In Brief

James Murdoch condemns father’s outlets for climate denial

Rupert Murdoch’s son criticises Fox News and News Corp as Australia burns

One of Rupert Murdoch’s sons has condemned his family’s news outlets for downplaying the impact of the climate crisis.

As bushfires burn in Australia, a spokesperson for James Murdoch and his activist wife Kathryn said: “Kathryn and James’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 on-going denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”

James was the chief executive of the Murdoch clan’s 21st Century Fox but he left when it merged with Disney. He continues to sit on the board of the family’s newspaper business, News Corp, which also owns The Times and The Sun.

The Daily Beast described the statement as an “extraordinary rebuke”, while The Guardian says it “sheds light on the family’s internal rifts, amid speculation over his 88-year-old father’s succession plans”.

James’s older brother Lachlan is still “actively involved in the family businesses as the US-based chairman and chief executive of the slimmed-down Fox Corporation, which owns Fox News,” it adds.

An unnamed News Corp executive said of the couple’s statement: “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.”

Although Rupert told shareholders last year “there are no climate change deniers,” he has criticised what he calls an “alarmist” approach to the issue. In 2015, he wrote on Twitter that he is a “climate change sceptic not a denier”.

Meanwhile, the Australian bushfires have claimed 27 lives and destroyed thousands of properties, with an estimated one billion animals feared dead.

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