News Corp Australia by Rupert Murdoch is it really moving away from “climate denial”? | Press company
News Corp Australia, considered by many to be the country’s most sustainable provider of climate science denial and a staunch supporter of fossil fuels, is about to turn another green leaf.
At least that’s according to unconfirmed reports from the Nine newspapers and the New York Times which indicate that Murdoch-owned outlets will launch a campaign next month to support a global net greenhouse gas emissions target of d ‘by 2050.
In an editorial this week, the Sydney Morning Herald said News Corp has decided to “end its long-standing editorial hostility to policies to reduce carbon emissions.”
But while News Corp itself hasn’t confirmed the campaign, that hasn’t stopped widespread speculation about the impact – or not – of a climate-friendly campaign from one of the most vocal voices. most controversial in the country.
“I’m not going to give them credit for something they haven’t done yet,” former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, speaking to The New York Times.
Turnbull told a senior News Corp official last year that the company’s “campaign against climate denial” had done “enormous damage to the world” and left a “shocking legacy” of inaction.
News Corp Australia – which has a host of urban and regional tabloids, including Melbourne’s Herald-Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail and Australia’s national publication – has so far been silent.
Here’s what we know about the campaign and what credit, if any, should be given to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
What do we know?
News Corp Australia has not confirmed any campaigns or changes in the way it presents climate science at its outlets.
But anonymous sources told Nine Newspapers and The New York Times that a campaign is in the works, will run next month and be led by columnist Joe Hildebrand. The campaign would exclude the Australian wide format, according to reports.
News Corp Australia also owns the 24-hour news and commentary channel Sky News. During a hearing this week, the channel’s chief executive, Paul Whitaker, said a documentary had been ordered from net zero.
But referring to the report in the Nine newspapers, he said “I don’t think it is as advanced as what is stated in this report” and that he “would not describe it as a campaign”.
In The New York Times, an anonymous source from a News Corp newspaper said political and business figures were given advance warning of a campaign.
A Vanity Fair article asked if the “climate brand change” of Murdoch’s Australian outlets could reach Fox News and the Wall Street Journal (the former partly owned by the Murdochs and the latter partly by News Corp).
Would it be significant?
A campaign that supports a goal of reaching net zero by mid-century would in some ways be mundane and place News Corp alongside virtually every major industry group in Australia, including its coal and gas lobby. .
But the fact that even the suggestion of such a campaign sparks stories in The New York Times and Vanity Fair shows how much it would contrast with the organization’s past.
Nine newspapers reported that the campaign would last two weeks before the big international climate talks in Glasgow in November, when countries are called on to pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions deeper and faster.
Nine newspapers also suggested that big advertiser Coles was a supporter of the change, although the supermarket’s statement only refers to its general advertising policy and is not a specific endorsement of a campaign that has yet to materialize.
But much of climate science’s denial and ridicule of climate action comes streaming from top-level commentators and bloggers at News Corporation.
Will commentators like Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun, who describes global warming as a “cult of the elites”, or Tim Blair of the Daily Telegraph, who says the climate emergency is “bogus”, suddenly back down on over a decade of ridicule and antagonism towards climate science?
How did News Corp cover climate change?
News Corp Australia is owned by News Corp – which itself aims to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations by 2050. But that endorsement is separate from its editorial stance.
A study by journalism expert and former scholar Wendy Bacon, commissioned last year by community campaign group GetUp !, analyzed 8,612 articles in the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Australian and ranked 45% as skeptical of climate change. Almost two-thirds of opinion pieces were skeptical.
A 2013 study, also led by Bacon, found that a third of News Corporation tabloid articles doubted the climate crisis was man-made.
Columnists have been accused of sorting out or distorting data or statements by scientists.
The voices of the Institute of Public Affairs, a think tank known for its long-standing advocacy of climate science denial and heavily funded by billionaire mining mogul Gina Rinehart, are often promoted (Rupert Murdoch’s father, Sir Keith Murdoch, was a co-founder of the institute).
Reports and analysis on the climate crisis or energy policy often go to skeptical voices for comment, or choose angles that will ignite suspicions that have been cultivated for many years that “unelected officials” at the United Nations are stealing. Australia sort of sovereignty. .
For example, in the Australian Monday, environmental newspaper editor Graham Lloyd wrote how a UN official was to reveal a “road map” showing Australia had less than one decade to shut down its coal industry.
On Sky News, Lloyd told host Peta Credlin it was “news that will have come as a bit of a shock to a lot of people” and that a coal shutdown was seen as a “deliverable” for the talks. Glasgow by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Credlin asked why Australia was distinguished.
Sky News host Paul Murray also invited Coal-loving National Senator Matt Canavan, Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and climate science denier and fellow Sky host Rowan Dean to a segment to discuss the news. UN “request”. Australia should pull out of the UN, not coal, Dean said.
Yet the reported new roadmap was a fiction, as was the claim that UN officials made any new statements, let alone any new demands.
What really happened was that Selwin Hart, special advisor on climate action to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, repeated his boss’s very public statements about coal from there. six months.
At the time, Guterres urged all OECD countries to phase out coal by 2030 if they were to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. He wanted major coal emitters and users to announce phase-out plans ahead of the upcoming climate talks in Glasgow.
Have we been here before?
Yes. In 2006, after years of skepticism about climate change, Rupert Murdoch said the planet “deserves the benefit of the doubt”, signaling apparent change.
A year later, his company launched a corporate environmental sustainability campaign called 1 Degree.
Yet Murdoch’s views quickly reverted to skepticism. The denial expressed through its media barely missed a beat.
In November 2019, Murdoch said there was “no climate denier” around his business.
The day after Murdoch’s statement, the Australian wrote a column by geologist and mining figure Ian Plimer claiming that “human emissions of carbon dioxide have never been shown to cause global warming.”
The Australian Press Council later discovered that the article had violated two of its principles regarding the disclosure of factual documents.
Guardian Australia sent questions to News Corp Australia about campaign reports, but did not receive a response.