Fox's Media Bias and Climate Change

By Chris Mooney | June 7, 2011 12:27 pm

We already know that Fox News viewers are much more likely to be misinformed about the science of climate change. Now, a new study from Media Matters (h/t Kate Sheppard) provides some numbers about the kind of biased coverage that produces this type of result.

Media Matters didn’t look directly at scientific statements–instead they looked at the number of guests, across TV news, who were either for or against EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. Still, presuming that the anti-regulation guests also made misleading scientific statements (no big assumption, given the way this debate tends to go), the result is closely related. And even if they did not, the strong bias with respect to policy vies hints at the likely bias with respect to science:

Media Matters analyzed television news guests who discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions from December 2009 through April 2011. Driven largely by Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, results show that in 76 percent of those appearances, the guest was opposed to EPA regulations while 18 percent were in favor.

Drilling down on Fox in particular:

81% Of Fox Guests And 83% of Fox Business Guests Opposed GHG Regulation. Fox News hosted 52 guests who criticized the EPA’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases. In that same period they featured only 10 supporters and two guests who took a neutral stance. Fox Business hosted opponents 65 times, compared to seven appearances by supporters. MSNBC hosted four times more supporters of EPA’s action than opponents, but had far fewer guests commenting on the issue than did Fox.

Fox swayed the total so much because the other channels studied were less likely to feature opinionated guests.

Full study here.

Comments (67)

  1. Scott Carnegie

    FOX has on a lot of conservatives that would be opposed to regulation not because of a mis-understanding of the science but becasue they are for smaller government, just something to keep in mind.

  2. John

    MediaMatters seems to focus almost exclusively on conservative news and media outlets. Its really no surprise that they’d go after fox news. Now Chris Mooney will spin it further. Lets look at the facts of the study which Chris and MediaMatters (Soros) have chosen to ignore.

    Fox News had the greatest number of supporters of EPA climate change regulation!

    No that’s not a typo. According to the study which Chris links to, Fox News had 10 guests supporting the EPA. That’s more than ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN combined!

    Now lets focus on the percentages. Fox News had 5x as many guests against the regulations, than for them. This makes it seem Fox News is leading the way in slanted coverage. That’s the spin Chris Mooney wants you to buy.

    But Chris Ignores the fact that MSNBC had 4x as many supporters as against. This makes them almost exactly as slanted in their coverage as Fox is in the other direction.

    MediaMatters cites polls of public opinion, in an attempt to portray conservative media outlets as leading their viewers to their opinions, instead of simply reflecting the opinions of those viewers.

    The polls MediaMatters chooses to cite, are from well known houses of Climate Change propaganda. If MediaMatters wanted to use a neutral traditional poll company, like Gallup, the picture would be very different.

    A recent gallup poll in March 2011 showed that 4 in 10 Americans think Climate Change is exaggerated, and it sits as the lowest of all environmental concerns even amongst those who are concerned at all. http://www.gallup.com/poll/146810/water-issues-worry-americans-global-warming-least.aspx

    While the MediaMatters study works very hard to convince you that news media outlets are favoring Republicans over Democrats on this issue, the obvious answer is that the Democrats don’t want to be associated with their position publicly, and refuse to come on these shows to discuss issues that could cost them the election.

    The final fact that you should know is the very delicate selection process that MediaMatters used to get the numbers the way they wanted. Notice how it says this in the “Methodology” section at the bottom.

    This report analyzes guests who appeared on … and who discussed the EPA’s role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions during their appearance.

    In other words the report does not include the dozens of Climate Change speakers who didn’t specifically talk about the EPA legislation. Any Climate Change advocates who may be pushing for UN regulations, or EU regulations or even State or Region level emissions trading schemes, weren’t counted.

    Since anti-federal-regulationists would focus on the regulations exclusively, but Climate Change alarmists would be free to discuss other non EPA regulations, or just scaremongering in general, it would not count for this study.

    Take these facts together, and you see how Chris Mooney and this “discover” blog is little more than a press release channel for George Soros’s MediaMatters organization.

  3. SSG Gravely

    Media Matters for America (MMfA) is a progressive media watchdog group which describes itself as “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”

    Your source alone discredits your objectivity. I have fought long and hard to defend the right to report and share your opinions; but “uniformed” I am not, and therefore you deserve not a second more of my time or attention.

    V/R

    SSG Gravely

  4. Brian D

    @Scott #1
    While that may be the case, it would imply that given the choice between science telling us there’s a huge problem (right in the EPA’s mandate) and an ideology that says regulation is always bad, these guests chose their ideology over science. That is something to keep in mind.

    I suppose, being charitable, that a small-government, no-regulation, science-accepting critic could have been brought on, criticized the EPA’s regulation decision, and then proposed an alternative to deal with rising carbon emissions (setting aside all concerns about how to do that without essentially amounting to regulation in some form or another). Although anecdotal, my own exposure to these networks does not suggest this approach is common. I’ll look through the report and see if this is mentioned at all.

  5. Mark

    You can’t draw a direct line between the understanding of climate science and GHG regulation support. We can’t control the rest of the world. Those are against the patriot act are not anti-safety.

  6. A scientist

    @John

    Surely you understand that there are many, many more scientists (nearly every scientific institution in the world) who agree on anthropogenic global warming for every scientist that disagrees with it, correct? If a news organization was to interview only 1 scientist for and only 1 scientist against, it misleads the public by portraying a 50/50 split among members of the scientific community. If a news source wanted to be accurate, they would have a massive panel of scientists showing data and giving evidence-based conclusion for AGW and then would only have 1 person saying they were all wrong.

    Considering these facts, how would you suggest news outlets handle guests with regards to regulating green house gases? A biased 50/50 split, or one that more accurately portrays the worldwide scientific consensus?

  7. John Moore

    Yep, Fox news is the only BIASed media outlet on the airwaves. Wow almost an epiphany for me. No longer will I watch both and try to find find some common ground. I will simply watch the big three and remain forever well informed!!!!!

  8. TaVo

    Any media outlet will be biased in some respect no matter what. Its human nature and we have to deal with it. To what extent are they biased is the real question. Its true that the republicans do tend to get a wee bit aggressive about issues they know nothing about, and refuse to learn about since it may not agree with their stance. Having said that, the democrats are just as biased (maybe more so about different topics), but can’t ever get their point accross because they go about everything in such a scandalous nature. I applaud anyone of any party who is willing to look at science and fact in their policy making.
    To anybody (republican or democrat) who does not want to use science I say this: Most of you poilticians were boy scouts or were taught something by somebody who actually knew things. Always be prepared is the motto. You are gonna bring a whistle into the woods just in case a bear spots you and you have to scare it with noise, right? Even if you 100% know that there are no bears in those woods, you just might run into a wolf.
    What are your policies going to be if everybody finds out that AGW is real and happening? Better to be prepared for both sides than to wait for your side to fail. It may even make you smarter, even if its just a smarter knucklehead.

  9. John

    @A Scientist

    I don’t believe you that you are a scientist. They tend to argue science, and not consensus.

    You asked:
    “Surely you understand that there are many, many more scientists (nearly every scientific institution in the world) who agree on anthropogenic global warming for every scientist that disagrees with it, correct?”

    My Response:
    I would not agree with your statement, or your likely definition of a scientist. I suspect by “scientist” you mean the 75 out of 77 individuals who are regularly referenced as “97% of climate scientists agree…”.

    I consider “scientist” to include many other climatologists, physicists, geologists and more. Many of these individuals are strongly opposed to your consensus, while others agree. Solar Physicists and Geologists specifically have strong contrary views and peer reviewed evidence to support their position.

    ——–

    You said:
    “If a news organization was to interview only 1 scientist for and only 1 scientist against, it misleads the public by portraying a 50/50 split among members of the scientific community.”

    My response:
    If a news organization was to follow your principle, only topics with exactly a 50/50 split amongst professionals could be debated. Viewers are far more sophisticated than you assume. They choose the news outlet based on its match to their political leanings. The ‘art’ of news is reflecting life, not the other way round.

    I highlighted this in my original comment. A common talking point of Warmists is that conservative news organizations tell their veiwers what to think. This has been proven incorrect in media studies for over 50 years. The conservative viewpoint of anti-regulation and pro-business has existed far longer than Fox News.

    ——-

    You said:
    “If a news source wanted to be accurate, they would have a massive panel of scientists showing data and giving evidence-based conclusion for AGW and then would only have 1 person saying they were all wrong.”

    My response:
    As a scientists, if you are one, you are probably also an academic. This is clear because you want a news report structured like a college class. An authoritative dissemination of data with little or no opposing viewpoint, and no discussion.

    Tell me, would you allow that 1 person equal time, and equal funding as your army of propagandists? Or would you deny that person equal speaking time, data access and presentation material? That seems to be the point of your post.

    ——

    You said:
    “Considering these facts, how would you suggest news outlets handle guests with regards to regulating green house gases? A biased 50/50 split, or one that more accurately portrays the worldwide scientific consensus?”

    What obligation does any specific news network have toward your personal viewpoint, or that of anyone else, regarding Climate Change?

    I would suggest news outlets exercise their First Amendment Right to broadcast the viewpoints it so chooses. I would likewise suggest that those who don’t wish to hear them, make use of the much larger number of contrary news sources for their information.

  10. Nullius in Verba

    “Considering these facts, how would you suggest news outlets handle guests with regards to regulating green house gases?”

    Science is never about popularity opinion polls. News outlets should present the best arguments and evidence from each side. The audience should judge based on the quality of the argument alone – even if there’s only one person saying it.

  11. Nullius in Verba

    [Duplicate removed]

  12. Librarian

    There is a difference between view point and fact. While the right to free speech is, indeed, protected by the first amendment, journalism is supposed to focus on fact unblemished by opinion. The biased nature of guests on FOX news does not accurately depict the scientific discourse surrounding Climate Change, and as such does not accurately portray the facts. This is not journalism, but something entirely different which is intended to mislead the audience into believing the view point of the network. As someone heavily invested in access to reliable information, and who is responsible for ensuring that my patrons are able to determine accurate and unbiased representations of fact, FOX news provides a useful example to illustrate bias in presumed authoritative sources. Simple fact-checking and verification of details presented as true on FOX news allows one to see how important it is for individuals to learn information literacy skills.

  13. Look on the bright side: This is a great example of editorial independence. After all, their holding company went carbon-neutral:
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/news-limited-announces-carbon-neutral-success/story-e6frf7l6-1225993873173

  14. Come on, this is a dog-bites-man story. Is there anyone here who is surprised by this?

    Librarian, will you please get real? I’ll never understand why you yanks act all shocked and virginal at the discovery that news channels and newspapers have bias. In Britain we’ve always known that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGscoaUWW2M

    All news organizations do it. In the BBC – which does stand head-and-shoulders above Fox – six out of seven experts interviewed were in agreement with James Lovelock that it would be a good idea to “temporarily suspend democracy” to deal with global warming. What I am stunned by is the number of people in the States who think that only Fox News is biased and all the other stuff is scrupulously objective, and you can take it to the bank.

    I pity the poor saps who have to rely on the media for their climate science; failing access to scientific publications, the best thing is to read reports from widely different viewpoints and do your own bookkeeping.

    Look, the problem isn’t Fox News or “the Murdoch Empire”. It’s not “the Liberal media”. It’s this desire to be spoonfed and an unwillingness to do their own thinking. I thought that this was a skeptical blog conglomeration.

  15. Mark From Europe

    While America is still trying to make it’s mind up about it, the rest of the world is trying to do something about the problem.

    Any CFC sceptics left? That was a relatively tiny anout of gas that screwed our ozone layer :/

    The American population as a whole is missinformed about many things by many agencies. Watch the news from other countries you’ll see much different stories.

    85% of the Chinese population are sure GHG caused by man is causing global warming, and before anyone says “but they are now the biggest producer of GHG” (only just in front of the US) they have a population of 1.3 billion the US is 300 million and China now hosts much of the worlds production. That’s not a good thing to be comparing for the US.

    There are little things like for the last 10 years China being by far the biggest users of electric vehicles in the world (by a LONG stretch) and most homes there using solar water heating (gas and elecric hot water being one of the biggest wastes in most of OUR homes).

    California quite possibly could be running carbon neutral on the renewables it has already if the individual carbon footprint per person was the same as the world average . The US average fooprint is about twice the average European and 4 times the world average. What’s all the energy being used for???

    Both Sweden and Portugal have footprints that are world average figures per person, are in 2 opposite climates and have high quality lifestyles. It’s very possible to achieve. The US is not doing it.

    Traveling to different parts of the world I see lots of places where the things America is only just considering have been in practice for years. The US is just starting to sell low energy CFL light bulbs. They are rubbish, contain mercury, hum, flicker, and start up dim. We’ve had them in Europe for 10 years. We’re now buying decent quality $10 LED bulbs in normal hardware chain stores (much better than both incandescent and CFL bulbs and last for YEARS!) $10 is expensive for a bulb? It wil save you that over the cost of running an incandescent bulb in the first year and last 15 – 25 years, they are a no brainer, so why are the US stores only just starting to sell CFLs? Why start with something that was proven to be second place to a better solution. I can’t understand why one of the most advanced countries is so far behind on green tech available on the shelf to consumers.

    I almost choked hearing a radio advert last time I was in the US (october) 30 mgp is not a new green car… My girlfriends 12 year old car does 52 mpg. Many cars in Europe do 45-60 mpg, and yes the 62mpg ones do a constant average of 62 mpg when you drive them in the real world and measure it on what you put in the tank, it’s mot a mythical figure. In Europe we drive a lot faster too, you’d probably think we were insane if you tried driving on a European road.

    I write for a sustainability site that has a lot of American readers. It’s always an American that says “we like that idea, but we can’t afford to / wouldn’t be able to do [something green]” I have to point out that average comparitively very low paid people in China and Africa are already running the things they say they can’t do and have been for about 10 years. Many rural African homes use solar and LED lighing and have done so for quite some time.

  16. Rick H.

    So to research bias you base your judgments on the soros-funded media matters?

    Suse, THEY aren’t biased. Screw you, this is nothing but propaganda.

  17. Thomas karcher

    Since we all know that Media Matters is a George Soros propaganda organization and that he has salted most of the media with his cronies and money, why would we believe any study they do? This is especially true when we all know that science and the liberal academic community have been taking money to support global warming. We all remember the scandal of fixing the numbers since science did not prove their theories

    If you see Media Matters is involved you know the story is Soros propaganda . By the way, Obama gave a Soros group a huge loan to drill for oil off the coast of Brazil. How many Media Matters followers know that?

  18. stacey

    So let’s get this straight; since fox is singled out they are the only ones biased? And what if they were? Is it now biased to report the truth; and the truth in this case is that the redistribution of western wealth to combat the natural warming of the earth that has been running since the last ice age , and naturally runs is cycles, is a political issue, not a scientific issue? If this so called survey was even one bit scientific itselF the surveywould note that many guests on fox who suppose global warming is false, are not really saying that; what they are saying is that the political issue to take our taxes, and to limit our freedoms, based upon the false unproven idea that in doing so we will be abe to stop the next ice age, is not right and morally wrong, just as its morally wrong for a so called science blog like this one to print so many un supported facts!

  19. Another Scientist

    There is a giant, burning orb of thermonuclear fusion in the sky that represents the entire power source of our planet. Coincidentally, earth’s climate follows the behavior of the sun, both now and in the distant past.

    P.S. Anyone who criticizes bias while citing Media Matters has zero credibility.

  20. John

    @Hugo

    The Liberal American public has never realized that all their news sources prior to fox were highly ideological. The news presented stories in a way that confirmed their biases, and they were none the wiser.

    Now that there is just one TV station that doesn’t push a progressive bias on every story, they get extremely agitated, hence the MediaMatters study. The existance of MediaMatters alone is proof of this paradigm.

    MediaMatters is devoted soley to attacking conservative viewpoints. Errors and Lies that support the progressive agenda is no matter to MediaMatters.

    Librarian’s viewpoint is one of peer pressure through consensus. Like Randy before her, she expects us to believe whichever side has more people one it.

    Librarian displays the tendancy of many Climate Change believers. They simply line up scientists on both sides, and believe whichever has more warm bodies.

    This is why a one-on-one debate terrifies Climate Change believers, because they have to argue the evidence instead of the “consensus”.

  21. Bob Hunter

    ROFL. This article has as much validity as the climate change hoax ZERO!

  22. Joe the Pimpernel

    Media Matters?

    The Media Matters funded by billionaire convict George Soros?

    Odd you have no concern about their obvious bias.

  23. Chris Mooney

    this article is linked on Free Republic now. hence all the critical comments suddenly.

  24. John

    A message to my fellow Skeptic/Deniers who are finding this site for the first time:

    Be respectful but mercilessly critical. We all know how ridiculous it is that Chris Mooney is citing the MediaMatters study as some sort of unbiased information. We all know MediaMatters is a Progressive, George Soros funded smear organization.

    Lets keep our critique focused on the MediaMattes study.

    ———

    Regarding Carbon Footprints:

    Here’s a great Skeptic/Denier resource for you all to show you the Real Carbon Footprint of various nations. Leftfoot is total Carbon Emissions, Rightfoot is per capita. The first thing to note on the Rightfoot is how similar the US is to most EU nations in per capita emissions.

    http://www.infrastructurist.com/2011/02/25/rush-hour-read-the-big-gap-between-total-and/

  25. Chris Mooney

    Dare I ask….Why does the funding of Media Matters invalidate the study results? Is the study’s data incorrect?

  26. Gaylord Cooper

    Global warming is indeed occurring but it might get people thinking more rationally about it if certain lies (documented) fraud (documented) and a lot of deceit were stopped . Why not present your case instead of attacking someone. All the public hears is someone telling us they know better and give us money. You never say what you want to do wit our money except give people big salaries. Shouldn’t we really try to ascertain why warming is occurring and not just come up with a theory or opinion and then try to make facts, incidents, etc fit that theory?
    Come on, if all you can do is attack “deniers” or fox news or some other entity the general public perceives you as nothing more than a fool. Just because someone wants to treat the subject of warming as a religi0on that we must believe or be dammed doesn’t prove anything or really make anyone, except kooks that always flock to the fringe, want to take part, Doesn’t matter how much education, or letters behind someone’s name. A fool is a fool is a fool. Some of the most educated people I know I would not loan my car to them.
    So if this is all you got Mr. Mooney–stay home–because we, the general public, and not some dedicated group–can’t hear you for all the shouting and spittle coming out of your mouth.
    You are tooooooo funny.

  27. Rachelle

    Two things worth noting:

    1. Chris Mooney is not a scientist and he knows less on this subject than many of the people he attacks.

    2. Phil Jones, the Brit scientist who has been behind much of the global warming hysteria for years–a pope of global warming–had to admit to Parliament that the planet’s temperature has not increased since 1998 and has actually gone down a little in the last few years. No, he hasn’t given up on it. He claims that it will start going up again soon, but it he couldn’t avoid the truth when he was under oath.

    Next Mooney will be telling us that Sarah Palin got the history wrong when she mentioned Paul Revere–turns out that historians (in contrast to poorly educated journalists) say she didn’t.

    Writing like Mooney’s article, that is driven by politics rather than science, is why I dropped my subscription to Discover years ago.

  28. Chris.,

    Ah, so that’s where this all comes from. I was rather surprised. Well, just to straighten this thing out – John, please pay attention – so that I am not lumped in, there’s no question that man made global warming is happening, and I defy you to find a serious paper published in the last ten years in a top-line journal that argues differently. The only arguments are about how much, to what effect, and what – if anything – can reasonably be done.

    Librarian & Chris, I do hope you realize that I was talking about the state of the media, not the state of the science. Just so we have that clear.

  29. Thomas karcher

    No lets keep our critique focused on Chrissy Mooney. He is trying to discredit Fox news by quoting a smear organization and their study. He then makes the mistake of incorporating a sham program perpratrayed by paid off scientists who have been fully discredited. He is continuing the dishonesty in news reporting and compounding lies upon lies.

  30. Chris you are quite right that sources of funding don’t invalidate research; one of most depressing things about this argument, on both sides, is the replacing of questions of fact with questions of motive. That is a literally Stalisnist technique (vide Hannah Arendt).

  31. Another Scientist

    @Hugo

    “you are quite right that sources of funding don’t invalidate research; …That is a literally Stalisnist [sic] technique…”

    Hahaha, this is almost too comedic to even point out. Did you read the Media Matters report?? See here two of their big, bold-faced headlines:

    “Elected Officials Who Criticized GHG Regulations On TV Received Millions From Fossil Fuel Interests”

    “Only Climate Scientist Interviewed is Funded by Fossil Fuel Interests”

    Okay, so you have established that the Media Matters report is Stalinist propaganda. But the irony doesn’t end with that. What is most amusing to us new visitors isn’t the data contained in the MM report, but that it is cited in a column criticizing BIAS! This should be in The Onion!

  32. John

    @Hugo & Chris

    Either funding invalidates a study or it does not, for both MediaMatters and its detractors here.

    The MediaMatters study claims that Fossil Fuel funding invalidates the source:

    “Elected Officials Who Criticized GHG Regulations On TV Received Millions From Fossil Fuel Interests”

    and…

    “Only Climate Scientist Interviewed Is Funded By Fossil Fuel Interests”

    So please tell me why these Officials and Scientists should be considered biased for receiving fossil fuel money, but MediaMatters is considered unbiased even though it receives its funding from radical liberal think-tanks funded by radical liberal billionaire George Soros.

  33. So please tell me why these Officials and Scientists should be considered biased for receiving fossil fuel money, but MediaMatters is considered unbiased even though it receives its funding from radical liberal think-tanks funded by radical liberal billionaire George Soros.

    Well, to take this in reverse order, I’d say the term “radical liberal” is something of a contradiction in terms. Be that as it may, you are quite right – sources of funding do not invalidate someone’s research. I have said as much elsewhere in other contexts; you may see my comments over on Bad Astronomy. That was my point to begin with; this paranoid style is both intensely wearying and highly insulting. Scientific dishonesty is a very serious charge, and it should not be thrown around lightly.

    On the other hand to say that Fox or MediaMatters or Salon or whatever has its slant and worldview and tries to advance it is to say no more than the painfully obvious. That was my point to begin with.

  34. Stay Out of Politics, Mr. Scientist

    Hugo Schmidt says, “…this paranoid style is both intensely wearying and highly insulting.” Sir, it’s not paranoia when they actually ARE out to get you! I would also add that it never seems to be “paranoid” when your gang is questioning our sources. It’s a given that they are a priori suspect, but yours have to be incontrovertibly proven false by our side before you will concede an inch.

  35. freeta goodholm

    Hey Chris !
    AGW is so 1993 you should jump on the water shortage bandwagon.

  36. Chris, for the record, I’d be very interested in a serious discussion on science in the media, bias, etc, and not name calling. Whenever you have a moment.

  37. Mr. Stay – if I may call you that? – what, exactly, do you think “my gang” is? On which sources do you think I rely? Let’s stay within the subject of APGW for the moment – which sources do you believe I draw on?

    You know nothing about me; nothing. Yet you act as though you know everything. This is the paranoid style I meant.

    In fact, if you will click on my name, I think you will be quite surprised.

  38. Chris Mooney

    Hugo–not sure what you mean, serious discussion….

  39. TTT

    The “George Soros boogabooga!” bandwagon used to amuse me, until it became extremely clear that Glenn Beck and his fans were using it as a stand-in for their vile medieval anti-Semitism–complete with octopus / puppetmaster iconography. I honestly don’t know if this is what motivates your standard Soros critic, but it has definitely added a chill to the conversation. He has utterly nothing to do with the science of the matter regardless.

  40. Chris, I would say just how much one can trust science reporting in the media in general, especially on a subject like this one. That’s why I said that I thought this was a “dog bites man” headline; I mean, Fox aired that ridiculous documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. I don’t watch the news channel much; come to think of it, I don’t watch any news channel that much. I just trawl through the web, getting as many different takes as I can on an issue that interests me.

    In my time, however, I have caught top ranked columnists in both Time, let alone Salon write columns that are either completely wrong or, as we say, not even wrong. Basically, I don’t trust anything on this subject that I have not read in the topline journals or the IPCC report. Failing that, I should say that the best thing is to get as many takes as possible, from people who refer to the literature. I am for the adversarial and the dialectical.

    Your thoughts?

  41. TTT, I’m going to have to disagree. I have dealt with real antisemitism, and it is very very toxic indeed. That’s not a charge to be thrown around lightly.

  42. TTT

    Hugo–I didn’t start throwing it at anybody until Beck started recycling imagery straight out of Der Sturmer, after numerous high-profile incidents of him favorably quoting from Nazi sympathizers as well; he later went on to say that most American Jews are the same as radical Islamists. Since he is guilty, I now throw it at him and any who defend him. But as I said above, I do not draw firm conclusions about other camps of Soros critics.

  43. TTT, he said what about American Jews? Could you send me a link & a source about that? Also about the Nazi quotations.

    I mean, that puts an entirely different spin on the matter.

  44. John

    @Hugo & TTT

    There are plenty of criticisms of Soros’s MediaMatters organization that have nothing to do with Glenn Beck. The MediaMatters website itself states that it only attacks conservative media.

    There’s no need to take Glenn Becks word for it that MediaMatters is an ideology driven smear machine, their own websites describes themselves that way.

  45. John,

    I have not said MM is above reproach; I have not even mentioned MM. What I have said, from the start, is that news organizations have biases and it seems pointless to act prissy about them. That MM openly says it only attacks conservative media strikes me as a point in its favour. You know which way the wind is blowing.

    I repeat that I am for the adverserial and the dialectical. We should see – to use the American context here – conservatives interrogating liberals and liberals interrogating conservatives. A very good conservative columnist, Mark Steyn, always graciously mentions MM whenever they write about him.

    So much for that. Now, the main point, which I will restress, is that there is no real debate on APGW, just what extent, and to what effect, and what can be done about it.

  46. John

    @Hugo

    You said:
    So much for that. Now, the main point, which I will restress, is that there is no real debate on APGW, just what extent, and to what effect, and what can be done about it.

    Yes Hugo, there is. The debate rages here online, in universities, laboratories, corporations and within federal governments.

    You may choose to ignore the debate. You may disregard those not on your side. You may not end debate, by simply declaring it over.

    In reality, Warmists are losing the debate. They are losing the public. They’ve lost the congress.

    What should be done is that the Global Warming gravy train should be derailed. The expensive job killing energy subsidies should be revoked. The proponents and supporters of the great global warming scam should be investigated, tried and convicted for fraud in a court of law.

    Or we can just ignore you until you find a new environmental crisis to cry about.

  47. Librarian

    @ Hugo

    you said: Librarian, will you please get real? I’ll never understand why you yanks act all shocked and virginal at the discovery that news channels and newspapers have bias. In Britain we’ve always known that.

    Hugo, I am not shocked that news channels and newspapers can be biased–thus my point that individuals need to approach information presented in them with a critical eye. Unfortunately, though, you are correct that many in America do not understand this, and simply believe whatever they hear on the news, or whatever agrees with their predetermined ideological stance. So few take the time to actually research issues (and this does not include the practice of trusting whatever pops up in google or blogs either). There are facts out there, if people simply have the open mindedness to pursue them. This requires an approach in which one treats their own view on an issue as potentially wrong…something else very few are willing to admit. This is not directed at either side of this debate, simply at the practices and sources being used to support claims. Truth comes from verifiable that can be reproduced with fidelity, and independently verified, not from whatever talking head agrees with you. (Hugo, this last bit is not necessarily directed at you, but at the discussion at large).

  48. Librarian

    By the way, it is true that MSNBC and other news organizations require just as critical of an approach as FOX news…just to be clear. I have noticed ideological bias on MSNBC to a degree on par with FOX news. However, in this particular case, one should know that one can only argue with science through science. Decades of research has been collected and analyzed, and the debate raged while few were paying attention, until enough data was collected to reach certitude that climate change is real. While there are certainly a few vocal scientists who do not agree with this conclusion, there is never 100% agreement in science on anything. However, the vast majority of scientists have looked at the evidence from a great variety of disciplines that all point towards the same answer–and choosing to believe the few dissidents is not science, it is ideology. The last scientific article I read on the matter had a list of 148 peer-reviewed references in its bibliography. I challenge anyone who disagrees to come up with a similar bibliography of reliable, often cited, and peer-reviewed sources to back up their claim. This is how knowledge is made.

  49. John

    @Librarian

    Everyone who can be convinced with a consensus arguement is already convinced.

    The rest of us who make decisions with our own minds, instead of simply counting the players on each team, aren’t going to be swayed by peer pressure arguments.

  50. TTT

    @Hugo Schmidt–certainly.

    Beck’s lovefest with a pro-Nazi, pro-Holocaust author:
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/36486_Glenn_Beck_Promotes_Book_by_Antisemitic_Nazi_Sympathizer

    Another Beck lovefest for an author who declares Jews to be “unnatural… treasonous… pornographers”:
    http://mediamatters.org/research/201009220060

    Beck cites “evidence” that Soros destroys world economies on purpose, as concocted from an original source that says he destroys economies because that’s what Jews do:
    http://mediamatters.org/research/201010060033

    Beck says that Reform Judaism–which encompasses the large majority of American Judaism–isn’t really Judaism and is more like radical Islam:
    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/glenn-beck-comments-on-reform-judaism-slammed-1.345399

  51. With respect, Librarian, it didn’t seem that you were saying that from this comment:

    While the right to free speech is, indeed, protected by the first amendment, journalism is supposed to focus on fact unblemished by opinion. The biased nature of guests on FOX news does not accurately depict the scientific discourse surrounding Climate Change, and as such does not accurately portray the facts. This is not journalism, but something entirely different which is intended to mislead the audience into believing the view point of the network.

    But maybe I misread it. We’re certainly on the same page in these latest comments. My principle concern is a marked tendency, as I said, amongst some types to think that all other news organization are above reproach and only give you the straight dope. Which is simply not true; case in point:

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/02/21/book-review-the-lomborg-deception.html#

    I have gone over each charge leveled at Lomborg in that article, and all are false. Every. Single. One. Yet this garbage is bandied about everywhere. One reason why I have nothing but contempt for P.Z. Myers and consider him a pseudo-skeptic is that he accepted this stuff straight up without ever doing a moments worth of research into it.

    There’s worse still; I’ve seen news organizations, serious respectable ones, take the side of some of the most evil men in the world, and nakedly distort the facts to defend them. That is why I say there is no answer outside our selves to this problem, no answer beyond our own willingness to think and research.

    Onward to TTT, I’m sorry, but this is seven-degrees-of-kevin-bacon stuff. Two of those are about other views of authors he has promoted. You might as well say that I’m an anti-semite because I’ve promoted the work of someone who was once a Hitler sympathizer (Churchill), or that anyone who approvingly quotes Lovecraft’s political opinions is a pro-fascist, or that Christopher Hitchens is a Holocaust denier.

    There is a terrible emptiness at the heart of the American conservative movement, a failure to have any real tradition that they can draw on. So they sometimes draw into themselves people who may have been right on a particular issue – the nature of the Soviet Union, say – but were so for the worst possible reasons.

    The argument about Soros’s youth – I’m sorry, but they’re true from what I have been able to find out. If you read Art Spiegelman’s MAUS you’ll see that there were Jews who cooperated with the Nazis to save their own necks. It’s a sad truth that oppression does not necessarily make people more noble.

    The other point, about Reform Judaism being principally political – I have no idea. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but that is not, in and of itself, antisemitic.

    If it sounds like I am being sanguine about this, there is a reason for it. As I have said, I have dealt with the real thing, and it is never subtle. Moreover, Glenn Beck is very pro-Israel, and there is no such thing as a pro-Israel anti-semite. There just isn’t.

    What does real anti-semitism look like? Well, here are a few examples:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/06/03/proof-that-s-f-s-circumcision-ban-is-anti-semitic/
    http://nickcohen.net/2005/10/21/anti-semitism/

    Nick Cohen in particular is worth reading; an honorable socialist of the old school, he knows what he’s talking about.

    By the way, just so that we’re clear, this doesn’t mean that Beck isn’t moronically insensitive and fantastically uniformed, and needs to be told to knock some of this stuff of, but that’s not antisemitism.

  52. John,

    You are accusing scientists of being scientifically dishonest. Have you any idea of the magnitude of the charge you are leveling? If you are going to start throwing that accusation around, you’d better have good evidence.

    Now, I freely accept, in fact I know far better than you, that there are many, deeply sinister political figures involved here – Al Gore, Lovelock, Greenpeace etc. – but don’t you dare throw insult the integrity of practicing scientists without stone cold proof.

    If you want to get into the argument, please find me some papers published in topline journals within the last, say, ten, fifteen years.

    For the record, my view on the matter is that Global Warming is a problem, a serious problem – not the worst problem in the world, mind you, not for most of humanity – but a serious problem. Yet it is one that can be solved, and solved by the best within us: human inventiveness, technological aptitude, scientific curiosity, visionary planning. It will call on the best of our scientists, engineers, managers, investors and businessmen, but it will be solved, and without the resentful political paranoiacs of either side.

  53. TTT

    ….Hugo, did you even read those sources? It isn’t “six degrees,” it’s one degree. Some Malaysian kook said “Soros overthrows economies because THAT’S WHAT JEWS DO,” and Beck cited that as proof of how dangerous Soros is! It is astonishing to see anyone attempt to defend the man, especially someone who claims to know what anti-Semitism is.

    Glenn Beck is very pro-Israel, and there is no such thing as a pro-Israel anti-semite. There just isn’t

    There very much is. Beck has been proven to be a Jew-hater beyond any rational doubt. And in general, anyone who hates American Jews and the values and practices of American Jewry is an anti-Semite, and that will not change just because they give “moral support” to the Israeli army.

    John Hagee is another great example–he holds fundraisers for Israel, but is on the record as saying that the Holocaust was God’s punishment for Jews who attempted to live anyplace other than their natural home, Israel. So the Americans would actually have deserved it too, if only Hitler could have gotten here.

    Many conservatives are frankly clueless and condescending towards American Jews, who after all live and practice in America and actually are more interested in feeling secure and respected in their own home than in a foreign policy issue. Beck, Hagee, and their ilk in the religious right will never, ever understand the degree of alienation they cause with their nonstop wishing for this to be a “Christian nation” with Christian teachings in public schools, no separation of church and state, no religious pluralism, where city-dwellers and intellectuals are suspicious un-American freaks, and when they never ever shut up about their earnest desires for Holocaust 2 (which they call “the Rapture”). Israel is geopolitically / militarily strong enough that it doesn’t need to settle for the “moral support” of people who only want it to exist long enough to fulfill their own religious prophecy of being the place where all the Jews must die.

    This is not just my perspective, it is the perspective of the overwhelming majority of American Jewry as shown through consistent voting and polling patterns for generations. And it is why conservatives always reveal their own condescending cluelessness when this or that pundit makes up some fantasy about Obama or the Democrats risking “losing the Jewish vote.” Israel is very important to American Jews, but America is more important, and as long as the right wing continues working to make America more hostile to them, the Democrats will never lose that vote.

  54. Young

    The problem with studies showing Fox News viewers to be ignorant about climate change science is that they start from: “Given that global warming is real”.

    Brand any opinion opposing the dogma as heresy held only by the deluded and you are starting from the same logical position as the fanatics who used to burn people at the stake. And you have proven nothing.

    In fact, a leaked email showed that Fox News preferred to present both supporters and opponents of global warming without having the network take a position either way on the issue. In other words, they just wanted to report news. Apparently that too is an intolerable heresy these days.

  55. TTT

    Fox News preferred to present both supporters and opponents of global warming without having the network take a position either way on the issue.

    That is their unforgivable and dishonest bias: the bias of false balance. Fox News could just as well present both supporters and opponents of the idea that the moon is made of green cheese, without having the network take a position either way on that issue. Audiences would see two purported “experts” seemingly going point-for-point about whether the moon is made of green cheese, and some non-trivial percentage of them would believe that there is an actual debate over whether the moon is made of green cheese. That is how Fox works.

    I am exaggerating unfairly of course, as I would never insult the moon-is-cheese school of thought by comparing them to eco-denialists. It is actually far more likely and more intellectually credible that the moon really could be made of green cheese than that human-induced global warming is a hoax. Most people have never set foot on the moon and would never be able to judge for themselves any claim of its surface qualities, whereas any 7th-grader can study and demonstrate the greenhouse effect in a laboratory setting.

  56. TTT,

    I restate: Beck is saying that George Soros brought down the economy, not that international Jewry did so. I’m sorry, but that is still not the necessary standard of proof. Nor, for that matter, is this:

    John Hagee is another great example–he holds fundraisers for Israel, but is on the record as saying that the Holocaust was God’s punishment for Jews who attempted to live anyplace other than their natural home, Israel.

    How can I say that’s not anti-semitic? Simple: it’s the stated view of very many rabbis. So, this view is monstrous, it’s insane, it’s, in a word, religious, but not anti-semitic.

    I repeat, I have little time for Beck and less time for Hagee, but I do not believe that this is antisemitism.

    I’m not going to get into an argument about the status of Israel, but I will point you to Christopher Hitchens’s Daniel Pearl memorial lecture, where he points out that, today, all anti-semites are also anti-Zionists. I also recommend you read the Nick Cohen piece.

    Furthermore, there’s a key giveaway in your line, and I’ll put it in bold:

    Many conservatives are frankly clueless and condescending towards American Jews, who after all live and practice in America and actually are more interested in feeling secure and respected in their own home than in a foreign policy issue

    Emphasis mine. See, that’s where you make a crucial mistake. It isn’t the religious Jews that the anti-semite fears, it is the freethinking secular Jews that he has on the brain (vide Waugh). Secondly, there is another trouble which is that anti-Zionism is very strongly correlated with the full-throated roar of old fashioned anti-semitism. One catchy chant that has caught on here in the old world is, “HAMAS HAMAS, the Jews/ To the Gas”.

  57. That is their unforgivable and dishonest bias: the bias of false balance.

    TTT, please get real, again. This is a standard technique used by all news organizations. I am still unsure why Americans act so virginal at finding out that news organizations have biases and agendas.

  58. TTT

    Hugo, I actually think we agree on most points–it comes down to a matter of nomenclature we each prefer when describing opinions that we both find to be horrible and pro-death.

    [The Holocaust as justified punishment for Jews trying to live anywhere but Israel]it’s the stated view of very many rabbis

    Their self-hating-Jew extremism is unrepresentative of the community, to the point of worthlessness. They do much more to help the Nazi cause than a terrified, edge-of-death 14-year-old George Soros ever did. No different from the sliver sect of anti-Zionist rabbis who went to Iran to shake Ahmadinejad’s hand at his death-to-Israel conference.

    I will point you to Christopher Hitchens’s Daniel Pearl memorial lecture, where he points out that, today, all anti-semites are also anti-Zionists.

    Hitch is a great writer and thinker, but he’s as much allowed to make mistakes as any of us. I saw several of his interviews in which he was furious at Jerry Falwell for proclaiming that the Antichrist would be a Jew–and surely Falwell’s notion there is at least as religiously-based as is the similarly grotesque mania that any Jew not living in Israel is committing a crime that would justify putting them in ovens. I doubt Hitchens would consider the people with any of those opinions as being friends of the Jewish community who view Judaism as a lasting and legitimate contributor to the American cultural spectrum–and if he did consider them as such, he’d be wrong. No big whoop.

    I am still unsure why Americans act so virginal at finding out that news organizations have biases and agendas.

    Because we expect better. Things really were better before Murdoch invaded.

  59. John

    @Hugo

    Lets be clear. I am accusing the climate science community of fraudulently arriving at their results for political ideological purposes. http://www.eastangliaemails.com

    You said:
    Now, I freely accept, in fact I know far better than you, that there are many, deeply sinister political figures involved here – Al Gore, Lovelock, Greenpeace etc. – but don’t you dare throw insult the integrity of practicing scientists without stone cold proof.

    If you want to get into the argument, please find me some papers published in topline journals within the last, say, ten, fifteen years. .

    No.

    The Journals and the corrupt climate scientists are one in the same. http://www.climatedepot.com

  60. TTT,

    Of course Falwell was rancid, but this strain in Judaism – the belief that they are punished in exile – is quite common, and it is not “self hating”, or at least, no more so than Judaism essentially is. You’re quite right that we agree on much, but I just do not think that this qualifies as anti-semitism. Anti-semitism is something very specific. Here is Nick Cohen’s excellent point:

    All of which sounds reasonable, until you ask a question that I’ve delayed asking for too long: what is anti-Semitism?
    In its 19th- and 20th-century form, it was a conspiratorial explanation of power from the radical right. In this it differed from standard racism, which is generally resentment of powerless outsiders who look odd, lower wages and take jobs. The template was set by the reaction against the American and French revolutions. How could Americans proclaim such insane ideas as the rights of man, the counter-revolutionaries asked. How could the French overthrow the king who loved them and Holy Mother Church which succoured them? They couldn’t admit that the Americans and the French wanted to do what they had done. Their consent had to have been manufactured by the new rulers of the world. Originally these were the Freemasons, who were damned for peddling enlightened ideas. Only after Jewish emancipation opened the ghettos were the Jews press-ganged into the plot. They represented everything that was hateful about modernity: equal rights, religious toleration and the destruction of tradition.

    That’s exactly right.

    Now, where we don’t agree is this:

    Because we expect better. Things really were better before Murdoch invaded.

    Oh come on. You really think that there was a happy land of scrupulous objectivity and then came the Evil Baron Murdoch? Let me give you an example; once my friend got me to watch Outfoxed, which advances this odd point of view. One of the chaps talking in it is Eric Alterman, author of such books as What Liberal Media?. Well, to answer that question, he was found to be part of that Journolist fiasco, and I also know that he supports an online blacklist.

    None of this is surprising to anyone who has grown up with fleet-street. That’s why I think it’s a very good thing that Fox exists. The whole point about this exercise is that it is supposed to be dialectical and confrontational; “true left and true right, perfectly balanced” as Peter Hitchens beautifully phrased it. It is exactly from that conflict that we can get some measure of what the truth is and the facts are.

    Here’s another example; following this hilarious “Weinergate” fiasco (if you haven’t read the Hitch’s comments on it, you should), I stumbled across a quite devastating takedown of one of MM’s articles.

    You seem to see Ruport Murdoch the way Glenn Beck sees George Soros. It’s a bonus being on the outside looking in; you can see how it all works a bit better when you’re not in the gears.

  61. John,

    You are now officially out of the argument. I will not have charges like that thrown around lightly. Even if wrongdoing was found in one of these cases, which it has not been, you are accusing an entire group of scientists of being in cahoots to engage in deception? You’d find it easier to heard cats.

    Find me some research, and do some actual work. Take a look at how hard, painful and difficult science is, and how much self-criticism and cross-criticism is involved and then, maybe, you won’t cast things like that around.

  62. John

    Hi Hugo,

    I’m still here, not “out of the argument”.

    Exactly what do you think your going to do about my charges? Nothing, because I publish them everywhere, because I’ve examined the science.

    I’m not here to convince you Hugo. You’re a man of blind faith, which can never be disuaded.

    You have blind faith in the trust of the Journals, even though they’ve been proven engaging in an embargo against any papers that challenge the consensus.

    You have blind faith these scientists wouldn’t suppress research that contradicts their own, even though you can read at http://www.eastangliaemails.com that Phil Jones was conspiring with other Warmists scientists to keep contrarian papers out of the journals.

    By constantly demanding peer reviewed papers, you have isolated yourself from anything besides self-reinforcing ideas.

  63. Just to illustrate a point about what I mean about the dialectical and the confrontational. I’ve been pretty confrontational here – I hope I don’t come across as a troll! The reason I’ve done that is that I know Discovery Blogs’s reputation for honesty. Now, from my experience with Chris Mooney, I expect he disagrees with me on a number of issues – how to tackle climate change, etc. That’s exactly why I came here, because by arguing here, I’ve already learnt a fair bit from you & from Chris – and I hope I’ve stated my case well and provided some good data for you guys too. It’s the best way to learn, to argue.

  64. Another Scientist

    TTT said: “There very much is. Beck has been proven to be a Jew-hater beyond any rational doubt.”

    Nobody who has ever listened to a single Glenn Beck Show program would ever believe this. You are clearly speaking from a position of absolute and malinformed ignorance.

  65. John

    @TTT

    Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between countries that are pro-climate-taxes are also the countries that are the most anti-semetic, specifically Scandanavia and Northern Europe.

    The countries doing the least on climate change, America, Canada, Australia, are the least anti-semetic.

  66. John, sorry, but that is crap about the Journals. Lindzen published his work in good journals as recently as 2001, if my memory serves. If you have the data, if you have the analysis on, they will publish you.

    Let’s phrase it the other way. We know that CO2 traps heat, we know that human beings have been releasing CO2 trapped since Saurian times, and we know that we’ve been release a lot of it. Are we supposed to believe all that will have no effect? None? None at all? As I said, the debate isn’t about human caused global warming, but how much, and to what effect, and what can be done.

    Back to TTT, once again, I don’t but this accusation, but I also now remember what was the good thing I knew about Glenn Beck. It was that he defended on of the bravest radicals alive today, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, while the liberal establishment stampeded for cover. That’s good enough for me.

  67. WisKid

    Every news agency is biased.

    The big difference between Fox News and the other slightly less blatantly biased and occasionally absolutely fraudulent are 2 fold.

    #1. Fox News calls itself “Fox News”. Key word being “NEWS”. The term “news” conveys the idea that current events are being reported to the best of the anchors knowledge and ability. It implies a certain level of journalistic integrity. That is certainly NOT the case. Most of the shows are at best “opinion editorial”. Fact checking is all but absent, retractions are rare and hidden, and opinions are gratuitously added. Viewers neither expect proof, get proof, or question the opinions expressed. This is all by design.

    #2. Fox News is the only media outlet that is the media arm of a political party. It is not a media outlet that has formed a bias. It is a bias that has formed a network. It is the first (to my knowledge) mass media outlet designed from the ground up as a distributor of a very specific political ideology. I mean of course every dictator from the Pharaohs to Hitler had their own propaganda machines, but Fox is as far as I know the first propaganda machine to be untethered to a single individual or dynasty. It is not a media outlet owned by a ruler, it is a media outlet that owns rulers.

    #3. Fox News leads its audience to believe all other sources of information are somehow corrupt. The “lame stream media” or the “liberal media” etc. There is this idea that listening to any other news source will do you or your children harm and that someone is out to get you. Fox News wants you to believe that the only source of truth is Fox News or the personalities it employs. These personalities are often former rulers, current rulers, and would be rulers.

    Considering these facts, there is only one type of organization that is even remotely comparable to Fox News, religion. No need for evidence, blind complete loyalty to those speaking, a built in distrust and suspicion of anyone who gets beliefs/information elsewhere as they are corrupt or somehow out to get you. They can quite literally demonize anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Then the idea that the main people involved are somehow greater than everyone else and infallible, even when they are caught in examples of extreme debauchery and hypocrisy.

    Also of note is the fact that christian extremists are very likely to get their “news” strictly from Fox.

    This whole little theory of mine isn’t meant as a positive or criticism. Its just the observations I have made and I find it fascinating.

    Its like the church of conservatism.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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