On the July 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, host Sean Hannity again criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's “carbon footprint” as a “sham,” adding: “You know what it's like? It's like saying to your husband or spouse, 'I'm going to cheat, but I'll buy you a diamond ring.' That's what it's saying.” As Media Matters for America documented, Hannity has previously derided carbon offsets as a “sham,” a “crock,” and a “ridiculous concept,” and has repeatedly criticized former Vice President Al Gore's reported use of them. However, Hannity has yet to address the pledge by News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch “to be carbon neutral, across all our businesses” -- which includes Fox News -- “by 2010.” Murdoch specifically mentioned that his plan calls for reducing net carbon emissions to zero “through a combination of operational changes and carbon offsets.”
On May 9, News Corp. announced that all of its “business units will become carbon neutral by 2010 -- through energy efficiency, buying renewable power and offsetting otherwise unavoidable emissions. Becoming carbon neutral is only the beginning of the company's permanent commitment to change the way it uses energy and to reach its audiences on this issue.” In a May 9 speech, Murdoch went into greater detail regarding News Corp.'s plan to use carbon credits to offset “unavoidable” emissions:
MURDOCH: While we reduce our own carbon footprint we will encourage the companies who truck our DVDs and newspapers, sell us paper, and provide an enormous range of products and services -- to all contribute.
Today, we are joining the Climate Group, a coalition of businesses and governments working together to solve the climate problem.
But some emissions will be unavoidable. As a last resort, we will offset these emissions.
A carbon offset is a financial tool to support projects that prevent carbon from being released into the atmosphere. Done right, they will widen the implementation of carbon-saving technologies, and give an incentive to create new solutions.
We have entered into an agreement to begin purchasing carbon offsets this year, from projects that provide wind power in India.
When our net emissions reach zero -- through a combination of operational changes and carbon offsets -- we will be carbon neutral.
As Media Matters previously noted, Hannity has not addressed this announcement. Rather, he has continued to call the purchase of carbon offsets a “fraud” and a “joke.” Additionally, on the July 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity allowed Chris Horner, senior fellow for the energy-industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), to liken the purchase of carbon offsets to a priest buying “adultery offsets.”
From the July 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:
HANNITY: Will you -- because if I ever get Al Gore, I'll put him in the hot seat, and I'll ask him, “Will you promise never to get in a private jet again?”
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON (Huffington Post co-founder): What -- I'll tell you what he would reply. He would reply --
HANNITY: No. What would you reply?
HUFFINGTON: Well, I would reply the same thing, that if you are chartering a jet, or if it's your jet going somewhere, then you actually have to buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are great.
HANNITY: Carbon offsets are a sham.
HUFFINGTON: They're not.
HANNITY: You know what it's like? It's like saying to your husband or spouse, “I'm going to cheat, but I'll buy you a diamond ring.” That's what it's saying.
HUFFINGTON: No, come on. Not at all, because it's doing something that actually helps the environment.