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Wed, 2011-06-08 12:37Farron Cousins
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Media Matters Report Shows Network TV Preference For Anti-Environment Guests

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Environmental Protection Agency had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act, Republicans and other climate-deniers have been given an unprecedented amount of airtime on television to deride the EPA’s new power. The folks over at Media Matters for America released a study showing that between December 2009 and April 2011, 76% of cable news guests were opposed to allowing the EPA to regulate GHGs, while only 18% spoke favorably of the decision.

As their research shows, these views are actually at odds with public opinion, as 71% of the public believes that the EPA should be allowed to regulate global warming pollution, and 76% believe that the government should have a direct role in curbing the emissions from polluters operating inside the United States.

Not only were the elected officials that appeared on most of these shows against regulations, but most also had received money from the energy industry during their careers.

Wed, 2011-05-18 10:29Chris Mooney
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The Fox News "Effect": A Few References

It is no secret that many in the climate science world are critical of Fox News. The prevailing view seems to be that the conservative network, although claiming to be “fair and balanced,” is in fact quite biased in its treatment of this and other issues.

The opinion isn’t without foundation. It’s not just Fox’s coverage itself (see image at left, courtesy of Media Matters): Last year, Media Matters exposed an internal email from Washington bureau chief Bill Sammon, commenting on the network’s coverage of global warming and seeming to demand a misleading treatment of the issue. The email told reporters they 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.

Given that warming is indeed a fact, it’s little wonder that when it was released, this email drew a lot of attention.

Clearly, there’s much concern about Fox coverage. But many critics of the network seem unaware of what may be their best argument:

Fri, 2011-05-13 13:09Laurel Whitney
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California Town’s School Board Wants Politically “Balanced” Curriculum On Climate Change

And the headdesk moment of the week goes to Los Alamitos Unified School District, who recently decided that teachers in the school district would have to prove that their curricula have political balance when teaching controversial subjects, including global warming. Reminiscent of the creation of the universe debacles, teachers will now be required to teach “opposing views” because conservative board members are “concerned that ‘liberal’ faculty members could skew lessons on global warming”, according to local news coverage.

This could potentially become a dangerous trend, considering that several other districts, including the Texas board of education and South Dakota public schools, have taken similar views as well. It might be okay to teach climate skepticism if it indeed was taught and identified as climate misinformation that industries deliberately use to confuse the public, not as just a “dissenting opinion”. However this doesn’t appear to be the case here. Just listen to what one of the school board members has to say:

Fri, 2011-02-11 14:11Josh Nelson
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Memo to Fox News: Science and Politics Don’t Mix

This piece was co-written by Ryan Koronowski, Alliance for Climate Protection Research Director and Josh Nelson, Alliance for Climate Protection Director of Online Communications and New Media.

Former oil and energy trader Eric Bolling, a financial news personality on Fox News, often gets on television to talk about climate change. On Tuesday, Media Matters published research on Bolling’s program and uncovered a history of claims that are demonstrably false:

Bolling Hosted Skeptic To Claim “There Is No Global Warming.” Bolling hosted Brian Sussman, radio host and author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, who asserted that “there is no global warming.” Sussman claimed that the “hottest decade in history was the 1930s.”

Bolling: “I think We Warm And We Cool. It’s The Globe.” Discussing a Rasmussen poll asking respondents “how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data,” Bolling stated: “Listen, you know where I stand on this. I’m not – I think we warm and we cool. It’s the globe.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/4/09]

Bolling Falsely Suggested Snow Disproves Global Warming. On Fox & Friends, referring to the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Bolling stated: “I think, a couple of years ago, they were in Washington. It was snowed out. The global warming issue wasn’t, I guess, a factor there. But they solved that problem going to Cancun.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/09]

Mon, 2011-01-10 12:11Chris Mooney
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Watching Fox News Can Be Hazardous to Your Facts

In mid December, you may recall, Media Matters exposed an email from Fox News editor Bill Sammon instructing his reporters 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.” It was no surprise that Fox was guilty of misrepresenting the science on climate change—anyone who has watched the channel cover the subject has seen this—but it was nevertheless appalling to find the goal so blatantly stated.

But there’s been less discussion of a finding that closely accompanied this revelation. In a survey late last year, Stanford political psychologist Jon Krosnick found that more frequent Fox viewers were significantly less likely to trust climate science and climate scientists than those who don’t watch the channel, or who watch it less.

Wed, 2010-12-15 11:58Richard Littlemore
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Fox News Director Demanded Bias in Climate Coverage

We’re “shocked” of course, but Media Matters has reported a leaked Fox News memo, quoting Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon scolding reporter Wendell Groler and on-air host Jon Scott for discussing actual evidence of climate change without inserting Fox bias into their report.

“…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,” Sammon wrote.

Sammon went on to say, “It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.” The “notion” on this occasion was an objective measurement of Earth’s global temperature.

Tue, 2010-08-31 16:05Jim Hoggan
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On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,” says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.  

Egan notes the “astonishing level of willful ignorance” evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward “largely by design” by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, “aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.”

Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:

“Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.” 

Read “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings” on The New York Times website. 

Wed, 2010-07-07 15:55Brendan DeMelle
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Climategate Is Dead! Or Long Live Climategate?

An exhaustive six-month independent review into the Climategate emails has concluded that the “rigor and honesty” of the climate scientists caught up in the non-scandal are “not in doubt.” [PDF]

The investigation, led by Sir Muir Russell, found no grand conspiracy among scientists brainwashed by the U.N. IPCC and Al Gore to dominate the planet by dreaming up man-made global warming, as the right wing media and blogosphere insisted in the wake of the Climategate nontroversy that followed the theft of emails and documents from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) late last year.

The report confirms again that climate scientists’ findings remain sound. Some of its key findings:

“On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.

In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments. ” (pg. 11)

Thu, 2010-07-01 12:47Brendan DeMelle
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Penn State Completely Exonerates Climate Scientist Michael Mann On Bogus Climategate Accusations

Pennsylvania State University today issued its final report thoroughly exonerating climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of any wrongdoing in the wake of the “Climategate” myth that emerged late last year when thousands of emails and documents were stolen from a computer server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK.

In the days following the posting of the stolen material onto the Internet, right-wing bloggers and media outlets loudly issued allegations of misconduct among climate scientists mentioned in the giant trove of emails.  Conspiracy theorists on the right cherry-picked flagrantly out-of-context portions of the email collection in order to gin up a grand tale suggesting that man-made climate change is a fraud concocted by all of the world’s leading climate scientists, the much-despised United Nations IPCC, and, of course, Al Gore. 

Despite their success in elevating this nontroversy to the national level via Fox News and other right wing media, every single independent investigation of the climate scientists involved has since cleared them of any misconduct and verified the science underpinning the IPCC’s consensus position that manmade climate change is real.

Mon, 2010-04-12 12:17Brendan DeMelle
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Tax Day Tea Party Features Lord “Hitler Youth” Monckton and Cast of Koch Industries’ Favorites

Lord Christopher Monckton, infamous for his “Hitler Youth” comments at the Copenhagen climate summit, is among the guest speakers at this week’s Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, DC.  Organized by FreedomWorks, the sister organization of Americans for Prosperity, the Tax Day Tea Party at the Washington Monument will also feature appearances from FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and President Matt Kibbe, right wing publisher Andrew Breitbart, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

With a cast of characters this deep, sparks are sure to fly.

Lord Monckton has continued the crazed rampage he started at the Americans For Prosperity event at the Copenhagen climate summit, where he repeatedly called American college students advocating for clean energy the “Hitler Youth” and “Nazis.” Monckton took it way too far when he told Jewish student Ben Wessel, whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust, “I am not going to shake the hand of Hitler youth.” 
Despite extensive video evidence, Monckton went on to lie to the Associated Press, claiming that he never uttered those words.  More recently, Monckton called President Obama a “monster” during his speech at a GOP fundraiser in Wisconsin, which followed another of his paid appearances for Americans for Prosperity.

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