Just get more marshmallows

Fires? Are there fires?

The Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, has defended itself against criticism it downplayed unprecedented bushfires by failing to put a picture of the disaster on the front page of an edition, even as newspapers across the world featured the harrowing scenes.

Many of the world’s leading mastheads featured pictures of the devastation of the Australian bushfires on page one on Thursday. But the Australian’s first edition ran an upbeat picture story about the New Year’s Day picnic races at Hanging Rock.

Um…Fake News? It may have looked like an upbeat picture story about the New Year’s Day picnic races at Hanging Rock, but actually it was in-depth coverage of the fires.

The national broadsheet’s lead story on Thursday was about a secret proposal by police to ban alcohol in Indigenous communities in Western Australia – a story deemed more important than the bushfire report, which said eight people were dead and mass evacuations were underway.

Maybe Murdoch just doesn’t like sensationalism.

The Australian has been consistent on one front. Throughout the bushfire season it has kept up its coverage of climate denialism.

Before Christmas, the Australian attempted to smear Greg Mullins and his Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group as “largely a vehicle for Tim Flannery”. Flannery is a leading environmentalist and chief counsellor at the Climate Council.

The former fire and emergency chiefs from multiple states and territories say Australia is unprepared for worsening natural disasters from climate change and governments are putting lives at risk.

The Australian says they are a front for Flannery who is an “alarmist” for urging that coal-fired power stations be shut down.

Indeed; what on earth is there to be alarmed about? The fact that the planet is becoming hostile to life is no big deal – people can just stay inside for a few hundred years until things go back to normal.

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