The Associated Press has been running wild with leftist climate change propaganda while being paid millions by eco-extremist organizations. And yet AP still has the audacity to pretend it's engaging in objective reporting.
MRC Business analysts found that from Feb. 15, 2022 through Feb. 15, 2023, The Associated Press (AP) pushed climate change alarmism and promoted woke environmental, social, governance (ESG) efforts across 64 climate-related stories after the legacy outlet received an $8 million grant from leftist nonprofit organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation, Quadrivium (the activist organization of News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s estranged son and climate activist James Murdoch), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation (Walmart) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
AP announced Feb. 15, 2022, that it would “significantly expand its climate coverage” with the goal to “infuse” the media landscape with climate journalism backed solely by private interest groups. AP called the new development a “sweeping climate journalism initiative” and claimed in its press release that it would retain “complete editorial control of all content.” AP also claims on its “About Us” page that it is in the business of “unbiased news,” which is little more than a pathetic joke. The so-called “journalism” AP has been doing on climate involves behaving like the de facto mouthpiece for its major left-wing donors who have an obsession with pushing apocalyptic climate narratives on the internet.
AP promoted the sentiment of its now-former Vice President Brian Carovillano to justify the potential conflict of interest in receiving the $8 million climate reporting grant from the left-wing groups in a Feb. 16, 2022, article. AP summarized Carovillano’s claim that “AP accepts money to cover certain areas but without strings attached; the funders have no influence on the stories that are done.” Carovillano, in this particular case, called the activist investment a “‘mutually beneficial arrangement.’” AP said in summary of Carovillano’s views that the outlet just had to get used “to the idea that funders weren’t just being generous; they had their own goals to achieve.” But having groups with leftist political agendas finance a news outlet’s climate reporting is like having Big Pharma finance a news outlet’s reporting on drugs. This conflict was apparently lost on AP leadership.
“The AP is supposed to be a newswire service, reporting hard news,” Legal Senior Policy Fellow at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute Steve Milloy told MRC Business. “But it has deteriorated into a climate propaganda outfit for left-wing foundations. The AP routinely reports just one side of any climate story. If it lets its readers know there is another side, that only occurs via bogus ‘fact-check’ articles that are intended for use by climate activists to get other outlets to censor climate skeptics.” He continued: "The AP imagines that its corruption of the news is excused because it discloses on its website that it is being paid to report one-side of every climate story. But its stories are run by other media outlets who don’t make the necessary disclosures.”
Climate Depot founder Marc Morano also ripped apart AP’s unashamed partnership with left-wing groups in comments to MRC Business:
The media is not only ideology in sync with the climate agenda of our government, international organizations, academia, and the billionaire class, but they are also quite literally being paid to promote the climate scare. AP has received millions from 'philanthropic grants' to toss out all objectivity and balance in their reporting. The AP and the corporate media engage in paid press release journalism. The media has zero obligation to serve as watchdogs over government claims or policies and instead regurgitate the approved messaging of their paymasters.
Despite AP’s alleged commitment to “unbiased and fact-based” reporting, it consistently spouted climate change propaganda. Leftist buzzwords and terms on climate issues appeared across the 64 climate-related articles researched, which framed the stories in a way that made the issue appear apocalyptic.
MRC Business tallied the words in accordance with how many times each term appeared across the articles researched. The term “Climate Change" itself appeared a whopping 212 times. “Warming” and “Global Warming” appeared 140 times collectively. “Extreme(s)” emerged 32 times and “Disaster(s)” and “Climate Disaster” appeared a collective 30 times. One Dec. 9, 2022 AP story was headlined: “New abnormal: Climate disaster damage ‘down’ to $268 billion.”
AP used a couple of other terms to frame its climate reporting in a way favorable to the left’s narrative: “death sentence,” “net zero,” and “zero.”
The term “death sentence” appeared three times. In one example, AP ran a Feb. 14, 2023, climate change story regurgitating the eco ramblings of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. AP piggy-backed off Guterres to preach end-of-the-world alarmism: “He warned the Earth is more likely on a path to warming that amounts to ‘a death sentence’ for countries vulnerable to that rise, including many small island nations.”
“Net zero” and/or “zero” popped up 10 times in reference to the unrealistic goal of reaching zero climate emissions. But as Hoover Institution visiting fellow Bjorn Lomborg pointed out in 2021, such goals are meaningless. Using America as an example, Bjorn stated that if all presidents for the next 70 years followed Biden in cutting emissions, “it will reduce temperatures trivially.” Lomborg said the reduction would only be a meaningless “0.07° Fahrenheit. And this is through the UN climate model. So, it’s going to be very hard. It’s going to be very costly. It’ll have virtually no impact.” In an Oct. 6, 2022, op-ed, Lomborg noted that “the climate policy goal of achieving ‘net-zero’ CO2 emissions brings crippling economic pain.” This was apparently lost on AP, which mindlessly praised a month after Lomborg’s op-ed that “[i]f all human emissions of heat-trapping gases were to stop today, Earth’s temperature would continue to rise for a few decades but would eventually stabilize, climate scientists say.” Of course, AP didn’t mention the economic impacts of just dropping so-called “emissions” cold turkey in its piece.
But it’s easy to turn climate change into a bogeyman for a news outlet if that outlet is getting paid millions to do so by special interest groups dedicated to woke, leftist causes.
Under “Climate Questions,” AP dedicated a whole series trying to push the doom and gloom effects of man-made climate change on planet Earth while suppressing dissent that slams against the leftist narrative.
AP repeatedly laced climate alarmism throughout its articles.
For instance, one Nov. 6, 2022, piece in the AP “Climate Questions” section, waved around propaganda by the incessant climate doom mongering Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC.) In the piece AP raved how the IPCC “gave a damning assessment of where the world is headed if more isn’t done to curb global warming.” Another piece was headlined: “Climate Questions: Is it too late to stop climate change?”
A February 14, 2023, article regurgitated leftist talking points that rising sea levels are a potential “death sentence” for Bangladesh, China, India and the Netherlands:
“‘Our world is hurtling past the 1.5-degree warming limit that a livable future requires, and with present policies, is careening towards 2.8 degrees — a death sentence for vulnerable countries,’” claimed UN Secretary-General Guterres.
Another AP article regurgitating IPCC propaganda from Feb. 28, 2022, read:
There is much for the world to fear in Monday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which bluntly states that the Great Barrier Reef is in crisis and suffering grave impacts from climate change.
AP science writer Seth Borenstein wrote a Feb. 28, 2022, propaganda piece riddled with climate panic. “Deadly with extreme weather now, climate change is about to get so much worse,” Borenstein claimed in his lede in reference to an IPCC climate report. “It is likely going to make the world sicker, hungrier, poorer, gloomier and way more dangerous in the next 18 years with an ‘unavoidable’ increase in risks, a new United Nations science report says.”This is typical of Borenstein’s brand as a so-called “science writer.” Milloy rebuked in comments to MRC Business that “Borenstein is notable in his admitted disdain for opponents of the radical climate agenda.”
Borenstein’s framing was essentially a regurgitation of eco-political spin spewed by Guterres. “‘Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,’ said Guterres. ‘With fact upon fact, this report reveals how people and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change.’”
AP’s Leftist Godfathers
AP’s skewed reporting preaching end-of-the-world climate narratives should come as no surprise given the leftist bent of the organizations that fund it.
The Rockefeller Foundation’s history in supporting causes fixated on overpopulation is a case in point why AP’s monetary tie to the organization is extremely problematic. One Jan. 5, 2022, Rockefeller Archive blog ridiculously stated that “Issues of family planning and concerns over population growth have long interested the Rockefeller family and their philanthropies. But deciding how to give funding, and to which aspects of the ‘population problem,’ has not always come easily.” The article included a 1967 statement doom mongering about overpopulation from late Rockefeller Foundation president J. George Harrar:
It is doubtful whether there is any problem in the world more threatening in its implications than uncontrolled population growth. Its effects are already, either directly or indirectly, touching the lives of almost every man, woman, and child.
MRC Business previously reported in October 2021 how Murdoch in particular was already heavily invested in a climate reporting hub at AP. MRC Business analyzed that Murdoch’s Quadrivium gave a whopping $14,250,000 to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) between 2013 and 2019. EDF is a left-wing “nonprofit environmental group known for its advocacy for public policies concerning global warming and a left-wing political agenda,” according to Influence Watch.
EDF held a string of events in 2020 exploiting the Marxist Black Lives Matter protests and riots. The riots caused at least $2 billion in damages in the "days and weeks following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd," according to the Daily Mail. The organization tried to twist how “[c]urrent demands for racial justice have put the spotlight on environmental racism.” EDF had also panned the U.S. as a “country hobbled by racism” in a 2017 blog post, further suggesting that “we must address civil rights to be able to make true environmental progress.” The organization even reportedly promised to carry on former President Barack Obama’s Green Power Plan agenda and his opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline. Murdoch’s eco-activist wife Kathryn also happens to currently sit on EDF’s Board of Trustees.
The Walton Family Foundation’s leftist bonafides are obvious, as evidenced by the organization’s giving, among other things. The organization gave $10 million in grants to left-wing environmentalist groups in 2018 alone, according to Influence Watch. The largest receiver of these grants was none other than the leftist, anti-American EDF. But its leftist activism gets worse. In November 2022, The Heritage Foundation reported that the Walton Family Foundation was a leading sponsor “of Northwest Arkansas (NWA) Equality, an LGBTQ nonprofit based in Fayetteville. The group’s mission is “to provide programs, education, and advocacy to serve, connect, and empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.” As Heritage pointed out, NWA Equality’s “Dickson Divas drag events, for instance, feature drag queen brunches and children’s story times to Arkansas residents.”
Meanwhile, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has been funding AP News since 2017, according to Influence Watch. The partnership that started as a year-long collaboration to “enhance science journalism” turned into a multi-year financial alliance. One of the projects for AP and HHMI’s 2017 collaboration was to supposedly “help readers stay up-to-date on the science community’s latest research so they can make informed decisions on subjects ranging from the environment to public health.” But it’s clear the “informed decisions” on the environment for HHMI involves inundating readers with climate Armageddon agitprop.
HHMI isn’t shy about investing heavily to push climate alarmism. In 2018, HHMI dolled out a $1 million grant to Vassar College for the intended purpose of “train[ing] faculty and develop[ing] a science curriculum that will enable ‘clusters’ of students and faculty to engage in the comprehensive study of ‘Grand Challenges,’ such as climate change and public health issues that have a global impact.” [Emphasis added.]
In a 2013 edition of the HHMI Bulletin, HHMI fear-mongered over manmade climate change:
Eventually—in tens of thousands of years—the planet will absorb the excess gas, but in the meantime we’ll experience extreme heat waves, melting snowpacks, rising sea levels, and drought.
This is also concerning given the Institute’s fixation on ESG-related goals. In 2021, HHMI launched a $2 billion, 10-Year investment to promote the woke values of “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion [(DEI)] in Science.” But as York College Professor Erec Smith noted, companies who employ DEI training into their framework aren’t concerned about data or how diverse they are. “‘It’s about a power grab,’” said Smith. He detailed what DEI does in practical terms in comments to journalist John Stossel: “If you ask somebody what they do for a living, somehow that’s racist,’ says Smith. ‘If you learn that, then why would you take a chance? ... ‘I’m going to silence myself’ ... not talk to Black people.’” Apparently, this kind of nonsensical left-wing activism was worth $2 billion by HHMI. Also clear is that AP didn’t find taking money from a group obsessed with woke, leftist policies like DEI as compromising to its objectivity.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation also takes an extremely left-wing approach to the issue of climate. The organization labeled so-called climate change as “the defining issue of our day” and propped it up as “an urgent global crisis that affects every problem philanthropy seeks to solve, whether it’s improving health, alleviating poverty, reducing famine, promoting peace, or advancing social justice.” But that’s not all. Hewlett’s obsession with climate has translated into hundreds of millions of dollars in activist spending:
[I]n 2018, as evidence of climate change and costs in human suffering mount, our board approved the single largest funding commitment made in the foundation’s history, $600 million for our climate initiative from 2018 through 2023.
The Hewlett Foundation also happens to have a notorious reputation for being one of unborn baby slaughter mill Planned Parenthood’s biggest financiers. Between 2000 and 2016, the Hewlett Foundation reportedly funneled a whopping $100 million into Planned Parenthood.
AP claimed in its “Standards For Working with Outside Groups” webpage that its “core partnership principle is that AP’s journalism will be independent.” It’s unclear who the outlet thinks it's fooling.
MRC Business intern Renata Kiss contributed to this report.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact the Associated Press at 212-621-1500 and demand it quit acting like a mouthpiece for its eco-extremist donors.