Australia’s fires are a climate reckoning for the Murdoch press

For several months, catastrophic fires have been raging in Australia. Collectively, they’ve torched some 38,000 square miles nationwide, killing at least 28 people and, according to the University of Sydney, more than a billion animals. In recent weeks, heart-rending stories of death and displacement have spread across the world’s media. Reports have scrutinized the regressive climate policy of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a man who once brought a lump of coal to Parliament as a prop and who vacationed in Hawai’i as his country burned. Apocalyptic imagery has adorned the front pages of newspapers, as if to show that the apocalypse is unfolding before our eyes. “For Australia, dangerous climate change is already here,” Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State who has been on sabbatical in Australia, wrote earlier this month in The Guardian. “It’s simply a matter of how much worse we’re willing to allow it to get.” Bushfires are nothing new in Australia. Still, climate change has indisputably played a big part in making them more frequent and more dangerous. That hasn’t stopped an onrush of disinformation attempting to deny the climate link. There’s the online bilge—photoshopped images, old footage masquerading as new, unverified rumors. Much of it is coordinated:  research by Timothy Graham, an academic at Queensland University of Technology, found that a group of automated social-media accounts has spread misleading reports exaggerating the role of arson in the... Continue reading at 'Columbia Journalism Review'

[ Columbia Journalism Review | 2020-01-17 13:05:42 UTC ]
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