Last year, Rupert Murdoch asserted that “‘there are no climate change deniers’ around his company and said his business was early to commit to ‘science-based targets to limit climate change’ and was working to reduce its climate emissions”. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, “In 2015 he used his Twitter account to describe himself as a ‘climate change sceptic not a denier’”.
(c) The New York Times 2020
But the recent coverage of Australia’s bushfire emergency by the Murdoch press suggests there is at least a little room for climate change denial in his empire, including, as the Guardian has noted, one Andrew Bolt, who complains of “alarmists”, promotes denialism, and “has a programme on the Murdoch-owned Sky News Australia, where he has criticised the ‘constant stream of propaganda’ on the public broadcaster ABC about the role of the climate crisis in the bushfires”. There’s always room to carp about the ABC.
This may well be what has provoked James Murdoch to call out his father’s media empire, and not for the first time recently. The Guardian again: “James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn issued a rare joint statement directly criticising his father’s businesses for their ‘ongoing denial’ on the issue, which has been reflected in the family’s newspapers repeatedly casting doubt on the link between the climate emergency and the bushfires”.
The report adds “US viewers have also heard commentary from Fox News presenters such as Laura Ingraham, who has said that ‘celebrities in the media have been pressing the narrative that the wildfires in Australia are caused by climate change’, before introducing guests who cast doubt on this interpretation”.
Those in the UK may recognise this as a combination of selectively biased presentation combined with the demonisation of celebrities, people that the Mail titles deride as “Luvvies”. They may also need reminding that the rules followed by Sky News Australia on broadcast standards are not those followed by Sky News in the UK.
Murdoch Junior’s dissent is not new. Last September, he “warned that certain unnamed media outlets are using disinformation to divide people and to shore up their own power”. Who might that have meant? “There are views I really disagree with on [Fox News Channel]”. Maybe that’s who he meant. And as the Sun in the UK is said to embody Murdoch’s views, so FNC fulfils the same role in the USA.
He also told the FT last April that he is looking to “distance himself from the conservative media outlets controlled for decades by his father”. In the 2020 Presidential campaign, he is going nowhere near Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, but instead has put his own money into “the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg”, the mayor of South Bend, IA.
But there is one good thing to come out of this family fractiousness, as the Guardian has said in conclusion: “Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp have all separately donated millions of dollars to bushfire recovery efforts in recent days, although the Daily Beast claimed the donations were made after it requested comment about James Murdoch’s statement on climate change”. Pity they had to be prompted.
The Murdoch succession may not be the easiest of deals. Just rejoice at that news.
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