

51 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  December 1, 2018

    Stuff doesn’t have to broadcast nonsense on behalf of deniers. And they’ve chosen not to. Good Stuff.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  December 1, 2018

      People who disagree with Robert are being silenced. Robert is happy about this.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 1, 2018

        See Robert smile.

        See Robert laugh.

        See Robert dance.

        Robert is happy.

        Dance, Robert, dance !

        Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  December 1, 2018

        Climate deniers don’t “disagree with” me. They don’t even know I exist. They don’t care a jot for my views. I dance because I’m a lively, happy guy – mostly because our village has just been gifted with a dozen beautiful street-art-works by young, talented, generous artists and because I have a beautiful whanau; my sons and daughters are wonderful, my grandchildren a delight and my world, wrapped in forest garden and friendship, is special – that’s why you:
        “See Robert smile.

        See Robert laugh.

        See Robert dance.

        Robert is happy.

        Dance, Robert, dance !”
        I’m surely dancing!
        You?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 1, 2018

          Look, look, here comes Stuff !

          See Stuff censor !

          See Stuff laughed at !

          Stuff is making a fool of itself !

          See Stuff make a fool of itself !

          Stuff is a laughing stock.

          Everyone laughs at Stuff.

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 1, 2018

          Shouldn’t it be other people saying that your offspring are wonderful and beautiful?

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  December 1, 2018

            Yes and they do.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 2, 2018

              Well, it sounds conceited to repeat it, it they do.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 2, 2018

              To you, perhaps, but I don’t care in the slightest. My children and grandchildren are wonderful and delightful and I’m proud to say so!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 3, 2018

              Most people think that of their children and grandchildren, but this doesn’t mean that they really are these things, Some of the brattiest children I have encountered have been the most admired by their doting parents and grandparents,

            • robertguyton

               /  December 3, 2018

              Give it up, Kitty.

  2. Ray

     /  December 1, 2018

    Stuffs comments policy would be nice to know or rather their reason for not having comments on various stories.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  December 1, 2018

      Stuff said that including denialism in their articles would be a dangerous waste of time.
      That’s a pretty clear statement. Stuff shouldn’t print material that endangers its readers.
      Good Stuff.

      Reply
      • How would you define ‘denialism’ in relation to climate change Robert?

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  December 1, 2018

          I don’t have to define “denialism”,, Pete; it’s Stuff’s call. They’ll decide what they do and don’t consider suitable.

          Reply
      • The Consultant

         /  December 1, 2018

        Always good to see the Fascism inherent in Green ideology, revealed in all it’s ugliness.

        Remember folks, if Guyton is willing to do this, what would he not do to tell you how to live your life in service to his beliefs.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 1, 2018

          Good point….let’s all encourage Stuff by writing to say that we are delighted with their stance and hope that they continue it and keep it going with other issues.

          Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  December 1, 2018

          Ridiculous comment, Consultant – I’m not “willing to do this” – Stuff is! I’m not Stuff. You’re not thinking clearly and you are basing your foolish claims of nothing of any substance.

          Reply
  3. MaureenW

     /  December 1, 2018

    Climate Change is the new religion. Have faith in scientists dire predictions and don’t blaspheme. You’ll only get to the happy, clappy place if you recycle and ride a bike.
    Pay more taxes with cool, techy-sounding names and dont worry, the government will save you.

    Reply
  4. The Consultant

     /  December 1, 2018

    What is this “news paper” of which you speak?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 1, 2018

      Well, they like to call it that…they think it’s news. I don’t tell my wee doggie Fido [not his real name] that he’s not a mighty hunter when he clops flies from the air and (oh dear) kills poor wee mice. One doesn’t like to discourage the poor things, Con, don’t be mean to Stuff.

      Reply
  5. PDB

     /  December 1, 2018

    Reply
  6. The Consultant

     /  December 1, 2018

    IDEA TEST SUGGESTION:

    Whenever you might mistakenly think that Robert Guyton and the Greens have a good idea, you should first read it aloud to yourself in a slow, thick German accent.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 1, 2018

      Aber ja, das ist sehr gut, nein? Du bist sehr oh damn, I can’t remember the word for clever.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 1, 2018

        Ist klug. Klug !

        Der gut Grun ist ein Fahrter, und fahrt und fahrt und fahrt.

        Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  December 1, 2018

      This
      is
      Stuff’s
      idea.
      Simply put for The Consultant.

      Reply
      • The Consultant

         /  December 1, 2018

        “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother”

        Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 1, 2018

    Andrew Liddell is a DoC environmental fanatic who is quite prepared to use unscrupulous actions in support of his beliefs in my experience. Little wonder he supports Stuff’s censorship.

    Reply
  8. Kitty Catkin

     /  December 1, 2018

    It’s going to be a Clayton’s debate if only one side is permitted to speak.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  December 1, 2018

      One “side”?

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 2, 2018

        Escaped the funny farm, Robert? What are you on?

        Reply
        • “One side”
          That’s what’s funny. Deniers aren’t “one side”, they’re a vestigial appendage.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 2, 2018

            As Einstein said to the “100 Scientists Against Einstein”: “If I was wrong, one would be enough.”

            I judge each by their contributions. Yours are almost entirely worthless.

            Reply
            • If he was wrong. The climate scientists aren’t wrong, so your argument is a nonsense. You say you judge my comments to be worthless. Though the one I’m about to make will be seen by you as worthless, I suggest you refrain from responding to my comments, thus saving yourself a lot of anguish.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 2, 2018

              You don’t cause me a any anguish, Robert, just amazement at your banality.

            • robertguyton

               /  December 2, 2018

              Alan, if you’re amazed by banality …something’s wrong…

            • Gezza

               /  December 2, 2018

              There’s your reading for comprehension problem again.
              He said your banality.

            • It matters not one whit whose banality it is, that which is banal cannot be amazing , can it. Your own reading comprehension could do with some work, Gezza.

            • Gezza

               /  December 2, 2018

              Again, you show your reading comprehension inability. It’s actually become nearly as amazing as your banality.

              banality
              noun
              the fact or condition of being banal; unoriginality.
              “there is an essential banality to the story he tells”
              synonyms: triteness, platitudinousness, vapidity, pedestrianism, conventionality, predictability, staleness, unimaginativeness, lack of originality, lack of inspiration, prosaicness, dullness, ordinariness; informal corniness.

              Banality, per se is not amazing. Al’s guilty of that too when it comes to dropping in vapid “lefty” slogans, with insufficient explanation to call them more than a tweet, & then buggering off to walk the dogs.

              The amazing thing is your constantly demonstrated capacity for banality here. It’s so prodigious it’s off the bloody scale.

              Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. Events last week have given me much more sobering priorities than here at the moment.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 2, 2018

        You are becoming seiously rude and objectionable, and I wonder if you realise what you sound like. It’s most unattractive, not to mention unbecoming for someone of your age.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  December 2, 2018

          I really….don’t care.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 2, 2018

            Well, you should, you come across as very unpleasant, and I don’t think that you mean to (I hope that you don’t) Conversations are meaningless. I think that you are too intelligent to be acting like this.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  December 2, 2018

              I really don’t.

            • Gezza

               /  December 2, 2018

              I agree with you there. You’re not too intelligent to be acting like this.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 3, 2018

              Alas, you may be right. I won’t waste any more time on this.

  9. We dont give anti vaxxers, flat earthers or catholics the opportunity to pretend their bulls**t is anything closely related to fact, why should the same apply to Climate deniers?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 3, 2018

      Because there have been climate changes before, so there has to be some doubt as to whether mankind can change much this time. History will judge who was right.

      I think that people should be given the chance to put their viewpoint across, otherwise we’re in a dictatorship.

      Reply

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