The Australian does it again, and again, and again.

Mar 30, 2017

Media Watch on 27 March 2017 described the unprofessional behaviour of the Australian and journalist Graham Lloyd  over the reporting of the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. The Media Watch story follows.  

Great Barrier grief missing from The Australian

The Australian offers scant coverage about the latest bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

As viewers of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes discovered last night in a powerful and moving report, the reef is being hit by a dramatic new wave of coral bleaching:

TOM STEINFORT: Charlie has brought me here to Pixie Reef, an ironic name for a place that’s in such a sorry state. All around us is bleached and dying coral, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef

— Channel Nine, 60 Minutes, 26 March, 2017

This latest dire threat to the reef has been widely reported in the media since February, when a rash of headlines echoed a grim official warning from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority:

Great Barrier Reef authority warns of widespread bleaching again this year

—, 24 February, 2017

Two weeks later, the threat level was raised further, after official surveys revealed much greater damage than feared.

And once again came a flurry of headlines.

With the British tabloids,

American broadsheets,

And Canadian TV now getting in on the act, along with many others.

Then, just days ago the respected science magazine Nature ran the story on its cover.

Publishing the results of a worldwide study led by scientists from Queensland’s James Cook University, which warned that damage to the Barrier Reef caused by climate change could be fatal.

And for the third time in a month, the media swung into action:

KATE LEONARD-JONES: Our national wonder in peril. This sobering view confirming what scientists feared, hundreds of square kilometres of coral dead or dying.

DAVID WACHENFELD: For the second consecutive year we have mass coral bleaching event.

KATE LEONARD-JONES: An event previously unheard of until 20 years ago.

— Channel Seven News Brisbane, 10 March, 2017

And once again it made waves around the world,

In the New York Times,

The Chicago Tribune,

The BBC,

And more, with the message that the reef could only be saved if climate change is halted.

But one place you couldn’t read any of this was The Australian newspaper, which has had no mention at all in its print edition.

And how amazing is that?

Here is arguably the most important environmental story in Australia and a tourism asset that’s worth billions of dollars a year.

Yet the Oz does not consider it worth reporting, except in a couple of clips online.

Even more remarkable, The Australian’s environment editor, Graham Lloyd, who describes himself as:

… a fearless reporter on all sides of the environment debate.

— The Australian

has also had absolutely nothing to say.

Extraordinary isn’t it?

In fact, Lloyd’s been silent on coral bleaching since mid-last year when he reported that scientists had exaggerated the problem.

That it wasn’t too bad.

And that the scientific world was divided.

Media Watch ripped into that article at the time because Lloyd relied heavily to make his case on a bird migration specialist from California called Jim Steele.

Who was not an expert on coral reefs,

Or on oceans,

Or on global warming,

Lloyd hit back in The Australian accusing us of Bleaching the Facts and:

… scientific bullying to squash discussion of genuine concerns about the Great Barrier Reef.

— The Australian, 25 July, 2016

He also said he was not ignoring coral bleaching but that he preferred to rely on:

… the more sober analysis of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority …

— The Australian, 25 July, 2016

Which of course is the authority behind all this year’s warnings. So now Graham Lloyd is ignoring them too.

As well as an army of experts like Professor Charlie Veron the so-called godfather of coral now sounding the alarm:

PROF CHARLIE VERON: A lot of people say oh it’s just a normal, natural thing. There’s nothing normal and natural about this. 20 years ago this would have been a fabulous place, it was a fabulous place. It was just teeming with life and now its teeming with death

— Channel Nine, 60 Minutes, 26 March, 2017

So why are Graham Lloyd and The Australian so busy looking the other way on such a tragic and important story?

The Australian declined to explain. But our guess is it just doesn’t fit their narrative.


See also my earlier article ‘News Corp – a rogue organisation‘. In this article, famous US journalist Carl Bernstein speaks of ‘Murdoch’s destructive march across the democratic landscape’.


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