James Murdoch Criticizes Father on Climate Coverage, Too Little Too Late?

James Murdoch, right, and his wife Kathyn, left, said his father's news empire was in denial about the severity of the climate crisis

James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn. Image: Neil Hall

The Murdoch family saga continues: as CNN reported, Rupert Murdoch’s son James and his wife are lashing out against his father’s sprawling media empire for how it covers the climate crisis, especially in light of the fires raging in the family’s native Australia.

While James has worked for companies within his father’s media empire for the majority of his career, he recently stepped away from the family business. He’s even  considered an investment in a “liberal-leaning news outlet,” in a seeming repudiation of his father’s conservative media empire. But if you’re at all like me (Miro) you might have mixed feelings about this story. Should we be cheering this news?

Why This Matters: Overall I think we (the environmental community) should welcome all folks genuinely willing to put their money where their mouth is on climate action. But I also think that we should be asking those with power and a platform to do more. While James has stepped away from the family business he continues to sit on News Corps’ board–it’s led to criticism that James uses his philanthropy and criticism of his father as a way to distance himself from the taint of Fox News.

I don’t think James Murdoch deserves the title of brave, as making a statement on objectively reprehensible conduct through your publicist is not brave. What we do need is for ultra-wealthy folks like him to start rattling their networks of fellow rich people to wake up to the climate crisis and take action.

This action will involve more than just sitting on boards of environmental NGOs, there are many impactful ways that rich people can help save the planet–like drastically lowering their carbon footprints, investing in sustainable ventures, and donating to candidates who actually will take action on climate change. So now that James has drawn the line in the sand, will he have the courage to do the tough stuff?

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