Rupert Murdoch Is Actively Helping Climate Change Destroy His Country Of Birth
Conservative Australian media outlets, especially the well-known newspapers and television stations owned by Rupert Murdoch, have fueled false claims that this year’s fires are no worse than those of the past, according to The New York Times.
Scientists note that 12 million acres have burned so far, with 2019 scorching more of New South Wales than the previous 15 years combined.
On Wednesday, an independent study found online bots and trolls exaggerating the role of arson in the fires in Murdoch’s News Corp, the largest media company in Australia, at the same time that an article in Murdoch’s The Australian made similar assertions on the newspaper’s website.
Critics argue that what is happening in Australia is the same as what has occured in the United States and Britain -- powerful media outlets have shifted discussion away from climate change to protect conservative leaders and blame the left.
“It’s really reckless and extremely harmful,” said Joëlle Gergis, an award-winning climate scientist at the Australian National University. “It’s insidious because it grows. Once you plant those seeds of doubt, it stops an important conversation from taking place.”
Searches for “climate change” in the main Murdoch outlets mostly yield stories that condemn protestors who demand more combative action from the government; editorials arguing against “radical climate change policy”; and opinion columns that emphasize the need for more backburning to control fires.
Timothy Graham, a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, conducted a study of Twitter accounts that exaggerated the role of arson in Australia’s fires. He said media companies need to be cognizant of disinformation and stop contributing to the problem.
“Maybe 3 to 5 percent of fires could be attributed to arson, that’s what scientists tell us -- nevertheless, media outlets, especially those that tend to be partisan, jump on that,” Dr. Graham said.