Despite teasing the segment as NASA's "ClimateGate of its own," CNN's "American Morning" did its best to present global warming as the problem and discredit skeptics by misreporting their funding on Dec. 10.
Correspondent Jim Acosta reported that NASA's climate data "shows the earth is getting hotter and changing fast" and quoted NASA scientist Thorsten Markus, who claimed rising temperatures could lead to an "ice-free" summer in the Arctic.
Markus asserted that there is "no doubt there is global warming," which Acosta used to segue into his unfair treatment of climate skeptics.
"But that doesn't convince skeptics who have seized on the global warming e-mail controversy known as ClimateGate and have now taken aim at NASA," Acosta declared before undermining Christopher Horner, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of two books on global warming, including a New York Times Bestseller.
Acosta referred to Horner as "an attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which receives funding from ExxonMobil," and which "is threatening to sue NASA if it doesn't turn over its e-mails on global temperature readings."
But Acosta got his facts wrong. ExxonMobil no longer funds CEI, something both CNN.com and MSNBC.com reported in January 2007. Horner also confirmed to the Business & Media Institute (BMI) that the non-profit no longer receives money from the oil company.
Horner told BMI, "Acosta asked, first off, if CEI receives support from energy industry sources. I informed him that I believed so, that our 990s were available for his study, but were not something I have focused on. At no time did he ask about ExxonMobil."
Acosta's three and a half minute segment included only 10 seconds of comment from Horner, who said: "What I'm asking for is what the taxpayer owns and I - frankly the law doesn't require me to have a reason for it. We want transparency. We want to see how they did what, we want to see why."
NASA scientists Markus and James Hansen were given a total of 49 seconds of talk time during the segment, almost 5 times as much as Horner.
Acosta's incorrect and biased report comes just three days after CNN gave lengthy and fair coverage to climate change skeptics on Dec. 7.