Rupert Murdoch‘s younger son calls out News Corp over climate change denial as Australia burns
With wildfires devastating Australia, James Murdoch — one of Rupert Murdoch’s sons and a News Corp board member — is speaking out about climate change. And he is calling out the climate change denial that is typically expressed at News Corp, the parent company of right-wing cable news outlet Fox News.
A spokesperson for James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn told the Daily Beast, “Kathryn and James’ 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.”
News Corp Australia has often blamed environmentalists for the Australian wildfires, claiming that saving trees — not climate change — is a key factor in the devastation. As of January 14, 27 people have died because of the fires, and an estimated 1 billion animals are believed to have been killed.
James Murdoch’s stand on climate change puts him at odds not only with his 88-year-old father, Rupert Murdoch — a native of Melbourne, Australia and founder of News Corp — but also, with his older brother Lachlan Murdoch, who serves as News Corp’s co-chairman.
Interviewed on condition of anonymity, a source described by the Daily Beast’s Lachlan Cartwright as a “long-time News Corp executive” said of James Murdoch and his wife, “They are pissing inside the tent, and that’s unusual. It’s evidence of how high tensions are within the family over climate change. The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point.”
In 2014, James and Kathryn Murdoch founded an organization called the Quadrivium Foundation, and climate change has been one of its top issues. During a September 2019 interview with the New York Times, Kathryn Murdoch called out the Republican Party for failing to recognize climate change as a crisis — asserting, “There hasn’t been a Republican answer on climate change. There’s just been denial and walking away from the problem. There needs to be one.”
Stephen Mayne, an Australian climate change activist, has been critical of News Corp Australia for giving climate change deniers like Andrew Bolt and Terry McCrann so much exposure. The Beast quotes Mayne as saying, “Within the Australian division, there are individuals who are obsessed with climate-change denialism such as Andrew Bolt and Terry McCrann, both of whom are 30-year veterans of the company and are close to Rupert and Lachlan. The failure here is a failure to intervene to withdraw the green light for unhinged denialism within the Australian division.”