News Corp head honcho Rupert Murdoch has refuted the assertion that the company’s newspapers deny the existence of climate change, which may come as a surprise to anyone who’s flipped through one of ’em over the last fifteen years.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Murdoch was asked about the issue at today’s News Corp annual general meeting.
More specifically, he was asked why he didn’t share the views of his son, James Murdoch, who spectacularly jettisoned himself from the organisation in August after clashing with the organisation’s editorial focus.
“[James] claims that our papers have covered the bushfires in Australia without discussing climate change,” Murdoch said.
“We do not deny climate change, we are not deniers,” he added.
Anyway, looking past the News Corp coverage of the 2019-2020 bushfire season – which was seen to blame arsonists while skirting over climatic realities, gave room to conspiracies which the NSW RFS chief later called out, and was so skewed it gave one News Corp staffer a public crisis of conscience – there’s a fair bit to dispute Murdoch’s claim.
Researchers have long linked News Corp coverage to negative perceptions of climate science, and active opposition to any public attempts to curtail Australia’s carbon emissions.
A 2011 report from the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism found the “two biggest News Ltd tabloids – The Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph – have been so biased in their coverage [of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon policies] that it is fair to say they ‘campaigned’ against the policy rather than covered it.”
The report also noted the impact of News Corp’s high-profile opinion columnists in disputing climate science, including Andrew Bolt, who in January maintained he is a “sceptic” and that the threat is “exaggerated”.
That’s hardly the worst of it, either, and I cordially invite you to compare our current climate reality to Bolt’s 2008 list of climate prediction ‘failures’.
Then there’s the Peta Credlin thing. In 2017, Credlin, who served as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s chief of staff, admitted the Liberal Party’s whole ‘carbon tax’ scare – the furore which helped to unseat Gillard – was total bullshit.
Credlin is now a key contributor and host on News Corp channel Sky News.
The list goes on. But even if News Corp no longer has column inches for increasingly wild denialism, you can still spy the meek pushes for ‘adaptation’, or Bolt’s nihilistic assertions that global warming is good, actually. In the long run, holding on to views like Bolt’s might be even worse.