The Murdoch media has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks as former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, along with world-renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, lambast it about the misinformation it publishes and broadcasts about climate change.
The same accusation could also be levelled at its reporting and commentary on renewables, particularly wind energy. But the most surprising target of its vitriol and myth-making in recent years has been electric vehicles and the efforts to clean up Australia’s filthy transport fleet.
Consumers might well ask themselves how it is that Australia ended up as a dumping ground for dirty vehicles that cannot be sold in most places around the world; the emissions of these vehicles are so polluting they kill nearly 2,000 Australians a year and are so inefficient they add about $600 a year in additional fuel costs to each vehicle.
The Murdoch media is one answer. It slammed the federal Coalition’s tentative efforts to introduce fuel standards as a “carbon tax on wheels,” which was enough to stop conservative politicians in their tracks, and it was a willing mouthpiece for the arrant nonsense about EVs spread by the Coalition government in the lead up to the last election.
They are still at it. And it’s come to the attention of international experts quoted in a recent Bloomberg article “Even Tesla can’t end Australia’s hostility to electric vehicles” who note that even tractors outsell EVs by a factor of two to one in Australia.
The set against EVs taken by conservatives and the Murdoch media is hard to understand because they are brilliant pieces of technology. But to conservatives they signify change and progress, which they confuse with progressives, so it must be a bad thing. More than that, they threaten the business models of their biggest supporters, the fossil fuel industry.
In an already rotten media environment, one recent article stands out for being so utterly wrong and hateful at the same time. It appeared in the NSW-based Daily Telegraph earlier this month, and was reprinted in full in Queensland’s Courier Mail, the West Australian, the Countryman, and even the very far right-wing Catallaxy Files.
The author is Vikki Campion, a former journalist, political media minder and now partner of former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, and a regular columnist for the Tele. This article achieves something quite unique – setting a new high bar for prejudice and misinformation about EVs in a single piece of work. Which is no mean effort, given the competition.
What is particularly striking is the sheer hatred of the sort of people who Campion believes buy EVs, or what she calls “coal-fired” vehicles. They are not “the stacking-bricks hands-like-sandpaper types” or “those of common clay” that she claims to represent, more the “kind of look-at-me-I-am-awake-to-the-world types.”
To read the full story, please go to our EV-focused sister site, The Driven, and click here.