Australia

James Murdoch blasts News Corp's 'ongoing climate change denial'

Rupert Murdoch and his son, James. Source: Getty Images

The youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch has used a rare public statement to take aim at News Corp's climate change reporting.

Rupert Murdoch's youngest son has revealed his "frustration" with News Corp's coverage of climate change, pointing particularly to the "ongoing denial" published in Australian news outlets during the bushfire emergency. 

In a rare joint statement published on US website the Daily Beast, James Murdoch and his wife, Kathryn, said their "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 statement continued.

James Murdoch continues to sit on the board of his family's media company, which publishes The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, but is less active than his older brother, Lachlan, who is co-chairman and chief executive of Fox Corporation.

James and Kathryn Murdoch have released a joint statement, speaking out against New Corp's climate change coverage.
James and Kathryn Murdoch have released a joint statement, speaking out against New Corp's climate change coverage.
Getty Images

Australian News Corp papers have recently been criticised for their coverage of the bushfire crisis, with international media accusing them of pushing false narratives around arson and alleged Greens opposition to back-burning as the catalysts for the emergency.

A widely-shared article by The Australian detailing the number of people charged with arson since the beginning of the fire season was derided for being misleading and including a number of inaccuracies. 

In September, a New York Times article outlined Kathryn Murdoch's long history of climate change advocacy, which included working closely with a number of environmental organisations.

“I’m very comfortable staying in the background and continuing to work quietly ... [but] I've decided doing that means I’m not working hard enough, I’m not doing everything in my power to do," she told the New York Times.

Founder and chairman of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, recently rebuffed claims his company promotes climate change denial.

"There are no change climate change deniers around, I can assure you," he said at the company's annual general meeting in New York in December last year.

However, prominent News Corp columnist, Andrew Bolt, has repeatedly attacked climate change "alarmists" and frequently promotes the opinion of climate change deniers. 

Meanwhile, News Corp Australia's bushfire coverage hit national headlines last week after an employee accused the organisation of a "misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change".

The accusations were levelled by commercial finance manager Emily Townsend in a company-wide email to staff. 

"I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies," she wrote.

Following the publication of the email, executive chairman Michael Miller told The Sydney Morning Herald he stood by the reporting.

"News Corp stands by its coverage of the bushfires. The dedication and professionalism of our journalists and photographers have kept the community - particularly those Australians affected directly - informed and supported. We respect Ms Townsend's right to hold her views but we do not agree with them," he said.

He also revealed Ms Townsend had resigned late last year and was due to depart News Corp. 

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