Fox News: their idea of fair and balanced is to deny global warming (or the Murdoch war on science)

Hat tip to DeSmogBlog for this. 

A leaked email from Fox News shows how this media outlet deliberately distorts the climate debate. Media Monitor reports:

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.”

The email itself stated:

From: Sammon, Bill 
To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington 
Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean 
Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009
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.

Clearly, the producers at Fox are distorting the debate. The producer sent this email out less than 15 minutes

Fox News, if of course a Murdoch owned.  

So is The Australian, which is notorious for waging its war on science.  

So is the Herald Sun the home of Andrew Bolt. 

Do we see a pattern perhaps?  

The Murdoch War on Science….

30 thoughts on “Fox News: their idea of fair and balanced is to deny global warming (or the Murdoch war on science)

  1. Ray says:

    So Sammon instructed staff to incorporate the most basic tenets of science and journalistic skepticism and political neutrality into their reporting on a contentious scientific and political issue. Do you really have a problem with that?

    Too, earlier you made the statement there were 13,000 climatologists supporting agw. Can you tell me where you got that figure? Did it come from desmog blog too?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Typo mate, thanks for pointing it out.

      See paper below.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Should journalists also present equal sides to the argument that the world is flat? Or that the universe is billions of years old, not a few thousand? Or alternatives to the germ theory of disease? Or that crystals can cure cancer? How about the idea that vaccines cause autism? Or that Einstein’s theory is wrong?

      There are many people subscribing to those views, but they aren’t science or deny the science.

      Global warming, as the below study of the work of 1300+ climatologists shows, is accepted mainstream science.

      What I have a problem is the obvious partisan activity of someone correcting their journalists 15 minutes after a story is aired.

  2. I think Mike may have accidentally placed one too many “0”s, because the number is around 1330 working/publishing climate scientists.

    Neutrality? Have you been watching Fox, listening to Bolt or the Australian? There’s nothing neutral in the rubbish they write.

    Check out this quality reporting from Fox News!

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I did – thanks Moth. It is actually 1372 researchers to be exact. Apologies for not providing original source, as I normally like to do.

      I have to ask Ray, does he think the 97-98% of scientists lying?

      And here is the paper:

      “Expert credibility in climate change”

      Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

  3. John R T says:

    ´…scientific prominence of the researchers…´ = argument from authority

    This ´study´ earned the label Black List. Thoroughly self-serving and prejudiced.

    @ Ray – ¨…to incorporate the most basic tenets of science and journalistic skepticism and political neutrality into their reporting on a contentious scientific and political issue. Do you really have a problem with that?¨

    What is your problem with journalistic integrity?

  4. Sailrick says:

    “So Sammon instructed staff to incorporate the most basic tenets of science and journalistic skepticism”

    So everytime a science story that involves genetics, biotech, or anything involving evolution appears in the media, is there also supposed to be a creationist for “balance” or to show “journalistic skepticism”? You must be kidding.

    Speaking of journalistic skepticism, I can assure you Fox news has never been skeptical of a skeptic (or denier). For them anything is fact, that disputes AGW, whether it is Monckton’s nonsense or Milloy’s for examples. Neither of them is a scientist of course. And of course they like Singer, who has been an “expert” on acid rain, CFCs, global warming, tobacco dangers, – always for the respective industry of course. And always to prevent any public health or environmental regulations that might cut into corporate profits. In fact, I can’t think of any well known skeptic scientists who are not funded by fossil fuel interests, directly or indirectly.

    But lets be sure to maintain journalistic skepticism, by all means.

  5. John R T says:

    Check WUWT re Communist McKnight´s stupidities and Jo Nova´s brilliant reply.

    best regards from Costa Rica John

    • Nick says:

      Jo Nova actually makes NO reply to McKnight at all,JRT. She has a tantrum instead.

      She simply rolls out her stock blog moves,and addresses no specifics. Her effort is bizarre and immature.

      McKnight lists dates,journalists/contributors and events that support his contention that editorial policy and published opinion at The Australian has drifted to a stridently antiAGW position,systematically misrepresenting scientific orthodoxy. Any one who is curious can search and check his references for what is a calm and thorough piece of writing. Nova makes no effort to deal with this timeline…silly really,because that is the only rational way to make a contrary case.

      Nova attempts to deny that orthodoxy with tired defamations that scientists are mercenaries,are falsely authoritative,and the IPCC reports only reflect the views of a tiny core of editors-as if the many,many hundreds of others involved,and thousands in the broader earth/atmospheric science community, would simply acquiesce to any representation of their works.

      One her favorite ‘arguments’ is to claim that the US climate ‘industry’ received nearly $80 billion over twenty years,and the poor struggling Fossil-fuel lobby could only stump up a paltry score or so million for PR. This collossal false equivalence [science process = PR ] passes as a reasonable comparison to Jo. Never mind that the science budget was a simplistic aggregate that included anything that could be vaguely connected with a climate science related process or outcome,including cleaning of facilities,travel ,payroll,lease,shared equipment,and etc.

      Nova’s little effort was the second crude rebuff in the paper to McKnight to have the result of simply confirming his argument,with her false equivalences,diversions and citing of the Oregon ‘petition’ a boof-headed imitation of The Australians typical fare. The Australian’s reply hilariously added he was once a writer for a communist publication,and Nova apes that line with her ‘totalitarian’ smear.

      The Australian then includes a link to Nova’s blog site…!

      • John R T says:

        ¨…misrepresenting scientific orthodoxy.¨
        Every argument from orthodoxy/authority fails. No science, there.

        During my brief contribution to crowd-sourced Citizen Audit of the IPC. I found other confounding evidence of the panel´s failures, which I pursued after completing my assignments. I suggest you examine the audit.

        Further, I found The Australian´s progress quite similar to that of both other entities and individuals.

        A rebuff is just that, regardless of your claim that this concise rebuttal was crude. After years of evidence, both positive – presented by researchers – and negative -e.g., behavior by the team [cynical, coarse AND crude] – straight talk is welcome.

        Have you visited J. Curry´s site. Try it when you are well-rested: you may find the experience challenging.

      • Nick says:

        JohnRT: “every argument from orthodoxy/authority fails. No science, there.” This is perhaps the current orthodox nonsense of the Nova school. It is shallow.

        So,John,is yours an argument from authority? Actually it sounds like a pronouncement,or a decree…

        Argument from authority may alienate sometimes,but when the authority is,well,authoritative,you just have to suck it up,mate. Views,schools of thought and processes don’t achieve ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘authority’ without scrutiny,constant review,peer acceptance,reproducability,practical application and teachability.

        I challenge you to demonstrate the concision in Nova’s piece,and point out to me where she has addressed or even acknowledged McKnight’s date-referenced argument. Recycling her talking points is a fail,as it was for her.

      • John R T says:

        Nick, today

        Looks like we are alone here.

        I have a bit of reading to do: @ no frakking concensus

        232 Opinions Concerning the IPCC
        Donna Laframboise | December 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Tags: climate bible, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC | Categories: climate bible, IPCC | URL:

        This week an important collection of documents entered the public domain. These are the answers 232 interested individuals provided to a series of questions concerning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

        McKnight´s inanities deserve little attention: only because they appeared in a responsible publication are they noticed at all. Neither notable, nor useful, nor contemporary: this screed could be dismissed out of hand, were it not an example of the ignorance infecting even your universities.

        On the other hand, D. Bowater & UK Daily Express, from Aug 2010 – –

        : we find a useful review.

        Back to my desk.

        a thoughtful Advent, to you each, John

  6. Pete_Ridley says:

    Mike, on 16th Dec. @ 00:53:42 you made reference to the PNAS paper “Expert credibility in climate change” ( was written by Stephen H Schneider, a devout “disciple *”. This same “disciple” is on record ( as saying “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both. (Quoted in Discover, pp. 45–48, Oct. 1989. For the original, together with Schneider’s commentary on its misrepresentation, see also American Physical Society, APS News August/September 1996.[6])” ( but see also

    The pronouncements of any scientist who only “hopes” that scientists “must” tell the truth have to be regarded with scepticism. That is not “denial *”, merely a sensible application of caution.

    There is no convincing scientific evidence supporting the doctrine, only speculations and estimations merged with some scientific evidence that our use of fossil fuels could have caused a proportion of what is claimed to have been an increase in mean global temperature of about 1C during the past 150 years. This has all been packaged together to produce some wonderful propaganda in support of agenda that have nothing to do with taking over nature’s job of controlling global climates. The real agenda are:
    – redistribution of wealth from developed to underdeveloped economies,
    – establishment of a framework for global government,
    – enhancement of the finances of a privileged few.
    Evidence of the first two can be found in the draft and final agreements coming out of the UN’s COP15 “caper in Copenhagen and its COP16 “conspiracy in Cancun”. More will be available after what is hoped will be the final COP17 “debacle in Durban”.

    * – of the doctrine that our continuing use of fossil fuels is leading to catastrophic changes in the different global climates (

    On your “Climategate an act of cyber-terrorism? .. ” thread I asked “In your comment of 14th December @ 23:22 you claim that “Lindzen and his work, it is out of step with 99% of his colleagues” but where on earth is the evidence to support your claim that 99% of his colleagues disagree with him? (please would you provide a link to evidence supporting that claim)”. You haven’t been back since. Now I know where you found (and massaged) that figure and can fully understand why you never did get back to provide that “evidence”!

    You said there when I made reference to Professor Lindzen’s “Placing your hopes on this one man being right, and every other scientist on the planet wrong is well… more than optimistic”. Methinks that placing your hopes on Schneider sticking to the truth about those 97% of scientists (and anything else to do with the doctrine) falls into the same category.

    I see that Ray (15th Dec. @ 23:32:39) is also asking “Can you tell me where you got that figure?”. You really should try harder not to make up your own figures. It’s a trait often used by “disciples” and “followers”, authors of the IPCC’s AR4 included. They call it “expert opinion”.

    As for Fox News distorting the climate debate, I suggest that all of the mainstream media do so if it suits their agenda, as do the politicians, the UN, the environmentalists and the power-hungry. Have a read of what Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky think. They have developed an interesting conceptual model in political economy, the “propaganda model” ( QUOTE:
    .. that posits how propaganda, including systemic biases, function in mass media. .. First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the “Propaganda model” views the private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product — readers and audiences — to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public. Describing the media’s “societal purpose”, Chomsky writes, “… the study of institutions and how they function must be scrupulously ignored, apart from fringe elements or a relatively obscure scholarly literature”.[1] The theory postulates five general classes of “filters” that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are:

    1. Ownership of the medium
    2. Medium’s funding sources
    3. Sourcing
    4. Flak
    5. Anti-communist ideology

    The first three are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important.

    Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles which the model postulates as the cause of media biases UNQUOTE.

    Mike & Tom(othincarnate), keep reading and learning – you need to, as do all of us.

    BTW, when do you intend to get back to me on the issue of that other dubious “hockey stick”, those attempts to reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 content from air “trapped” in ice for millennia? I should have thought that a knowledgeable young scientist like you Tim would have at least one worthwhile pearl of wisdom to offer on it. After all, you being an ecologist I’d have though that you have some understanding of effusion, diffusion and adsorption processes. Come on, help out an ignorant geezer like me, pretty please.

    But then again , I’m having difficulty getting even the scientists who consider that to the a “Gold Standard” to give me a satisfactory explanation as to why they insist on ignoring the kinetic diameter of the different atmospheric gases and prefer the collision diameter.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Its a survey of over 1300 practising scientists. Does not matter what the authors think. It does not change the fact that the work of 97% of 1300 climatologists agree AGW is happening.

      All this is a long argument to convince *yourself*. In fact, nothing you say really addresses the point.

      Your wrote;

      “The real agenda are:
      – redistribution of wealth from developed to underdeveloped economies,
      – establishment of a framework for global government,
      – enhancement of the finances of a privileged few.”

      Nothing will convince a conspiracy theorist. Everything you’ve written exploits every known trope of the conspiracy mind…

      You’ve performed text book denial. I’m not concerned though, that’s your right.

      Did you know that the opponents to Einsteins theory of relativity argued the same thing? Or that the reason a great deal of water is not fluoridated in parts of the US is because they feared a communist plot?

      The paranoid fantasy remains the same, it’s just the scientific theory that changes:

      “…Water fluoridation has frequently been the subject of conspiracy theories. During the “Red Scare” in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s, and to a lesser extent in the 1960s, activists on the far right of American politics routinely asserted that fluoridation was part of a far-reaching plot to impose a socialist or communist regime. They also opposed other public health programs, notably mass vaccination and mental health services…”

      So, when is the WORLD GOVERNMENT COMING!?!?!?!

      Is AGW the final piece in the puzzle following relativity, vaccination, fluoridation?

      Those crafty socialists, working for decades through the facade of “science”.

  7. Sundance says:

    We were also in the midst of “Climategate” last December and Fox was not alone in being pressured by audiences to provide a more balanced view of climate reporting. The BBC Trust for example also reassessed its coverage of climate after “Climategate”. The attached article notes:

    “Last year one of its reporters, Paul Hudson, was criticized for not reporting on some of the highly controversial “Climategate” leaked emails from the University of East Anglia, even though he had been in possession of them for some time.

    Climate change skeptics have also accused the BBC of not properly reporting “Glaciergate”, when a study from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that glaciers would melt by 2035 was discredited.

    But the BBC’s new editorial guidelines, published yesterday after an extensive consultation that considered over 1,600 submissions by members of the public, say expressly for the first time that scientific issues fall within the corporation’s obligation to be impartial.

    “The BBC must be inclusive, consider the broad perspective, and ensure that the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected,” said BBC trustee Alison Hastings. ”

    The difficulty for Sammons and all reporters for that matter is that depending on what temperature data set you look at you can find periods of recent cooling and warming based on the time frame chosen. Noaa was having satellite integrity issues which were being addressed in congress so there was a lot in the mix to deal with.

    There is no doubt that in 2011 the USA will investigate the “veracity of its climate change data” of both GISS (disregarded Polar SST and substitute land data) and NOAA (satellite problems). The Steig Antarctic temperature data was found to be lacking in a few areas and has been improved with a new peer reviewed paper for example so the science of constructing an accurate temperature record is still evolving.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Yes, because a politican is more trustworthy than thousands of scientists…

      I’m sure they can wish away basic physics and chemistry!

  8. Pete_Ridley says:

    Mike, reference “conspiracy theorists” – I expect that you will put John Pilger into that class too (”. All that nonsense about “The War You Don’t See”! Politicians and power-hungry individuals don’t do that sort of thing, do they. They’re too honourable to stoop so low.

    On that basis I don’t expect you have wasted your time reading those UN COP references that I gave you.

    You ask “So, when is the WORLD GOVERNMENT COMING!?!?!?!” but I’m sorry to say that I can no more predict that than can the IPCC and its followers predict when catrastrophic global climate change is coming.

    I see that you persist in ignoring my comment about your claim that “Lindzen and his work, it is out of step with 99% of his colleagues” so I repeat “where on earth is the evidence to support your claim that 99% of his colleagues disagree with him? (please would you provide a link to evidence supporting that claim)”.

    Keep dodging the points made by others Mike. It should help to improve your mental agility.

    Sundance, excellent comment but do you really believe “ .. that in 2011 the USA will investigate the “veracity of its climate change data” of both GISS .. and NOAA .. ” in any more open and honest manner than they carried out their whitewash investigations into Climategate? Don’t forget that politicians will be very much involved- oh dear, conspiracy theorist talking again!

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      “…According to the results of a one-time online questionnaire-based statistical survey of earth scientists published by the University of Illinois with 3146 respondents, 97% of the 77 actively publishing climate scientists included in the survey…”


      In 1997, the “World Scientists Call For Action” petition was presented to world leaders meeting to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol. The declaration asserted, “A broad consensus among the world’s climatologists is that there is now ‘a discernible human influence on global climate.’” It urged governments to make “legally binding commitments to reduce industrial nations’ emissions of heat-trapping gases”, and called global warming “one of the most serious threats to the planet and to future generations.”[48] The petition was conceived by the Union of Concerned Scientists as a follow up to their 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, and was signed by “more than 1,500 of the world’s most distinguished senior scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in science.”[49]

      “…In December 2009, over 1700 UK scientists signed a petition supporting the conclusions of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and declaring their “utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities.”

      No scientific body questions AGW. None. Nada.

      You have the paper, the links and evidence. You’ve dismissed the evidence.

      Your trapped in a conspiracy mindset.

      That you think a world government is coming, and they are using AGW as the means to do it shows sloppy, irrational and bad thinking.

      OK, bored now.

    • Sundance says:

      Pete, NOAA revised their winter forecast last week as their model came down with a fever and originally predicted a warmer than average winter. GISS “adjustments” are bat shit crazy. Here are the North Pole monthly satellite data from UAH, look at the North Pole data taken from actual satellite readings and compare them with GISS/Hansen 4 degrees of Arctic warming where Hansen has 1 thermometer and deletes ocean surface temperature and backfills it with extopolated land surface temperature which is warmer than ocean temps. Hansen was .4C degrees warmer than the other climate centers in November.

      The EPA just announced their intent to initiate carbon controls on January 2, 2011. This will be the tipping point as the states suing the EPA will exceed 32 and the new House Republicans will begin to subpoena the EPA and the scientists associated with Climategate.

      So yes I do think the temperature data from GISS and NCDC will be investigated.

      • Pete_Ridley says:

        Hi Sundance, I sincerely hope that you are right, but just because 32 states are tring to sue the EPA does not mean that any cases are carried through to an unbiased hearing. We’re talking about politicians here.

        Best wishes to all for 2011 and let’s all drink a toast at midnight 31st December (UK time of coursae) to success in contributing to exposing the politically inspired scam known as Catastrophic Global Climate Change arising from our use of fossil fuels.

        Pete Ridley.

    • Sundance says:

      Pete this pertains to my comments about states going after the EPA but I put it here hoping that you had your “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” box checked. We’ll see how this goes. Happy New Year!

    • Sundance says:

      Pete FYI -Today, Virginia taxpayers, a state lawmaker and a public interest law firm are asking the University of Virginia to produce important “global warming” records under that state’s Freedom of Information Act.

      Read more at the Washington Examiner:

      The University lied to the States Attorneys Office after the first request claiming that the files on Michael Mann did not exist and
      I it is now likely that the States Attorney will look beyond Mann for others at the University who may have violated FOIA laws by obstructing an investigation. The university has one week to comply and hand over all documents and emails pertaining to Mann.

      Happy New Year!

  9. Sundance says:

    A new science integrity program has been mandated in the USA. Also a House bill was introduced to require open source temperature documentation from climate science agencies. Ther will likely be an investiagtion into temperature reconstruction in 2011. The following sad revelation does not instill confidence in climate science.

    “NIWA makes the huge admission that New Zealand has experienced hardly any warming during the last half-century. For all their talk about warming, for all their rushed invention of the “Eleven-Station Series” to prove warming, this new series shows that no warming has occurred here since about 1960. Almost all the warming took place from 1940-60, when the IPCC says that the effect of CO2 concentrations was trivial. Indeed, global temperatures were falling during that period.”

    The recent CLOUD experiment preliminary findings suggest that more than CO2 need to be considered in climate. A new peer reviewed study shows that the 2007 Arctic summer ice minimum was due to cloud reduction not CO2. Updated peer reviewed study shows Antarctic warming is localized and not continent wide as was published earlier in 2009. There are more revelations about climate models forthcoming and it will be an exciting 2011.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Hilarious stuff!

      LOL – the NZ temp have just been reconfirmed:

      “…Earlier this afternoon NIWA released its recalculated NZ temperature record [full report], and as expected the changes from the “old” seven station series are more or less negligible. The trend over the last 100 years is identical, 0.91ºC per century, as the graph above shows. There are minor differences in some years, and larger ones at some stations, but the net effect to is confirm what we already knew: New Zealand warmed significantly over the last century…”

      Oh, but wait – they must still be lying, and everyone is in on the conspiracy. And yet you argue a merry band of unqualified, hacks know the real science.

      OK, still bored. This is pretty much like arguing with creationists.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Oh, and btw the way.. all the temp records are already freely available from Bom Australia and NASA.

      And this: “Updated peer reviewed study shows Antarctic warming is localized and not continent wide as was published earlier in 2009. There are more revelations about climate models forthcoming and it will be an exciting 2011”

      Which papers? Which research? What citations?

      No claims to truth without the actual science please.

    • Nick says:

      “..more than CO2 needs to be considered in climate.”

      Who knew?

  10. klem says:

    Remember ladies, climate change is dead, so all of this bickering is for naught.

    Merry Christmas.

  11. We applaud Fox News. More journalistic balance is needed in all areas of science reporting.

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