The Murdoch media wanted me on to divide and rule on climate: I said NO…

[[The following is correspondence between myself and Times Radio]]

Dear Poppy;

Thanks for your recent invitation to appear on Times Radio [[below]]. You might be wondering why I didn’t accept it. I’m writing now to explain why.

I didn’t accept your invitation for a straightforward reason: I have vowed not to deal with Murdoch-owned media until your editorial policies change and you start treating the climate emergency AS an emergency, as many other media outlets across the world are now doing (for list, see here: https://coveringclimatenow.org/partners/partner-list/ — Murdoch-owned media are strikingly absent from this list). Furthermore, from bitter experience, I don’t expect Murdoch-owned media to treat climate-activists decently. See https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/ill-no-longer-be-a-source-for-murdochs-empire-of-lies/ for my full reasoning therefore for why I will no longer be a source on your media — until you change. [Let me be frank: I am suspicious of the timing of your request. I suspect that you were hoping to have me on to criticise XR over their recent window-breaking actions (I note the phrase “when it doesn’t” in your mesage below with interest, and with suspicion). I say this in part because, based on my experience, I simply don’t see or have any evidence of The Times or Times Radio pro-actively treating climate activism/activists fairly in your coverage, let alone as something positive; which is unedoubtedly how we will be perecieved by posterity, if there is any. Rather, you repeatedly seek only to ‘divide and rule’, and to ‘other’ us.]

I hope you’ll reflect on the reasons for this stance of mine and on James Murdoch’s own brave and wise decision to leave Murdoch-owned media behind. I appreciate that it’s hard to find a job in these difficult days, especially in the media. But this is an emergency: so we all need to think of how we respond to it with the utmost seriousness and integrity. See my piece here https://rupertread-80924.medium.com/why-my-recent-experience-with-the-murdoch-press-has-led-me-to-launch-boycottmurdoch-136c2c72d921 for some tentative suggestions on how you and your fellow employees might handle this dilemma.

Perhaps it won’t be long until Murdoch-owned media such as Times Radio wake up to the climate emergency — and to the truth that you will increasingly be not only harmful but irrelevant, if you do not do so. Please let me know if your outlet decides to join the ‘Covering climate now’ coalition’. But until such time comes, you’ll not get me appearing on Times Radio.

I’d rather keep my hands clean.

Faithfully,
Prof. Rupert Read; author, ‘Parents for a future’.

P.s. You might be thinking that I am only, in effect, spiteing myself, by taking this stance. Not so. My experience has been that taking such principled stances is in fact also the best way to leverage real change. See https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/no-more-climate-cranks-our-screens , for how my refusal to ‘debate’ the reality of dangerous man-made climate change on the BBC a few years ago was instrumental in leveraging the considerable improvement we have seen in BBC coverage of climate since then.

At 10:58am, poppy.bullard@times.radio wrote:

Poppy Bullard (poppy.bullard@times.radio) sent a message using the contact
form at
https://rupertread.net/contact.

Hi Rupert,

I hope you’re really well and don’t mind me getting in touch. I was just
wondering whether you’d be free on Monday 26th at 11am to join us on Times Radio for a discussion about protest and affecting political change.

We’re going to be talking about the part that protest plays in making
political change, and when it works and when it doesn’t and we’d love to
speak to you about your work with XR.

Let me know and give me a ring on [[number removed]] if you want to chat about it.

All the best,
Poppy

Reader of Philosophy at UEA. Author, ‘Parents for a future’. Former national spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.