Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and Climate Change

Linking to an interesting NPR interview this morning with David Folkenflik, author of the book, Murdoch’s World, and not surprisingly the storyline that tends to portray the strong influence exerted by Murdoch over his news outlets, such as News Corp, i.e., the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, on stories such as climate change.  I heard the interview this morning on my commute into DC.  Interesting, it just so happens that, although Murdoch’s outlets convey strong skepticism of anthropogenic global warming, he himself believes the matter serious enough that, in 2007, he declared News Corp would become “carbon neutral” in five years.  

Although Folkenflik did not unearth any conspiracy or explicit control by Murdoch over his outlets that peddle in climate skepticism, e.g., emailing daily bullet points to the likes of Sean Hannity, some find it hypocritical that this businessman, playing to the interests of a large sector of society, has invested in business interests that seem to undermine and are at odds with his personal convictions.  The Nation has more on this phenomena in the Parable of Rupert Murdoch.  Although some may see hypocrisy, I see a smart businessman and one who is skeptical about a lot of things, including big government as society’s savior.  I suspect if you were to dig deeper into the mind of Murdoch, this apparent paradox is not one at all, and that his funding of outlets that perpetuate climate skepticism perhaps is aligned with his concerns over society’s ready response to simply resort to more big government solutions.  As he once remarked, “I’m not a knee-jerk conservative.  I passionately believe in free markets and less government, but not to the point of being a libertarian.”

[Update:  My friend, Rob Sisson, informs me that the Murdoch family, but particularly Rupert’s daughter, Kathryn, is strongly committed to addressing climate change, including playing an active role in the Clinton Climate Initiative.  http://www.economistconferences.asia/speaker/kathryn-murdoch/670]

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