At Fox News, Planet Earth Is Sponsored By ExxonMobil

— by Shauna Theel, in a Media Matters cross-post

We noted in June that Fox News’ iPad app was sponsored exclusively by ExxonMobil, a corporation known for paying think tanks to obfuscate the scientific consensus on climate change. Now’s “Planet Earth” section is also brought to you by the oil giant:

In fact,’s entire Science & Technology section and their opinion page appear to be sponsored by ExxonMobil; the other sections of their website are not.

Earlier this year, sought to debunk the fact that Earth has warmed over the past 30 years, as well as the notion that human activity has contributed to the warming with a “Planet Earth” article,  portions of which “are utter nonsense” and “do not make sense” according to climatologists consulted by Media Matters.

Two recent stories that Fox News’ Planet Earth section ran on climate change were based around claims pushed by the Heartland Institute’s James Taylor and quoted Taylor’s views. A post by Taylor, which baselessly claimed a research group “doctors sea level data” to exaggerate climate change, inspired a article asking, “Is climate change raising sea levels, as Al Gore has argued — or are climate scientists doctoring the data?”

And after a Forbes column by Taylor misinterpreted a climate study and declared that it blows a “gaping hole in global warming alarmism,” Fox News’ Planet Earth asked “Has a central tenant [sic] of global warming just collapsed?” The article falsely claimed the study showed the “planet isn’t heating up” and featured this image and caption:

The Heartland Institute is a libertarian think tank that hosts regular conferences disputing mainstream climate science and received $676,500 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2006, including $90,000 specifically for “General Operating Support — Climate Change.”

ExxonMobil pledged in 2008 to stop funding groups “whose positions on climate change could divert attention” from the need to develop secure, clean energy. But Exxon’s continued funding of Fox News’ ventures seems to contradict this pledge. Fox routinely pushes false claims about climate science, and it has even been the policy of Fox News to question the basic fact that the planet has warmed in recent decades.

— Shuana Theel, Media Matters

Related Climate Progress Post:


Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

Funny how the charge from the EXXON-MOBIL Side is always “climate scientists are making up stuff to supplement their greedy research contracts” while ignoring the reality of the Oil companies sponsorship of the climate denial “science.”

4 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 2:29pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Fox at least is honest with its sponsorship from EM.

Perhaps the NYT should do the same.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 12:04pm

Terry Tremwel · Top Commenter · Van Buren, Arkansas

In contrast, Ray Anderson demonstrated that a petroleum-intensive industry can change and become even more profitable. Resources we discard now could become valuable. Ray Anderson, RIP: “He founded Interface in 1973, building it into a hugely successful enterprise. Then, in the summer of 1994, he read Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce and was forever changed. He realized that industrialists like him had been fouling the environment for decades with their “take, make, and waste” model of production. But he also realized that we couldn’t restore the planet without the help of industry.

“Ray set out to create an alternative approach to manufacturing. He made a public pledge to something he named Mission Zero—a plan for eradicating Interface’s impact on the environment. Then he and his colleagues began inventing the ind…See More

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 1:28pm

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

If you think we’re going to consume our way out of this planetary _ck-up you’re as delusional as Sarah Palin.

Like · Reply · August 13 at 3:00am

Roger Lambert · University of Vermont

Make no mistake about it. The deliberate propaganda campaign by corporatists against AGW is why society is not and likely will not react properly to this enormous problem.

And millions, if not billions, of innocent people will die because of this.

The question is: Do we have the guts to publicly, strongly, and consistently call this propaganda campaign a crime against humanity, or are we going to stay mute, cowed into silence like the citizens of Germany and Poland who knew what was going on in the concentration camps?

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 13 at 5:47am

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

It’s a sign of how seriously hosed we are that Exxon doesn’t even try to hide it’s sponsorship of their main propaganda machine. Deck chairs bros, all we do is move the deck chairs around.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 13 at 3:05am

Jim Lakely · Director of Communications at Heartland Institute

Can’t you guys ever get your facts straight? From a Heartland rebuttal published yesterday:

“Media Matters, and other critics of Heartland, have been beating the dead horse named ”they get money from ExxonMobil” for years. Indeed, it’s the same tired “argument” the left uses against any group that questions anthropogenic global warming. But consider this: You can’t read the science journal Nature without being bombarded by ads by from oil companies. Is Nature bought and paid for by “Big Oil”? Is Media Matters tracking gifts from wind and solar companies to environmental advocacy groups? Why not? (That’s a rhetorical question. We all know the answer.)

“As we’ve pointed out time and again, Exxon’s funding — or that of any single corporation, for that matter — was never more than 5 percent of The Heartland Institute’s annual budget. And here’s a key fact outfits such as Media Matters conveniently omit: Exxon’s support of Heartland stopped in 2006 – before Heartland stepped up its involvement in the climate change debate and two years before our first of now-six international conferences.”

Read it all here:

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 13 at 9:29am

Hal Morris · President and Janitor at Currently, self employed used bookseller (online)

If you tell enough big lies, and get enough people to believe them, it becomes easier to convince your followers that the people trying to get at the truth are the big liars.

This, in my opinion, is the main usefulness to the right of calling Global Warming a hoax. They would have far too much to lose if they ever gave that up and admitted there is even some Global Warming effect.

There are some exceptions among the less automatically propagandistic elements of the right, like the National Review article at
…See More

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 6:03pm

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

Soit wouldn’t surprise me Fox is plain owned by Exxon or one of those like.
Only not officially on the books.
Its media is so blatant it makes you cringe, yet nought can be done about it.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 11:33pm

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

“Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp — the parent company of Fox News — making him the largest shareholder outside the family of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch.”

1 · Like · Reply · August 13 at 3:03am

sasparillafizz (signed in using Yahoo)

sponsored by ExxonMobil…amazing…its right out there in the open.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 11:07am

Shaheer Cassim · Victoria, British Columbia

It’s nice when criminals can be open about their crimes, and still get off scot-free.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 12 at 1:00pm


Comments are closed.