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Press accountability

31 May 2006

Is there any accountability for opinion leaders, or do only politicians pay for their errors of judgement?

This newspaper played a substantial role in shaping public opinion against the threat of global warming, and now that the facts underpinning that crusade no longer stand up, The Australian is warning us that the threat is real after all.

Paul Kelly has done the same astonishing segue on the Iraq war: mercilessly savaging critics of the US invasion in 2003, and now informing us (long after it was apparent to almost everyone else) that the war is a disaster. 

Employing commentators (even ones who are consistently wrong) is an editor's prerogative. But the planet is now a giant step closer to environmental catastrophe. And 655,000 Iraqis are now dead, according to the most comprehensive estimate we have: that's the population of Canberra multiplied by two. Readers are at least entitled to ask if misjudgements of this magnitude will be acknowledged.

John Macgregor

Chiang Mai


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