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Memo to Fox News: Science and Politics Don’t Mix

Read time: 4 mins

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]

Watching Fox News Can Be Hazardous to Your Facts

Read time: 3 mins

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.

Fox News Director Demanded Bias in Climate Coverage

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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.

On Factual Literacy and Media Responsibility In The Age Of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh

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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. 

Climategate Is Dead! Or Long Live Climategate?

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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)

Penn State Completely Exonerates Climate Scientist Michael Mann On Bogus Climategate Accusations

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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.

Tax Day Tea Party Features Lord “Hitler Youth” Monckton and Cast of Koch Industries’ Favorites

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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.

Bachmann and Palin Hold Climate Denier Summit In Minnesota

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The GOP’s wonder twins, Sarah Palin and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), turned the Minneapolis Convention Center into climate denier central this week, offering up a huge helping of enthusiasm for dirty energy, as Palin stumped for Bachman’s re-election bid.

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog reports that “tea party fervor hit a fever-pitch” as the GOP’s “best-known females offered the thousands in attendance a lot of red meat and a healthy dose of girl power,” entering the stage to Martina McBride’s “This One’s For the Girls.”

The “Drill Baby Drill” babes had the grand old partiers all aflutter as they displayed their “mutual admiration”:

“She is so much one of us,” Bachmann said of Palin, “And as absolutely drop dead gorgeous this woman is on the outside, I’m here to testify that she is 20 times more beautiful on the inside.”

Palin responded in equally creepy fashion, recalling their first meeting in Alaska:

I knew that we’d be buddies when I met her when she said, ‘Drill here, drill now.’ And then I replied, ‘Drill, baby, drill’ and then we both said, ‘You betcha!’”

Geez, wish I had been there to witness that thrilling moment.

Fox News’ Ed Barnes Tries to Re-Ignite Attacks on Climate Scientist Exonerated by Penn State

Read time: 3 mins

In his “exclusive” story, titled “Top Climate Scientist’s Exoneration Won’t Be the Last Word,” Fox News’ Ed Barnes suggests that the Penn State investigation that cleared Dr. Michael Mann of any wrong-doing was a “whitewash” designed to protect the “millions of dollars in grant money it gets by having Mann on the faculty.”

Barnes claims that Penn State’s decision to exonerate Mann generated “a storm of controversy” and “came under severe attack.”  Reading his inflammatory language, you might think that a whole lot of academics and scientists ridiculed the inquiry.  Who is this angry mob that generated such a “storm of controversy?” 

Actually, the Barnes storm is comprised of only three people - a mining executive, the wealthiest member of Congress, and a former FoxNews.com columnist.

Tucker Carlson’s 'Daily Caller' Website Bankrolled by Climate Change Denier

Read time: 2 mins

The primary funder of Tucker Carlson’s new website ‘The Daily Caller’ is climate change denier and GOP bankroller Foster Friess, and Carlson has reportedly lined up sponsorship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and Southern Company, all major opponents of meaningful action to curb climate change.

Friess donated $3 million to Carlson’s site, which is run out of an office a “stone’s throw from the White House” by a 21-person staff.  ‘The Daily Caller’ is the brainchild (if you can call it that) of Carlson and his college roommate Neil Patel, a former Dick Cheney aide.  The site’s opinion editor is former RNC press secretary Moira Bagley, immediately calling into question Carlson’s insistence that ‘The Daily Caller’ won’t cater to the right-wing crowd.

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