Far Left Attacks FNC for Telling Reporters Not to Take Sides in Climate Coverage

December 15th, 2010 1:03 PM

The total inability of the far-left Fox News haters to conjure up any real controversy about the cable channel demonstrates just how reasonable and measured Fox's coverage generally is.

The latest Fox "scandal": DC bureau chief Bill Sammon told staff to refrain from pronouncing one side of the climate change debate unequivocally correct. That's right, Sammon's insistence that Fox not make definitive judgments on contentious political issues is a sign of Fox's unethical journalistic practices, the Fox haters bizarrely claim.

The occasion for the latest bout of anti-FNC bloviating was the leak of an email from Sammon, sent during the height of the so-called Climategate scandal. It read:

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.

So Sammon instructed staff to incorporate the most basic tenets of science and journalism - skepticism and political neutrality, respectively - into their reporting on contentious scientific issues with tremendous political implications. And this is a problem?

Politico, which reported on the leak, focused on the wealth of scientific evidence supporting the belief in antrhopogenic global warming. But fortunately for mankind, science is not democracy, and as long as there are still multitudes of credible and accomplished scientists casting serious doubts about climate change, the issue is not settled.

And there are plenty of such scientists dissenting from the so-called consensus on AGW, as detailed in a report by Climate Depot's Marc Morano:

More than 1,000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 2010 321-page Climate Depot Special Report -- updated from the 2007 groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” -- features the skeptical voices of over 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in March 2009. This report's release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit in being held in Cancun.

"We're not scientifically there yet," Tom Tripp, a member of the UN IPCC since 2004, told Morano. "Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem.”

As long as the issue is not settled, it is not the place of the journalistic community to proclaim it so. The issue really boils down to whether reporters act as impartial relayers of the news, or as "activists" of a sort, who instruct readers, viewers, or listeners on the "correct" views, which of course mean the views of the reporter uttering them.

Isn't the latter exactly what journalists are not supposed to do? And isn't it what Fox's critics constantly, obsessively accuse it of doing? The usual meme is that Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and all their right-wing minions color the news with a conservative bent (that's putting it kindly - most of the Fox-haters are a bit more, er, animated), undermining the fairness and objectivity necessary for ethical and effective journalism.

But now the Fox-haters are livid that Sammon deliberately instructed his employees not to make inherently political judgments about scientific issues that are still the subject of hot debate among climate scientists themselves.

This is not the first time critics have demanded that Fox inject a political slant into its news reporting. But of course the Fox-haters don't mind when liberal opinion sneaks into political coverage.

The fact that Fox is taking flack for not slanting its reporting to be more friendly to one political position than the other speaks volumes not just about critics' lack of concern for journalistic ethics, but also about Fox itself. The email above is a showing of political neutrality. On climate reporting, other media outlets could take a lesson from Bill Sammon.