(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

One cold and cloudy weekend in Cambridge, an Australian zoologist decided to take a break from counting invertebrates and start counting something equally spineless: letters to the editor in The Australian. 

Philip Erm, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, trawled through every letter to the editor published on Factiva — a news archiving database owned by News Corp — over the past six months to find out how many climate-focused letters denied climate change.

The result? Of the 306 letters addressing climate science, a whopping 67% were opposed to it. Just 16% supported it, and the rest were somewhere in between.

Source: Philip Erm/Reddit

“I’d be lying if I said I was surprised in the least,” Erm told Crikey. But, he said, the recreational analysis was still important. 

Erm was prompted by the Oz‘s recent editorial defending the publication’s “factual” coverage of bushfires and climate change. 

“News Corp have always been quite brazen about their hostility towards all matters climate, even if they’re trying to downplay their record now that the country’s turning to ash,” Erm said. “I suspected that even the most cursory analysis would show a strong record of hostility to climate science and action.” 

Erm added that the paper is “amongst our country’s greatest continuing contributions to fantasy literature”. So, while it might not be the most impartial analysis undertaken in a while, it’s still an interesting one.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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