Climate-change skeptic calls for Aussie version of Fox News

Former British politician and newspaper editor Lord Christopher Monckton — a prominent climate change skeptic and the UK Independence party's head of research — caused a ruckus this week in the media and the blogosphere for suggesting that Australia could use a version of the right-wing Fox News television network.

In a video that looks to be surreptitiously recorded and posted by social activist group GetUP! Action for Australia, Monckton addresses a small audience  in the boardroom of the Mankaal Foundation, a Perth-based free market think tank.

A transcript of what Monckton said follows:

Is there an Australian version of Fox News? No. This is the thing I've been looking at in the UK. Frankly whatever you do at street level, which is what you're talking about here, is not going to have much of an impact compared with capturing an entire news media.

You have to capture the high ground of what are still the major media, and I think will remain for quite some time. And until we crack that one both in the UK and Australia, we're going to suffer the disadvantage over against the more libertarian, right-thinking people in the United States who have got Fox News and have therefore got things like the Tea party, and have therefore at last put some lead in the pencil of the Republican Party.

And it seems to me that devoting some time and effort to encouraging those we know who are super rich to invest in perhaps even establishing a new satellite TV channel – it's not an expensive thing and then get a few Jo Novas and Andrew Bolts to go on and do the commentating every day but keep the news straight, fair and balanced, as they do on Fox, that would break through and give to Australia, as it has for America, a proper dose of free market thinking.

You have the business people explaining how the free market concept in business works every day and reaching thousands of millions of people around the world on Fox News. And let's be clear, that's still the way to do it. I would like to suggest a modest free market solution to the problem we've identified this evening which is that we don't have a TV channel of our own.

I would be very happy to work with people like Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt etc. to put together a business plan for such a thing if the idea would be generally supported and then we'll see if we can get someone to be an angel funder.

The revelation of what could be perceived as industry-led efforts to shake-up Australian media comes less than two weeks after it was reported the world's richest woman, Gina Reinhart, more than doubled her stake in Australian newspaper group Fairfax to add to her shares in a television channel, prompting questions about the mining magnate’s motivations.

Although she has never granted a media interview herself, after dropping $200 million on Feb. 1, she now owns just under 13% of $1.75 billion Fairfax. As the largest shareholder, she’ll almost definitely be offered a seat on the board of the publishers of the influential Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Financial Review, the monopoly business daily. Fairfax controls about 30% of Australia’s newspaper market with Rupert Murdoch the rest.