Fox's Brain Room

By Keith Kloor | August 23, 2011 9:48 pm

Earlier this month, Fox Nation prominently featured a NY Post story, which began:

Every day it seems new evidence emerges that the “evidence” for global warming has been exaggerated, manufactured or just plain wrong.

Coincidentally, Texas Governor Rick Perry echoed this same theme last week, which was summarily refuted by the Washington Post’s resident factchecker. On Sunday, Fox & Friends took a look into the matter, spurred on by Jon Huntsman’s famous tweet and ensuing criticism of Perry’s stand on climate change. The show consulted its own factcheckers. You might be surprised to hear what they discovered.

Let’s cut right to the chase, courtesy of Media Matters, which has posted this shocking revelation from Clayton Morris, Fox & Friend’s Sunday host:

If you dive into the weeds a little bit on this global warming thing, you see that it seems that facts are certainly on Huntsman’s side on all of this and fact checkers have come out, and we’re actually having our own brain room look at this right now and any of Perry’s comments don’t seem to hold a lot of water.

OMG. Is Fox News turning into a global warming promoter, like those other spindly conservative sellouts? Heck, with this latest turn of events, you have to wonder if the whole edifice of the global warming-is-a man/bear/pig theory is collapsing/crumbling/out of gas/kaput.

Stay tuned…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change
  • Jon P


    I fear your sanity is slipping from your trembling grasp.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I’ve never paid too much attention to Fox News, so I don’t know if this does mark some sort of shift, but this seems like a reasonable position for them.  Perry has said things like, a number of scientists were effectively lying for monetary reasons, and that’s extremely far-fetched (save so far as scientists in all fields might do it).  Denouncing positions like that doesn’t mean much.  There is plenty of room to argue global warming isn’t a serious threat without claiming all (or most) of the science is fraudulent.  And that’s just on the science itself.  Once you get into policy options, there are plenty of stronger positions to adopt.

    To me, it seems this indicates Fox News may be largely be a home for “skeptics,” not “deniers.”  If this is a major change in position, and Fox News previously supported “denialism,” then it’s definitely a good thing.  I imagine some people who watch/appear on Fox News might be bothered by a “skeptical” position, but I think most either won’t care or will have already held that position.  As the hosts pointed out, most Americans aren’t that interested in global warming, so I really doubt Fox News has been banking on denying global warming all that much.

    My guess is this might indicate Fox News as a whole is less dismissive of global warming than some of the firebrands it hosts, but that’s about it.

  • intrepid_wanders

    Brandon #2,

    That was a fair assessment even if I disagree with some of the conclusions.  I personally find Fox News to be a “pit of AGW deniers” that has some other motive to change to this odd stance.  I am not buying the coming to “science” mood, especially after post scripting that the priority is at the bottom of the list.  Unless they are going to delve into the “Climate Sensitivity Debate”, I find the argument a pointless spin.

    I remember the day when Keith did impartial analysis like Brandon’s.  Now, it is reduced to chastising a religious culture, yet, doing the same unthinking behavior:
    “OMG. Is Fox News turning into a global warming promoter, like those other spindly conservative sellouts?”.
    …Is OMG “Oh My Goose”?  

    I am just amazed about this from a amateur anthropologist or archaeologist.  Seriously disappointed.

  • Keith Kloor

    Jon P, Intrepid,

    I guess you didn’t appreciate the humor (I especially like goofing on Morano’s daily cartoonish pronouncements on global warming).


    Yes, chances are… 

  • jorge c.

    the new motto of mr. kloor: épater les republicains!!!!

  • Jon P

    I see your Morano and raise you a Pachauri.
    “Given that human actions are increasingly interfering with the delicate balance of nature, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis will occur more frequently, said Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, director general of TERI, and the chief of the inter-governmental panel on Climate Change.”

    Ah yes earthquakes and tsunamis are caused by AGW.

    And you wonder why people become skeptical.

  • Keith Kloor

    Jon P (6):

    I will concede you that one.

    However, a point that should be made (and I think was made over at Judith Curry’s thread on Boomerangs), is that there is a big difference between the fundamental science of AGW and the projected impacts talked up by the green/climate activist crowd (what has become to be referred to as CAGW).

    That the severity of these projected impacts is played up (in various quarters) in no way undermines the science of AGW. That’s a distinction that I wish was kept in mind during all these discussions.

    If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, then you should also know that the folks who routinely exaggerate or dramatize the catastrophe narrative of this debate think just as kindly of me as you and many of the skeptics who have been gritting your teeth at my mockery of Morano and digs at Perry. 

  • Keith Kloor

    Whoops, that distinction I was talking about has been raised by various commenters at this Bishop Hill thread, which I’ve also jumped into.

  • Dean

    First, various Fox hosts can each say what they mean. That one of them makes sense doesn’t mean much for the rest. Seen any change from Hannity? Though I’m a lefty, I do occasionally turn on Fox. Some of it’s hosts can present a reasoned conservative position that those who disagree should at least be familiar with.

    Secondly, regarding #7, it’s important to remember that error bars work both ways. The central conclusions of the IPCC are the most likely, but if they are wrong a bit, it might be less bad, or it could be worse. Not that I take seriously the earthquake thing (i.e. that melting ice frees up tectonic plates for more movement – any quakes in Greenland recently?), but disaster scenarios regarding extreme weather are worth considering, even if farther out on the bell curve. As a very risk averse culture, we take seriously many plausible but unlikely events.

  • Keith Kloor

    Dean (9),

    All good points, and it would be nice if “risk” could be a bigger factor in these debates, but that is complicated by the cultural/political lens the climate issue is viewed through (particularly in the U.S.), and also by the very global nature of the problem and the differing nationalistic-oriented agendas that frame the climate issue. (The annual climate treaty talks should be ample evidence of the latter.) 

  • Jon P

    Keith (7)

    “However, a point that should be made (and I think was made over at Judith Curry’s thread on Boomerangs), is that there is a big difference between the fundamental science of AGW and the projected impacts talked up by the green/climate activist crowd (what has become to be referred to as CAGW).”

    The problem Keith is the majority of the public hears the latter not the former. When they hear the alarmist claims such as earthquakes are caused by Human induced Global Warming, it does not past the smell test, common sense.

     And those of us who take a closer deeper look at the issue hardly ever witness the scientists and those who claim the soundness of the fundamental science denounce the activist crowd which includes Gore, Pachauri, etc. In my years of being involved in this debate I have yet to see one of the esteemed scientists admit they have ever been wrong or mistaken. They start lashing out like the alarmists with shouts of denier, etc.

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  • M

    “Jon P (6):
    I will concede you that one.”
    Should you? I’d want to see an actual transcript of Pachauri’s speech before being convinced that he claimed a link between human actions and frequency/magnitude of hurricanes and tsunamis…


  • crf

    Fox is in a bit of a quandary, because if they now decide to consistently report the blunt truth of the problem of climate change, their audience may figure them to be infiltrated by environmentalist socialist nazi conspirators (and anyone who’d watched fox would know why). Those people may angrily tune them out for even more radical media.
    So, I don’t think Fox’ll be consistent in its reporting. They’ll report the truth more often, but still cloud it with opinionated nonsense for the benefit of the audience which would rather decide for themselves what the facts are.


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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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