Rupert Murdoch’s Son Blasts His Father’s Media Empire For Climate Change Denial
Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, and his wife, Kathryn, are attacking News Corporation and Fox News Channel for their promotion of climate denialism, according to The Daily Beast.
“Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” a spokesperson for the couple said as wildfires rage in Australia.
“They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”
The public criticisms from Kathryn and James comes as Australia suffers from the worst fires seen in decades: the flames have claimed 27 lives and destroyed thousands of properties, while an estimate 1 billion animals are feared dead.
News Corp Australia dominates the country’s media landscape, publishing more than 140 newspapers and employing 3,000 journalists in print, broadcast, and online.
A News Corp executive, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, described James Murdoch’s comments to be an intentional attack on his brother, Lachlan, and Rupert.
“They are pissing inside the tent and that’s unusual. It’s evidence of how high tensions are within the family over climate change. The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point,” the executive said.
Critics say Murdoch’s Australian newspapers and television networks are continuing to publish stories and opinion pieces that dismiss widely accepted science about climate change.
On Nov. 24, as fires were already burning in Australia, News Corp columnist Chris Kenny wrote in The Australian, “Hysterical efforts to blame the fires on climate change continue, even though we have always faced this threat and always will.”
A day later News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt wrote in The Herald Sun: “Let’s assume you’re silly enough to think global warming is causing worse bushfires around the world. (In fact a recent NASA study found that the area burned by fire has dropped 24 percent over 18 years.)… True, the world has warmed slightly as it rebounds from the little ice age that stretched from 1300 to around 1870, but can we cool it on this panic? In that time of warming, life expectancy has shot up, world grain crops have set new records, and the death rate from extreme weather has been slashed by 99 percent.”
Last week, a News Corp staffer based in Australia, Emily Townsend, sent a damning all-staff email addressed to News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller.
“I have been severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires, in particular the misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change to rather focus on arson (including misrepresenting facts),” she wrote.
“I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate-change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, and Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it.”
The email was quickly deleted from News Corp employees’ inboxes and Miller defended the companies’ coverage.