Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
The Fox News memo on how to "report" on global warming (i.e., suggest the science behind it is fatally flawed) got a lot of attention on Wednesday. Not that anyone was particularly surprised—you can turn on Fox most days and see that policy in action.
But while management at Fox is still banking on sowing doubt about climate change, the big-wigs at parent company News Corp. aren't. Earlier this year I reported at length about News Corp.'s effort to go carbon neutral. Rupert Murdoch has argued that dealing with global warming is not only the right thing to do, it's good for the corporation's bottom line. Yeah, all that stuff about how global warming is just Al Gore's pipe dream? The boss man doesn't think that.
Here's a letter from Murdoch on the initiative (it apparently hasn't trickled down to Washington managing editor Bill Sammon quite yet):
News Corporation has always been about imagining the future and then making that vision a reality. We seek new ways to reach our global audiences and we address those issues that have the greatest impact on their lives. Global climate change is clearly one of those issues. So how do we, as a media company, do our part to confront this challenge?
It starts with us. We must first get our house in order. In May of 2007, we launched a global energy initiative across News Corporation to reduce our energy use and impact on the climate. Our goals are to fully understand our carbon and energy impact, to reduce that impact significantly and to inspire our employees to take action on this issue in their business and personal lives.
News Corp.'s initiative is paying off: Climate Counts, a nonprofit that scores companies' efforts to deal with climate change, gave the company a glowing review just last week. It's a sad irony that, while the parent corporation is doing the right thing, Fox executives are still selling the idea that climate change is giant hoax crafted by conniving scientists and liberals to force us all to live like cavemen again (or whatever it is they want the American public to believe).
Wood Turner, the executive director of Climate Counts, writes via email:
Apparently, Bill Sammon didn't get Mr. Murdoch's climate memo. Fox News has been ignoring its own parent company's strong climate stance for a long time now. If News Corp is as committed as Mr. Murdoch says to inspiring and educating its audiences and its employees about its vision, it could start by making sure Fox News stops misrepresenting the basic facts.
Good on Murdoch for making strides on the impacts of his empire. But it's more than a bit hypocritical that Fox News, likely his most influential product in the US, continues to warp the public's understanding of the issue.