UPDATE, Feb 27. We have now had 2 editions of the Weekend Australian, without the letter being published.
Even the most charitable person could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that neither the paper or the journalist have the slightest interest in providing balance on this issue.
The Australian Acoustical Society provides a source of expertise in acoustics to the public, private corporations, small business, the legal system, standards organisations and government. Any reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking they may have something to contribute on the matter of infrasound and noise.
Apparently the Australian does not share this opinion.
Graham Lloyd, the environment editor of The Australian, has his work cut out for him. On the one hand, the paper has a clear line which it runs against climate science and renewable energy. On the other hand, all the science, economics and social research shows that renewables are winners and climate change is real.
As a person I have good regard for Graham and his motivations as a journalist. Faced with the need to provide balanced coverage for a paper with such clear political agendas, I ask myself, what’s a good man to do?
Sometimes, it would seem that he doesn’t even get a chance to make the right call. Take the case of ‘infrasound sickness’, which is the most exciting scare-mongering concept of the Landscape Guardians / Waubra Foundation.
If we search for ‘infrasound’ and ‘wind’ we find that the Australian has published one positive article containing these words, on 10 June 2011 (a fine interview with Suzlon founder Tulsi Tanti, by Geoff Hiscock) and more than 13 negative articles:
- 9 February 2013
- 21 Apr 2012
- 9 Feb 2012
- 25 Jan 2012
- 24 June 2011
- 7 June 2012
- 29 May 2012
- 3 Sept 2011
- 15 June 2011
- 26 March 2011
- 10 March 2011
- 5 March 2011
- 22 Aug 2009
(This list does not count negative letters, a negatively ‘framed’ photo gallery, or multiple articles in a single issue of the paper, so the real tally is probably more like 23 negative to 1 positive.)
The latest negative article concerned a recent study by the South Australian Environment Protection Authority. The study found that wind farms do not cause infrasound and sound pollution. Graham’s article, however, attacked the study, on a supposedly scientific basis.
In response, the Australian Acoustical Society (AAS) has published an interesting letter on its website. It seems that the experts believe that Graham’s article was wrong. It turns out that the EPA study was, in fact, based on good science and Graham’s ‘experts’ were, it seems, purveyors of junk science.
Of course, in the interests of balanced reporting, the Weekend Australian published the AAS letter to the editor, right? Wrong.
It seems that the letter was written on 13 Feb, a full three days before publication, yet there was no room in the paper to clear the air. I am sure that Graham did not have any say in this decision. While there is no doubt it needs a substantial edit, the views expressed are a significant addition to this debate in general, and this story in particular.
Given that Mr Lloyd is a good man, who is clearly wanting to find the truth in the turbine/ health debate, I would hope he can help get the AAS letter printed in the next Weekend Australian, to prove that the paper upholds journalistic standards and is not biased against wind energy and climate action.