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In leaked e-mail, Fox News boss told staff to cast doubt on climate change

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For the second time in less than a week, the Fox News Washington managing editor has been caught trying to “slant” the news.

In an e-mail obtained by liberal watchdog group Media Matters, Bill Sammon told his staff to downplay the importance of climate science that showed the world was getting warmer.

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“Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data… we should 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,” Sammon wrote.

Sammon issued the instructions less than 15 minutes after Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler noted that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”

“2000 to 2009 [is] expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record,” Goler reported during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change summit. “2009 itself was about the fifth warmest year. There was extreme drought in Africa, extreme heat in India and northern China.”

“But it’s the decade trend that has scientists concerned because 2000 to 2009 [is] warmer than the 1990s, warmer than the 1980s,” he said.

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Only last week, Media Matters published another e-mail where Sammon asked his news department to refer to the health care reform public option as the “government run option.”

Sammon sent the request after Republican pollster Frank Luntz said that polls showed the “government option” was opposed by the public.

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According to the report at Media Matters, in August of 2009 after Fox News’ Sean Hannity used the term “public option,” Luntz encouraged him to say “government option” instead.

“If you call it a ‘public option,’ the American people are split,” Luntz said. “If you call it the ‘government option,’ the public is overwhelmingly against it.”

In October, sources told Media Matters that since joining Fox News, Sammon’s pressure to “distort” and “slant news” had made some in the newsroom uncomfortable.

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“Since Bill Sammon assumed the role of Washington managing editor and vice president of news at the beginning of the Obama Administration, pressure from Fox management to produce stories that lean toward a conservative agenda, and distort news in some cases, has found its way into coverage,” the sources said.

The text of Sammon’s email follows:

####

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From: Sammon, Bill
To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington
Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean
Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009
Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data…

…we should 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. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

####

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This video is from Fox News’ Happening Now, broadcast Dec. 8, 2009.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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