When it comes to climate change misinformation, arguably no single person has done more to spread false information to confuse the public than Rupert Murdoch. With his vast media empire that spans the globe, Murdoch has helped misdirect the public, as well as to openly advocate against government policies that would curtail carbon emissions or impose other environmental safeguards.
And while most American media outlets saw a decline in their coverage of climate change-related stories, Murdoch’s overseas newspapers actually increased their coverage of such stories – though not in a helpful way. The story that got the most attention involved a government policy in Australia that put a price on carbon pollution. Here is an analysis of Murdoch’s coverage, via Think Progress:
The range of findings show a clear political bias against the carbon pricing policy moving through parliament in 2011:
The claims by many single sources about the likely impact of the carbon policy were not tested against the views of other sources. Only 42% of the rest of the articles included more than two sources.
Fossil fuel lobby and other big business sources opposed to the policy were very strongly represented, often without any critique or second source.
Business sources (23%) receive more coverage than all Australian civil society sources together including unions, NGOS, think tanks, activists, members of the public, religious spokespeople, scientists and academics (17%).
Business sources quoted 4 or more times over the 6-month period were quoted being negative towards the policy in almost 80% of occasions. Many Australian readers would have been left with the impression that the nearly the entire business community was opposed to the carbon price policy. In fact this was far from the truth.
Academics and scientists were also poorly represented.
ThinkProgress also provided this chart, detailing numerous Murdoch papers and their respective positive/negative coverage of the carbon price in Australia:
The top six newspapers – all owned by Rupert Murdoch – are most negative about the Australian government’s carbon policy.
Murdoch’s media outlets have also led to an unhealthy lack of knowledge on climate change-related issues in the United States, as we pointed out here and here.
Murdoch and his outlets have an agenda. There’s no question about that. The problem is that so many people remain ignorant of this agenda, and soak up his employees’ reporting as gospel truth.