Hannity compared carbon offsets to "cheat[ing] on your wife," ignored Murdoch's efforts to make News Corp. carbon neutral

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's "carbon footprint," asserting, "Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world. ... You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, 'Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset.' Good luck." 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."

On the June 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's "carbon footprint," asserting, "Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world. ... You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, 'Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset.' Good luck." Conservationist Howard Gould responded, "I've got news for you. You better get used to it, because both presidential candidates have talked about a cap and trade system coming down. So you're going to be offsetting yourself, as well, even whether you like it or not." Hannity replied: "I happen to know your wife, and she's a wonderful lady," adding, "And good luck -- and good luck if you ever seek the indulgence." Hannity's comparison of purchasing carbon offsets to "cheat[ing] on your wife" echoes Chris Horner, senior fellow for the energy-industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who, during the July 9 edition of Hannity & Colmes, likened the purchase of carbon offsets to a priest buying "adultery offsets."

As Media Matters for America has 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, 2007, 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 speech that day, 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.

News Corp. has since updated its website, including an "Energy" section that states, "We aim to transform our business practices in order to significantly reduce our energy use and carbon emissions. Each News Corporation business unit is on the path to achieving carbon neutrality, net zero carbon emissions." In an "Ongoing Initiatives" section, the website states that "[f]or the second straight year, the Fox Broadcasting Company Programming Presentation will be going carbon neutral," adding that "to reach net zero emissions, Fox will invest in carbon offsets from renewable energy projects that reduce emissions equivalent to the unavoidable emissions from the event." The Ongoing Initiatives section also states:

Fox produced the first-ever carbon-neutral Emmy Awards show. Highlights include partnering with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to secure renewable energy for the Shrine Auditorium, installing a solar canopy above the red carpet grandstands, a red carpet and stage area blue carpet made from 95,000 recycled plastic bottles, and a press tent illuminated with only compact fluorescent and LED lighting technology. Plus the solar system has been donated to a local school and will continue generating renewable energy for the next 25 years.

From the June 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: I drive a hybrid. I've got a Chevy Tahoe -- hybrid in my backyard.

GOULD: Yeah.

HANNITY: That big SUV gets 21 miles per gallon.

GOULD: But are you pro -- I mean, are you talking about putting solar panels on the roof of your house?

HANNITY: As soon as Ted Kennedy puts up his windmills, we'll talk about windmills; we put it off Nantucket Sound; I'll join you. Did you ever fly in a private jet?

GOULD: I have, yes.

HANNITY: Yeah, you have. So why should we listen to you. I mean, with all -- you sound like a typical Lear Jet liberal. Did you ever drive around in a limousine?

GOULD: Sure.

HANNITY: Sure. So why should we listen to liberals --

COLMES: I'm going to give you some carbon offsets before you leave this evening.

GOULD: Exactly, I mean that's what I was getting into right now. The fact is that when I do is -- I actually offset.

HANNITY: Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world.

GOULD: Well, I don't know --

HANNITY: That you can buy your way -- you know what that's like? You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, "Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset."

GOULD: Yeah, but Sean --

HANNITY: Good luck.

GOULD: I've got news for you. You better get used to it, because both presidential candidates have talked about a cap and trade system coming down. So you're going to be offsetting yourself, as well, even whether you like it or not.

HANNITY: I happen to know your wife, and she's a wonderful lady. And good luck -- and good luck if you ever seek the indulgence. It's not gonna -- but anyway, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

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