Andrew Bolt

Andrew Bolt

Credentials  

  • University of Adelaide, uncompleted arts degree

Source: Sydney Morning Herald 

 Background

Andrew Bolt is a high-profile conservative Australian columnist, commentator and broadcaster. Bolt is an opinion writer at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald Sun in Melbourne, with his columns often syndicated across the rest of the News Corporation Australia network of metropolitan tabloid newspapers online and in print.

Bolt is also a prolific contributor to his own blog, also hosted on News Corporation Australia websites, where he has posted hundreds of items on climate change and “warmists.” He is promoted by News Corporation Australia as “Australia's most read columnist.” Bolt often promotes the work of climate science denialists.

Bolt presents his own weekly television panel show on free-to-air commerical station Network Ten where he often invites climate science contrarians as guests. The fourth season of The Bolt Report launched in March 2014 with episodes now doubled in length to one hour.

Stance on Climate Change

Andrew Bolt rarely makes a definitive statement about his own position on climate change, choosing instead to ask a multitude of questions, cherry-picking data to suggest climate scientists are wrong and criticising other journalists for failing to do research.  He employs many strawman arguments in his questioning. He often sources stories from climate denialist blogs and promotes the work of climate science deniers.

Bolt also tends to pick single localised events, such as floods and snowstorms, or temporary “recoveries” of climate change indicators such as sea ice and sea level, to suggest climate scientist predictions are “dud.” Bolt also regularly questions why Australian policies should reduce emissions when the country's domestic contrbution is relatively small.

Key Quotes

We are talking about a pretend tax to solve a pretend problem that no-one believes will be solved by this and we all have to pay attention.

Source: Introductory speech to 2012 Institute of Public Affairs function

I know that there is a debate about [humans causing the warming of the planet] - that's all I am prepared to say. I'm not a scientist but when someone tells me that all the scientists agree, I say no they don't. They all agree that there's a tendency for human emissions to heat the planet, but whether that's responsible for all the heating is an open question. But I must say that once it was confidently predicted that there was run away warming and now we have had a pause for 16 years. Now please explain that.

Source: ABC One-Plus-One program

Key Deeds 

February 2014

The Institute of Public Affairs, a free market think tank which promotes climate science denial, announces that Andrew Bolt will be among a list of contributors to a new book Climate Change: The Facts. Other contrarian and denialist authors include Patrick Michaels, Bob Carter, Richard Lindzen, James Delingpole, Donna Laframboise, Nigel Lawson, Ian Plimer, Anthony Watts, William Kininmonth and Mark Steyn.

November 2013

A study analysing the coverage of climate science in Australian media found that Andrew Bolt accounted for almost half of all the words in articles written on climate science in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald Sun newspaper, the Melbourne-based tabloid and Australia's biggest selling newspaper.

The study says of Bolt:

Given his influence, a consideration of how Australian media covers climate science needs to include an analysis of the strategies used by Bolt to persuade his readers they should reject the findings of the vast majority of climate scientists. These strategies include personal abuse, cherry picking specific findings to refute the entire body of findings of climate scientists, portrayal of advocates of climate action as ideologically motivated with totalitarian tendencies and criticism of journalists who report on climate science. He presents himself as someone who is fighting a battle to reveal ‘truth’ and ‘secrets’ which ‘warmists’ want hidden to protect their vested interests. Once the ‘facts’ are established a triumphal, mocking tone is adopted.

The study also found that about 97 percent of all the comment articles published in the Herald Sun newspaper either rejected or questioned the views of the vast majority of climate scientists that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change.

December 2012

The Australian Press Council upholds a complaint made about one of Andrew Bolt's columns, written in February that year.

In the article, headlined “Time that climate alarmists fessed up,” Bolt claimed that “the planet hasn't actually warmed for a decade - or even 15 years, according to new temperature data from Britain's Met Office.”

The APC found that Bolt had based his assertion partly on a story in the UK's Daily Mail. The APC criticised Bolt for failing to mention in his column that the Met Office had responded to the Daily Mail article the same day it was written, saying its claim that their data showed global warming had stopped was “entirely misleading.”

The APC adjudication said:

The Met Office description should have been mentioned in Mr Bolt’s print article and blog of 1 February, even if he then rebutted it as unconvincing. It was not sufficient in these circumstances to assert ignorance of the response or to rely on the reader’s previous posting to inform other readers about it.

The APC also criticised Bolt for a sentence in his column which read: “Sea levels have recently dipped, the oceans have lately cooled, Arctic ice has not retreated since 2007…”  

The APC said that even though the statement was “statistically compatible” with key data sources, Bolt “should have acknowledged explicitly that all of the three changes in question were comparatively short-term and were statistically compatible with continuance of the long-term trends in the opposite direction.”

August, 2012

Andrew Bolt asks that his name be removed from a list of advisors to the climate science denial group Galileo Movement after accusing the group and its project manager Malcolm Roberts of spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Bolt asked The Galileo Movement for clarification after Roberts was quoted in a Sydney Morning Herald newspaper report saying that climate change science had been captured by ''some of the major banking families in the world.” SMH columnist Mike Carlton wrote this was “code for the Great Jewish Conspiracy.”

In an email to Roberts, Bolt wrote: “Two of the three most prominent and current banking families you’ve mentioned are Jewish, and the third is sometimes falsely assumed to be. Yes, this smacks too much of the Jewish world conspiracy theorising I’ve always loathed.”

In a statement, The Galileo Movement co-founders John Smeed and Case Smit strenously denied the organisation was “anti-Semitic.” Smeed recorded a video message alongside his wife Suzi, a Holocaust survivor who said she had been deeply hurt by the accusations.

May 2012

Bolt attends an Institute of Public Affairs function in Melbourne to introduce a speech from climate science denier and Czech President Vaclav Klaus. After describing proposed laws to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions as a “pretend tax to solve a pretend problem,” Bolt says:

I'm thinking of this incredible interference in the way that we live our lives even to the extent of being told to hug our dogs and then I ask the question: Where will I find a messiah to reveal the untruths to us and smite the unrighteous and drive these people from the temple? And then a voice comes to me from the Czech Republic.

December 2011

A study of climate change coverage in ten major Australian newspapers found Andrew Bolt was the second most prolific writer on the issue in Australia, behind News Ltd stablemate and fellow climate science sceptic Terry McCrann.

Analysing coverage in newspapers between February and July 2011, the study, from The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, found Bolt had written 41 columns covering climate policy.

Overall, Bolt had been a significant contributor to News Ltd's overwhelmingly negative coverage of proposed legislation to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. For every News Ltd article assessed as being positive towards the policy, there were almost five negative articles.

January 2011

In the wake of extreme floods in Queensland, Bolt writes a blog post in which he claims that a Queensland Government report on climate change published two years earlier had made no mention of the risk of increased flooding. Bolt pointed to a link to the report as proof, giving credit to a blogger who claimed the “report” had not mentioned the word “flood” at all.

Blogger Tim Lambert found that Bolt had linked to only a single chapter in the climate strategy report. Other chapters made numerous references to floods.

Affiliations  

  • News Corporation Australia - columnist
  • Network Ten - presenter of The Bolt Report


 Publications

Andrew Bolt is a career journalist and columnist with no publications in the scientific literature on climate change.