Fox News Manipulates Climate Coverage

Today, Media Matters posted an alarming email sent by Bill Sammon, the Washington, DC, managing editor at Fox News. Sammon sent the email to Fox News producers on December 8, 2009 -- just as the Climate Conference in Copenhagen was beginning:

Subject:Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data"
"we should 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. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

But there's no legitimate debate: the planet is warming. Moreover, man-made global warming pollution is the principal cause. To drive the point home, Media Matters points to something that happened just fifteen minutes before Sammon sent the email:

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.'

Fox News has consistently delivered false and misleading information to its viewers about the climate crisis. The leaked emails now suggest that this bias comes directly from the executives responsible for their news coverage.

COP15 was a critical moment in the fight against the climate crisis. It is unsurprising, yet still disturbing, that Fox would allow its political bias to infiltrate its news reporting about the conference. Over all the media's coverage of climate issues has been atrocious. However, Fox seems determined to set the bar even lower.

This post originally appeared at Al's Journal.