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.