Amanpour Cues Guest to Blame Rupert Murdoch for ‘Monstrous’ Climate ‘Denial’

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Journalists despise government efforts to “investigate media power” — unless it’s Rupert Murdoch. On Friday’s Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, host Christiane Amanpour provided an unchallenged forum to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to complain about Murdoch’s influence on issues like global warming, and to talk up an effort he is pushing to regulate Murdoch’s right-leaning media in Australia.

She went on to further cue up the left-wing Australian politician to blame Murdoch and Fox News for the “monstrous” lack of action from the United States on global warming.

Amanpour brought up the issue of Murdoch’s media holdings as she posed:

You are trying to drum up a royal commission, what’s known as that, in Australia, to investigate the media power and the, you know, the holdings of Rupert Murdoch. He’s obviously Australian, but, as we all know, he has massive holdings all over the world, particularly in the United States. Fox News is his most powerful press tool. What game right now is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch playing in the United States politically?

In his response, Rudd blamed Murdoch for Donald Trump’s election and also Brexit’s passage in the United Kingdom. He also blamed Fox News for birther conspiracy theories against former President Barack Obama in spite of prominent anchors on the network defending Obama on the issue.

In one of her followups, Amanpour fretted over Murdoch’s influence on environmental regulations:

Your counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, has talked about it on television about the Murdoch influence on climate denial. And we know that News Corp publications blame the recent Australian bush fires on arsonists. I just want to play this little bit of sound from Turnbull  on this panel on television recently.

After a clip of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull complaining about Murdoch’s influence on “climate denial,” Amanpour posed: “How much do you think this climate denial has affected this situation we’re in globally?”

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Rudd blamed Murdoch for opposition to carbon taxes in Australia, and then complained about Fox News undermining the environmental alarmist agenda in the U.S., fretting the “monstrous consequences,” as he added;

But much bigger than Australia, of course, is the United States and the fact that the Republican party in the United States and some Democrats on the right have such a reactionary approach to climate change science has again been engendered by Fox in particular in the United States — and, to some extent, the Wall Street Journal — by lending credibility to these most obscure, so-called pseudo scientists who challenge the consensus conclusions… But this has had a huge effect in America — and American being absent from the field on climate change action for the last four years has had monstrous consequences. Murdoch shares much of the blame for this.

This episode of Amanpour & Co. was sponsored by the Anderson Family Fund and the Straus Family Foundation. You can fight back by letting advertisers know how you feel about them sponsoring such content.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, November 20, Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So I want to shift attention and focus to this struggle that you’re waging on a completely different issue. Well, maybe it’s not — maybe it’s connected to democracy. You are trying to drum up a royal commission, what’s known as that, in Australia, to investigate the media power and the, you know, the holdings of Rupert Murdoch. He’s obviously Australian, but, as we all know, he has massive holdings all over the world, particularly in the United States. Fox News is his most powerful press tool. What game right now is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch playing in the United States politically?

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don’t get regular e-mails from Rupert to tell me what he’s up to, but I can hazard a few guesses based on my experience of him in Australian domestic politics in a period when I’ve been prime minister for the Australian Labor Party. I think, first and foremost, what Rupert Murdoch is seeking to do and has done for the last four years has been to do everything he can to legitimatize Trump’s form of the Republican party. Now, if it was not for the echo chamber or Fox News in the United States, I doubt very much that we would have seen the comprehensive rise in the first place of the politics which enable the Trump phenomenon to succeed. 

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Just as we’ve seen in the United Kingdom, I doubt very much whether Brexit would have occurred were it not for the campaigning newspapers which Murdoch owns there which had openly argued the case for Brexit for a long, long time. I think, secondly, what President Trump, as he seeks untidily, it seems, to exit office, is de-legitimizing the Biden presidency before it begins by casting doubts over the ballot. You may remember, Trump did the same, echoed in the Murdoch news media, about Obama’s birther scandal — that is, where he came from. So it’s a de-legitimization agenda as well. And I think it’s an abusive media power

(…)

AMANPOUR: Your counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, has talked about it on television about the Murdoch influence on climate denial. And we know that News Corp publications blame the recent Australian bush fires on arsonists. I just want to play this little bit of sound from Turnbull  on this panel on television recently.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Murdoch media has gone from being a news organization that in election times the tended to lean more to the right than the left, to become pure propaganda. I mean, the campaign on climate denial is just staggering, and it’s done enormous damage to the world, to the, you know, to the global need to address global warming. I mean, it is so horrifically biased and such propaganda that one of his own sons, James, the son, can’t stomach it.

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AMANPOUR: How much do you think this climate denial has affected this situation we’re in globally?

RUDD: Well, in two countries, in particular, it’s had a huge effect. My own country Australia, where Murdoch has used the monopoly he has over the print media here to drive anti-climate change action and anti-climate change science agenda for more than a decade. So, therefore, you are constantly rowing against the tide in this country if you’re trying to advance a program to take action on carbon pricing to boost renewables and the other measures which are now standard fare in most countries in the world. The wall of media opposition which Murdoch has represented is formidable. I’ve fought it — I’ve been in the trenches against it. I won and then I lost. In fact, he was instrumental in supporting the conservatives coming to power and their platform, which was to repeal our government’s carbon price. 

But much bigger than Australia, of course, is the United States and the fact that the Republican party in the United States and some Democrats on the right have such a reactionary approach to climate change science has again been engendered by Fox in particular in the United States — and, to some extent, the Wall Street Journal — by lending credibility to these most obscure, so-called pseudo scientists who challenge the consensus conclusions of the international panel of climate change scientists made up of 4,000 humorless scientists in white coats who every five years get together to examine all the data and reach a consensus irrespective of their nationality. But this has had a huge effect in America — and American being absent from the field on climate change action for the last four years has had monstrous consequences. Murdoch shares much of the blame for this.

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