Fox News 72 Percent Wrong on Climate Change

fox newsA report has come out from the Union of Concerned Scientists measuring the levels of accuracy various cable news networks have achieved on the issue of climate change with Fox News coming in dead last. The report looks at the overall percentage of accuracy and what types of errors the networks have made that leads to the overall total. It is an interesting examination of how the media reports on science, but it will largely be remembered for its characterization of the right-wing news channel as mostly inaccurate. In fact, the report says that Fox News channel is only right about climate change 28 percent of the time, meaning that it is 72 percent wrong.

Accuracy of facts is a highly prized aspect of news reporting. There are fact checkers employed in pretty much all the major newspapers in the world because getting something wrong is not only a code of practice, it hearkens to issues of ethics in reporting. To intentionally mislead an audience is a punishable offence in some cases and news outlets assiduously avoid opening themselves up to that kind of mistake. But the reporting surrounding climate change is a different ballgame. Parts of it can be argued against in the realms of science and politics, in which there are varying levels of debate. That is the explanation for the portrayals of climate change uttered on Fox News, which this report shows are particularly egregious.

In its role of absolute skeptics, the conservative news network plays an important part in the debate over the science of climate change and this report is part of understanding what that part is. The cable network represents the extreme negative end in reporting on climate change. The inaccuracies reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists could also be interpreted as one bias (a pro-climate change one) looking at another bias (an anti-climate change one represented by the cable channel) and seeing how much they disagree. In that respect, it shows the divide between supporters and deniers of man-made climate change.

But scientifically, there is no room for political bias because scientific facts are facts. Therefore, the conservative news channel could really just be factually inaccurate. Fox News really is just so wrong on climate change, a whopping 72 percent, but that actually shows an improvement according to this report. Fox has increased its accuracy percentage by seven percent, meaning that at one point it was even more wrong than it is now. That is not a very heartening portrayal of one of the most watched news channels in the United States.

What will most likely be overlooked in this report, though, are the ratings of CNN and MSNBC, both of which are substantially better than Fox. MSNBC is the most accurate with 92 percent, followed by CNN, which is 70 percent accurate. At this point, critics of the report will throw it out as a left-wing, liberal greenie propaganda job. But the report does give reasons why the networks were rated as they are, which stems some of the complaints to a certain extent by being critical of everyone.

MSNBC shows its own bias towards climate change by only being inaccurate because it “overstated” the effects of climate change. For critics, that will probably just prove how liberal MSNBC is. CNN is a more interesting case. The most common reason for its inaccuracies is not in reporting, but in the debates it holds between climate change deniers and supporters, meaning that it more fairly shows both sides of the argument than does MSNBC or Fox News. The climate change deniers in those debates are the main cause of inaccuracy and the report recommends that if CNN wants to up its accuracy rating, it needs to stop having two-sided debates on the issue.

Interestingly, a question that has not been asked very often on these networks is whether or not they should be hosting people with views that are so inaccurate? One response comes from Greg Gutfeld, one of the hosts of The Five, which was Fox News’ most inaccurate show on climate change bar none. In his 2012 book, The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage, he discussed being criticized on climate change, saying that reports in the same spirit as this one are a way of changing the game board so that anyone who disagrees is disqualified from playing. Basically, he believes that supporters of climate change are cheating and not giving Fox News and himself a fair chance at voicing their opinion.

It is interesting to note that while Gutfeld strikes back at “cheaters,” he does not seem to be playing by any rules of civility on his show. In one clip featured in a Mother Jones article, he criticizes an environmentalist, accusing him of “beta-male sniveling,” calling him a “dweeb,” a “dishonest hysteric,” and “crooked” in a segment on climate change. There were also crude comments about the environmentalist having a vasectomy. Claims of hysteria on the part of environmentalists are present in the clip, which plays into the Union of Concerned Scientists’ report which states that the most common mistake Fox News makes in their reporting in understating the reality of climate change.

Nevertheless, the conservative network has the right and will no doubt continue in its reporting, however inaccurate it may be according to this report. Just yesterday Fox News hit back at pro-climate change reports, claiming that the divide over climate change is deepening. posted an article about the International Panel on Climate Change report which claims that climate change is not only manageable, but beneficial to the environment. The report, as the article notes, was funded by a conservative think tank. It also quotes the vice president  for legal affairs at the Cato Institute, Roger Pilon, who claims that there has been no climate change for approximately 17 years and eight months, characterizing that information as a political “dirty little secret.”

There are as yet no calculations on this report and others will affect Fox News overall 72 percent wrong rating on climate change. Though, since it was published online, it does not exactly relate to the television coverage there is data for. Perhaps there will have to be a second report entirely based on online reporting of climate change facts.

Opinion By Lydia Webb

Mother Jones
Huffington Post
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Washington Post
Fox News

2 Responses to "Fox News 72 Percent Wrong on Climate Change"

  1. Ron Bockman (@ronbockman)   April 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

    quick, quick. look up, look up, the sky is falling, the sky is falling

  2. Scott   April 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    It has always been easier to convince people of what they ‘want’ to hear.
    Tell a parent that their child has won a contest, and they will believe their child won immediately.
    Tell a parent the same child has been arrested for stealing, and they will be very reluctant to believe, that ‘their’ child has done it.
    By the same token, tell someone that their ‘lifestyle’ has been detrimental to the well-being of their child… or tell them everything is fine… and watch how they react to each influence.
    It’s a behavioral reaction.

    Not one network will talk [with] the facts, about the real ‘science’ to explain the climate change issue. It’s all drama… and, it’s all about the politics, and it’s because of people like this…
    IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010, advised that: “…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…” again, the IPCC’s big report in 2007 helped unleash political momentum leading to the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

    “The IPCC has sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increase confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.” – Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT Climate Scientist

    Just food for thought… why are the Arab nations in charge of the IPCC?

    Now, real science… not politics.
    CO2 levels of 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution [around 1750], to almost 400 ppm today.
    That is a WHOPPING difference of .012 %.
    It’s not 1%, or 10%!

    Full Scale calculation is the only appropriate method because neither 400ppm or 280ppm is your baseline… 100 percent, or 1,000,000 ppm is.
    i.e. – If oxygen levels were to increase from 20.9 percent to 21.9 percent this would be an increase in oxygen of 1 percent.

    So… Where and how, were the samples taken in the year of 1750?
    Were they also taken at 10,000 feet in 1750?
    Were the instruments NIST certified then, and can we trace the standard used for comparison in 1750?
    Answer… no – these numbers from 1750, were taken from ‘recent’ ice core samples.

    i.e.: Last year, NOAA weather station scientists found this…
    “Antarctic ice cores show a 3 degree centigrade change in less than 100 years; – this occurred about 500,000 years ago. One of many, many such incidences spelled out in ice cores.”
    “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing all of the satellite data.

    “This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland’s weather since the end of May. “Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one,” said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16 2013, [it] had begun to dissipate.”

    “Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12, 2013.”

    I do appreciate the tremendous amount of research and study, and yet through experience, I also know it’s flawed.
    Think about this… we cannot rely on ice core samples for historical data to compare with current [measurable] data.
    – 1000 years from now, ice core samples will [not] show current CO2 levels because new ice is not only [not] forming a sample from today’s gas, old ice is also melting[releasing] yesterdays sample bubbles it had previously trapped………… Fact.
    Today… is gone forever!
    – We do not know enough to make a claim on how long the period was, and how much the [ice] melted during that period. It’s critical [information] that’s missing… it significantly affects the readings.

    ALL “Global Warming” science has proven, is that more permanent ice is formed on polar caps when CO2 levels are under 300 ppm. That’s it.

    We only have current measurable data showing a upward trend today, [and this has happened before], and it was then followed by downward trends.
    We all have heard, and/or learned about the cycles of this planet.

    Here’s what gets me…. If the scientific community was truly dedicated to truth, we’d here more theory about what caused the downward trends when mankind did nothing!

    There are so many facets to a system as complex as the Sun-Earth-Moon biosphere. Even the Earth affects the sun through gravity and magnetism. There are so many interwoven cycles that the net pattern is white noise, but even if you could compute them all, it would be irrelevant because of ongoing unpredictable changes, entropy, major events, evolution. This is much more than a complex, or chaos system.

    While it is true that modern industrialization has increased atmospheric trace CO2 from 280 to 400 ppm, this has had no significant effect on atmospheric temperature, or “Climate Change”.
    The battle against “Climate change”!

    Here’s the real [danger] from “mankind” that’s not spoken of enough…
    It’s about the “long duration” re-growth/repair issue to Earth.
    This will absolutely take many decades, and, as long as many thousands of years, for the Earth to ‘fix’!
    – deforestation, along with the poor-man’s pesticides used in developing countries…
    – cyanide fishing killing reefs in the Philippines and southeast Asia…
    – freshwater contamination of rivers and lakes now epidemic in places like China, (including most Asian countries), India, and Brazil… it’s a tremendous amount of polluted water being dumped into the oceans – daily!
    – nuclear waste disposal, and/or accidents…
    – rusting Soviet-Era nuclear hulks contaminating arctic ice…
    – high-sulfur coal air pollution… (thanks to China & India again)
    – none of these things went away, or are ‘planned’ to go away any time soon..
    Look it up!

    All of that, is a major human influence, and it’s [poisoning] our environment right now. The impact is 1,000 times more dangerous from the poisons/pollution we put in the oceans including the soils we farm!…. every day.
    When was the last time you heard anyone talking about it?

    We all know… too cold is bad for humanity, but likewise is too warm.
    We have built today’s civilizations in harmony with Earth’s conditions, primarily the weather’s. We all understand.
    The problem is we can NOT control the Sun or the Earth.
    Just live in a ‘harmony’ with Earth, that prevents our own extinction!

    Less people need to be discussing ‘who’s right or who’s wrong’ with T.V. politics… it’s truly pathetic.

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