Fox News Watch Cites Media Research Center Study on Global Warming Coverage

Jon Scott, FNC On Saturday's Fox News Watch, while discussing media coverage of environmental issues on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, host Jon Scott cited a special report from the Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute: "The Media Research Center posted a special report this week claiming networks generally hide the decline in credibility of claims of climate change."

Scott went on to add that: "48% of Americans, according to a March 2010 Gallup poll, think the threat of global warming is greatly exaggerated." Show panelist and Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers admitted: "It probably is exaggerated by some people....I know some very smart environmentalists who think that Al Gore has exaggerated it too much and has made it to a point where it's losing credibility." However, she quickly added: "it's still a very serious threat and so, just because it's exaggerated, doesn't mean it's not a serious threat."

Earlier in the discussion, Powers argued that environmentalists warning of global warming is similar to calls to stop using toxic lead paint: "people who believe in global warming, like myself, you know, are called 'doom and gloom people.' Well, guess what they used to be called when they were talking about lead paint and they were talking about the water being polluted, 'doom and gloom people.'"

At the top of the segment, fellow panelist Judith Miller observed: "I think the press has grown accustomed to covering this annual event as people are accustomed to exploiting it....Earth Day is big business." Fox News Watch regular, columnist Jim Pinkerton, also noted of environmentalism: "Eric Hoffer, the famous philosopher who coined the phrase 'true believer,' said every movement starts out idealistic, then becomes a corporation, and then eventually becomes a racket."

Columnist Cal Thomas described the media's adherence to environmentalist dogma as the practice of a "secular religion." At the end of the segment, Powers argued: "I mean, come on, this is not just a liberal left-wing conspiracy." Picking up on Thomas's phrase, Miller jokingly added: "That's right...It's become gospel."

Here is a full transcript of the segment:

2:41PM

JON SCOTT: Earth Day turned 40 this week, originally inspired by former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the day brings attention to environmental issues worldwide. I'm old enough to remember the first one. Judy, it helped – it does help keep environmental issues on people's minds without pointing fingers, Earth Day does, but what about the press? The media coverage of it?

JUDITH MILLER: Well, you know, I think the press has grown accustomed to covering this annual event as people are accustomed to exploiting it. And what's happened is Earth Day has, for both the media and I think for the mainstream world, have become a kind of victim of its own success or a – it's now a big business. So you have, as Leslie Kaufman wrote in an extraordinarily good article in the business section, Earth Day is big business, including the umbrella that enables to you drain and reuse water.

SCOTT: But you know, I remember, I remember growing up in Denver as a kid, we had terrible pollution problems in the '70s and that has gotten a lot better now. Does – does that get the kind of-

JIM PINKERTON: Right, it has gotten better and environmentalists should celebrate that. Of course, they're too busy dooming and glooming about global warming to worry about that. But look, Eric Hoffer, the famous philosopher who coined the phrase 'true believer,' said every movement starts out idealistic, then becomes a corporation, and then eventually becomes a racket.             

CAL THOMAS: In this case, a cabinet level position of EPA, brought in by Richard Nixon of all things.

SCOTT: How have you seen the coverage change?

THOMAS: Well, first of all, you have to understand that most of the media approach this as a secular religion, you're to worship the Earth. We did quite well in my father's generation with conservationism. You had things like the Izaak Walton League. Even the media were involved in saying, you know, don't throw those things on the ground, keep the water supply clean, you want a nice place to fish, all of that worked out fine. But now we have environmentalism, which is, as I said, a kind of secular religion, you have to love your mother the Earth, you have to worship trees. And we've had scares from ALAR on apples to the crazy global warming cult of Al Gore.

KIRSTEN POWERS: I'm sorry, who says you have to worship trees?

MILLER: Oh, no, no, no, Cal, come on.

THOMAS: Oh, you know all about loving your pine tree, you know, hug your tree.

POWERS: I mean, the people now – the environmentalists are people who believe in global warming, like myself, you know, are called 'doom and gloom people.' Well, guess what they used to be called when they were talking about lead paint and they were talking about the water being polluted, 'doom and gloom people.' You know, they were described as being sort of crazies and tree-huggers and it's because of them that kids now don't have, you know, to get lead poisoning from their paint. So, you know, it is, it is the same group of people-

PINKERTON: There's a slight difference between the toxic effect of lead and the nontoxic effect of CO-2. CO-2 actually creates life.

POWERS: But what I'm saying is that your kind back then.

THOMAS: Your kind!

[LAUGHTER]

POWERS: Was attacking my kind, who were, you know, who were pushing these environmental protections and I think it's the same thing again. And I think what Judy-

THOMAS: Being right once doesn't give you-

POWERS: -but I think what Judy said is a point though – or maybe you said they're a victim of their success, whoever said that, I think that it's a lot easier when rivers are catching on fire to say, 'oh, we have an environmental problem,' it's a lot more complicated to explain global warming.

SCOTT: The Media Research Center posted a special report this week claiming networks generally hide the decline in credibility of claims of climate change and that 48% of Americans, according to a March 2010 Gallup poll, think the threat of global warming is greatly exaggerated.

POWERS: It probably is exaggerated by some people. I think – you know, I know some very smart environmentalists who think that Al Gore has exaggerated it too much and has made it to a point where it's losing credibility because he exaggerates so much, but that it's still a very serious threat and so, just because it's exaggerated, doesn't mean it's not a serious threat.

PINKERTON: Fortunately for the 'Greens,' they have the White House Press Corps, which announced that it would – that its participation in the White House Correspondent's Dinner will be carbon neutral. Hats off to Mike Allen of Politico for catching theses people being green and pious.

POWERS: And hats off to Rupert Murdoch who makes this company very green, and we have things all over, we have posters telling us to be green. I mean, come on, this is not just a liberal left-wing conspiracy.

MILLER: That's right.

POWERS: This is something that most Americans-

MILLER: It's become gospel.    

[LAUGHTER]   
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC