An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientsts finds that 93 percent of climate info on Fox News prime time and 81 percent on the Wall Street Journal Opinion pages is misleading. Steve Mirsky reports.
“We were following up on anecdotal and peer reviewed assessments to date that suggested that there was bias and misrepresentation at the News Corporation of the fact that human-induced climate change is happening, the vast scientific evidence that’s out there.”
Brenda Ekwurzel is a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. She announced in New York City on September 21st the results of an analysis of climate change coverage at two major properties of the News Corporation, the Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal.
“What we found in our analysis was that a staggering 93 percent of all occurrences in the last six months in the prime time news of Fox News were misleading occurrences of climate science.
Got Science? Not at News Corporation
Representations of climate science on Fox News Channel and in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages are overwhelmingly misleading.
In 2007, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch claimed coverage of climate change in his media outlets — which include Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal opinion pages — would improve over time.
Such improvement has not been achieved. A 2012 snapshot analysis shows that recent coverage of climate science in both outlets has been overwhelmingly misleading.
The analysis finds that the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.
Fox News Channel Coverage of Climate Science
- Ninety-three percent of Fox News Channel’s representations of climate science were misleading from February 2012 to July 2012 (37 out of 40 references).
- The most common form of criticism regarding climate science was to broadly dismiss the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring or human-induced.
- Misleading representations also included 10 instances in which a panel member expressed acceptance of climate science findings, but was drowned out by hosts or other panel members responding with multiple misleading claims.
Wall Street Journal Opinion Page Coverage of Climate Science
- Eighty-one percent of letters, op-eds, columns, and editorials in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page were misleading on climate science from August 2011 to July 2012 (39 of 48 references).
- Most of the misleading editorials, op-eds, columns, and letters attempted to broadly undermine the major conclusions of climate science. Instances of attacks on individual scientists, mocking the science, and cherry picking data were all equally common.
- Denigration of climate science was routine. Instances included accusations that scientists were fudging data and claims that they are motivated by financial self-interest.