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This study scrutinized the reporting in the Sydney Morning Herald, a major NSW newspaper, in three periods between mid-2008 and early 2012, to examine Jay Rosen's clever question and answer: “What's the difference between climate science and climate journalism? The former is self-correcting, the latter has become self-destructive”. The approach taken was to sample articles by science journalists that covered interesting stories that were independent of the subject of climate change, stories that mentioned climate change, and others where climate change was the central focus. This approach was rewarding in that it showed the quality and depth that the journalists displayed in their craft. The second step was to examine those journalists who occupied prime space in the opinion pages, and the subsequent letters to the editor. These opinion pieces not only cluttered the debate about climate change, which is serious enough, but cast the whole discipline of science, and those who work in the area, namely scientists, as being unreliable, even vicious and irrational. This puts science under siege and raises ethical issues for journalists of distorting the truth, getting the facts wrong, and being deliberately misleading and uncaring. It appears that editorial policy has exhibited Orwellian doublethink, i.e. the ability to accept contradictory facts simultaneously, and to discipline the mind to ignore the conflict between them. The results support Rosen's view, but with a caveat. The science journalism in the Herald, including the science writing on climate change, was not self-destructive. It was instructive, interesting, and the presentation was engaging. The destructive element came from the opinion writers, either challenging the science outright, or promoting just one scientist, a denier of human-induced climate change. The study was then extended to examine how journalists themselves are responding to the representation of climate change in the media, how scientists are viewing the matter, as well as a range of skilled commentators. Australia's Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, in an address in 2011, was emphatic when he stated that all science risks damage when some science is attacked. Chubb said that climate change is the leading example because it is the very core of science that is being attacked, its principles, its processes, its standards, its ethics and its people. In contrast to such glum conclusions, I delighted in the intellectual rigour and excitement of a challenge that has been accepted by journalists themselves, by scientists, and by members of the community.

Australian Academy of Science. 2010. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, ACT Australia.
Carvalho, A. 2007. Ideological cultures and media discourses on scientific knowledge: re-reading news on climate change. Public Understanding of Science 16: 223-243. (The online version of this article can be found at http://pus.sagepub.com/content/16/2/223)
Curthoys, A. 1999. Histories of journalism. Pp 1-9 in Journalism: print, politics and popular culture, edited by A. Curthoys and J. Schultz. University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.
Davies, N. 2008. Chatto & Windus, London.
Flannery, T. 2005 The weather makers: how man is changing the climate and what it means for life on Earth. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, USA.
Garnaut, R. 2008 The Garnaut climate change review. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Hamilton, C. 2007 Scorcher: the dirty politics of climate change. Black Ink, Agenda, Melbourne, Australia.
Henderson-Sellers, A. and Blong, R. 1989 The greenhouse effect: living in a warmer Australia. UNSW Press, Kensington, NSW, Australia. (Reference from Wilson 2000.)
Hulme, M. 2010 Why we disagree about climate change: understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Hurst, J. and White, S. A. 1994 Ethics and the Australian news media. Macmillan Publishers, South Yarra, Victoria Australia.
Hutchings, P. 2010. Foundations of Australian science, Sydney's natural history legacy, and the place of the Australian Museum. Pp 74-89 in The natural history of Sydney, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. 2005. The Eden woodchip debate, part 2 (1987-2004). Pp 265-324 in A Forest Conscienceness: Proceedings of the 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society, edited by M.C. Calver, H. Bigler-Cole, G. Bolton, J. Dargavel, A. Gaynor, P. Horwitz, J. Mills and G. Wardell-Johnson. Millpress Science Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Lunney, D. and Moon, C. 2008. The portrayal of human-wildlife interactions in the print media. Pp 52-64 in Too close for comfort: contentious issues in human-wildlife encounters, edited by D. Lunney, I. Munn and W. Meikle. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. and Moon, C. 2012. Disasters for wildlife: an analysis of media attention. In Wildlife response to disasters, the theme of the 2009 Royal Zoological Society of NSW forum, edited by C. Dickman, D. Lunney and P. Banks. Australian Zoologist 36: 5-19.
Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P. (eds). 2012a Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P. 2012b. Wildlife and Climate Change: are robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna possible? Pp 180-201 in Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D., Crowther, M.S., Wallis, I., Foley, W.J., Lemon, J., Wheeler, R., Madani, G., Orscheg, C., Griffith, J.E., Krockenberger, M.B., Retamales, M. and Stalenberg, E. 2012. Koalas and climate change: a case study on the Liverpool Plains, north-west NSW. Pp 150-168 in Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Oreskes, N. and Conway, E. M. 2010 Merchants of doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. Bloomsbury Press, New York USA.
Salter, D. 2007 The media we deserve: underachievement in the fourth estate. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.
Tanner, S., Phillips, G., Smyth, C. and Tapsall, S. 2005 Journalism ethics at work. Pearson Longman, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia.
Schneider, S. H. 2009 Science as a contact sport: inside the battle to save Earth's climate. National Geographic Society, Washington DC, USA.
Tetlock, P. E. 2006 Expert political judgment: How good is it? How can we know? Princeton University Press, New Jersey, USA.
Ward, B. 2009. Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty. Ethics in science and environmental politics Vol. 9. http://www.int-res.com/articles/esep2009/9/journalism/e009pp3.pdf (last accessed 6.1.2012)
Wilson, K. M. 2000. Communicating climate change through the media. Pp 201-217 in Environmental risks and the media, edited by S. Allen, B. Adam and C. Carter. Routledge, London, UK.
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References

Australian Academy of Science. 2010. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, ACT Australia.
Carvalho, A. 2007. Ideological cultures and media discourses on scientific knowledge: re-reading news on climate change. Public Understanding of Science 16: 223-243. (The online version of this article can be found at http://pus.sagepub.com/content/16/2/223)
Curthoys, A. 1999. Histories of journalism. Pp 1-9 in Journalism: print, politics and popular culture, edited by A. Curthoys and J. Schultz. University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.
Davies, N. 2008. Chatto & Windus, London.
Flannery, T. 2005 The weather makers: how man is changing the climate and what it means for life on Earth. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, USA.
Garnaut, R. 2008 The Garnaut climate change review. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Hamilton, C. 2007 Scorcher: the dirty politics of climate change. Black Ink, Agenda, Melbourne, Australia.
Henderson-Sellers, A. and Blong, R. 1989 The greenhouse effect: living in a warmer Australia. UNSW Press, Kensington, NSW, Australia. (Reference from Wilson 2000.)
Hulme, M. 2010 Why we disagree about climate change: understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Hurst, J. and White, S. A. 1994 Ethics and the Australian news media. Macmillan Publishers, South Yarra, Victoria Australia.
Hutchings, P. 2010. Foundations of Australian science, Sydney's natural history legacy, and the place of the Australian Museum. Pp 74-89 in The natural history of Sydney, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. 2005. The Eden woodchip debate, part 2 (1987-2004). Pp 265-324 in A Forest Conscienceness: Proceedings of the 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society, edited by M.C. Calver, H. Bigler-Cole, G. Bolton, J. Dargavel, A. Gaynor, P. Horwitz, J. Mills and G. Wardell-Johnson. Millpress Science Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Lunney, D. and Moon, C. 2008. The portrayal of human-wildlife interactions in the print media. Pp 52-64 in Too close for comfort: contentious issues in human-wildlife encounters, edited by D. Lunney, I. Munn and W. Meikle. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. and Moon, C. 2012. Disasters for wildlife: an analysis of media attention. In Wildlife response to disasters, the theme of the 2009 Royal Zoological Society of NSW forum, edited by C. Dickman, D. Lunney and P. Banks. Australian Zoologist 36: 5-19.
Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P. (eds). 2012a Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P. 2012b. Wildlife and Climate Change: are robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna possible? Pp 180-201 in Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Lunney, D., Crowther, M.S., Wallis, I., Foley, W.J., Lemon, J., Wheeler, R., Madani, G., Orscheg, C., Griffith, J.E., Krockenberger, M.B., Retamales, M. and Stalenberg, E. 2012. Koalas and climate change: a case study on the Liverpool Plains, north-west NSW. Pp 150-168 in Wildlife and Climate Change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna, edited by D. Lunney and P. Hutchings. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, Australia.
Oreskes, N. and Conway, E. M. 2010 Merchants of doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. Bloomsbury Press, New York USA.
Salter, D. 2007 The media we deserve: underachievement in the fourth estate. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.
Tanner, S., Phillips, G., Smyth, C. and Tapsall, S. 2005 Journalism ethics at work. Pearson Longman, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia.
Schneider, S. H. 2009 Science as a contact sport: inside the battle to save Earth's climate. National Geographic Society, Washington DC, USA.
Tetlock, P. E. 2006 Expert political judgment: How good is it? How can we know? Princeton University Press, New Jersey, USA.
Ward, B. 2009. Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty. Ethics in science and environmental politics Vol. 9. http://www.int-res.com/articles/esep2009/9/journalism/e009pp3.pdf (last accessed 6.1.2012)
Wilson, K. M. 2000. Communicating climate change through the media. Pp 201-217 in Environmental risks and the media, edited by S. Allen, B. Adam and C. Carter. Routledge, London, UK.
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