An excellent story by Mediamatters demonstrates clearly the grip editorial policy has over news. Even when faced with objective evidence, Fox presenters have been advised to cloud the science of climate change to ensure high-level editorial policy is obeyed.
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.”
This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term “public option” and instead use variations of “government option.” That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.
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.
That night’s Special Report with Bret Baier — Fox’s flagship news program — featured another report by Goler on the Copenhagen conference. Anchor Bret Baier introduced the report by saying that as “‘climategate-fueled skeptics continued to impugn global warming science, researchers today issued new and even more dire warnings about the possible effects of a warmer planet.”
Goler’s report featured a clip of Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Association explaining the recent finding that 2000-2009 “is likely to be the warmest on the record.”
Appearing to echo Sammon’s orders, Goler immediately followed this by saying that “skeptics say the recordkeeping began about the time a cold period was ending in the mid 1800s and what looks like an increase may just be part of a longer cycle.”
The rest of the article can be read here.