Fox News Suddenly Embraces The Environment To Scold The EPA For Toxic Spill In Colorado

The science deniers at Fox News have spent years dismissing the claims of environmentalists on matters relating to everything from water and air quality, to endangered species, to clean energy, to climate change. The network has vigorously denounced advocates for reform as propagating hoaxes or having ulterior financial motives. And always at the top of their list of evildoers is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fox News

Pretty much every Republican presidential candidate has called for some measure of interference with the EPA’s mandate, up to and including abolishing the agency that began with an executive order by Republican president Richard Nixon.

In Colorado last week an EPA crew accidentally breached a debris dam that resulted in a massive flow of arsenic, lead, and other toxins into the Animas River. The crew had been working to repair leaks that were already leaching toxins into the river. It was an unfortunate accident that occurred during a commendable effort to restore the local ecosystem.

However, on Fox News this became a villainous atrocity by pernicious characters who aspire to deliberately destroy America. They have had numerous stories that explicitly and disparagingly cite the EPA’s responsibility for the spill as if it were intentional. Furthermore, they go out of their way to report the outrage of the local victims. What’s interesting about that editorial spin is that they never do the same when it is a corporation that was responsible.

For instance, when a pipeline burst near Williston, North Dakota, Fox didn’t once address the “anger” it may have caused. Instead, they interviewed the pipeline’s owner who gave assurances that everything would be fine. Fox covered another incident in West Virginia the same way. In North Carolina, toxic sludge from a coal ash dump polluted the Dan River, which was already contaminated from a previous spill. There, Fox quoted a Duke Energy spokesperson who downplayed the incident saying that “no immediate action was necessary.”

In story after story Fox declined to criticize the guilty energy companies whose greed created environmental nightmares. They pointedly neglected to advocate for penalties or reform. But in this story, where the EPA is the culprit, Fox repeats their name with noticeable sneers and insists that the agency needs to be reigned in. It is the most disingenuous, hypocritical, and self-serving expression of environmentalism imaginable.

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Surely the events that led to the EPA crew’s accident should be investigated and all efforts to prevent further incidents should be taken. But Fox News obviously doesn’t care about that. They only care about slandering a government entity that was trying to improve an already harmful situation. As opposed to the energy companies whose accidents occur while they are trying to line their pockets.

And it should not be forgotten that many of those same polluting energy companies are advertisers on Fox News and other Fox media outlets. So as the corporations profit from their dirty enterprise, Fox News profits right along with them. Indeed, Fox has a financial incentive to bury bad news about their advertisers and to exaggerate accusations against their foes at the EPA.

Fox News Editorial On Climate Change Still Using Bogus Argument By Disgraced Author

The debate over climate change is over. Not only is it occurring, it is man-made and dangerous. That is not one person’s opinion. It is the consensus opinion of thousands of climate scientists who have studied and written on the subject. The evidence was published in a study led by John Cook of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia, that examined nearly 12,000 peer-reviewed papers that were categorized by both independent researchers and the paper’s own authors. The result: “97% of those expressing a position…endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

Notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence of the expert’s opinions, conservatives and right-wing media continue to try to dismiss reality in favor of a viewpoint that benefits the giant fossil fuel industry and defenders of the status quo. Leading the pack is Fox News where climate change denialism is clutched unto as a matter of faith. The twisted coverage of environmental issues by Fox News, and the rest of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, has actually resulted in the countries where his media dominates (particularly the U.S.) to be the most ignorant of the risks associated with climate change.

Rupert Murdoch

In keeping with their pro-pollution doctrine, Fox News published an editorial disputing a tweet by President Obama citing the 97% consensus.

The article was written by Richard Tol, a Dutch professor who has turned his denialism into a fetish. So much so that even after he was embarrassed by a prior effort to criticize the consensus he is still using the same failed arguments in this new article. Tol makes several wholly unsupported allegations against the consensus study, but focused on his assertion that the papers reviewed in the study were categorized improperly. He complains that…

“The paper claims that each abstract was read by two independent readers, but they freely compared notes. Cook and Co. collected data, inspected the results, collected more data, inspected the results again, changed their data classification, collected yet more data, inspected the results once more, and changed their data classification again, before they found their magic 97 percent.”

Tol is overstating the process that actually consisted of only two reviews – an initial review followed by a re-review if the two researchers disagreed on a category designation. If they still disagreed after the second review, a third researcher would break the tie. There is no evidence, or incentive, for anyone conspiring to falsify the categorization. Even so, the gist of Tol’s complaint is that the study was just too darn thorough. That’s a negative in Tol’s view. Although real scientists tend to prefer thoroughness, shills and propagandists favor Tol’s disdain for it.

Additionally, Tol attempts to misrepresent the study’s findings by saying that of the 12,000 papers reviewed only 64 explicitly endorsed the climate change consensus. He exuberantly declares that that is only “half a per cent or less of the total, rather than 97 percent.” However, the study’s category for endorsement consists of three sub-categories including a range from explicit to implicit endorsement. Tol separated out just the papers with the highest level of explicit endorsement which was indeed 64. But he left out the other 3,832 papers that were also unambiguously endorsements. That’s the kind of math distortion that deniers embrace to make their illogical arguments seem reasonable.

A year ago, Tol tried to to make many of these same arguments to discredit the consensus study. He was roundly trounced in an article for the Guardian (a must read) by one of the study’s contributing authors, Dana Nuccitelli, an environmental scientist and risk assessor. In fact, Tol’s effort inadvertently confirmed the consensus study. Among the false claims that Tol made previously (and in his new article for Fox) was that Cook did not disclose the data used in the study. He must have overlooked the data that was fully published on a website where any interested party could make their own categorical assessments and compare them to those in the study.

Nuccitelli pointed out that using Tol’s methodology, which Tol himself miscalculated, resulted in an even stronger consensus, raising the figure from 97.1% to 97.2. Nuccitelli also revealed that Tol had tried to get his rebuttal theory published by the same journal that published Cook’s study, but he was rejected – twice.

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In some sense you have to admire the tenacity of someone who can persevere despite being embarrassed repeatedly. But since this subject has such important ramifications for the planet and all of humankind, it is hard to have much respect for Tol, who perseveres in an effort to deceive people and advance the interests of those who would profit from the misery they create. No wonder this tripe was published by Fox News, whose own reputation is in tatters and for which there is also widespread consensus – of deception.

Global Climate Enemy Number One: Rupert Murdoch

The perilous state of the planet’s environmental health is a continuing concern among those who know the most about it: scientists, climatologists, and environmental advocates. Indeed, 97% of the scientists who have studied the matter agree that Climate Change is a fact and that it is caused by human activity.

In the face of that overwhelming consensus, Climate Change deniers continue clinging to myths and fake research that is funded by fossil fuel interests and promoted by politicians who are bought and paid for by the same. The anti-science dimwits hold steadfastly to delusional beliefs that Climate Change is a hoax, or even a scam designed to enrich researchers and activists. That absurd contention is belied by the fact that there is much more money in Climate Change denial (via the billionaires in the energy industry) than in scarce grants to universities and research laboratories.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI asked respondents from twenty countries to indicate whether or not they agreed with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” The country with the greatest number of respondents who disagreed with that statement was the United States (We’re #1 – in climate denialism). We were followed closely by the United Kingdom and Australia.

Hmm…What do those three countries have in common? Well, they are all English speaking countries. And they are also all countries where the media is dominated by Rupert Murdoch. Can it be a coincidence that the people in these nations have a larger percentage of anti-science views than nations where Murdoch’s influence is not as strongly represented?

Rupert Murdoch

Shameless self-promotion…
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Murdoch has taken some brazenly contradictory stances on Climate Change. On the one hand, he has directed his corporation to meet stringent carbon emission standards and even bragged publicly about achieving a goal of carbon neutrality. But simultaneously, his Fox News Channel took a starkly contrary position. Fox News Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, went so far as to issue a memo instructing all personnel 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.”

Indeed. Unqualified, politically motivated critics have called into question the overwhelming evidence that Climate Change is occurring and that it is man-made. This obvious contradiction was justified by a Fox PR flack who painfully struggled to explain that the corporate policy “doesn’t bring with it an editorial mandate.” In other words, on the business side they will behave responsibly with regard to the environment, but on the air they will lie their asses off. In fact, Fox News’ efforts to deliberately misinform their already intellectually confused audience continues unabated. The Union of Concerned Scientists did a study proving that the coverage of Climate Change by Fox News was nearly all (93%) misleading:

“The analysis finds that the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.”

This is what happens when a single entity is permitted to control vast swaths of the mediasphere. False perceptions of otherwise non-controversial facts can be spread widely. This is particularly problematic when a significant percentage of the media marketplace is comprised of people who are willfully gullible and easily duped. And a powerful and determined media mogul like Murdoch can produce the gullibility he requires for his message to take hold by inundating the audience with fear and promises of salvation in exchange for their loyalty.

That is pretty much how Fox News helped to create and grow the Tea Party. And now we have a nation that has the dubious honor of being the home to more science-challenged boneheads than any of twenty other surveyed nations. Thank you Rupert Murdoch. And Britain and Australia thank you too.

Glenn Beck’s Inner Dictator Emerges With Climate Change Denialism And Conspiracy Theories

Anyone who has seen Glenn Beck’s Acute Paranoia Revue is familiar with his Messiah complex and his extremist and delusional worldview. Despite his frequent characterizations of President Obama as a tyrannical despot who seeks to enslave all Americans and, indeed, the world, it turns out that Beck himself is the petty dictator who denies those around him the freedom to live as they chose.

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Glenn Beck

Last week Beck delivered a sermonette (video below) in which he threatened his staff that they would be fired for purchasing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). He went even further to forbid the purchase of recyclable spoons, cardboard, or pretty much any product that helps to protect the environment.

Beck: I am dead serious. I fire the person that starts to purchase fluorescent light bulbs unless that is the only light bulb for a specific reasons and I want to be CC’ed on what that reason is.

So if you work for Glenn Beck and you just want to buy CFLs because they last longer than conventional bulbs and save money on energy bills, you’re out of luck. If you disagree with his anti-science stance on global warming, you better keep your mouth shut, and restrict your purchases to only the most polluting products. Beck will not permit you to make your own choices and still allow you to keep your job. You must submit to his will, because as long as you work for him, you have no free will of you own.

The reason Beck has laid down this edict is because he views environmental responsibility as tantamount to treason. It is a typically myopic viewpoint that ignores the benefits of energy conservation, and a clean, healthy environment, apart from any consideration of climate change. He is so opposed to anything that smacks of sustainable living that he would prefer poisoning the air and water to taking measures to reduce pollution.

Beck: If you’re doing anything in this company because of global warming, you’re fired. Global warming is a pile of crap. A load of socialist, communist crap.

You see, all of the science professionals and climatologists, 97% of whom agree that the climate is warming and that humans are the cause, are really just commie subversives bent on world domination. The facts, as succinctly put in that liberal, anti-capitalist rag Forbes Magazine, are irrelevant to Beck. And any attempt to think for yourself is also evidence of your betrayal of loyalty to Master Beck. You have been warned.

Heartland Institute: Osama Bin Laden Was Pro-Life. Are You?

In the annals of advertising, there are some notorious chapters wherein misguided persons or organizations justified displaying disgusting and hateful images and messages on billboards. However, it will be a long time (I hope) before anyone comes close to sinking as low as the Heartland Institute has done with its new series of advertisements promoting its upcoming anti-environment conference in Chicago.

Heartland Billboard

The Heartland Institute is a far-right think tank that denies the scientific reality of climate change. It is notoriously anti-science and has previously taken positions that rejected claims that tobacco was bad for your health. The reason for their advocacy of the absurd is that they are funded by corporations with vested interests in deceiving the public (i.e. Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, etc). Additionally, they receive grants from ultra-conservative zealots like the Kochs, Scaifes, Waltons, etc.

This billboard campaign is particularly repulsive in that it associates honest and clear thinking advocates for the environment with some of the most horrific creatures of crimes and atrocities. In addition to the Unabomber, the Heartland’s campaign features Charles Manson and Osama Bin Laden. The argument they are making is that these monsters believed in climate change and therefore you are also a monster if you believe in it. That is not an implied interpretation. It is what they say explicitly in their own justification:

“These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.” […]

“Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and liberal politicians say about global warming. […]

“The point is that believing in global warming is not ‘mainstream,’ smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. […]

“The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

Aside from being grossly insulting, the Heartlanders are 100% wrong. The vast majority of scientists, climatologists, and other experts agree that climate change is occurring and that human activity is at the very least a significant contributor. There is no dispute among reputable scientists. The only dispute comes from conservative politicians, pundits, and researchers working for the corporations profiting from the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem.

The tactic of recruiting murderers and madmen for this campaign disparages all of the sincere people who are fighting for a better, cleaner, healthier world. But it also opens the door to reciprocal attacks on the Heartlanders. For instance:

Heartland Billboard

That’s right. Osama Bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, Scott Roeder, Eric Rudolph, and others, were all anti-abortion extremists and terrorists. Does that mean that all pro-life activists can be lumped together with these despicable characters just because…

“…what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the [National Right to Life Committee], journalists for the ‘mainstream’ media, and [conservative] politicians say about [abortion]?”

See how easy this is? Hitler was anti-union. Stalin opposed gay marriage. Anders Breivik hated Marxism. I could go on. The obvious conclusion is that conservative principles inspire mass murderers, right?

The propaganda purveyors at the Heartland Institute have demonstrated that they are not a serious organization whose opinion matters to people who truly care about this issue. The media ought not to provide a platform for their views and politicians who associate themselves with this group should be asked whether they endorse the hate mongering that flows from these phony Heartlanders. There is simply no room in the debate for this sort of irresponsible rhetoric. Especially when it comes from an enterprise that has been lying about the substance of the matter for years.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Wind Farms Cause Global Warming?

In their ongoing effort to insure that the Fox News audience is the most ill-informed collection of dimwits on God’s flat Earth, Fox Nation published a story that makes the incredulous claim that “New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.”

Fox Nation

Of course the research referenced shows nothing of the sort. Even the first line of the Reuters article, to which the Fox Nationalists linked, specifically says that the effect the wind farms “might” have is limited to the “local” climate. There is no finding in the research that suggests any global impact.

What’s more, when contacted by Media Matters, the study’s lead author called the coverage “misleading.”

[it is very likely that] wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air’s heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

This is part of a continuing pattern of conservative media misrepresenting scientific research in order to deceive their audience and promote policies that benefit their wealthy, corporate backers. These right-wing “journalists” never bother to correct the record even when the scientists they misquote insist that their work has been mangled. That’s because reporting the truth is not part of Fox’s mission. Advancing their partisan disinformation is the only reason they are in business.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Global Warming And The Media

The anti-science, faith-based zealots at Fox Nation examined the results of a Gallup poll on global warming and concluded that the headline revelation from the survey was that “42% Of Americans Feel The Media Exaggerates Global Warming.”

Fox Nation

Confident that their readers would never bother to look up the Gallup data themselves, the Fox Nationalists blatantly misrepresented the polls results. A full reading of the survey’s results would have revealed that 55% of respondents regard media coverage of the seriousness of global warming as either correct (24%) or underestimated (31%). That’s a clear majority that is 13 points higher than those who believe that the seriousness is exaggerated.

What’s more, the Gallup poll shows that those who regard the coverage as exaggerated are predominantly Republicans (67%), while a minority of both Independents (42%) and Democrats (20%) share that view. Additionally, a majority (53%) believe that global warming is caused by pollution resulting from human activities, and 58% correctly observe that most scientists affirm the existence of global warming. When asked how much they personally worry about global warming, 55% say a great deal/fair amount, four points higher than last year. And again, those numbers include majorities of Independents and Democrats with Republicans and conservatives bringing in the rear.

No wonder the source to which Fox Nation links to support their article is a trifling right-wing blog called Weasel Zippers, rather than to the Gallup poll itself. That’s consistent with their mission to keep their audience as ill-informed as possible.

It’s actually pretty encouraging that most Americans still recognize the risks association with global warming despite the massive campaign by right-wing media (led by Fox News) to belittle it. But it is nonetheless disheartening that any American buys into Fox’s lies. Every time it snows in Connecticut in the dead of winter, some Fox anchor uses that as evidence that global warming is a hoax, but they never report on significant heatwaves and droughts (as in Texas) or that the planet has been recording the hottest temperatures on record for the past decade.

If it weren’t for the concerted effort on the part of conservative media (and their corporate allies) to distort the truth about this issue, there would be an even bigger majority with rational positions on global warming that aligns with the consensus view of the worldwide scientific community. And then we might even be able to do something to resolve the problem, prevent predictable sickness and death, and preserve the viability of the planet as a habitat for life. But then is that really more important than oil company profits and the economic growth of multinational corporations?

FLASHBACK: Winter As Evidence That Climate Change Is A Hoax

Remember way back in January when mysterious atmospheric conditions resulted in tiny flakes of frozen water descending from the heavens and covering everything in a blanket of white frost?

Most people with active brain functions understood that it was something we professionals like to call “Winter,” but Fox News reported it as proof that Climate Change did not exist. Their logic was simple: If it was snowing then how could the climate be warming?

So why are there no reports from Fox News today when most of the country is sweltering under record high temperatures?

Fox News

Last January everyone on Fox was stunned that winter brought snowstorms, and that was enough to dismiss the fact that 2010 was the hottest year on record, capping the hottest decade on record. But now that summer is burning up a nation already suffering from severe draught, Fox News is silent on the matter. And this is precisely the same stupidity the Fox crew demonstrated last summer.

To be clear, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, et al, were idiots to assert that there was no Global Warming just because the seasons had changed. And I am not asserting that the Earth is warming just because summer has arrived. The evidence of Climate Change is in the hundreds of studies performed by scientists that document historical trends and project future probabilities. People who mistake weather for climate ought not to be displaying their ignorance on television. But then again, displaying ignorance on television is Fox’s business model. They would have 24 hours of dead air without it.

Rupert Murdoch’s Climate Change Hypocrisy

The folks at Climate Progress have compiled a pretty comprehensive report documenting the hypocrisy of Rupert Murdoch and his cable news mouthpiece, Fox News. They cover the vast territory between the private and public pronouncements of the rightist propaganda empire.

This is an area that News Corpse has covered in the past exposing the dishonesty of Fox anchors like Glenn Beck and Neil Cavuto, as well as the editorial deceit of Fox’s Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, who has issued directives to engage in deliberate disinformation.

The evidence of a so-called “news” network speaking out of both sides of its microphone are neatly detailed in the Climate Progress article. It shows that Murdoch and Fox are actively seeking to fleece both sides of the flock when it comes to the debate over Global Warming. They want to present a public image as a good corporate citizen for their business partners and clients, but they are also determined to advance the science denial rhetoric that their political allies and viewers expect.

That’s how you can have statements from Murdoch bragging about the environmental responsibility of News Corp as they achieve carbon neutrality, and later watch Sean Hannity as he declares that Climate Change is a hoax. It’s how you can observe the incongruous spectacle of Beck accusing all Global Warming activists of being socialists while a special, green-tinged Fox logo spins at the bottom of the screen during “Green Week.”

Keep it up Rupert. You are building an empire that is rapidly losing the trust of all sentient beings. But at least you can take pride in the knowledge that you are making your viewers more stupid with every minute they watch.

Rupert Murdoch Falls For Global Warming Hoax

The big environmental news of the day is that News Corp CEO, Rupert Murdoch, has announced a major milestone in his empire’s march to “energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.” In a memo to employees he wrote…

Murdoch: I am proud to announce that News Corporation has reached its first major sustainability milestone: We have become carbon neutral across all of our global operations and we are the first company of our kind to do so.

With this statement Murdoch has revealed himself to be another cog in the worldwide conspiracy to concoct a crisis over claims of Climate Change and the environmental risks associated with it. Never mind that, according to Murdoch, News Corp will save tens of millions of dollars a year as a result of its eco-initiatives, in addition to reducing its output of carbon emissions by fifteen percent. The larger issue is the deception for which Murdoch is responsible and his promotion of Global Warming as a credible theory.

Rupert Murdoch

Fox News has been a stalwart clarion for exposing Global Warming as a hoax. Their indisputable proof generally consists of video of snow storms in New England during February. Sean Hannity has said that such compelling evidence proves that, “The debate’s over. There’s no global warming.” Glenn Beck contends that Climate Change is a conspiracy to enrich General Electric and other environmental profiteers. The network’s Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, ordered his anchors and reporters to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed,” and to “IMMEDIATELY” (his emphasis) point out that the data has been “called into question.” He fails to note that the data was called into question by representatives of ExxonMobil.

With this history of attacking the proponents of Climate Change science, we should expect Fox News to begin its probing new series denouncing Rupert Murdoch as a deceitful purveyor of environmentalist propaganda any day now. He ought to replace Al Gore as the new eco-terrorist of the year. Perhaps they will even examine his relationship to environmentally friendly technology providers in the newsprint and workspace energy fields. There may be a financial incentive for his deceit. If so, I’m sure Fox will get to the bottom of it. Right after they’re done exposing the plot against incandescent light bulbs and the Global Teachers Union Caliphate.

Liba Rubenstein, News Corp’s global energy initiative director, confirmed the company’s commitment to the environment as well as its respect for an independent press saying that…

“Our corporate commitment from an operational and business leadership perspective doesn’t bring with it an editorial mandate.”

In other words, despite the fact that the parent corporation is convinced that Climate Change is a real problem, they will permit Fox News to continue to deceive their audience by falsely asserting that Global Warming is a hoax, even as Fox is required to participate in the reforms sent down from corporate. So we can expect Fox News to continue to bash environmental science, but I wouldn’t expect them to report on this announcement from their boss.