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Media Matters ignores journalistic responsibility (yet again)

When it comes to ironic hyperbole, Media Matters tops the competition. In a dramatic diatribe of sorts, the self-described “progressive research and information center” published a blog post entitled, “FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science.” Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero writes,

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network’s journalists 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.”

As “reported” by Media Matters, the memo was sent by managing editor Bill Sammon. Interestingly, Dimiero ignores a key phrase in the original message. Here is the untainted text of Sammon’s e-mail (which I will give Dimiero credit for including later on in his hit piece):

…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.

It seems as though Dimiero purposefully chose to ignore Sammon’s note about journalistic responsibility. Whether or not you believe in the power of manmade global warming, we should all be in agreement that journalists have a responsibility to report the full scope of societal issues of importance. There are enough individuals casting doubt on human-induced global warming to compel any objective network (or, more appropriately: any network that claims to tout objectivity) to balance coverage on this important issue.

Sammon was avoiding journalistic leading, as he was requiring his staff to balance the notion that the earth has definitively warmed or cooled with valid concern from the opposing side. There’s nothing wrong with journalists “casting doubt” on an issue when there are a plethora of scientists — and citizens, for that matter — doing the same.

If there is any inkling of uncertainty, who better to seek ultimate truth than the media? If anything, I give Sammon credit for attempting to differentiate Fox from networks that have failed to even consider the possibility of natural warming and cooling patterns. These same networks have failed the public by refusing to showcase opposing views.

To put Sammon’s e-mail into perspective, one must also remember the Climategate scandal and the related questions surrounding global warming data. While Media Matters dismisses critics’ concerns, coverage of the mass anger (regardless of whether the scandal itself was viable) was warranted.

This issue certainly deserves more scrutiny. In Europe, the tide in belief that global warming is manmade has already turned. In Feb. 2010, the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believe that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely manmade.” This proportion was down from 41 percent in a similar poll conducted in Nov. 2009.

As I wrote back in March,

In the 1970s, some climatologists actually proposed purposely melting portions of the ice caps in an effort to curb the effects of global cooling (others thought the effects of such an experiment would be too dangerous). Today, global warming enthusiasts claim that these same ice caps are melting on their own, an odd contradiction considering the warnings that were uttered just decades ago.

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  • leatherpenguin

    craigiri ? You keep citing those polls, but you never CITE those polls.
    Put some links up so we can see where you get your “facts.”

  • craigiri

    I think this pretty much says it all:

    “6% of US scientists are Republicans”

    Basically, anyone affiliated with the GOP is not qualified to comment on science, math or statistics. We will listen to their creationist rants, though.
    :-)

    • leatherpenguin

      were you born so stupid, or did it involve cafe society?

  • leatherpenguin

    You seem very invested when it comes to denigrating FOX News. Good for you! People need hobbies, albeit it in your case, it’s possibly a sign of psychosis. Personally, I stick to their entertainment channel…I believe Denis Leary has been spying on me….

    PS: could you cite the poll of which you’ve spoken? Or was it some Crooks&Liars/Media Matters made up stuff? Remember, this entire thing is YOU complaining about a FOX News producer admonishing his underlings to NOT buy the status story, yet your ranting seems to imply you have a truckload of Al Gore issued indulgences under your pillow.

    • leatherpenguin

      this post shoulda been down the stream….

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  • craigiri

    I think science is hard for righties to fathom.
    They think “hey, it’s cold today”, and read a headline saying so on Drudge Report….so it must be true. The fact that it is cold today in one spot on the globe MUST mean something, right? After all, if I can’t see it, hear it or understand it in “my gut” (like Palin, Bush, etc), then it must be false and a liberal plot.

    One can only imagine that righties stand in front of the fireplace and believe for a few minutes in GW, and then walk outside into the freezing cold and change their minds!

    Instead of being awed by science and all the things they cannot understand, they assume the stance of “monkey blind, deaf and dumb” as a reaction to the wonders of the universe. After all, atoms and molecules must be fake too. Same goes with fossils….God put them there to fake us into being non-believers when he made the earth 6,000 years ago.

    You guys are funny, funny, funny. You should read a little more and get out of your moms basement here and there…if possible. There is a big world out there, and the laws of science apply! In fact, I just came back from the Grand Canyon……hundreds of millions of years? Or, was it God fooling us?

    Which is it, friends? Science or BS?

    • jonavark

      They think “hey, it’s hot today”, and read a headline saying so on Huffington Post….so it must be global warming.

    • Ritchie The Riveter

      Obviously, you don’t perceive the difference between ideologically-driven consensus and conclusive, objective proof. You must have slept through high-school geometry … or at least the part that described how even ONE observed contradiction of a theorem renders it INVALID.

      And you need to understand that men of science, like this degreed electrical engineer who works with alternative-energy technologies on a daily basis, do know the difference and therefore are justified in their skepticism about human-induced climate change.

      Like a lot of the rest of environmental activism, the Climate Change Cult is driven as much by socialist profit-phobia as they are by legitimate concern for the environment … never realizing that economic prosperity facilitates environmental protection; and conversely, that efforts to protect the environment can prove counterproductive to overall environmental protection if the economic impacts are not fully dealt with.

      When people start to wonder where their next meal is coming from, they are more likely to fillet Willy than free him.

    • Ritchie The Riveter

      What you advocate is not science … but blind faith in the pronouncements of scientists who may be conflating fact and theory and assumption, and who are as susceptible to greed and self-serving agendas as the worst of Wall Street … faith held in the face of several years of decline in average global temperatures, and in the face of conclusions shown to be based upon very limited data which appears to be selectively presented (i.e. fitted to the agenda) by some of the leading advocates of human-induced climate change.

      And you put down those who believe in alternatives to the evolutionary paradigm of origins as ignorant … yet your own assertions about an “old earth” are based upon an assumption of time-invariance in the applicable physical processes that is anything but conclusive. Not only do you not have real-time observational data to back up your assertions of what allegedly happened millions/billions of years ago … we have examples of how the active application of intelligent thought can greatly speed up these processes; i.e. synthetic diamond production.

      Your refusal to seriously consider the alternatives, in the face of the evidence … to declare the science as “settled” and the alternatives as “ignorance” … is itself an expression of faith, for you don’t have the conclusive facts to back your position.

      I wish you, and the scientists you cite, would accurately state faith as faith … theory as theory … fact as fact … instead of conflating them all and declaring yourselves the ultimate authority … which is appealing because it is a very convenient shield to deflect the possibility that (1) there is a God, (2) your’e not Him, and (3) He might be PO’d at whatever you’re doing.

      Now, let me tell you what I observe … with over 27 years of experience in harnessing physical and chemical processes to serve humanity, I observe that, left to themselves, these processes move matter to the low-energy states of either stasis or chaos … to diamonds, or dust, if you will.

      In the absence of intelligent intervention, I have yet to see these physical processes move matter to any state of ordered dynamism that approaches that of sustainable, reproducible life … unless these processes are ALREADY part of a living organism.

      The way I see it, the probability that natural processes organized matter into sustainable life forms in the absence of intelligent intervention makes Powerball tickets look as secure as gold as an investment.

      OTOH, my view that the world is “young” is based purely upon the theology I ascribe to, and I will freely admit that my position there is based on faith.

      I just ask that you admit where your position is based upon blind faith, instead of confirmed observation.

  • Ritchie The Riveter

    It is you, craigiri, that is being unscientific …

    They’re tellin’ me the world is warmin’ up
    And my minivan’s part of the cause
    And the science is settled so it’s time for big change
    To our economy and our laws

    Well if the science is settled then tell me why their
    Computer models can’t agree
    And why the world’s cooled down for the past several years
    While they’re hidin’ their data from me

    Despite their erudition
    And academic pedigree
    The Best and the Brightest look instead
    Like a box of dim bulbs to me

    They’d put us in the soup lines over
    Parts-per-billion probabilities
    The Best and the Brightest look instead
    Like a box of dim bulbs to me …
    … Like a box of dim bulbs to me

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  • craigiri

    Have you ever considered that many issues do not have two sides? Many have one side, others may have 3 angles.

    The idea of two sides to every story is laughable! Should Fox talk to the mother of a child rapist to get the “other side” of that story? Should Fox cover Creationism and Science as two equal sides of the same story?

    Of course not!

    Science. Let me repeat that. Science…is what has gotten us here today. You and Fox Noise can sit around all day and get paid for telling us that the internet (science) does not really work, and that we are not really sitting here using this piece of software. That is another “side”. Maybe we don’t even exist at all..this is all a pipe dream! Still, that is another “side”. Maybe Tom Cruise and the Scientolgists are correct – we have little aliens inside us. This is a “side” which is FACT to many millions. Do you advocate this being covered in Biology studies?

    Conservatives accept whatever argument buttresses their position, which usually involved raping the earth, polluting the air, making the rich richer (at the expense of the common man) and endless war.

    But, like Scientologists, just because you believe it (or preach it) does not make it so.

    • leatherpenguin

      >>Science. Let me repeat that. Science…is what has gotten us here today. You and Fox Noise can sit around all day and get paid for telling us that the internet (science) does not really work, and that we are not really sitting here using this piece of software.<<

      Really, "science"? That's where you're gonna plant your flag? Here's a factual tidbit: the internet is NOT "science." It's engineering, bolstered by mathematics. It's the physical manifestation of the idea that an efficient method of communication between disparate telecommunication networks could be established. It came into being because it was the logical, PHYSICAL evolution of Alexander Graham Bell's baby. Go look up "Tim Berners-Lee." You'll find out the "father of the World Wide Web" considers himself an engineer.

      Oh, say "Hey!" to Zenu for me, you clueless git.

      • craigiri

        Ok, leather, you proved your ignorance!

        No, electrons flying over glass cable and the ability to sort them out billions of times a second….no, not science!
        After all, if it was….they might call the classes at college – COMPUTER SCIENCE.

        Engineers USE Science – that is, physics, chemistry and other disciplines to put together working solutions for problems…

        The internet is a scientific breakthrough which is based on vast numbers of underlying technologies (scientific – and provable technologies)……

        Again, there are not two sides to the subject. The internet was not “created” by God and put here for us to discover. It is not the result of Creationists or Scientologists or Climate Skeptics or Pentecostals.

        Notice a few definitions, my friend:

        “Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter[1] and its motion through spacetime.”

        “Physics is the science of matter and its motion.”
        “Engineering is the discipline, art and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize solutions to the needs of society.”

        Notice the work SCIENCE as the basis of ALL of those. Let’s not play word games. Science is the foundation of 100% of our modern world. It works. It is different than opinion, punditry, politics and other such things.

        Oh, and Tim did not create the internet. He is responsible for the browser (WWW) basic idea. I would give more of the internet credit to Cerf:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf

        However, modern projects like the internet require the work of thousands (millions at this point) to develop to this point.

        Back to the point at hand. Just because you think Dinosaurs walked the earth 5,000 years ago does not mean it is one side of the debate. I think that point stands. The scientific community as a whole is in agreement, as much as they ever agree, that Global Warming is real. Therefore, it is only in a political sense that there is another “side”. Fox news is a political organ, and therefore they are doing the work of their paymasters by spreading doubt.

        Speaking of two sides, Fox always plays them brilliantly. On one hand, Rupert made his fortune in pornography and yet, on another, he galvanizes the party of family values. Amazing!

        • leatherpenguin

          >>Back to the point at hand. Just because you think Dinosaurs walked the earth 5,000 years ago does not mean it is one side of the debate. I think that point stands. The scientific community as a whole is in agreement, as much as they ever agree, that Global Warming is real. Therefore, it is only in a political sense that there is another “side”. Fox news is a political organ, and therefore they are doing the work of their paymasters by spreading doubt.<<

          Aawww… "The scientific community as a whole is in agreement, as much as they ever agree, that Global Warming is real. Therefore, it is only in a political sense that there is another “side”."

          Isn't that precious! The way you launched into the next ignominious diatribe, and maintained your FOX hate… it's so CUTE! You must be akin to a Smurf. Did you get burned in Cancun? Watts Up With That?

          • craigiri

            Leather, it’s not Fox Hate….it’s Fox Fact!

            A large poll released today showed the Fox viewers were, by far, the most MISINFORMED of the electorate….that is, when measured against FACTS.

            “Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)”

            30 POINTS. If you know anything about math, stats and reality, you would understand the significance of that.

            It can mean only one or bother of two things.

            1. Fox lies and misleads SO WELL, that even regular and smart folks are misled.
            2. Fox viewers are really stupid and tend to believe whatever Fox broadcasts.

            I say it is a bit of both, but mostly #1. What do you think?

            Either way, it relates to this story. Fox is not news, not journalism and not based on reality, science or anything other than sensationalism and ratings.

            That is certainly a strange org for someone to write an entire article defending!

        • thajuggla

          Well, since I am a COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR, I guess I get to throw in my 2 cents here. While I agree that some things should be done by us, as humanity, and intellectual types, to help with keeping our environment clean (NOTICE HOW I SAID CLEAN.) We are not the cause, nor are we ever going to be the cause of mother earth changing her climate based off of what happens in the Universe. I don’t need Fox to tell me about Global Warming, and whether we are the cause of it. I already know that in the grand scheme of things I am but a very small, insignificant spec.

          When people like you learn that we are nothing but a hair follicle of time in this earth’s lifetime then, and only then will this stupid debate be settled. Better yet, come back to me when we actually can change things in the climate cycle, like I don’t know, making a hurricane move off course from obliterating a bunch of morons living 15 feet below sea level.

          • craigiri

            Ah, computer science majors are now climate scientists!
            I think I have heard it all……..

            Also, another study came out today – over 1/2 of all Republicans believe the creationist myth! They share that belief with largely high school dropouts and those without any college at all.

            It’s tough to argue with such a crowd….or even talk science or reality. After all, if Creation is Science, then nothing else computes!

            It’s the same reason that many on the right don’t care about environmental issues. After all, if the world is gonna end any minute anyway……why worry?

            As to our insignificance, I suppose the fact that our chemicals exist in just about every fish in the ocean as well as in every cubic foot of air on the planet doesn’t convince you of anything?

            Sure, you and I are insignificant. Dust to dust. However, the vast billions all put together are VERY significant. The math stuff you learned in computer science should bear that out!

        • leatherpenguin

          riiight… since Ivory Tower denizens have deigned to assign “SCIENCE!” to a subject, ipso facto, that subject is “SCIENCE!” Like “political science.” Or “social science.”

          Tell you what: you find me ONE political scientist who can tell me, with empirical evidence to support his edict, the winner of the 2012 Presidential election.

          • leatherpenguin

            Really, craigirl, I got a 300 baud modem with a higher IQ (and is likely older) than you. Anyone wholly possessed in hating a television station needs to be medicated.

        • jonavark

          I am not a scientist by any stretch. Yet I have been developing computer hardware and software for over 30 years without fail.

          There is very little ‘science’ in the implementation of computer technology. The science is in the hardware. Technology and science are indeed two different things, yet one requires the other.

          Otherwise, we should call everyone who uses a friggin microwave a scientist.

          By the way, the term ‘computer science’ doesn’t mean much. Unless you want to imply that graduates are scientists. They’re just programmers and software architects. I know. I am one.

          To argue that Global warming science is hard fact is laughable. But to say that every scientist agrees on one theory of warming is just stupid.

          Worse yet, trying to prove it in a debate or convince others they’re stupid for not buying it all is no different than Catholics forcing science texts to comply with the Church. No different whatsoever.

          All you have to do to prove your point is shut up and wait. If you’re right we’ll all find out.

          Of course, puffing up your chest and acting like a pompous fool does certainly help your case.

          • craigiri

            I think you are negating your own point!

            Sure, just because we take a dump in the bathroom does not make us sanitation engineers. And because you write code (I do a little hacking myself) does not make you a scientist…….again, any more than opening a faucet makes me a plumber!

            However, NONE of those things work…including your programming, without the SCIENCE that moves the electrons which make all this stuff work. You know that……you must!

            So, no, the Janitor in the office building is not a builder, a contractors, a materials SCIENTIST, etc.

            But, PLEASE – tell me what this has to do with REAL SCIENTISTS….thousands of them, agreeing that Global Warming is real? Please?

            As I have mentioned before, it’s tough to have a decent debate when none of the actual facts of the world are agreed on…so, just to make sure…..do you think that the world is billions of years old, that it will not end any day now, and that we are evolved from earlier primates?

            If the answers are yes, yes and yes…..maybe we can then look at two sides of a story.

          • John

            craigiri, you are a hack at everything you write.

            If I were to counter everything you write it would be a waste of time for me or anyone else for that matter.

            In short your a walking contradiction verbally and mentally.

            Your one of those kinds of people who don’t want to be confused with facts, “give me fiction” is your motto.

          • craigiri

            Of course – that chances of a rightie being an educated scientist is pretty low

            “6% of US scientists are Republicans”

            One might guess that if 60% of scientists were republicans, then the righties would be trumpeting science much more! But it’s just not something they, as a group, have “faith” in.

            Despite that, they take full advantage of all the advances made by their Democrat friends…who populate the field at 10X their rate.

            You’re welcome, folks!

          • craigiri

            >>To argue that Global warming science is hard fact is laughable. But to say that every scientist agrees on one theory of warming is just stupid.

            I said neither of the above.
            Scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that it is already creating problems and will create many more. Of course, it will also create opportunities for those who can now grow more crops in colder areas.

            “No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion”….

            Hopefully, that is understandable even to a programmer.

            Ionizing Radiation causes cancer. This is another consensus. It is almost impossible to prove beyond a doubt because many of the cancers occur decades later. Scientists have been bought off by industry on that and many other issues…to cast doubt on things so that their corporate masters can continue to pollute or to kill people without responsibility.

            However, once again:
            “No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion”. Some do hold “non-committal” positions.

            That is consensus, IMHO…..when no certified scientific body doubts the statement…..

            You might have another name for it. However, back to the article and Fox…there are not two sides. There is only one side in the case of GW. There are obviously parts of the science that need worked on more and filled in.