Damning new evidence proves what we’ve known all along — that Fox News is willing to lie and distort the truth to the political advantage of the far-right.
Yesterday, December 17th, 2010, a memo leaked from Fox News’s managing editor, Bill Sammon, instructing Fox journalists never to report on global warming without IMMEDIATELY questioning the prevailing scientific consensus.1 It’s exactly that kind of false controversy that has shifted public opinion and helped delay real action on global warming from the U.S.
Bill Sammon is exactly what’s wrong with Fox. If the network wants to be treated as a real news outlet, they need to fire Sammon immediately. But it can’t stop there — Fox should also submit to an external review of their climate coverage and agree to correct the record based on the findings.
The memo establishing Fox’s climate reporting policy was written on December 8, 2009, shortly after Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported that 2000-2009 would be the warmest decade on record, and that the scientific community remained united behind their belief in human-induced climate change.
Just 15 minutes later, Managing Editor Bill Sammon made clear that that kind of truth-based reporting had no place at Fox News, telling reporters to “…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…”2
While it’s long been clear that Fox News is the anchor of the conservative message machine, this latest revelation takes Fox to new lows. Fox isn’t just lining up on one side of a partisan debate, they are taking a stand against the planet. And Sammon’s memo shows that climate change denial isn’t just the bias of particular reporters, it’s company policy.
And this is by no means an isolated incident. Weeks earlier, Sammon sent another memo to Fox News’ reporters ordering them to refer to the public health insurance option as the “government option” — a phrase suggested by noted GOP strategist Frank Luntz because it would create opposition to the plan.3
According to watchdog group Media Matters, “Sammon instructed staff to refer on air to ‘government-run health insurance,’ the ‘government option,’ ‘the public option, which is the government-run plan,’ or — when ‘necessary’ — ‘the so-called public option.”‘4
Its another outrageous demonstration of Fox News Channel’s war on truth, led by a key lieutenant — Bill Sammon. More important, it’s an opportunity to hold Fox accountable and expose them for what they are. Please join TurnOffFox.org in demanding that Fox News fire Sammon, and correct their record of lies.
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1. “Liberal media watchdog: Fox News e-mail shows network’s slant on climate change,” WashingtonPost.com, 12-15-10
2. “Fox editor urged climate skepticism,” Politico.com, 12-15-10
3. “Fox News VP: Don’t Call the Government-Run Health Care Plan by the Name People Like,” New York Magazine, 12-9-2010
4. “LEAKED EMAIL: Fox boss caught slanting news reporting,” Media Matters for America, 12-9-2010