Outgoing AFR Chanticleer columnist John Durie has had many dealings with Rupert Murdoch over the years and has now even agreed to leave Australia’s most prestigious business column to work for the Sun King again.

As with anyone who has handed in their notice, the rules change a little on what you should and shouldn’t write. For mine, it wasn’t appropriate for Durie to use his column in The Weekend Fin to laud Rupert’s belated action on climate change in the following terms:

Back in 2000 here in Australia, News Ltd joined the National Greenhouse Challenge. Its efforts highlight the progress being made, leaving the recalcitrants — who tend to be the biggest emitters — the only problem.

Gee, has anyone noticed anything other than total scepticism coming out of News since 2000. Last year, The Australian appointed former coal lobbyist Matthew Warren as its environment reporter and Rupert tolerated Andrew Bolt shouting at Al Gore at one of his management love-ins.

Fairfax newspapers last week pointed to some prominent septics within the News Corp empire in the following terms:

At a recent gathering of climate change contrarians at the Melbourne Club, Herald Sun business columnist Terry McCrann was equivocal about his boss’s change of heart.

“The thing you have to remember is that Rupert is pragmatic,” he said.
The winds of change didn’t originate from Cruden Farm, home of Rupert’s mother, Dame Elisabeth, in Melbourne’s south. Asked at the end of last year about her son’s apparent conversion, she said: “He certainly didn’t get it from me. I’m a sceptic.”

So how do we test the sincerity of a man responsible for more industrial consumption of trees than anyone else in history after spewing out tens of billions of newspapers over 55 years running News Corp?

What about turning around the Bolt sledge of Gore for “his endless flights around the world, in private jets and civil, to flog his film”?

It’s so nice of Durie to talk about News Corp’s light-bulb use in Hong Kong and triple-glazing in Adelaide, when he fails to mention that Rupert is famous for his excessive use of big private jets.

There’s also the question of whether News Corp’s claimed 641,150 tonnes of carbon emitted last year includes the fleet of TNT trucks that shift more than four million newspapers a day across the UK.

Contractors can usually be excluded in carbon audits so I’m betting Rupert has under-cooked his figures in claiming the UK only produces 11% of News Corp’s total carbon figures.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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