Fox News caught distorting climate change debate. Again

Fox News has been caught again distorting the facts through media manipulation, this time on climate change, reports exec director of Climatico Niel Bowerman.

Niel Bowerman writes on climate change and is a climate scientist at Oxford University; Niel sat on Barack Obama’s Energy & Environment Policy Committee during the US General Election and was previously executive director of Climatico

Rupert Murdoch’s right-leaning US media outlet Fox News has come under attack after a leaked email revealed the channel was intentionally slanting its news coverage on climate change. The email, sent by Fox News’s Washington Bureau chief Bill Sammon, asked reporters to cast doubt on climate change whenever they mentioned it:

“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.”

Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which has two weeks left to fulfil its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2010. Representatives of Fox News and News Corporation were unavailable to comment on how close they were to achieving their aim of net zero carbon emissions.

In 2007, Rupert Murdoch declared “climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats” – but in 2009 his Fox News was asking staff to cast doubt on the science of climate change.

Writing on his blog, Al Gore said:

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.”

Brian Merchant at Treehugger said:

“If just one man, Rupert Murdoch, were to instruct his most influential news agency to responsibly cover global warming, it could indeed change the political landscape regarding climate change enough to allow for action.”

A related study, published last week by researchers at the University of Maryland, showed that watching Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News leaves viewers more prone to believing misinformation. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News carries the tagline “fair and balanced”, which has been heavily criticised as a result of this leak. The Washington Post reports that Media Matters has promised several more email leaks from Fox News over the coming weeks.

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