Since James officially left the company founded by his father Rupert Murdoch, after losing to his older brother, Lachlan, in a career of succession, James and his wife, Kathryn, have become increasingly frank about their views . Many of his perspectives directly contradict the editorial direction of Murdochs’ properties, including Fox News and News Corp. Australia, the most dominant force in the Australian media landscape.
“Kathryn and James’s views on the weather are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp. and Fox coverage on the subject is also well known,” a couple spokesman wrote in an email to The Washington Post. , confirming the above. communiqué published to the daily Beast.
“They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the media in Australia given the obvious evidence to the contrary,” the statement continued.
News Corp. Australia publishes more than 140 newspapers and employs 3,000 print, broadcast and online journalists. Some columnists in Murdoch’s Australian media have considered those who attribute the fires to climate change as “hysterical,” although most scientists say otherwise. Fox News primetime presenter Laura Ingraham recently dismissed “climate change” as “media celebrities” pressing “the narrative that forest fires in Australia are caused by climate change.”
News Corp. representatives declined to respond to the joint statement, but referred the Post to an editorial published last week in the Australian newspaper, owned by the company, which reported coverage in the New York Times and The Guardian Australia by “deliberate and inept” misrepresenting the Australian coverage of forest fires as “weather denial”.
The comments of James and Kathryn Murdoch are the latest in a series of movements that distance themselves from the company that James and his brothers were raised to inherit and flee.
James Murdoch has been irritated for years against the direction of his father’s empire. Inaction to climate change and denial of climate are only one element of that dissatisfaction.
When Murdoch’s youngest son was an executive in his father’s company, he often ran into his father’s loyalists who dismissed his authority.
Former company executives who worked with James and requested anonymity to speak frankly about his former employer say that James is “delighted” to be outside the company and free to express his views without looking over his shoulder to ask himself What do your father and brother think. .
In the spring, James said in an interview with the New Yorker that he was “very fortunate to have the opportunity at this time to take a clean break and literally have an empty board.” In the same interview, he said that “there are opinions with which I disagree on Fox,” a statement that surprised few in Fox’s sky.
James strongly disagreed with the late founder of Fox News, Roger Ailes, and James pressured them to fire Ailes after being accused of harassing and sexually assaulting the women who worked for him. (Ailes, who died in 2017, was forced to resign in the summer of 2016 and received a payment of $ 40 million from the company).
Kathryn also made her dark opinion about Fox News and Ailes well known when her husband was an executive at the Fox News parent company.
Kathryn and James were not available to comment. A Fox News spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The sale of most of 21st Century Fox to Disney last year earned each of Rupert Murdoch’s children $ 2 billion. With that money, Kathryn and James Murdoch have doubled in a wide range of philanthropic causes. They created the Quadrivium Foundation, which says it “invests in evidence-based solutions for some of society’s most urgent challenges.”
James also founded Lupa Systems, a private investment company named after the Roman goddess who raised the mythical Romulus and Remus. (It is exactly the kind of historical reference that used to attract the eyes of Rupert Murdoch executives, when they were forced to work alongside their boss’s children).
Since leaving the family business, James also bought a majority stake in the Tribeca Film Festival; He put money in Artists Writers & Artisans, a company that produces comic books and graphic novels; and invested in Void, a virtual reality entertainment company. He also recently bought a stake in Vice.
Even when he was an executive in his father’s company, James’s values were on display. When he directed the pay television division Sky, he turned that entity into a carbon neutral operation. “A lot of people are worried about climate change, but they are waiting for someone else to do something about it,” he said in a 2006 statement. “We are demonstrating that he can take action.”
In her biography, Kathryn points out that she is “an advocate for the improvement of scientific communications.” He is a member of the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Central, and is a founding member of SciLine, a group that connects scientific experts with journalists. From 2007 to 2011, she served as director of strategy and communications for the Clinton Climate Initiative. He is also a member of the board of the Climate Leadership Council, a group focused on establishing Republican support for climate solutions.
In an interview with the New York Times last fall, Kathryn said she decided to work to stop climate change after hearing Al Gore speak at Fox’s retirement in 2006. The former vice president had recently made “An awkward truth” and presented a summary version of his findings in retirement. “I decided to change everything I was doing,” he said. “I wanted to be able to look my children in the eye and say” I did everything I could. “”
After the Murdoch family chose to sell most of their media empire to Disney, James was eager to get away from the family business, according to former executives and friends with whom he spoke at the time. His older brother, Lachlan, chose to stay and direct what has become Fox Corp., which covers the stations of Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment and Fox TV. (All of the company’s movie studios and most of their television production capabilities, along with National Geographic, sold for $ 71 billion to Disney.)
On Monday, Fox Corp. announced that it would donate $ 3.5 million to fire relief efforts in Australia. That donation adds to the $ 2.8 million the company said Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have donated individually.
Rupert Murdoch issued a statement announcing the donation: “It is clear that facing the forest fire disaster in Australia requires both an immediate response and a continuous investment in the reconstruction of the lives and livelihoods of the people most affected by the fires in the whole country. As a company with roots in Australia and a permanent commitment to its people and communities, we are determined to help, both at this time of great need, and in the future, as the hard work of restoration continues. “