Masters of a universe of bullsh!t


Rupert Murdoch loves making money. Rupert Murdoch hates paying tax. That’s all you need to know if you’re trying to unpack those reports that the Murdoch Death Star plans to stop cooking the Earth with its planet-killing death ray in a couple of weeks.

Rupe’s local tabloids are supposed to end their long-standing and violently deranged hostility towards saving the planet and to advocate instead for net zero by 2050, at least according to Ninefax newspapers. To be honest, it sounds a lot like Death Metal Skeletor giving up on all the fun of loud music and purple-hooded supervillian shenanigans. Of course given that the Age and the Herald are the longest-serving and most brutalised submissives currently held captive by News Corps’s hard dominatrix dungeons-of-the mind, they may just be indulging in wishful extremes of the Stockholm Syndrome.

One the other hand, a buck’s a buck, and with Glasgow looming as an epic kerb stomping of climate change deadbeats like, well, us, there’s surely some bucks to be made pulling on green drag, no matter how gob-droppingly shameless the performance. The mooted ‘two-week’ campaign across Rupe’s stable of down-market shitsheets sounds very much like one of those creepy advertorial lift outs they run a couple of times year to fatten up the revenue take. And if it lets a bunch massive polluters and climate criminals run some full page ads to greenwash their complicity in collapsing our civilisation… Well, that’s a win for Skeletor too.

The other winner, of course, would be SloMo, who’s facing the prospect of an embarrassing flagpole wedgie at Glasgow and an election in which he’ll have to account for his abysmal leadership failures during the summer of the megafires. There might not be a smirk big enough to conceal the majestic shitfuckery of channeling billions of dollars of your dollarydoos to his party donors via dodgy contracts, and to profitable multinationals via JobKeeper; all while laughing off repeated requests from bushfire fighters to buy a few lousy water tankers. Taking some climate heat off SloMo might be nearly as valuable to him as all of the slobbery, knob-gobbling puff pieces he can look forward to during the election campaign.

Could Rupert’s barking mad trollumnists, who are the real MVPs of his brand, really make the switch, though? They’ve made so much money, denying so much reality for so long, that it seems unlikely they’d be able to survive the cognitive whiplash. Even as Ninefax was tremulously contemplating a future in which we’re not all getting carved into burned and bloody chunks by Murdoch’s climate change denying maddies, those same maddies were denying climate change was even a thing.

Sheridan isn’t even an A-List berserker on the News Corp honour roll, and none of the reports of the company’s born-again interest in avoiding planetary cataclysm implied that the rebirth would last more than the two weeks it would take to book those ad-spots in any Glasgow supplement. More than one did note, however, that The Australian, would not have to toe the new line.

So I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting on the conversion. It’s been a long time since News Corp was a news company, in the sense of simply reporting reality from the ground. There’s no money in that now. All the money is in shaping reality, in producing disinformation at scale. People will hand over their credit card details to have their biases confirmed and in confirming those biases, the Murdoch family reaps a secondary benefit. It creates a hermetically sealed reality in which governments favourable to its interests (making shit-tons of money, and paying a pennyfartsworth in tax) can be re-elected in perpetuity.

The hedge won’t last long in the face of that commercial reality.

And it won’t save the family when the Climate Crimes trials start in the ruins of Hague in about twenty years time.