The latest on the ANU death threats saga is that Australian National University has “stymied” a further FOI request by “demanding” nearly $40,000 to carry out the request.
The latest request is by the same guy whose previous FOI yielded 11 emails for the wrong time period while attempting to either verify or debunk supposed events that, anyway, were based on erroneous reports from the ABC and other outlets (including News £td, a fact that apparently still eludes The Australian).
So far as I can gather, the FOI guy’s motive for pursuing this has been his personal perception that the death-threat reports “have been used as a way to tar all critics of the climate consensus as being a bunch of dangerously unhinged lunatics who would resort to sending death threats...”
Essentially, it offends his vanity that his anti-climate-consensus cause may have been sullied by “a tiny minority of disturbed individuals.” Personally, I can see why ANU would want to discourage FOI requests that verge on the trivial or vexatious.
As a (qualified) supporter of the climate consensus, however, I can report that my own vanity was not offended in the least by a recent report in The Australian by Chris Merritt that prominent climate sceptics had been subject to abuse and threats. I’m happy to allow that there are whackos in any camp.
Nor was I particularly offended that the report, headlined as “Death threats just par for the course,” detailed nothing (in relation to the climate debate) that could seriously be considered a death threat.
The only example that would remotely qualify was an instance where “a filmmaker used Twitter to urge his followers: ‘Let’s assassinate Andrew Bolt.’”
Indeed, that kind of thing is stupid and offensive but nevertheless fairly insubstantial on the threat index, since it’s quite obviously public spleen affected by an identifiable individual.
Merritt also noted,
Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Blair says he has received “death wishes” rather than death threats. ... Most of this material arrives by email and while they are abusive, Blair says they are not real death threats.
Still, if Merritt and The Australian want to headline all this as “Death Threats,” then all their recent quibbling over the nature of threats to Australian climate scientists would seem somewhat small and hypocritical.
Labels: Australia, climate, media, science