Does Fox News Believe Himalayas are Located at Earth’s Poles?

Scientist calls coverage of his research by Murdoch media outlet “misleading” and “inaccurate”

by Shauna Theel, reposted from Media Matters

Once again, a scientist has had to correct a Fox News distortion after the network’s flagship nightly news program misrepresented a study to claim “the Earth’s polar ice is melting less than previously thought.” Dr. John Wahr, who helped lead the research, said via email that Fox’s coverage is “misleading” and “inaccurate.”

The research from the University of Colorado Boulder — the “first comprehensive satellite study of the contribution of the world’s melting glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise” — found that the land ice shrunk by nearly 150 500 billion tons every year between 2003-2010 (mostly from Greenland and Antarctica), adding 12 millimeters to sea level rise.

While the study found that glaciers in the Himalayan region were melting less than ground-based estimates had indicated, Professor Wahr said “our estimate of polar ice loss is roughly the same as previous estimates,” contrary to Fox News’ report. Wahr observed that Fox seemed to believe that the Himalayas are located at the Earth’s poles. They are not.

Speaking to The Guardian last week, Wahr said: “Our results and those of everyone else show we are losing a huge amount of water into the oceans every year … People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before.” But somehow Fox came up with this:

BRET BAIER (host): Worried about polar ice melting? You may not be after a quick break.

Shauna Theel is a researcher with Media Matters for America. This piece was originally published at Media Matters.

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20 Responses to Does Fox News Believe Himalayas are Located at Earth’s Poles?

  1. Ron Broberg says:

    On a small political board I frequent, one of the “skeptics” posted this study with the a thread title referring to polar ice. I don’t know if they are just seeing what they hope to see, or if there is a central source which biased their preception. Bottom line from the study: the Himalayas are melting less than the previous non-GRACE study suggested but the total ice melt calculated from GRACE (glacial and ice sheets) is about 1.5 mm/yr (in the middle of non-GRACE estimates). Not mentioned in the study is the themal expansion that is adding, roughly, another 1.5 mm/yr. Modeling indicates that this rate will increase over the coming decades.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Is the FCC involved with network news? If not, they should be, since this story on Fox was about like running an oil company advertisement disguised as news reporting.

    Using a slightly smaller Himalayan melt figure in order to cast doubt on global melting rates is about like pointing to a polar bear with three cubs as evidence that there are plenty of bears in the Arctic.

  3. MorinMoss says:

    I’m not sure Fox News even knows what planet they’re on.
    Ask them what’s the 3rd rock from the Sun and see how many (few?) get it right.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    For those eight years (2003-2010), 1200 billion tons of melted ice contributed 12 mm to sea-level rise. Thus, 100 billion tons gives 1 mm.

    I realize this is only a rough approximation — but it’s a handy one.

  5. M Tucker says:

    Fox believes what their ideology dictates. If the facts disagree they change the facts. Do not expect Fox to ever care about reporting the truth or the facts when they are at odds with their beliefs.

  6. Doug Bostrom says:

    Why is it that Fox News anchors invariably look like low-rent bodyguards? The slightly-too-small suits are so consistent that I have to think this is a calculated appearance, part of the set dressing.

  7. Chris says:

    That’s why scientists were stunned. How did the Himalayas get way up there?

  8. Greg says:

    I watched a little Russian television news, courtesy of our local PBS station, the other night, and their coverage of Syria predictably served the storyline of Assad and his despicable government (and his Russian ally). Watching Fox news I am struck by the similarities in selling a storyline that serves the owners. We have, however, alternatives while the Russians live with a virtual monopoly of the media. I find it hard to forgive the fox audience for their gullibility. They are all accomplices in a crime.

  9. Luther E. Franklin says:

    Fox …A most despicable Far Right Propaganda channel parading as a “News” channel. Their pundits are as unethical as Limbaugh and Beck.

  10. K.Odam says:

    It’s closer to 360 billion (metric) tonnes of land ice melt to raise global sea level by 1 mm.

    The article, linked from the word “found” above, attributes 12 mm of sea level rise to 4.3 trillion tons of lost ice mass. It reports annual ice loss of about 385 billion tons from Greenland and Antarctica and 148 tons elsewhere.

  11. MieScatter says:

    “the land ice shrunk by nearly 150 billion tons every year between 2003-2010 (mostly from Greenland and Antarctica)”

    This is a mistake. It’s 150 billion tons/year loss outside Antarctica and Greenland. The big polar ice sheets are adding abou 380 billion tons/year, so the total loss is over 500 bn tons/year.

    See the table in the paper to confirm.

  12. Sasparilla says:

    Very good points Greg, I feel much the same about the audience, although most just can’t comprehend that the “news” would be intentionally feeding them propaganda. Willing subjects of big Co…

  13. It may not be so much a lack of melting as addition of new snow high in the Himalayas, at least as reported in the Guardian. The story contains this:

    “The scientists are careful to point out that lower-altitude glaciers in the Asian mountain ranges – sometimes dubbed the “third pole” – are definitely melting. Satellite images and reports confirm this. But over the study period from 2003-10 enough ice was added to the peaks to compensate…”

    The lower areas can be seen from the ground by local residents, but it is very hard to monitor what is happening at the highest parts of that region. See

  14. Patrick Kearney says:

    to David

    Please review the attached link of Frank Luntz training President Bush in how to lie about Global Warming. Its a powerful piece of evidence to destroy the Republicans Credibility on any future issues.This clip is the concentration of every Global Warming debate we face all rolled into the origin of what would have never been a debate without this deniers training

  15. Joe Romm says:


  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Ron, although some call the Asian mountains and plateaux the ‘Third Pole’, I suspect that the Dunning-Krugerite denialists would not be able to find their own backsides with a roadmap and a slide rule, let alone intelligibly describe where ‘Himalayana’ is.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Mike, the FCC became irrelevant when the great Ronny Raygun abolished the ‘fairness doctrine’ back in the 1980s.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I know there are a lot of extreme ideologues at Fox News and throughout Murdochistan, but there are also, I believe, another type, the rank opportunists who know that they are peddling bunkum, but don’t care, just so long as Big Daddy keeps signing their paychecks.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Greg, from what I have seen, the Russians have vastly more variety of opinion on their news media that you do, or does a viewer in any Western kakistocracy. If you read Chomsky and Herman’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’, there is a interesting vignette from fifty odd years ago, where a visiting TASS journalist, in the USA, was asked if he had any questions after his weeks of travel across the USA visiting news rooms. He observed that he was surprised at the virtual unanimity of opinion (MSM diversity, at least of ownership, was vastly greater throughout the West in those days, too)and wondered how it was achieved. He confessed that, under Stalin, the unanimity of Soviet media was achieved by terror, and he wondered how it was achieved in the West.

  20. Chris Winter says:

    Thanks for the correction.