Yesterday Rupert Murdoch pledged to launch a company-wide plan to reduce New Corp’s carbon emissions. But someone forgot to tell Andrew Bolt.

What was really startling about the Sun King’s speech was his plan to weave the climate change message into the content and programming of News Corp:

We need to reach them in a sustained way. To weave this issue into our content– make it dramatic, make it vivid, even sometimes make it fun. We want to inspire people to change their behavior. The challenge is to revolutionize the message.

As for those commentators who refuse to toe the global warming line:

Now there will always be journalists… including some of ours… who are sceptical, which is natural and healthy. But the debate is shifting from whether climate change is really happening to how to solve it.

Crikey can think of at least one News Ltd employee who isn’t likely to sell the carbon footprint message. Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt referred to the “all-but-unchallenged trillion-dollar racket this is global warming” just yesterday. 

Bolt has already addressed the Murdoch matter on his blog, at 6.47am today:

A Murdoch minion contemplates his global warming heresy

By Andrew Bolt

Sigh. Here goes — another round of media speculation that I’ll dutifully change my tune..

Tony of South Yarra asked the question on everyone’s lips:

Your published views don’t exactly toe the company line Andrew. What pressure do you expect from the brass at HQ?

Bolt replied:

Here’s a secret: I have already felt that pressure. It’s left me with the clear impression that I must continue to say it exactly how I see it. 

Of course, if Andrew Bolt and others like Piers Akerman and Terry McCrann suddenly changed their line on global warming after Murdoch made his feelings clear, there would be the predictable protest from critics that the News Ltd press continues to be held hostage to Rupert’s personal views.

But that doesn’t mean that News Ltd columnists shouldn’t be required to back their sceptical arguments with legitimate research.

Last year Andrew Bolt quoted the findings of Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences at the University of California in his Herald Sun column “Bulled by a Gore”.

Severinghaus later told Crikey he’d been misrepresented: “At the very least I would like it to go on record that Bolt’s abuse of my science is not done with my approval.”

Crikey put this question to News Ltd spinner Greg Baxter this morning:

We understand that News Ltd columnists will not be obligated to, nor wish to, stop asking sceptical questions about the severity, and cause of, global warming, given the News Corp line. As Murdoch himself said in his speech, this is “natural and healthy”. However, there have been charges levelled at columnists such as Andrew Bolt that they have deliberately misrepresented scientific research and academic papers to support their argument. Some of these charges have come from the authors of the reports/research themselves. Will the News Corp management, which subscribes to the legitimacy of man-made global warming, require columnists to back up their claims with legitimate research and cease misrepresenting facts?

Baxter responded:

Our corporate support does not affect our editorial policy. All reporters and columnists will continue to be expected to scrutinise, analyse, report and comment on the climate change debate from all angles. Different opinions are important to this debate like any other. The same journalistic standards are expected on this issue as for any other. Our journalists are free-thinking and expected to exercise that freedom every day.

We then received this response from Andrew Bolt:

How ironic that in accusing me of misrepresentation, you should misrepresent the facts yourself.

Only one scientist, not scientists plural, has complained that I misrepresented his science. He was wrong, as I have demonstrated, and on two points.

When will your publisher demand that you and your colleagues back up your claims with legitimate research and cease misrepresenting facts? Or would that just put you and your preferred warming preachers out of business?

Rupert may not demand that his sceptical employees “weave in” the climate change message into their content, but the least the new hybrid car owner could do is purchase come carbon credits to offset his star columnists’ emissions.