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Senior employee slams News Corp’s bushfire ‘misinformation campaign’ in leaked email

A leaked email from a senior News Corp Australia employee has denounced the publisher’s ‘misinformation’ around the bushfire crisis and demanded action from the business.

The email, sent by Emily Townsend, a commercial finance manager, was in response to an all-staff email from CEO Michael Miller and distributed to the entire company. Reports say it has since been deleted from inboxes by News Corp.

The original email from Miller presented the leave arrangements available for staff and bushfire initiatives from the business. In response, the employee said the move was not enough to “offset the impact News Corp reporting has had”.

The email which was widely leaked to the media and onto social media [Click to enlarge]

“I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever now to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it.”

In a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald after the email, the employee said she felt her work for the media business had tied her to their ‘deceptive’ work and that she had sent the email after being unable to sleep and feeling ‘sick’ about her role with the business and its provision of misinformation.

News Corp has come under fire for the actions of its publications, including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and news.com.au and their role in the spread of reportedly false and climate-denying information amid the national bushfire crisis.

In particular, a story in The New York Times reported on the role of the Rupert Murdoch-owned press in presenting incorrect coverage of the causation of the fires. News Corp has rebuked the claims it denies climate change.

The publisher however has lashed out at outlets including the ABC and the Guardian for their ‘left leaning’ views and reporting, and regularly runs opinion pieces from media personalities who spruik climate change denial, including Andrew Bolt.

Update Friday January 10, 3:53pm: 

News Corp Australia has provided a statement from Miller –

Ms Townsend resigned in December and was due to leave News Corp shortly.

News Corp stands by its coverage of the bushfires. The dedication and professionalism of our journalists and photographers have kept the community – particularly those Australians affected directly – informed and supported.

We respect Ms Townsend’s right to hold her views but we do not agree with them.

Our coverage has recognised that Australia is having a serious conversation about climate change and how to respond to it. However, it has also reflected there are a variety of views and opinions about the current fire crisis. The role of arsonists and policies that may have contributed to the spread of fire are, therefore, legitimate stories to report in the public interest.

We will continue to cover the fires thoroughly and provide information that informs the community including how we as a nation can rebuild and better prepare in the future.

News Corp will also strongly support the impacted communities going forward and work with them to help these regional and rural Australians as their towns recover and they re-establish their lives. Supporting them in their time of need will remain our priority.

If you’d like to assist with bushfire recovery, relief and rescue efforts, please explore the options below: 

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