In Sydney, there were many ways for people to get information. As well as free to air TV and cable TV, there were many newspapers, and radio staions. Some are good and informative, and some do not let the facts get in the way of a good story. Others are dedicated to promoting local news, and tend to sit on the political, environmental and social policy fence.
Here in Wauchope, there are a number of local papers, as I have mentioned. Two tend to be careful about what message they peddle. The third, The Port Paper, is not.
And The Port Paper is back. It seemed to disappear after the election, but there it was yesterday, sitting in the driveway. Those of you who read this blog may recall that this anonymously owned, funded and edited piece of dubious journalism had a column known as Carp's Corner.
And Mr Carp is back with a vengeance. I didn't think he would be able to top his last rant about the Mid North Coast seceding to become a loyal eastern satellite of a seceded WA. But those who draw their energy from wells of deep-seated prejudice, fear and intolerance seem to have an endless supply of invective at their fingertips.
His column starts well, with an announcement that there are some facts that we, the reader, need to note as the debate about a carbon tax heats up. This first fact is that wind turbines can only produce 20% of their capacity due to fluctuating wind conditons. This is a very definite statement, Mr Carp. And while this is broadly true, the amount of energy generated by wind turbines is measured by what feeds into the electricity grid. Wasted electricity occurs due to the inability of aging electricity grids to allow more than this percentage of energy to enter them. More importantly, percentage generated doesn't mean 'ineffectual'. Our petrol combustion motors in cars are very inefficient, but they still work.
The second fact is that solar farms "cost a bomb". Very factual - if we know the cost of the precise model of bomb Mr Carp is referring to.
The third fact is that the carbon tax will make ALL of us poorer, sooner not later. And it will kill our resource industry. I'll come back to this in a later comment.
The next fact I like is that we are in a phase of global cooling. Yep, good point, Mr Carp, given global temperatures have been on the increase since the age of industrialisation.
I will mention two more of Mr Carp's facts, though I have many more I could choose from. Firstly, those who support claims of global warming and the carbon tax use "unscientific rhetoric" to make their points - presumably unlike the facts as presented by Mr Carp.
I guess it just must be because scientific facts such as clean energy "costing a bomb" and the concept of "global cooling phase" are too complex for the poor old greenies to understand.
Secondly, Dr Ken Henry apparently said that "Treasury could not build a computer big enough to work out the costs of the Greens policies".
Mmmmm. All I could find when I tried to research this claim online in major newspapers, electronic media and Hansard was that Dr Henry was in favour of the mining tax, and was supported in this by the Greens. I also found that despite Mr Carp's fears of losing our resource industry due to a carbon tax, that BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Woodside, AGL and Alcoa were in favour of an emissions trading scheme.
Mr Carp thinks people who object to his facts and accept the evidence of climate change are socialists who have a new religion in climate change because socialism is now unfashionable. They "hate" all sceptics of climate change.
What puzzles me most about Mr Carp's sustained piece of invective is actually what is driving it. What does Mr Carp have to fear if global warming is real and present? What is invested in NOT having it real? And what is wrong with people finding better ways of being cleaner and gentler to our fragile planet? What is it about wanting pollution controls or a fairer distribution of wealth and resources that sends our Mr Carp into orbit?
I also do not understand why people need to read and believe this stuff. Is it just easier to believe these 'facts' - from an anonymous source with no evident credentials - than changing our habits? Or is there another reason?
Mr Carp, unless you are prepared to put more into your research and are prepared to come clean about who you are, and who pays you, I don't think you should be publishing this stuff.
Or is the fact of 'being honest' also 'unfashionable'?