There’s a new report out today analyzing climate coverage from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and Wall Street Journal. The results likely won’t shock anyone who reads this blog.
According to a review of recent climate coverage at these two outlets, 93 percent stories from Fox News on climate were misleading and 81 percent of stories in the WSJ op-ed section were misleading. The assessment was conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
What makes a “misleading” comment? UCS researchers say they include “broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, disparaging comments about individual scientists, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and cherry picking of data.”
Or, as climate scientists have called Fox News’ climate coverage over the years: “utter nonsense,” “utter rubbish,” “patently false,” and “simply ignorant.”
According to the UCS analysis, Fox News aired 40 stories or interview segments between February and July 2012 that mentioned climate change. Here’s how the misleading statements broke down:
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page also did very poorly. According to the UCS analysis, which looked at op-eds over the last year, 81 percent of pieces mentioning climate change were misleading. In this case, the WSJ featured many stories personally attacking climate scientists:
In 2009, a managing editor at Fox News issued a memo telling reporters to “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.”
This shoddy reporting isn’t just limited to U.S. operations. According to a recent analysis from the Australian Center for Independent Journalism, the top six Australian newspapers featuring overwhelmingly negative and misleading coverage about climate issues in 2011 were all owned by Rupert Murdoch.
“It’s fair to say they’ve campaigned against it rather than covered it,” wrote the report’s authors.
Responding to Rupert Murdoch’s disinformation campaign, one Australian climate scientist put it bluntly: “The Murdoch media empire has cost humanity perhaps one or two decades of time in the battle against climate change.”
This study shows once again that Murdoch’s news outlets are leading the charge in climate disinformation.