Note: Apologies. The blog service is removing the paragraphs from this post for reasons unknown. I will try republishing later, to see if the error disappears.
It’s a funny and perhaps an old fashioned word. Integrity. This is what dictionary.com provides as a definition:
adherence to moral and ethical
principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
The dictionary definition describes what I believe is at the heart of the New Zealand ethos. Integrity is a word which, I believe, is strongly associated with the best of New Zealand culture. It is therefore a concern that both the New Zealand Herald, and their columnist Brian Rudman appear to lack in this admirable New Zealand characteristic.
On the 13April, I wrote a post
, with an open letter at the end. I pointed out that Brian Rudman had written a rude and unpleasant opinion piece
about the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), but that time had proved the NZCSC to be correct. I suggested that, considering the unpleasant language used in the opinion piece (e.g. calling NZCSC ‘flat earthers’), an apology was appropriate. On the day of the post, I made a comment on Brian Rudman’s latest opinion, but it was not published. I also sent a message using the Herald’s contact the news desk function, expressing my concern with Brian Rudman’s opinion piece. There was no response, and no response to a further message on on 20th April. I will inform the newspaper of this post, and will again offer to publish their response.
Why does this matter? It seems that the New Zealand Herald portrays itself as a newspaper with New Zealand values. However, in portraying itself as such, it should act with the integrity that is so closely associated with New Zealand. I do not know whether Brian Rudman has been informed of the messages were sent, but it seems unlikely that he would not be informed. I can therefore also question his integrity, and again, will publish any comment that he wishes to make. The newspaper, and Brian Rudman, were responsible for publishing an opinion piece that was rude, and also wrong. This is why the New Zealand Herald and Brian Rudman have no integrity:
- Adherence to moral and ethical principles; it seems that moral principles should include a desire to tell the truth. I sent a message in which I pointed out that the opinion piece mis-characterised the NZCSC. In the post I linked to, I explained how he had mis-characterised NZCSC. It seems that a moral course of action would be to retract the rude comments that were written about NZCSC, and to tell the truth that they were, indeed correct.
- Soundness of moral character; it seems that soundness of moral character would include admitting that you have been wrong, and seeking to rectify the wrong that you have done others once you are aware of it. They have been made aware of the wrong, but have chosen to do nothing.
- Honesty: honesty is a big word. It is about seeking truth, portraying the truth, acting on the truth. When Brian Rudman portrayed NZCSC as he did, he portrayed them in a way which had nothing to do with the truth. He appears equally uninterested in the truth now. The New Zealand Herald is the same. No interest in the truth.
The opinion piece itself was a pathetic ad hominem attack. If you wish to see why the piece was so wrong, see here. The opinion piece dealt with no substantive issues, but instead resorted to name calling. Why engage in serious debate, when you can opine without dealing with any issue of substance? Just call those you disagree with rude names, and label it ‘an opinion’. This is not an opinion that is deserving of any respect, but is behaviour that would be better left in the playground.
I sought to engage with both Brian Rudman and the New Zealand Herald. I sought to prompt them to act with integrity. Instead of ‘fronting up’, another good New Zealand characteristic, they chose to pretend that there was nothing at issue. However, there is something at issue, and that is the integrity of the newspaper, and the integrity of their columnist Brian Rudman.
I had heard that many in the media wer hostile to anyone, and anything, that might discomfort the thesis of anthropogenic global warming. The question I contemplated was whether, when confronted with their own error, they might ‘front up’, and actually act to rectify the error. It seems that both Brian Rudman and the New Zealand Herald are uninterested in correcting their errors. It seems that they have no interest in fairness or honesty.
I can only conclude that both the New Zealand Herald and Brian Rudman have no integrity whatsoever. The question is this; if the New Zealand Herald will not even engage with a person seeking to help them rectify an error, should you trust this newspaper? I believe that the answer should be ‘no’.