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Well, that was embarrassing, Andrew …

27 October 2013 (2:29pm) was an auspicious moment for commentator, media tart and Murdoch minion Andrew Bolt. It was the moment in his professional life where he finally cast-off any lingering doubt as to his status as an intellectually dishonest dunderhead.

In an entry to his Herald Sun blog, he attempted to simultaneously defend Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s use of Wikipedia as an information source on Climate Change, and take a swipe at Professor Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, Canberra. Bolt begins:

When Environment Minister Greg Hunt mentioned he’d checked Wikipedia ”just to see what the rest of the world thought” about our bushfires, green activists pounced and pretended Hunt himself used Wikipedia for research on global warming.

It’s passing interesting that Bolt linked to a Fairfax article to make his point. I guess no one in the ranks of News Limited bothered to cover the story. His assertion that ‘green activists’ ‘pretended’ that Hunt had used Wikipedia for research purposes deserves some attention. From the very SMH article Bolt cites:

“I looked up what Wikipedia said just to see what the rest of the world thought,” he advised the BBC on Wednesday when put on the spot about whether there might be a link between Australia’s latest bushfires and climate change. “It opened up with the fact that, ‘bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia’s mostly hot, dry, climate’.” [emphasis added]

So, there was no pretence involved. He clearly did what the horrible ‘green activists’ said he did and declared the fact to an international news service. He quoted the Wiki article to make a point about Climate Change.

Thus far Bolt has misrepresented what Hunt said and did and how certain commentators reacted to it. Bolt then continues to play fast and loose with the truth and to try and tug at our heartstrings:

One of those grabbing the chance to monster Hunt was Professor Will, of Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. Now watch the video.

Apparently being critical of a Federal Minister is to “monster” him. Poor Munchkin. No one on Hunt’s side of politics would ever ‘monster’ anyone! Coming from Bolt, a claim of someone “monstering” anyone is really odd. Note, also, Bolt’s deft attempt to make light of Professor Steffen’s credentials by referring to him only as ‘of Tim Flannery’s Climate Council.’ He doesn’t bother to mention that Prof. Steffen is Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, or offer any other of his many credentials in the field of Climate Change research. He’s merely an associate of the bloke that the Government sacked. Nice one, Andrew.

That brings us to the video we’re supposed to watch which, if I’m interpreting the article’s intention correctly, makes Prof. Steffen look like a right royal hypocrite. Your can see the video in the blog itself. Or, just in case the blog is taken down at some point, you can also see it at Youtube. It’s worth nothing that the Youtube video Bolt uses in the blog is posted on a channel called ”ywiabychi” which is basically a dedicated anti-Labor, anti-Climate Change channel. On the basis of the content of the video, which involves a lecture given by Prof. Steffen in which he mentions using Google for doing research and later suggests there’s a role for artists of various kinds with respect to communicating the message about Climate Change to the broader community, Bolt says:

In 2007, Steffen tells his class he Googles for his research and invites artists to inform us about environmental issues.

In 2013 he damns Wikipedia and tells us to listen only to the true experts – meaning people just like him. Google guy.

The first thing that has to be pointed out, which you’d expect a modern media commentator, even a pseudo-journalist like Andrew Bolt to understand, is that Google is primarily (at least historically) an Internet Search Engine with which one can gain access to most of the content of the Internet, including formal scientific and academic material. Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopaedia project that anyone, including Andrew Bolt, can contribute to and edit. As useful as Wiki is for mundane information and browsing, and as much as it can be a portal to more substantive information if an article contains proper citations and references, no one in academia or the media regards it as a meaningful, single source research point. It is utterly absurd to think a Federal Government Minister would use it as a meaningful resource and then say so to an international journalist.

Bolt’s attempted conflation of Google and Wikipedia is utterly ridiculous. Given that not even he could possibly be that idiotic, one if forced to conclude he’s being deliberately disingenuous. Either the readership of his blog is as stupid as he is, or he assumes they are. Bolt then smugly tells us that Prof. Steffen tries to conscript artists of various kinds to ‘inform us about environmental issues’. So what? It’s hardly anything new for artists and musicians to contribute to the process of getting the message of an issue to the general public who may be less engaged with the more ethereal and esoteric aspects of the science. Scientists are notoriously bad at doing this for themselves.

It’s interesting that Bolt decries the role of non-scientists in the communication of important scientific ideas, but sets himself up as an information portal for the Denial Camp, even though he possesses no technical expertise or credentials in the area of Climate Science.

Hypocrite, much?

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  1. Shevill Mathers

    Fortunately, we have coming out of our colleges and universities each year, young people with brains who will be tomorrow’s scientists & leaders. As China recognises, science is the key to future commerce, and survival, in every sense. In a short time Australia will be rid of these ‘flat earth types’ who know nothing of science and scorn those who do. I hope, as many Australians do, that Australia does indeed survive the idiots we now have in power.

  2. randalstella

    Of course we wish that the country can survive in some form the presumptuous idiots at large. But wishing will not make it so.
    It is also wishful thinking to depend on the quality or social focus of tertiary training. Dawkins dudded Australian University independence a generation ago. The pressures on staff to provide passes for the largely incompetent has not relented; and may now intensify, along with the restriction of courses.

  3. Olive

    Why don’t other journalists disown Bolt ?

  4. John

    Why don’t other journalists disown Bolt ? Olive asks
    Because he isn’t a journalist by any stretch is the obvious answer

  5. Calypso Cool

    Andrew Bolt left university after the “worst year of his life” being hounded by left-wingers with the brains to counter his stupidity.

  6. randalstella

    There’s some good investigative journalism over at Independent Australia. It might even be crucial to political prospects in this country. “Might”, I wrote.
    But the posters there range from the sanctimonious and pretentious, through the informative; to the blokes who are good mates together through these tough times, by abusing anyone who does not fit their notion of a perfect answer to Abbott. Not that they can tell us the perfect answer.

  7. rossleighbrisbane

    If anything, Professor Steffen seems to be suggesting in the video that Google won’t tell you everything and that you need to more than simple google the anwer without thinking.
    I wonder if Bolt actually WATCHED the video himself, or whether he just relied on the person who sent it telling him that it showed Steffen telling students to use Google…

    I wonder if he was sent a video purporting to be Steffen or Flannery or anyone from the Climate Council contradicting himself whether a person could put ANYTHING on the link without him checking. 😀

  8. Peter Hamrol

    Any journalist that is contracted or employed by the Murdoch media conglomerate may have questionable credentials … Andrew Bolt has proved to be one such person … Instead of reporting real worthwhile news, they opinionate their views in the SMS and are found wanting as far as real facts are concerned … These type of people have very little knowledge of everything and profess that they are expert in their assumptions … But, you know what the old saying is; too little knowledge is a dangerous tool in the hands of the person who thinks he/she knows the ins and outs of everything … This is a trap that all intelligent Australians should steer clear from as the incorrect decisions are usually the outcome; i.e., LNP government destroying the very fabric of our society to satisfy their own-selves and their corporate cohorts …

  9. NatalieW

    OK, so why doesn’t Professor Will Steffen sue for defamation? I would be happy to contribute towards a fund to assist in legal fees. The only way to deal with these people now is in their face. “Head butt baby”.

    IA (Independent Australia) have crowd funded the Ashby Enquiry, why can’t we set up a fund to support testing these idiots’ claims in court? It could work like an investment fund and winning cases with cost awarded could be returned to investors. My first choice would be to sue Alan Jones… Just for fun and I know lot of other people already have.

  10. Peter Hamrol

    There are journalists; and there are journalists … Finding the genuine one is a bit tricky but they are out there; Tony White and Mike Carlton are two that come readily into my mind … They have the smarts as far as investigative journalism is concerned …

  11. Kaye Lee

    Our present government has its own idea of who “journalists” are and it was shown by the invitation list to a private soiree at Kirribilli House organised by Peta Credlin. These august members of our society no doubt deserved recognition (at our expense).

    Mr Abbott’s guests included Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Alan Jones, Janet Albrechtsen, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny, Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker, and News Corp editor Col Allan who is believed to have flown back from New York in time for the intimate gathering of friends. The Australian editor Chris Mitchell was invited, but told Fairfax Media he was unable to attend. Fairfax Media columnists Paul Sheehan and Gerard Henderson were also invited to the knees-up, which was orchestrated by Mr Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin.

  12. olddavey

    An odd thing is happenning at the moment. There appears to be 24 hour surveillance on Dreg Hunt’s wiki entry. If someone makes more than 2 uncomplementary changes to his details he gets a severe talking to. It actually became a semi-protected entry a couple of days ago.
    Funny about that.
    The good thing is that all the history is available to view.

  13. olddavey

    If you can read a complete article by Das Bolter you are either an idiot or have an extremely high pain threshold

  14. alancharlton

    Forgot to include in the intro Liberal Party Member. This is why his political views can never be balanced. The same can be said of Alan Jones, another Liberal Party Member with unbalanced political views. These 2 should only report on anything which DOES NOT INVOLVE POLITICS. The same for ANY journalist who is a member of ANY political party.

  15. InvisibleLog

    Andrew. heck out this great site called Google Scholar. Its everything the Murdoch press isn’t.So its no surprise you don’t feature in its searches.

  16. denysf

    Interesting that there are only 117 followeres of the “ywiabychi” youtube channel.

  17. lawrencewinder

    I used to think the whole of this Liarbril lot were a rabble… until tonight, when I heard Judith Sloan on “Q & A” berate Chris “The Whyne” Pyne for being economically irresponsible …. it’s really a bloody circus; with Bolt “The Dolt ” as sideshow spruiker and “Rabbott” as lead clown.

  18. Pete Hamrol

    Re comment: There are journalists; and there are journalists …. Amend Tony White to read as Tony Jones … I blame it on my ‘Oltimers’ …

  19. Michael Taylor

    Denysf, Bolt finds ‘supporting evidence’ in the most obscure of places.

  20. Kevin

    The problem with folks like Andrew Bolt, the Dolt, and Allan Jones is that they obviously do have a market out there that believes all their garbage and soaks up all their utterances. In a free and democratic state, the issue is how to convince these listeners/readers of the merit of your case. Corporations like QANTAS etc support these clowns because they see business for themselves, that is the bottom line.

  21. IC-1101

    Clutching at straws…

    Saying you use Google for your research, and using sites with no peer review process, and then criticising the use of Wikipedia, which DOES have a peer review process, and DOES have involvement from individuals within academia and the press (in some cases, organisations and institutions keep a leg up on pages out of their own intended obligation), is a little silly.

    If you’re going to criticise Wikipedia, which actually has a very stringent peer review process, you can’t similarly rely on Google for your research.

    The reason academics don’t like students using Wikipedia is because it bundles all of the research into one convenient spot. It’s TOO convenient. It has less to do with the viability of the text in the article.

    Also, Wikipedia articles have sources and citations. A random article on Google on a blog like this one might not.

    I suggest you head on over to Wikipedia and, erm, research their review process.

  22. patsy

    what university did bolt go to …….uni for dummies…….I feel it a waste of time giving him any exposure in your media outlets……he is the most revolting journalist in Australia …..ugly….ugly person….but he has the worst incurable disease in the world…..GREED HE SURELY DOES NOT BELIEVE WHAT HE PRINTS OR SAYS…OR CARES…ABBOTT IS HIS UNDERSTUDY NOW….WITH HIS FILTHY COMMENTS ABOUT LABOR TO OTHER COUNTRIES .WHAT HAPPENED TO ABBOTTS PROMISE THERE WOULD BE NO MORE.DIRT THROWN… LIAR……HE SURE DOES NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO BILL SHORTEN AS HE IS A GENTLEMAN AND FAR MORE A BETTER MAN TO BE RUNNING OUR COUNTRY….I FEEL THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS HAVE A MENTAL DISORDER TO ACT AS THEY DO…

  23. Kaye Lee


    Did you even watch the video? No-one proposed using google for research for academic papers. And since we have seen that anyone can add whatever they like to Wikipedia I would hesitate to quote it without verification from other sources.

  24. Bacchus

    Google is not of itself a source – at its heart it’s a search engine – used for finding reputable research 🙄

    Anyone can edit Wikipedia – until yesterday, the entry for the Abbott government contained such gems as:

    Social policy

    With an ideology based in hate, ignorance, greed and suspicion, the Abbot government Social policy has been widely observed as attempting to uphold traditional ideals of feudal Europe. Among the Abbot frontbench homosexuality is rife, and as a consequence self hate has taken root. Therefore, in the reactionary style that the Liberal party has embraced over the past three decades, and as an attempt to hide the fact that Tony would love nothing more than a good bumming, the Liberal party has done all in its power to advance the cause of hate and prejudice against gay’s and Lesbians in Australia.

    Are you telling me this MUST be accurate because it’s from Wikipedia? 🙄

  25. Gilly

    Why is time and space being wasted on, science guru, Andrew Bolt when his idea of peer review amounts to the use of spellcheck, which does not check the definition of “fact”.

  26. Dan Rowden


    I think what you said could just as readily be applied to the Coalition. It wouldn’t leave us much to talk about.

  27. Brian

    I don’t believe anyone bothering to read Bolt’s trash would bother to check the facts. He doesn’t attract an audience with that kind of intellect or inclination so why bother to even discuss his writings. He lies to the gullible and they accept it. Until lies become illegal as well as immoral, I’m afraid he remains what he always was. A boil on the arse of society.

  28. Tony Hogarth

    what Abbott and most of his ministers are to politics is what BOLTE and Allan Jones are 2 the media !! a total disgrace to there professions !! there I got it down without swearing !

  29. Tony Hogarth

    Bacchus I love your comment and could not have done better myself !! but have these past few weeks been as blatantly stupid as they appear or is there a very clever under plan being set out just to prove how malleable this population is ?? to my mind the Labor front bench except for Doug and Tania Are as lame as the Greens !! nothing the coalition do will get them unpopular which includes Stealing ,Stupidity Blatant lies ,Reversal of Policy, Instructing us what to call migrants ! misuse of the defence forces , changing rules on fire relief and Govt. Policy, Adultery Rorting etc . etc. et al !! Then planning Poles with Gina’s or Rupert’s Media companies to be released on specific days !! Like the one day HE decides to take the opposition leader as his guest to the war zone for HIM to bring back all our troops !!! and on that day he shoots up to a huge lead in the choice for Leadership !! B.S !! How stupid do you people behind this mob Think we are !! This is all planned :poop: Phew!! got it down without swearing again !! Amazing if you knew how angry I am !!!!

  30. Shit's Gotta Stop

    Can we (the wider ‘we’, not people here…) stop referring to Bolt and his ilk as ‘journalists’, and perhaps coin a new job-title for them?
    I’m thinking ‘opinionists’…
    Just because I fixed my toilet with some bits bought from Bunnings does not mean I can call myself, or expect to be referred to as, a plumber.
    Similarly, journalists should stand up for their right to claim their job title as an endowment of their trade and training, and not allow simpering little maggots like Bolt to co-opt their integrity…

  31. Ann

    I can’t wait til someone smacks him in the face one day.

  32. Keith

    I’m gobsmacked that Bolt would tackle Professor Steffen. A work mate suggested that I watch the Bolt Report for a laugh, I did watch it for 5 minutes and then just had to turn off the rubbish. Five minutes of wasted time. In contrast, I watched Professor Steffen’s video and found that to be the complete opposite a very impressive dissertation. Professor Steffen made a strong point that politics should be taken out of science. In relation to comments about Professor Steffen, Bolt is completely out of line, any credibility he might have had has gone down the sewer.

  33. Dawn Whitehand

    Bolt is a ‘nut’! Apart from the above comments, as an artist I am affronted by his comments, and his insinuation that artists have no worth in society, which is common theme within the right wing camp. What is the first thing to be censored or have funding cuts – the arts…why? Thinking outside the square, and questioning the status quo. Much of my artwork (& my PhD thesis) is environmentally based – attempting to communicate to the viewer the innate connection we have to the environment, and therefore the need to re-establish our symbiotic relationship with the landscape. Once we do this, we will be far less likely to exploit natural resources, but rather work with our surroundings.

  34. Adriaan de Leeuw

    Bolt agreed with the quip that Bush fires are common in the Hotter months in Australia, except September isn’t what one would call a hotter month in fact it is still spring! Hardly a hot month as Australia goes!

    I have a number of friends who grew up with Bolt in Rapid Creek Darwin, neighbors they were, and they say he was the same arrogant fool way back then!

    Way back when the Japanese reactor went after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami he was critical no pun intended he said it was all a beat up, I made comment to one of his rants, and suggested he go swimming close by, I note he still hasn’t gone!

  35. Keith

    Dawn, artists tend to be quite divergent in their thinking which is quite anathema to the narrow thought processes of a conservative way of thinking. As a result I think artists have a better handle on what’s going on; though, scientists tend to be left brain thinkers like those with a right wing way of thinking. Professor Steffen displays a very rational way of thinking a stark contrast to Bolt, and Abbott and his colleagues..
    Professor Steffen is a very impressive man.

  36. Barry Densley

    Andrew Bolt is a complete tosser and a self-confessed loner – “I don’t have many friends and that means I don’t have to fear insulting people” – who lacks any kind of emotional intelligence!…

    “at worst, dishonest and misleading and at best, grossly careless” – Supreme Court of Appeal

    An agnostic, opportunistic second-generation tulip loving immigrant, a grasping righteous free speech provocateur, history denier, racial vilifier and self-described “conservative” who rejects the label “right-wing”. Bolt has personally cost Mr Murdoch millions and still has a job cherry picking divisive social issues and pedalling his half assed wikipedian dogma to an indifferent and ever decreasing readership.

    Bolt is about as tech-savvy and relevant as an old piece of recycled church string…

    p.s. acknowledgement to Wikipedia for background on Andrew Bolt

  37. Kaye Lee

    News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt was absent from the gathering (at Kirribilli House). He had told Fairfax on Friday he would not be attending and did not respond to questions about why he wasn’t going.

    “I can’t go anywhere from Melbourne for the moment because The Sydney Morning Herald told me that flying causes emissions and emissions cause bushfires,” he joked in response to Fairfax questions.

    This guy gets invited to dinner with the Prime Minister???????

  38. Mike Wilkinson

    Hypocrite very much! 😉

  39. crypt0

    Ah yes ….. Andrew …..
    what he lacks in moral character and integrity, he makes up for with deception and intellectual dishonesty …
    but give him some credit for correctly assessing his audience …
    a sizeable portion of the Australian electorate are sucking this shite up on a daily basis.

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