When it comes to reporting on what scientists say about climate change, the Union of Concerned Scientists told Raw Story that their research shows Fox News can be counted upon to mislead its viewers.
In a study (PDF) published Monday, the group takes Fox News and The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page to task for consistently misleading their audience on climate change. Data collected over six months showed that Fox News was the worst offender on climate issues between the two, allowing misleading statements to permeate “93 percent” of its broadcasts on the subject from February to July 2012. The Journal‘s editorial page did not fare much better, however: the Union said “81 percent” of their climate coverage from August 2011 to July 2012 was “misleading.”
“[Fox News and The Wall Street Journal] both were staggering in the levels of misleading information about climate science,” Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Raw Story. “We found that both Fox News and [The Wall Street Journal] opinion page have staggeringly high levels of misinformation.”
“We can only base [our opinion] on the evidence that we have and the reporting that’s out there,” she added. “The BBC has undertaken similar types of analysis for their own reporting and that’s what we modeled [our research] after, and we call on News Corporation to do the same.”
The report also cites News Corp. media baron Rupert Murdoch himself for ushering his company along a sustainable energy path and lauds him for announcing in 2011 that News Corp. had become entirely carbon neutral. In an internal News Corp. memo, Murdoch bragged that energy efficiency improvements made company-wide paid for themselves in just two years. “We made a bold commitment in 2007 to embed the values of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into all of our businesses — for the benefit of our communities and our bottom line,” he wrote.
News Corp. isn’t alone either: 343 S&P 500 companies participated in the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project, and 92 percent of them reported undertaking “board or executive level oversight” on climate-related matters. The British environmental group behind that study said their results show a “tipping point” has been reached when it comes to corporate acceptance of climate change.
“News Corp. needs to help its staff to differentiate between opinions about climate change and scientific facts,” the Union’s report concludes. “It is entirely appropriate to disagree with specific actions or policies aimed at addressing climate change while accepting the clearly established findings of climate science. And while it is appropriate to question new science as it emerges, it is misleading to reject or sow doubt about established science—in this case, the overwhelming body of evidence that human-caused climate change is occurring.”
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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