Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Codswallopanariasm Of Mr. Coleman.


I had just finished off my 'science vs. codswallop' post this morning when a piece on the latest utterances of the Snooklandian minister-in-charge-of-everything, Rich Coleman, by Peter O'Neil and Rob Shaw in the VSun popped up in my inbox.

Here is their lede:

Deputy premier Rich Coleman challenged Thursday the conclusions of a scientific panel into the environmental effect of shale gas development using fracking.

The group of Canadian and U.S. scientists, appointed in 2011 by former federal environment minister Peter Kent to examine the sector's potential and risks across Canada, urge a cautionary, go-slow approach until more research is done on a relatively new sector.

Coleman, responsible for an industry that Victoria considers an economic linchpin for decades, said the B.C. industry is advanced and a model for the world.

"I don't agree with them," he told reporters. "The reality is we've been doing this for over 50 years, we've never had a contamination from a drill, we've never had a drill stem leak or fail. We do it as well or better than anybody else in the word."

One of the scientists on the panel, fracking expert Maurice Dusseault, challenged Coleman's glowing portrayal of the B.C. industry "Every regulatory jurisdiction in Canada has issues related to long-term wellbore integrity with respect to slow seepage of gas, usually intermediatedepth gas ... seeping upward along the outside of the exterior casing. B.C. is not excluded,"....

To their great credit, O'Neil and Shaw lay out the both the codswallop and the science in direct juxtaposition so that we the readers can decide who actually knows what they are talking about re: Coleman vs Dusseault.

Unfortunately, in the rest of the article, they commit 'balanced journalism' which obscures the real message here...Which is that big Rich, based on the facts at hand, does not know what the heck he is talking about while the scientists do.

Which, again, is why what happens with the new BBC policy not to include the opinions of the codswallopanarists in science stories just for the sake of journalistic 'balance' is going to be an important development if it spreads to other big media outfits.




Anonymous said...

when fast ferry built.the engineer/scientist won and the politician lost.ferry waves

Lew said...

“Which is that big Rich, based on the facts at hand, does not know what the heck he is talking about while the scientists do.”

You are being very, very, kind to big Rich. Based on the facts at hand, I think big Rich knows exactly what the scientific facts are, but is deliberately choosing a different word path.

Anonymous said...

Lying/ misspoke
Lobbyist/ content consultant
Public lingo/ politician lingo.?

RossK said...

'choosing a different word path....'

Lew - that's the kind of thing, as a strater(g)y that PR Caviar Dreams are made of.