Fox News staff ordered to cast doubt on climate science

Given all the debunking we have done here on CS of the biased reporting on climate change and coral reef health coming from another Murdoch-owned rag, AKA The Australian, e.g., see here, here, here, and here, this isn’t surprising.  And people continue to say that the publics misperceptions about climate change is due to the poor communications skills of scientists.  BS. No matter how media savvy you are, a biased anti-science global news outlet is an overwhelmingly tough opponent.

from Media Matters:

December 15, 2010 8:08 am ET by Ben Dimiero

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network’s journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”

This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term “public option” and instead use variations of “government option.” That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have expressed concern about Sammon using his position to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right.

Sammon’s orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network’s relentless promotion of the fabricated “Climategate” scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

At the time of Sammon’s directive, it was clear the “scandal” did not undermine the scientific basis for global warming and that the emails were being grossly distorted by conservative media and politicians. Scientists, independent fact-checkers, and several investigations have since confirmed that the CRU emails do not undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.

Contrary to Sammon’s email, the increase in global temperatures over the last half-century is an established fact. As the National Climatic Data Center explains, the warming trend “is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change” and “is also confirmed by other independent observations.”

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On the December 8 edition of Happening Now, one of Fox News’ daytime straight news shows, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about “U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record.”

Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was “expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record,” following a “trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 [was] warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s.” Goler went on to explain that “ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada,” which, he said, was “politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming.”

When Scott brought up the “Climategate” emails, Goler explained that although people had raised questions about the CRU data, “the data also comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from NASA. And scientists say the data of course across all three sources is pretty consistent.”

Read the whole story here on Media Matters

5 thoughts on “Fox News staff ordered to cast doubt on climate science

  1. Fox news is really just a propaganda machine for big business.

    I like this story also on climate progress.

    ““Warning: “Greater exposure” to Fox News will lead to “increased misinformation” on policy issues, especially climate science” ”

    “A World Public Opinion (WPO) poll finds that a remarkable 60% of those who watched Fox News almost daily believe that “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring,” whereas only 30% who never watch it believe that. Only 25% of those who watch CNN almost daily hold that erroneous belief — and only 14% who listen to NPR or PBS almost daily.”

    Strangely this sort of data matches up with virtually every conservative I personally know here in Australia. Its like an indoctrination of corporations & church interests.

    My workplace is nearly 90% conservative. Fortunately we work in IT so I have good access to pc’s & google. I asked several what they thought about AGW & 100% of them said it was a con by scientists to get more grant money. The causes were water vapour & the sun. Plus millions of years ago, the Co2 was higher than it is now, so we have a lot of catching up to do. They said the majority of scientists in & out of the field of climate science dont believe climate change is occuring & man causes it.

    It was pretty heated & I asked them where they had read it or heard it. The Australian, News ltd in general, Fairfax talkback radio & the internet. I asked if they could show me references on the internet. References were the Australian, Andrew Bolt, Quadrant, the Oregon petition & mostly gossip & opinion pieces. I was surprised that none of them had heard of WUWT, CA, CD, Nova, Carter, Plimer,Ball, Lindzen, McIntyre, McKitrick, Christy, Monckton or any actual scientists or websites from their own side of the debate. Just gossip & opinion & because it comes from their own side of politics, it doesnt need checking. They all professed to have read about it for years….. what the?

    It seems the conservative media dont have to work hard at all to con people if there is already confirmation bias there.

  2. Thanks for that Phil. I was thinking I should link to that story as an update. It is amazing. I have seen a number or studies like that, e.g., one several years ago showing that a huge majority of Fox news viewers thought that WMDs HAD been found in Iraq.

    Just reinforces my argument that it is all about media bias and media exposure and not the communications ability of scientists.

  3. This is just so true. There seems little one can say to some people, they have already decided it can’t be true and they won’t accept any other suggestion.

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