James Murdoch hits out at family firm
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.