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Fox News turns ire on ‘Spongebob’ global warming episode

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, August 4, 2011 13:49 EDT
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When Fox News producers aren’t coming up with simple-minded metaphors to “debunk” the scientific consensus on climate change, they’re apparently turning their outrage machine onto a children’s show for refusing to be “fair and balanced” like them.

In a bizarre string of on-air attacks, Fox News hosts seem to be feigning outrage over the Nickelodeon show “Spongebob Squarepants” for a segment about global warming. Hosts have in recent days been claiming the cartoon was shown to students by the U.S. Department of Education, even though it wasn’t, accusing its creators of trying to push a liberal political “agenda” on the nation’s children.

The department gave away “Spongebob” and “Dora the Explorer” books to elementary school kids at a Washington, D.C. event on July 20, but no cartoons were shown. Both books carry themes of conservation and environmental protection, as part of Nickelodeon’s “Big Green Help” campaign, funded by numerous civic and community organizations.

“Clearly Nickelodeon is pushing a global warming agenda,” Fox News host Steve Doocy said. “While there is no disputing the fact that the earth is getting a little warmer, the big question is, ‘is it man-made?’ Or, ‘is it just one of those gigantic, climactic, you know, phases we’re — why, we’re cold, then we get warmer, then we’re cold again — you know, which one is it? The science on both sides, there are scientists who say it’s this, there are others who say it’s that.”

Recent studies have shown that 97-98 percent of scientists who study climate agree that it is changing due to human industrial activity affecting the environment.

But rather than putting actual scientists on the air, Fox News, like most television news networks, tends to give more time and appearance of credibility to industry advocates and so-called “experts” on energy sector payrolls.

That won’t surprise to anyone who’s followed Fox News’s history of spinning climate science. In an email leaked to liberal watchdog group Media Matters last year, Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon directed subordinates to cast doubt on a climate report, even though its results were not in question at all. The email was sent just moments after one of the network’s anchors accurately reported that 2000-2009 was on track to be the “warmest” decade on record.

And now, it’s Spongebob’s turn.

This video montage was pieced together by Media Matters, containing clips from Fox News programs.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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