James Murdoch

Last week, Rupert Murdoch’s son James took the family company to task for promoting climate denialism.

The widely-covered statement made international headlines and yet, in the vast News Corp global media empire, there wasn’t a single mention of the public comments from James and his wife Kathryn Hufschmid. That’s right. Nothing. Nope. Nada.

In a search for “James Murdoch” in the News Corp-owned database Factiva, Crikey couldn’t find a single mention of the statement in any major News Corp publications. A search for Hufschmid also came up empty. Not in the Wall Street Journal, not in the UK Times, and certainly not in The Australian or Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

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While News Corp bosses have said they accept the science on climate change, and especially rejected criticism following this summer’s bushfire crisis, all outlets are following the company line in just ignoring James’ latest statement.

News Corp editors tend to stay in line with the company’s editorial stance, although there is a precedent for stepping out. The Hobart Mercury famously was the only News Corp newspaper in the world to editorialise against the Iraq War (although it later changed its tune).

In the statement issued to US website The Daily Beast on Tuesday, a spokesperson for James and Kathryn said the couple’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”. 

James and Kathryn aren’t the first to criticise the company’s coverage of climate change. 

The Australian rejected reports about its climate denialism in a recent editorial, stating that “in our coverage, The Australian’s journalists report facts about how to tackle bushfires and about how to deal with the impact of climate change”.

Perhaps they forgot Chris Kenny’s article for them last November about how “hysterical efforts to blame the fires on climate change continue, even though we have always faced this threat and always will”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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