Sky News feeding climate sceptics

Sky News Australia has become a key global hub for climate misinformation, according to a new report.

What we know:

  • Analysis by UK think tank the Institute for Strategic Dialogue found the channel was a key “content hub” for “influencers, sceptics and outlets” that make up a global network of climate science deniers (ISD); 
  • The Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News Australia channel ranked highly for traction, spreading climate misinformation to a global audience through social media networks (The Guardian); 
  • Sky News Australia and News Corp’s stable of newspaper columnists had formed a “system of content production and distribution” that promoted “scepticism of climate science and fear or confusion around mitigation efforts”;
  • The analysis showed that before 2017, Sky News posted an average 25 tweets a month on climate-related issues, but now publish an average of more than 100 posts a month;
  • Canadian climate science denier Patrick Moore collected 16,000 retweets for sharing a Sky News segment where former host Alan Jones described climate activists as “selfish, badly educated virtue-signalling little turds”;
  • A Sky News Australia spokesperson rejected the findings of the report, noting the channel aired a documentary promoting nuclear energy as part of the transition to net zero emissions;
  • The report identified the five most popular sources for content shared among climate “delayers” were the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the blog Wattsupwiththat;
  • News Corp last year flagged it would reverse its opposition against climate action, but has largely failed to follow through (The Conversation). 

Trump ignored advisers to claim election

Former US president Donald Trump ignored multiple explanations from his own advisers that his claims of election fraud were unfounded, a committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol has heard.

What we know:

  • In recorded interviews, key advisers including attorney-general Bill Barr said Trump responded with derision to the evidence they provided that his claims of a rigged election were false (Politico); 
  • Instead Trump took the advice of an “apparently inebriated” Rudy Giuliani to declare victory on the night of the US presidential election in 2020 (Rolling Stone); 
  • Bill Stepien, Trump’s former campaign manager, told the committee that he and others on “Team Normal” tried to steer Trump away from dubious fraud claims peddled by Giuliani (Reuters); 
  • Former Justice Department official Richard Donoghue recalls breaking down one claim after another — from a truckload of ballots in Pennsylvania to a missing suitcase of ballots in Georgia — and telling Trump “much of the info you’re getting is false”;
  • The committee is looking at how Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud fuelled the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021;
  • Committee members intend to show in coming hearings that messages from Trump and his allies may have helped to radicalise rioters.

NSW pledges $5bn for childcare

The NSW government will intervene in childcare for the first time, unveiling a $5bn plan to drive down costs and increase the number of places.

The commitment, which will be spent over 10 years, has NSW stepping into an industry usually handled by the federal government (SMH). 

Private childcare operators will be paid to expand or build new centres, with an extra 47,000 places to be created across the state.

The plan also includes $281m to boost the childcare workforce, including $25,000 university scholarships for early childhood teachers.

Modelling shows that 568,700 NSW children aged four and under live in so-called childcare deserts where there are as few as one place for every seven children.

It comes after the federal Labor government pledged to lift childcare subsidies across the country.

“This investment, delivered alongside the Commonwealth’s childcare reforms, is expected to see up to 95,000 women enter the workforce or take on more hours,” said NSW Treasurer Matt Kean.


Teal MP Ryan reports threatening letters

New independent MP Monique Ryan has reported to police a series of “racist, misogynistic and threatening” letters sent to her supporters.

Ryan said handwritten notes targeting volunteers and supporters displaying corflutes on their properties started just before election day (The New Daily). 

One message circulating on social media warns the recipient to “look both ways when you come out your front gate” because they “elected a commo for Kooyong”.

Ryan defeated the incumbent former treasurer Josh Frydenberg for the seat of Kooyong in Melbourne. 

“These cowardly anonymous threats are very distressing for the people who receive them,” Ryan said.


Number of nukes set to rise

The number of nuclear weapons is set to rise following 35 years of decline, as global military tensions rise.

A new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute finds nuclear arms are expected to grow for the first time since the Cold War (Al Jazeera). 

The body found that the nine nuclear powers had 375 fewer nuclear weapons than in early 2021, down to 12,705 nuclear warheads in early 2022.

However, it warned that all nine are set to increase or upgrade their arsenals.

Russia, with 5977 warheads and the US, with 5428, together still possess about 90% of all nuclear warheads in the world, with Moscow making veiled threats that it might use them in the war on Ukraine.

China is in the middle of a “substantial expansion” of its arsenal, including the construction of more than 300 new missile silos.

India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan have all recently developed or deployed new weapon systems.


To say that the Herald ‘outed’ Wilson is wrong.

Sydney Morning Herald editor Bevan Shields defends his paper’s story about actor Rebel Wilson being in a same-sex relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma. The Herald’s editorial standards would never permit such a retrograde act — instead the paper merely forced Wilson to out herself (Crikey).


Postscript: Russia’s McDonald’s Copycat Has Revealed Its New Logo

The chain was forced into a rebrand after McDonald’s announced in May that it was permanently pulling out of Russia and selling off its 847 locations across the country as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision ended McDonald’s 30-year tenure in the country. Knockoff McDonald’s have been popping up across the country, while one man even chained himself to a former McDonald’s branch in protest at the decision (VICE).


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.