In his introduction for the May 21 Fox News special on global warming, host David Asman left viewers with the impression that there is a significant divide among scientists regarding the cause of global warming. "Today, almost all scientists agree that there is global warming," he said, "but there is no scientific consensus about what causes global warming or how it will affect our lives." But, while Asman went on to interview numerous experts skeptical of the threat posed by global warming or whether human activity causes it, he never informed viewers that those skeptics represent a small minority within the scientific community.
On May 21, Fox News will air a one-hour special, Global Warming: The Debate Continues, in which host David Asman will "speak with scientists who are skeptical of what they view as alarmist fears about climate change." Among the roster of contributors are several global warming skeptics with ties to the energy industry and records of misinformation on the issue.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick J. Michaels distorted comments made by former Vice President Al Gore to falsely suggest Gore endorsed exaggerating the threat of global warming.
On Fox News' The Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Rob Pollock falsely claimed that "most" of the global warming that has occurred "over the past century ... happened before 1940." In fact, according to data presented by the Climatic Research Unit, the last three decades have seen a sharper rise in global air temperature than any other period since at least 1860, including the years preceding 1940.
On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, ABC News 20/20 co-anchor John Stossel trivialized global temperature increases, stating "[t]he globe is warming, but it's one degree." In fact, scientists have determined that the approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit * increase in global temperature during the 20th century has adversely affected several ecosystems and that a continuation of warming trends could be detrimental to humankind.
Echoing Brit Hume's recent report that global warming "could ... be in remission," a Washington Times editorial cited a misleading statistic -- recently highlighted by global-warming skeptic Bob Carter -- to suggest that global warming might have "stopped in 1998" because of a "negligible decrease in temperature" since that year. But Hume and the Times neglected to mention why temperatures have slightly decreased since 1998: That year was the hottest on record, according to the Climatic Research Unit, the source of Carter's data.
In separate columns, George Will and Robert Novak misrepresented the facts and omitted key evidence -- embraced by the vast majority of climate scientists -- demonstrating that global warming is occurring and that human activity is contributing to the problem.
In a recent column, Pete du Pont quoted Washington Post columnist David Ignatius's claim that "human activity is accelerating dangerous changes in the world's climate," and responded to Ignatius by claiming that "it is not clear that human activity is wholly responsible" for global warming. Ignatius, however, did not assert that humans are "wholly responsible" for global warming -- he claimed that humans are "accelerating" global warming, as the quote du Pont provided clearly indicated.
In a March 12 sermon, Rev. Jerry Falwell claimed that "scientists who are not on the payroll of the government" believe that "the jury's still out" on the existence of human-caused global climate change. Similarly, in a March 5 sermon, Falwell said of global climate change, "I don't think the science supports it." In fact, it is a small minority of scientists who dispute findings that global warming is caused by human activities.
In an article about President Bush's renewable energy tour, The Washington Post overlooked the White House's retreat from Bush's pledge to "replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025." The article also reported on Bush's planned visit to the National Renewal Energy Laboratory without mentioning that just before his visit, the federal government had reallocated $5 million to restore the jobs of 32 employees who had been laid off as a result of administration budget cuts.
Lee Webb, anchor of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club, touted a petition he claimed was signed by "more than 17,000 scientists" that "says there is no scientific evidence that greenhouse gases cause global warming." But the petition is more than seven years old and was apparently signed by many people who lack credentials as climate scientists.
After being introduced as "a little bit of a skeptic on global warming," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers put forth a theory citing skewed global warming data that has been debunked by several recent studies.
The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot falsely claimed that a new study by the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics undermines the science behind global warming.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that "[t]here is no evidence that we could destroy ecosystems." In fact, there is ample evidence that humans can -- and do -- devastate ecosystems.