Of all the endorsements, none was more significant than that of James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, who said Fox News was “a megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods”.
We have to face the uncomfortable fact that the systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social – what Clapper calls the “truth deficit” – has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, and none more so than the US itself. Thanks to this relentless diet of lies, a quarter of all Americans and 56% of Republicans believe Trump is the true president today.
Biden is leading a more traditional and rational administration. The friends and allies Trump had outraged around the world are breathing a sigh of relief. The US has rejoined the Paris agreement on climate change and Biden is seeking to lead the world with deeper, faster cuts to emissions.
But the same forces that amplified and enabled Trump are still at work in the US and here in Australia. In April the Murdoch press bullied the New South Wales government into reversing its decision to appoint me chairman of a committee to advise on the transition to a net zero emission economy. My “crime” was to not support the continued, unconstrained expansion of open-cut coalmining in the Hunter Valley. In the crazed, rightwing media echo chamber so influential with many Liberal and National party members, the primary qualification to advise on net zero emissions is, apparently, unqualified support for coalmining.
Malcolm Turnbull is a former prime minister of Australia.