Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Capitalism Kills The Truth - Fox Buys National Geographic

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Corporation has bought up the prestigious National Geographic magazine and its associated TV channel. Within 24 hours of the title exchanging hands, 180 staff (about 9% of the total) were "let go" and although Murdoch's spokespeople have insisted that the editorial board and writing staff are largely intact, the Digger's reach is likely to go beyond the frozen staff benefits pot.

National Geographic, first published in 1888, has long been prized as an impartial and highly reliable source of news about the world. Although with a heavy focus (literally) on wildlife and wilderness landscapes, it has also contributed massively to the mainstreaming of the debate on climate change with leading articles on global warming, resource depletion and environmental damage. Its photo-journalism has sometimes been the conclusive proof of corporations' damage of rainforest, pollution of the seas and assault on indigenous communities.

Click through to a few National Geographic pieces:

"Yes, We can take action to fix climate change!" 

The Climate Change Special Issue

Weather versus Climate change

Learning from Indigenous Peoples About Climate Change

It has a website devoted to explaining climate change: HERE

By contrast, take a look at Murdoch's Fox News Channel's output on this major issue of our times:

 Fossil Fuels are no catastrophe: they have made our lives better.

Weather Channel founder blasts climate change (as fake)  

 Climate change is "Superstition"

Many commentators have criticised Fox for its lax standards of verite, not only on global warming but on a wide range of issues. But it's obsessive traducing of the climate crisis is creating serious damage to the fight to save humanity from self-destruction. The widespread scientific consensus on global warming being caused by human activity is denounced as fraud perpetrated by a Protocols of Zion type world-wide conspiracy by universities in search of grants, while every flake of snow is pronounced another nail in the coffin of the "liberal" myth of a warming planet. Although happy to trouser millions from the biblical climate change epic Noah, Murdoch himself crassly pronounced modern, scientifically proven climate change false after he flew over 300 miles of ice - in the Arctic!

With one analysis declaring 93% of its output as "misleading" on climate change,   the enduring tragedy is that more Americans trust Fox News thant President Obama on the issue - not that, with his own addiction to fracking, Barak has not exaclty covered himself in glory on the environment.

But Fox is critical in slowing and blocking the crucial opt-in to global action on greenhouse gas emissions by the USA without which action by other countries will have limited impact (It is worth noting here that Chinese coal use is now falling and China, doubtlessly in thrall to liberals!, is investing more in clean energy than the rest of the world combined).

Murdoch has of course already insisted there will be no loss of editorial independence, but anyone following the British satirical magazine Private Eye's regular tracking of tie-ins and cross-selling between his UK Sky, Times and Sun media brands will know differently.

Like any good global capitalist, for Rupert Murdoch, global warming, even at its now accelerating pace, is of far less concern than his year on year profits. His poisonous legacy - and those of hundreds of similar global magnates - will exact a huge price from his grandchildren's generation. But of course, by then Rupert will have long since gone to the Corporate Boardroom in (the) Sky.

Below - Spoofs abound already: but is the future bleak for National Geographic?


  1. He certainly has backtracked since 2006. His son James influenced his views on climate change, to the extent that he invited Al Gore and screened An Inconvenient Truth for staff at a 2006 News Corporation summit, and sought to make News Corporation a carbon neutral company. In a 2007 speech, he said "The climate problem will not be solved without the mass participation by the general public in countries round the globe." This is all well documented in Alison Anderson's book Media, Environment and the Network Society.

  2. Flipside, there was little evidence of that in his 2014 interview accessible here, where he said "We should approach climate change with great skepticism. Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here. There will always be a little bit of it."

    Then, just two months ago, he claimed on Twitter that carbon in US air has declined by 50% and that climate change is "alarmist nonsense".