Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science

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"Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science"

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.

This morning, MediaMatters released the bombshell e-mail “sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon … 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.

Well, okay, this would be a bombshell email coming from any other news organization in the world (see Howell Raines: “Why has our profession “¦ helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?”)  So maybe the only bombshell is that Sammon was foolish enough to put this egregious Fox News policy into an email.

UPDATE:  Al Gore blogs, “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.”

What follows is an extended excerpt of the MediaMatters story, including a video of the story that triggered the email:

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.

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have expressed concern about Sammon using his position to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right.

Sammon’s orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network’s relentless promotion of the fabricated “Climategate” scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

At the time of Sammon’s directive, it was clear the “scandal” did not undermine the scientific basis for global warming and that the emails were being grossly distorted by conservative media and politicians. Scientists, independent fact-checkers, and several investigations have since confirmed that the CRU emails do not undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.

Contrary to Sammon’s email, the increase in global temperatures over the last half-century is an established fact. As the National Climatic Data Center explains, the warming trend “is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change” and “is also confirmed by other independent observations.”

*     *     *

On the December 8 edition of Happening Now, one of Fox News’ daytime straight news shows, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about “U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record.”

Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was “expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record,” following a “trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 [was] warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s.” Goler went on to explain that “ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada,” which, he said, was “politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming.”

When Scott brought up the “Climategate” emails, Goler explained that although people had raised questions about the CRU data, “the data also comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from NASA. And scientists say the data of course across all three sources is pretty consistent.” Watch:

Less than 15 minutes after the segment, Sammon sent the following email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters, producers, and network executives, instructing them to “IMMEDIATELY” include objections of “critics” when reporting on climate data:

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.”

After running a clip of American Enterprise Institute scholar Kenneth Green questioning the “historical context” of the WMO’s climate findings, Goler then brought up the climategate emails:

GOLER: Meanwhile, the hacked or leaked e-mails from East Anglia University pushed the U.N. to once again defend its data. Scientists say it’s consistent with that from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, and the U.N. secretary general says nothing in the e-mails cast doubt on the basic scientific message.

BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL (video clip): That the climate change is happening much, much faster than we realized and we human beings are the primary cause.

Watch:

That night, on the same Special Report broadcast, correspondent James Rosen advanced the wildly misleading claim that climate scientists “destroyed more than 150 years worth of raw climate data.”

By the time Sammon sent his email on December 8, it was already clear that “Climategate” was not only overblown, but also had no bearing on the validity of scientific theories about climate change.

  • In a letter to Congress sent four days before Sammon’s memo, 29 prominent scientists — including 11 members of the National Academy of Sciences — stated: “The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.”
  • On December 2, the prestigious science journal Nature stated: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.”
  • On November 25, the American Meteorological Society released a statement saying: “For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true — which is not yet clearly the case — the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited.”
  • On November 23, Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a “lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report” by the IPCC said: “[O]ur understanding of climate science is based not on private correspondence, but on the rigorous accumulation, testing and synthesis of knowledge often represented in the dry and factual prose of peer-reviewed literature.”

Several subsequent inquiries into the climategate emails did not find evidence of scientific malpractice that damages the credibility of CRU’s climate science and also cleared the scientists of deceptively manipulating climate data.

Shortly after Sammon’s memo, numerous media outlets, including the Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact.com also analyzed the emails and concluded that they did not undermine climate science.

Nonetheless, Fox’s news and opinion programs relentlessly hyped the supposed scandal in order to cast doubt on the scientific case for climate change, both before and after Sammon’s memo. Some lowlights:

  • Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pushed climategate distortions, both before and after Sammon’s directive.
  • On December 3, America’s Newsroom host Bill Hemmer falsely claimed the emails showed scientists hiding “evidence of a decline in global temperatures.”
  • Online, Fox’s website Fox Nation characterized the emails as “Global Warming’s Waterloo.”
  • Neil Cavuto, Fox’s “Senior Vice President of Business News” and host of Your World with Neil Cavuto, interviewed a filmmaker dressed as a polar bear during the Copenhagen conference and joined him in promoting “Climategate” distortions.

A month after Sammon sent his memo, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies released data confirming that 2009 was the second warmest year on record and marked the end of the warmest decade on record.

After spending weeks hyping the Climategate non-scandal, Special Report never mentioned the NASA report.

Media Matters contacted Sammon and Fox spokespeople for comment and we have not received a response.

Jocelyn Fong and other Media Matters staff contributed to this report.

Kudos to Media Matters for unearthing this story from the anti-earth folks at Fox News.  See also the Politico story, “Fox editor urged climate skepticism.”

h/t WonkRoom for a better memo font!

« »

45 Responses to Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    As long copyright violations are more important then the national security threat number one, the human race will ultimately fail.

    I hope someone sues FOX for their fraud and ill-advised agendas, fueled by illegal actions of the fossil companies. Or better why does no single security service takes action against these kind of propaganda?

    Beside that other news outlets as well, still not reporting about climate change when it comes to weather anomalies.

    The world’s civilizations are about to collapse and nobody cares. Humans are to stupid to prevent climate change.

  2. Anne says:

    Ah, wikipedia! You gotta love this:

    “A graduate of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Sammon lives in Maryland with his wife Becky and their five children: Brittany, Brooke, Ben, Billy and Blair.[2] He stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and is reportedly nicknamed by some, including President George W. Bush, as “Big Stretch”.[citation needed]”

    So — maybe “big stretch” also refers to his relationship with the truth?

  3. Anne says:

    Also this in his wikipedia entry:

    “He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers: ‘At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election'; ‘Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism from Inside the White House'; ‘Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters'; and ‘Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media.'”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Sammon

    So much for objectivity in TV journalism, eh? This also underscores just how grossly inequitable it was for MSNBC to suspend Keith Olbermann for throwing a few hundred dollars to a few political candidates, while this guy, Sammon, makes major decisions on reporting while writing cheerleader pieces for W. Really sickening if you ask me, and the only regulating body here is the consumer. I began boycotting Fox years ago. Pressure should be brought to bear on them further by boycotting their commercial underwriters and advertisers. It’s a despicable TV outlet, really, and causing our nation great damage.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    Fox coverage is of course atrocious, but they are never directly contradicted or called to account by their broadcast competitors, who
    also soft pedal climate news.

    Media Matters did an excellent job, but about 500 people heard the Fox lies for everyone who read Media Matters’ deconstructions.

    Fox is guilty of public endangerment, through distortion of scientific evidence that is critical to public policy. The government is too corrupt to prosecute them, but a well organized counterattack is called for. This would include scientific organizations detailing the bad coverage, to be followed by product boycotts of Fox advertisers and serious complaints to FCC. “Fair and balanced”, indeed. Finally, either an electronic edition of Media Matters or a new and more entertaining broadcast show should be established to take on the disinformation.

    We don’t know how the disinformation campaign is structured, but that Fox memo is a rare and tantalizing glimpse. Here’s something about the foot soldiers, which gives us an idea of how highly developed the propaganda machine has become at the top:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/13/astroturf-libertarians-internet-democracy

  5. Esop says:

    Ouch!
    So not so fair and balanced after all, who would have guessed?
    Foxgate?

  6. Scrooge says:

    I don’t think that this will be a surprise to very many people. It seems to me the only ones that take FOX seriously are the ones just listening to what they want to hear. IMO FOX is an entertainment channel and not a news channel. Of course they should never talk about landing on the moon without giving equal time to skeptics. Same with the age of the earth, gravity, evolution, flat earth, etc.

  7. Neal Heidler says:

    His initials are B.S., and so are those of all of his children and that Big Stretch would be abbreviated to B.S. as well.

    Coincidence?

  8. Chris Winter says:

    Bill Sammon ordered:

    “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.”

    Translation: “We must not assert such notions as facts. We must pick our own notions to assert as facts.”

    And they do.

    I visualize Jocelyn Fong taking a pen from her pocket, sliding it through the trigger guard of Sammon’s memo, placing the memo in an evidence bag, and heading back to the station, leaving in her wake a waft of gunpowder smoke.

    Too fanciful? Maybe, but a fun thing.

    In any case this memo is the rough equivalent to the SwiftHack (aka ClimateGate) e-mails, and should be described as such repeatedly.

    By the way, is it standard practice now to begin writing a memo in the subject line? I always thought that was for, you know, a few words describing the subject of the memo.

  9. paulm says:

    Foxy snews…views.

  10. Chris Winter says:

    Too hasty. I should have written, “this memo is the rough equivalent of what the SwiftHack (aka ClimateGate) e-mails were purported to be…”

  11. paulm says:

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctica-melting-warming-penguins-101214.html
    ANTARCTIC MELTING AS DEEP OCEAN HEAT RISES
    Big melting along the Antarctic coast has researchers realizing that the deep sea has been holding Earth’s warming.

  12. paulm says:

    New analyses of the heat content of the waters off Western Antarctic Peninsula are now showing a clear and exponential increase in warming waters undermining the sea ice…

    “In the area I work there is the highest increase in temperatures of anywhere on Earth,” said physical oceanographer Doug Martinson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Climate-Portals/139434822741700#!/pages/Climate-Portals/139434822741700

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    The news of the cotton crop in Australia moved the market again :
    Cotton Daily Price
    139.78

    Check out the 10 year chart, it looks just like the the one for global temps.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=cotton&months=120

    One wonders how Cavuto will report this.

  14. Of course we are “shocked, shocked!” But we should not be so cute or flip about the outrage. This amounts to treason against humanity.

    This is a real, dire and dangerous situation the world faces, now we see it was deliberately made worse by edict. In any other industry – deliberately covering up danger would land him in jail. How is this not an act of mass destruction?

    Bill Sammon has a huge responsibility to the audience and to the future. His is a colossal fail – and his minions and we fail for letting him get away with it.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    THE Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is losing more than 40 per cent of coal to port production due to heavy flooding.

    http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2010/12/15/coal-production-cut-by-up-to-40/
    ——-
    The largest coal export terminal in the world.

    One wonders how Cavuto will report this.

  16. David Smith says:

    Fox – Sly, like a fox (Is this why it’s called Fox?)

    News – not

    Its more like a continous political advertisement that has piggybacked itself onto the tradition of network news. (Thus escaping campaign finance regulation.) It is a brilliant invention, though it succeeds at the expense of everyone on the planet.

  17. fj3 says:

    Let us not leave it to the super rich who lives and who dies http://darryl-cunningham.blogspot.com/2010/12/climate-change.html

  18. Mike Roddy says:

    The New York Times and Los Angeles Times electronic editions have ignored this extremely important story. On LAT, feature stories about a man getting killed in a wood chipper, Scarlett Johansson’s divorce, and the “Big Loser” winner crowded it out.

    I think both of these papers are afraid of the influence of Fox or, more likely, the big money behind them.

  19. Bob Doublin says:

    I started calling them “Joseph Goebbels Wet Dream” a few years ago since they provide a tool for installing a fascist dictatorship beyond the wildest dreams of any oldtime propagandist.

  20. MarkB says:

    Note the framing by Sammon:

    “we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period”

    But reporter Goler didn’t assert this. She stated this:

    “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.‘ ”

    which is entirely factual. Sammon then wants reporters to make the following unsourced assertion, and IMMEDIATELY…

    “…without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

    What critics? Surely Sammon is referring to reliable quality sources, like a scientific academy, right?

    Sammon then follows with the following irony.

    “It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Cuccinelli’s Attack on Climate Science Continues

    “I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli has sought to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, in the process smearing the University of Virginia and me and other climate scientists,” Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”

    Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s crusading right-wing attorney general, is taking another shot in his war on climate science. On Monday, he issued a another subpoena of documents from the University of Virginia’s climate science program. This comes after a judge rejected his last attempt to force the university to turn over documents.

    Cuccinelli is seeking the records of Michael Mann, a climate scientist now at Pennsylvania State University. Mann is best known for the so-called “hockey stick” graph illustrating the uptick in global temperatures over the last century, which skeptics have launched numerous attacks on since it was first published more than a decade ago. The furor was stirred again last fall when hackers stole and released a number of emails between climate scientists that those who question whether the planet is warming spun as evidence of a conspiracy. Cuccinelli took the so-called “ClimateGate” controversy as an opportunity to harass Mann and attempt to prove that he committed “fraud” in his work on climate change
    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/10/cuccinellis-attack-climate-science-continues

    Explicitly which data is Cuccinelli using for his science witch hunt? Climategate is no gate we learned and news reports are a spin/fraud we leanred today. So which data is the suer Cuccinelli using in his attempts to destroying credibility?

  22. Jim Groom says:

    Fox would lie? I’m shocked I tell ya. Unfortunately, this e-mail only shows in writing what most thinking people have known for many years…that you can’t take seriously Fox News for journalism. Apparently far too many of our fellow citizens do just that.

  23. David R. says:

    I would say that this is a bit more incriminating than the “Climategate” emails Fox loves to tout.

    But many people already know that Fox promotes a right-wing perspective on any political issue it covers. The real problem is not so much that conservative outlets are lying to conservatives, but that relatively neutral outlets are also presenting a false story to a wide variety of viewers.

    As we’ve all seen, MSM articles tend to present a climate scientist alongside an industry spokesperson or self-appointed “expert,” as if their opinions held equal weight in the discussion. How many times have you seen someone from a conservative think-tank interviewed to counter the statements of the IPCC? The public illusion of an honest debate can be more dangerous than outright lies.

  24. Peter Stern says:

    Joe, did you see Holman Jenkins’ column “A Fine Clean Coal Mess” in today’s Wall Street Journal? Here’s the outrageous part: “…Nor did Mr. Rogers count on what we’ll boldly call the public’s growing sophistication about climate science. Where the public was once prepared to believe in a pending climate meltdown because “scientists” said so, now it entertains the possibility that “scientists” are human, capable of mistaking theory for fact, of confusing belief with knowledge.”

  25. catman306 says:

    Fox News: All the news that fit’s our meme.

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    Dr. Masters today –
    Hot Arctic-Cold Continents
    I’m in San Francisco this week for the world’s largest gathering of Earth scientists, the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. Over 15,000 scientists have descended upon the city, and there are a ridiculous number of fascinating talks on every conceivable aspect of Earth science, including, of course, climate change. One talk I attended yesterday was called, “Hot Arctic-Cold Continents: Hemispheric Impacts of Arctic Change.” The talk was given by Dr. Jim Overland of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, one of the world’s experts on Arctic weather and climate (I spent many long months flying in the Arctic with him during the three Arctic field programs I participated in during the late 1980s.) Dr. Overland discussed the remarkable winter of 2009 – 2010, which brought record snowstorms to Europe and the U.S. East Coast, along with the coldest temperatures in 25 years, but also brought the warmest winter on record to Canada and much of the Arctic. He demonstrated that the Arctic is normally dominated by low pressure in winter, and a “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds develops surrounding the North Pole. However, during the winter of 2009-2010, high pressure replaced low pressure over the Arctic, and the Polar Vortex weakened and even reversed at times, with a clockwise flow of air replacing the usual counter-clockwise flow of air around the pole. This unusual flow pattern allowed cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward. This pattern is kind of like leaving the refrigerator door ajar–the refrigerator warms up, but all of the cold air spills out into the house.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

  27. From Peru says:

    Foxgate?

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    Fox News on climate: skip the science, report the “controversy”

    Accusations of biased reporting against Fox News are common enough that they’re no longer, well, news. And examples of poor reporting on the science of climate change are painfully common. But it’s apparently the season of the leak, and a progressive media organization has obtained a leaked e-mail from Bill Sammon, a managing editor at Fox News, in which he directly orders his reporters to provide misleading science coverage.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/12/fox-news-on-climate-skip-the-science-report-the-controversy.ars

  29. Adam R. says:

    Alas, this memo could have as easily come from a CNN boss. In that case, it would have revealed timidity rather than bias, but the effect would have been similar: spreading doubt.

  30. Michael Tucker says:

    Yep, with Fox you get top-down propaganda NOT bottom-up reporting. But, was anyone ever fooled by this lamentable organization? I suppose some might have been but Fox is very very dependable with the propaganda message: they never disappoint, they always exceed my expectations, and they are A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.

    I would boycott their sponsors but I never watch so I have no idea who they may be. I boycott the entire network and only find out about their monkey business from other networks and news sources.

  31. Frank Zaski says:

    Some thoughts: It is important to disseminate this story quickly. Actions needed:
    1. Organizations, who issue PR releases to the media, should put parts of this article http://mediamatters.org/blog/201012150004 into a PR release, add a few more similar examples and quotes (from recent articles and books) and do a PR blast.
    2. Activists on this list should clip parts of the article, and the link, and send it to their local/national media and politicians.

  32. Solar Jim says:

    One might say FOX is guarding the penthouse, with lies.

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    BREAKING, CBS
    BP Suffered Well Blowout Before Gulf http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20025803-503543.html

  34. The Borg says:

    Apparently we overlooked these “Fox” beings…

    Coordinates, please.

  35. caerbannog says:

    A bit off-topic, but Tim Ball has *really* gone ’round the bend this time.

    Now he’s hitching his wagon to the Velikovsky star! No kidding. Check out this article: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/31141

    Excerpts:

    Scientific Reaction To Velikovsky Symptomatic Of Climate Science Debacle
    By Dr. Tim Ball Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Many years ago a colleague approached the President of the University with our plan to hold a conference on the ideas of Immnauel Velikovsky. He angrily rejected the plan saying he would not allow anything on campus associated with that charlatan. The President was a physicist and Velikovsky had challenged prevailing scientific views. In some ways it doesn’t matter whether Velikovsky was right or wrong. The problem was the reprehensible actions of the scientific community. His treatment holds many lessons for today’s debate over climate change.

    Complexity of the corruption by the few scientists who hijacked climate science is revealed by comparison. They quickly established their views as the prevailing ‘truth’ through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by deliberately misusing climate science, but also misusing basic science. They isolated anyone who challenged either part of their false science in the same way Velikovsky was marginalized.

    ……

    Velikovsky’s major ideas built on the claim that Earth has experienced natural global disasters throughout its history. The major cause of natural catastrophes was brushes with other objects in the solar system and beyond. It’s probably thanks to Velikovsky that Walter and Luis Alvarez were able to propose the claim that a collision with an asteroid 65 million years ago led to the extinction of dinosaurs. The father/son connection serendipitously allowed cross-discipline discussion between physics and geology. The intellectual isolation of specialization has undermined the ability to understand.

    We definitely need to tie this big, fat Velikovsky albatross around Ball’s neck. The whole global-warming denial movement needs to be framed as nothing more than Velikovsky-style crackpottery; hopefully, climate-hawks will be able to exploit Tim Ball’s latest loonball antics to that end.

  36. Steve O says:

    And, interestingly, Fox News, as a subsidiary of News Corp., has two more weeks to become carbon neutral–the commitment set out by Rupert Murdoch in May 2007.
    http://www.newscorp.com/energy/

    Is Sammon on board with this effort I wonder?

  37. DreamQuestor says:

    Sort of off-topic, but am I the only one sick of the suffix “gate” being used as a synomyn for scandal? C’mon folks: Practically everyone involved with Watergate is dead. It’s time to lay the legacy of Watergate to rest. English is a versatile language. Do we really need to flog a word to death?

  38. Colin S. Caissie says:

    Fox can legally lie. This should horrify you.

    http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/11-the-media-can-legally-lie/

    CSC

  39. Sime says:

    Regulars here can’t be surprised by this behaviour, Fox news is just a ultra right wing equivalent of…

    “The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda otherwise known as Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda or Propagandaministerium”

    Media (which apparently includes Fox) has a duty to communicate the scientific mainstream rather than the “controversy”

    Here is a spot on video-break by Professor Brian Cox, OBE – Science: A Challenge To TV Orthodoxy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPrdK4hWffo&feature=&p=C7F8740EA90180B2&index=0&playnext=1

    Enjoy

  40. Chris Winter says:

    Caerbannog:

    This move by Tim Ball is a sign of his increasing desperation. First Galileo, then Velikovsky. Who’s next? I really don’t care much.

    Ball is marginalizing himself by taking these extreme positions. That doesn’t mean we should let up on him. The core of his argument is still wrong, and still dangerous. When he says,

    “In some ways it doesn’t matter whether Velikovsky was right or wrong. The problem was the reprehensible actions of the scientific community.”

    Of course it matters. In science, it’s the only thing that matters. Galileo was right. Velikovsky was wrong. And Tim Ball is absurdly wrong when he argues that every crackpot should be treated like a Galileo even after his ideas have been debunked.

  41. Chris Winter says:

    DreamQuestor wrote: “…am I the only one sick of the suffix “gate” being used as a synonym for scandal?”

    I agree it’s overused, but I’m afraid we’re stuck with it. I share your distaste for hackneyed phrases. That’s why I avoided using the phrase “smoking gun” above, instead running a riff around it, so to speak. But perhaps I would have been better advised to stick with the stock phrase.

  42. Prokaryotes says:

    Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid
    A new survey of American voters shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.

    Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation. http://www.alternet.org/story/149193/study_confirms_that_fox_news_makes_you_stupid/

  43. William P says:

    More evidence that this is truly Fixed News.

    The big right wing propaganda machine is problem No. 1 for America.