James Mur­doch hits out at fam­ily firm

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By James Roth­well

JAMES MUR­DOCH has launched a rare pub­lic at­tack on his fam­ily’s news em­pire for down­play­ing the im­pact of cli­mate change de­spite the se­vere bush­fires raging across the coun­try.

Mr Mur­doch and his wife Kathryn, an NGO worker, is­sued a joint state­ment that ac­cused Mur­doch news out­lets of “on­go­ing de­nial” over the sever­ity and ex­tent of cli­mate change.

“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,” the pair told US news web­site The Daily Beast.

“They are par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­pointed with the on­go­ing de­nial among the news out­lets in Aus­tralia, given ob­vi­ous ev­i­dence to the con­trary,” they added.

The row has echoes of Suc­ces­sion, the hit US tele­vi­sion se­ries, which fol­lows the war­ring fam­ily mem­bers of a global me­dia em­pire – and is widely sus­pected to be based on Ru­pert Mur­doch and his chil­dren.

And it comes as huge swathes of land in Aus­tralia, Ru­pert Mur­doch’s home coun­try, are be­ing rav­aged by wild­fires, which have killed more than 20 peo­ple and up to a bil­lion an­i­mals, putting at risk sev­eral en­dan­gered species.

Mur­doch-owned me­dia out­lets have been ac­cused by en­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers of seek­ing to play down the im­pact of cli­mate change worldwide.

For ex­am­ple, they point to an ar­ti­cle in the na­tional broad­sheet The Aus­tralian, in which a colum­nist wrote of the bush­fires: “Hys­ter­i­cal ef­forts to blame the fires on cli­mate change con­tinue, even though we have al­ways faced this threat and al­ways will.”

An­other colum­nist in the Mel­bourne tabloid the Her­ald Sun wrote: “Let’s as­sume you’re silly enough to think global warm­ing is caus­ing worse bush­fires

‘They are par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­pointed with the on­go­ing de­nial among the news out­lets in Aus­tralia’

around the world ... 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?”

Cli­mate ex­perts such as Dr Matthew Jones, from the Univer­sity of East Anglia, be­lieve that cli­mate change has played a role in the sever­ity of bush­fires. He warned this week that re­search has shown that “hu­man-in­duced warm­ing” had led to a “global in­crease in the fre­quency and sever­ity of fire weather, in­creas­ing the risks of wild­fire”.

The Daily Beast said News Corp de­clined to com­ment when it was ap­proached about James Mur­doch’s claims.

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