By Anders Lorenzen
Media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, has come under fire from his own son for promoting climate denialism.
James Murdoch is the former CEO at one of the Murdoch companies, 21st Century Fox. In the wake of the Australian bush fire catastrophe, young Murdoch has criticised the news outlets owned by his family which downplay the role of climate change in the fires.
Murdoch junior issued a statement with his wife Kathryn, labelling the organisation’s coverage as climate denial. A spokesperson for the couple said: “Kathryn and James’s 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. They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”
The Murdoch empire-owned news outlets frequently cast doubt on climate change, with the aim of misleading the public. They invite pundits onto their programmes and papers, repeating the claims which are not based on facts or science. This was also the case in their coverage of the catastrophic Australian bush fires, which are still burning and have burned since September. Increasingly scientists, politicians, experts and news outlets link the fires to climate change and bar the Murdoch media empire from participating in debates.
The Guardian writes that James Murdoch has a long history of advocacy on environmental issues. This includes inviting the former US vice-president and environmentalist, Al Gore, to present a version of his widely praised climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth in a slideshow to Fox executives in 2006. At the time he was the heir apparent to the media empire and had been trusted with running BSkyB in London, where he would often prioritise environmental issues. He worked on ways to reduce the power used by Sky’s set-top boxes and insisted on using hybrid taxis long before such things were standard corporate behaviour.
Kathryn Murdoch has taken a keen interest in tackling climate change and has worked for the Clinton Climate Initiative. Last year she said she was increasingly focused on global warming because, she said, she wanted to be able to look her children in the eye.
James Murdoch left 21st Century Fox when it merged with Disney. He is making media investments through his own Lupa Systems company, although he still sits on the board of some of his families` newspaper businesses, including the UK company, News Corp, which also owns The Times and The Sun.