Australia is a competitive nation on the sporting field. In the field of climate change we excel in two ways. Firstly, we head the OECD in terms of per capita CO2 emissions. Secondly, our press is the most critical of climate change science, according to a Reuters survey. Our leadership is in no small way due to the efforts of one Andrew Bolt. That’s what Wendy Bacon told Richard Aedy on the Media Report recently.
Wendy Bacon was talking about her report Sceptical Climate Part 2: Climate Science in Australian Newspapers. There is a summary of key findings here. From this page (scroll down) you can download the report, or parts of it, or go to Key Findings with links to sections of the report.
Oliver Milman in The Guardian has a useful summary.
The report analysed 602 articles published between February and April in 2011 and again in the same period in 2012. The article covered ten papers including The Australian, the capital city Newscorp papers, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The West Australian. Missing were The Canberra Times and the AFR.
There were fewer articles in 2012 (270 as against 332) but actually more sceptical articles.
Fully 97% of comment pieces in the Herald Sun either questioned or rejected climate science.
When measured by words, 31% of the writing in the surveyed papers did not accept established climate science in 2011, with this number rising to 44% in 2012. This in spite of the fact that The Age and the SMH have become less sceptical.
If you live in Darwin your diet will be essentially nothing but Bolt, whose column also appears in the Herald Sun, the Advertiser and the Daily Telegraph. Outside the survey, it also appears in the Cairns Post and the Townsville Bulletin as well as, since David Fagan was sacked as editor, in the Courier Mail.
If you live in WA you get practically nothing, with the local paper carrying an article on climate change about once every three weeks.
The Hobart Mercury is the only paper with a climate change specialist regularly writing articles.
Bacon says that Newscorp as a company officially accepts climate science and has sought to reduce its own carbon footprint. Most of their editors do too, yet they still publish Bolt and columnists virulently against climate science like Piers Akerman and Miranda Devine. She obviously questions the ethics of this hypocrisy on the part of editors. Bacon thinks the media understate their role in producing opinion.
The Fairfax flagships now have a policy of not publishing letters from climate sceptics.
The report is quite large, and I’ve only skimmed it. It does contain a graph I hadn’t seen before:
Finally, Watching the Deniers has a series of posts on a Bolt article on the death of global warmism.
15 thoughts on “Bolt rools!”
These are John Howard’s comments after having given his rather bizarre speech in London:
“When asked by the audience about the Australian media’s portrayal of the climate debate, Howard said there had been a balanced conversation on the issue on most parts, except within the ABC.
“It would be wrong to say that all of the Australian media are signed up to the alarmist agenda, even though some of them are.
“The groupthink of the ABC on this issue is quiet clear … On this issue it’s signed up, there’s no doubt about that. It’s equally fair to say that sections of the Murdoch press, and particularly the national newspaper the Australian, are more sceptical.” ”
So, according to a former Prime Minister who at one time supported action on climate change – although he now seems to be saying that, in a ‘perfect storm’ he only did that for votes – the media in Australia is balanced apart from the ABC. This type of blatant manipulation of the truth is worrying as we now seem to have abandoned diversity and objectivity in news reporting with the sole arbiter being the Murdoch media empire.
It doesn’t look good for the ABC under this new extreme conservative regime.
It is a sad thought that one person’s view can have so much impact. But I am confident that our community will eventually lead the way on climate change action and our political leaders will scurry the catch up. False prophets will be ignored.
Getting his racist law too.
Sadly I do not share your optimism any more.
The turning point for me was the day that Abbott knifed Turnbull in the back after Turnbull agreed with Rudd to an ETS. It was clear then that he was tapping into a visceral antipathy in a section of the lay public, and the denialism (and the lack of resistance to it, where it was not overt) that sprouted in the LNP and the media only reinforced my feeling.
The almost palpable silence from so many Australians since the election in response to:
1) axing the Climate Commission
2) axing the Climate Change Authority
3) axing the position of Minister for Science
4) axing a huge chunk of the CSIRO
5) axing the price on carbon pollution
6) not sending a minister to the United Nations climate change mitigation negotiations next week in Poland, because the minister wants to instead axe a price on carbon
7) the ongoing refusal by the LNP to acknowledge that electricity prices have increased over the last five year almost entirely because of infrastructure costs rather than from the polluters paying for their emissions
8) the headlong rush to dig as much coal out of the ground as is possible
amongst other things – even after this start to the list I’m feeling depressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that with the next change of government Australia will attempt to make up some of the lost ground. We will however never again be able to come remotely near “leading the way”, and we will in all likelihood never be in a position to make up for the willful and criminally-negligent damage caused by the Coalition government under Abbott.
For that Australians in general will have to carry perpetual responsibility, and damned be those who ever have the temerity in the future to say that it wasn’t their fault that they supported the policies of the Abbott/Murdoch government.
No, no, no, Brian, the media doesn’t shape public opinion, it merely reflects it. You old school socialists like your good self and Bacon just imagine that the world as viewed by yourselves is the only possible world. Out here in Drastic there are plenty of people who have Bolt’s attitude, intellect and masculinity; they’ve been known from time to time, up at the Top Pub, to reinforce the strength of their conviction on global warming and anyffink else ‘greeny’, by delivering a well placed and totally unexpected head butt to their interlocutors. They know all about being green, and homos, and blackfellas as well.
Its a mass cultural/educational divide. It may even have a genetic basis, as well, as someone here recently pointed to in the differences between the way that conservatives and progressives experience fear.
‘Bolt drools’? I’m aware of that.
Please put ‘sceptical’ inside quote marks when using word around Bolt’s flock.
Plus one …
Personally, I’d not use the term on the grounds that “Bolt’s flock” are trying to have their wicked way with the term without its consent. We ought not to enable them to get away with it.
How and why did this country develop a collective stupidity that allowed the opinions of this type to flourish and fester?
I will remain baffled that we have become one of the stupidest nations on the planet.
I think Brian must be bored out of his tree.To get my anti Global Warming attitudes I go Rense or Alex Jones or PrisonPlanet and bothThen again,I will go to do a good job,on geoengineering stuff the U.S.A. Where global warming to them and others definitely looks like a major scam. A article at Activist Post Tues. Nov.5 2013 IPCC warns Policy Makers not to stop’ solar radiation management’.
Seems to be a stuff up in presentation.Sorry about that.
It started with reality television. Who would have thought “big brother” would be an agent for commercial brain washing rather than the ultimate government snoop.
Heh, I laughed so hard I almost laid an egg.
There’s a small cottage industry called ‘Advertising’ whose one or two practitioners would differ somewhat from your understanding of the situation…
Note – my previous comment should prolly have had a smiley as a punctuation mark!
Mila @ 8:
The answers are simple and many. Where do we start?
1. Ownership and control of the Australian news media so concentrated that it would make any Stalinist regime envious.
2. Ingrained pressure to conform that came out of Australia’s convict past: speak out and you’ll be tied to the triangle and flogged to death – better to shut up and live.
3. A moribund elite that prefers to waste most of its efforts on hindering potential rivals for power and wealth, they do this as a substitute for doing anything positive to maintain their position. We got the dullards and other rejects from the ruling levels of society in England and Scotland, and, like the cane-toad without natural enemies here, they bred.
There must be a few dozen more major reasons for the collective stupidity – this will do to get the ball rolling.
Bolt really owns you lot, doesn’t he.
Such hysterical overreaction is very heartening.
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