Monday, August 06, 2007

The Changing Climate Of Andrew Bolt

Betrayed By Murdoch Over Global Warming, The Bolter Now Pulls His Punches

By Darryl Mason

Andrew Bolt, of Melbourne's Herald Sun, and a self-titled blog, finds himself in an interesting and career-stalling quandary. For a few years now Bolt has found great success in railing against the occasionally exaggerated predictions of climate change activists, and has filled hundreds of columns and blog posts with demands that the "debate" over global warming be more balanced.

How balanced?

For almost a year, Bolt demanded that the theory that solar activity be considered as responsible for climate change, instead of human generated carbon emissions. Let's just say the 'Blame The Sun' theory hasn't exactly set the scientific world on fire, particularly after the hopeless documentary that Bolt championed, The Great Global Warming Swindle, got an airing on Australian TV.

Bolt simply didn't believe that global warming of the kind promoted by scientist Carl Sagan in the mid-1990s was a reality, and often barked about it all being a huge scam, a cult, a new religion.

Bolt still rails against climate change true believers. Well, sort of. Then again, not really. He's now clearly lost his enthusiasm for the battle against the generally accepted truth that climate change is real.

There's a bevy of very simple reasons for why Bolt has toned down his attacks on all those who accept the reality of global warming induced climate change. John Howard backs it as policy shaping fact, as does President Bush, and virtually every major world leader. But most important of all, Bolt's own boss, Rupert Murdoch, backs climate change reality so devotedly he is reshaping his entire world media operations and content around spreading the message that climate change is real and the world must unite to fight it.

Murdoch has stated that climate change is now beyond debate, and it's time to find solutions. Being a good Murdoch employee, Bolt won't mention his boss's embrace of carbon trading and had next to nothing to say about Murdoch's May 9 acknowledgement that climate change was real, and that the debate had now shifted, at least as far as Murdoch and most of the Western world is concerned, to finding ways to solve the problem, and even stop its worst effects from becoming a terrible, centuries long reality.

Bolt spent years haranguing any scientist who dared to say our future prosperity and viability was in peril from climate change. But Bolt clammed right up when Rupert Murdoch said this :

'Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats."

Murdoch told his employees and stockholders that would use his worldwide audience of hundreds of millions of people, on five continents, to look at the problems of climate change as "exciting" and he promised to "weave this issue into our content, make it dramatic..."

In the next season of Fox's '24', special agent Jack Bauer will leave the terrorists alone long to somehow fight climate change. Presumably the bad guys this time will be heavy polluters, or perhaps there will be some Bond-esque bad guy using HAARP-type technology to speed up global warming to claim the mineral and energy riches of the melting Arctic.

Whatever the storyline of '24' is, Murdoch will use the show's popularity to ram home the threat of climate change, and the overwhelming need to do something about stopping it. Jack Bauer will do his bit, but it is also likely there will be extensive promotions tied into the new series telling Americans how they can be like Jack Bauer and help stop climate change.

The '24' website is already pumping Murdoch's message to the masses, and Jack Bauer himself, Keifer Sutherland, is pre-empting the focus of the new series by appearing in public service announcements on behalf of Rupert's mission to save planet Earth from "clear, catastrophic threats".

Will Andrew Bolt rail against Fox Television falling victim to the global warming "scam"?

Of course not.

You only have to leaf through The Herald Sun, which carries Bolt's columns, to see how heavily the Murdoch promise "to weave this issue into our content" is already being fulfilled.

Has Andrew Bolt whined and wailed and demanded more debate in the pages of his own newspaper, in opposition to the stand taken on climate change taken by Rupert Murdoch?

Of course not.

Bolt only takes pot shots at the easy targets.

When Rupert Murdoch gave his now famous speech on May 9 about acknowledging the reality of climate change, and announced his plans to restructure all his media operations to reduce News Corp's carbon footprint, Andrew Bolt claimed that he wouldn't be cowed and he would continue to hammer the 'Climate Change Is Real' crowd for being a bunch of gullible drogues.

But Bolt has been cowed, of course. And it only took a couple of weeks, punctuated by a Bushesque five week long holiday.

When Bolt now writes about the climate change "preachers" he chooses his targets very, very carefully. He says little, or nothing, about the Howard government's embracing of climate change as an election issue, or President Bush's proposals to reshape American industry and the economy to become more 'green'. And he certainly does not attack Rupert Murdoch.

For years, those trying to warn of the very real dangers and threats of climate change were called mentally ill by Bolt. If they weren't mentally ill, they were "hysterical". Or they were falling victim to "the "warming faith", "the irrational faith", or the "new apocalyptic faith".

Here's Bolt on May 3, referring to global warming as :

"...a religion that already shows signs of falling apart."

Here's Bolt on Thursday, May 8 :

"I repeat, it’s a religion, and with that old-time hook - Repent, for the end of the world is nigh..."

Here's his boss, Rupert Murdoch, on May 9 :

'Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats."

Yeah, we all had a great laugh over that one.

Sometimes, when not being particularly creative, Bolt referred to what Rupert Murdoch was in the process of embracing as "the global warming scare".

True believers were all "cultists" and, my personal favourite, they were busy promoting "the most superstitious pagan faith of all".

As Rupert Murdoch cranks up the anti-global warming promotions and campaigns through his TV shows, newspapers and cable stations across the world, Bolt now calls those fighting global warming merely "preachers" and "planet wreckers", which is so comic as to be all but harmless.

When he's particularly hepped up, Bot might even lash out with a claim that some anti-global warming advocate is an "Alarmist". But that's about as far as Bolt will go these days.

He might truly believe that climate change is some vast left-wing conspiracy to help clear cities of pollution and create new energy industries, but Bolt is not going to accuse his own boss, Mr Murdoch, of being insane and hysterical and a member of a superstitious pagan cult.

Bolt clearly wants to keep his very well paid job, and if he has to tone down the rhetoric, stifle his conspiratorial beliefs and swallow his pride and dignity to do so, then that's exactly what he will do. Over and over and over again.

Bolt must be thanking all the gods that his beloved prime minister, John Howard, is only a few months away from losing the election.

When Kevin Rudd takes control of Australia, Bolt will be re-born. No longer will he have to play along and praise the prime minister at every turn, and make silly excuses for hundreds of very clear and obvious failures of judgement and downright open deceit of the Australian people, as Howard did again and again through the years Bolt has been writing and blogging for Rupert Murdoch's once firmly pro-Howard Australian media.

By the end of the year, Bolt will likely have a whole host of federal Labor politicians in power to attack and smash and trash and flail, and he will finally be able to let go of the 'Global Warming Is A Superstitious Pagan Faith' nonsense, just as Murdoch now wants him to.

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