Led by journalists at Fox News, media figures have mocked the Obama administration for using the phrase "federal family" to refer to federal agencies involved in Hurricane Irene relief efforts, suggesting that the administration invented the phrase as a "euphemism" for "federal government." However, "federal family" is not a new phrase; it dates back to at least George H.W. Bush's administration and was regularly used by members of George W. Bush's administration when discussing disaster relief.
When asked about industrial agriculture's impact on the environment, Al Gore actually said:
Industrial agriculture is a part of the problem. Organic farming, relying on more productive, safer methods that put carbon back in the soil, produce safer and better food, that's a big part of it. The shift toward a more meat-intensive diet is also part of the problem. The clearing of forest areas in many parts of the world in order to raise more cattle, that's a part of it. The reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer as a Faustian bargain, it's kind of like steroids, it gives a pop but then the soil degrades. So yeah, agriculture is a significant part of this. We have to change it.
It is well documented that increasing global demand for meat has environmental consequences. To characterize Gore's acknowledgment of this fact as a call for everyone to become vegetarian is simply a distortion.
While Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast, an op-ed at FoxNews.com advocated for eliminating the National Weather Service, a government agency that provides weather data and forecasts for public and private use. In the piece, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Iain Murray and David Bier laughably complain that the National Weather Service "hijacks local radio and television stations" to "force" potentially lifesaving weather warnings on the public, and claim the NWS "may actually be dangerous."
To support this claim, CEI suggests the NWS did a poor job predicting Hurricane Katrina. In fact, two days before the hurricane hit New Orleans, the NWS reportedly predicted the hurricane's strength with "unusual" accuracy, and the director of NWS's National Hurricane Center personally warned the Mayor of New Orleans and the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana. Republican Senator Jim DeMint praised the NWS for their early and accurate forecast, saying it "saved countless lives along the Gulf Coast."
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen recently criticized GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry for wrongly stating that "there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data" to exaggerate global warming.
Responding to Cohen's piece, NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center, defended Perry's remarks, claiming that it has been "clearly proven" that scientists doctored the data:
As for the manipulation of data, 2009's ClimateGate as well as a myriad of recent findings concerning significant errors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report have clearly proven this.
The only thing that has been "clearly proven" from the overblown "ClimateGate" controversy is that no amount of evidence will disabuse conservative media of the misconception that "ClimateGate" exposed scientists manipulating data to exaggerate global warming. This claim has simply become part of their retelling of history. But it is baseless.
A FoxNews.com article stated that a stimulus grant in Nevada of $490,000 created only 1.72 jobs, but according to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, only $213,682.77 of the stimulus grant money has been received. Additionally, FoxNews.com's own article explains that the money is helping to pay the salaries of individuals already employed by the Nevada Division of Forestry, as well as a variety of public-works projects.
Earlier this week week, the Obama Administration announced a new immigration policy instructing law enforcement to use prosecutorial discretion in order to postpone the deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers and prioritize the deportation of convicted criminals. Since the announcement was made, Fox news has claimed the policy is tantamount to "amnesty."
Despite rushing to demagogue the issue, a Fox online poll showed viewers agreed that focusing on dangerous criminals makes sense.
Here are the results as of August 19 at 7:50 p.m.:
On this week's edition of Environment Matters, Jocelyn Fong and Shauna Theel discuss ExxonMobil's sponsorship of Fox News ventures and climate change misinformation propagated by frequent Fox guest Joe Bastardi.
FoxNews.com and Fox Nation have an exclusive. They are hyping a Democratic National Committee memo on "what to expect from" tonight's Fox-sponsored Republican debate. Problem is, it's not so exclusive.
From Fox Nation:
This was obviously a great scoop for Fox. In fact, the DNC wanted to keep this memo so top-secret that they have posted it on their website.
We noted in June that Fox News' iPad app was sponsored exclusively by ExxonMobil, a corporation known for paying think tanks to obfuscate the scientific consensus on climate change. Now FoxNews.com's "Planet Earth" section is also brought to you by the oil giant:
After relentlessly pushing the false claim that the so-called "Climategate" controversy showed climate scientists deceitfully manipulating data, conservative media are celebrating a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that a majority of Americans believe "some scientists" have likely "falsified research data" to support "their own theories and beliefs about global warming."
"Has a central tenant [sic] of global warming just collapsed?" That's the first sentence of a July 29 Fox News article about a recent study which shows nothing of the sort, demonstrating just how broken climate change coverage is at news outlets like Fox, where scientific illiteracy meets political slant.
Last week, Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), one of the few climate scientists who think we don't need to worry much about global warming, published a paper purportedly challenging mainstream climate models that is both limited in scope and, by many accounts, flawed. After a Forbes column by James Taylor of the libertarian Heartland Institute misinterpreted the study and declared that it blows a "gaping hole in global warming alarmism," an avalanche of conservative media outlets, including Fox, followed suit:
The last week has been a busy one on the net neutrality front, with a cadre of Democratic senators calling on Congress to preserve funding for net neutrality regulations, and the FCC announcing that those regulations, after many months of delay, will be entered into the federal register, thus opening the door for telecom companies to file appeals (Verizon has been chomping at the legal bit ever since their initial appeal was denied).
It's not surprising, then, that Republican officials are showing up on Fox News to get the anti-net neutrality message out. Last Thursday, Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell appeared on FoxNews.com's Power Play to discuss net neutrality, and got a big assist from host Chris Stirewalt in spreading misinformation about net neutrality rules.
Early on in the kid-gloved interview, Stirewalt described net neutrality as "the shorthand term for having federal regulations of the internet, FCC regulations of the internet." This is imprecise and, as we'll see in a minute, part of a broader falsehood. Net neutrality rules are not "federal regulations of the internet." They are regulations on internet service providers that prevent them from controlling user access to lawful content and discriminating against content providers.
The right-wing media reacted to President Obama's address on troop withdrawals in Afghanistan by dredging up familiar, petty attacks, such as criticizing the number of times Obama referred to himself, and claiming the address was a "campaign speech" instead of a "war update." This follows a long history of the right-wing media launching frivolous attacks over speeches Obama makes on all manner of issues.
Earlier today, one of Fox News' websites, FoxNews.com, reported that Fox News contributor Sarah Palin is "end[ing] her 'One Nation' bus tour" and returning home where "it's prime salmon fishing season" this time of year. Palin subsequently fired off a tweet sarcastically asking "I did?" and saying that the media "never cease to amaze."
And then another Fox News website, the Fox Nation, jumped in to defend Palin against the report by its sister website, reporting that Palin "quiets bus tour rumors." Palin later jumped back into the fray with a Facebook post decrying reports from unnamed media outlets that her bus tour had been canceled. Palin ended her Facebook note by declaring that these unnamed media outlets have a "long track record of getting things wrong or just making things up."
Below the fold are the conflicting headlines (all generated by one news source: Fox News):
With the fake "Climategate" scandal thoroughly and incontrovertibly debunked, the right-wing media are pushing a new round of bogus climate science accusations, and the familiar Fox Cycle pattern is again revving up. Right-wing activists and Fox News are working to push climate misinformation into the mainstream press, and the mainstream press have a responsibility not to repeat the failures of the "Climategate" fiasco.
On June 17, FoxNews.com published an article asking whether climate scientists are "doctoring the data" showing rising sea levels. The reporter, Maxim Lott, based his story on a May 11 Forbes.com blog post by the Heartland Institute's James Taylor, who accused the University of Colorado's Sea Level Research Group of "doctor[ing] sea level data." Taylor came to this conclusion after Professor Steve Nerem of the research group posted a blog entry a few days earlier explaining that they added a correction to their sea level data to account for expanding ocean basins. The correction, as Media Matters documented, is a standard scientific procedure about which there is "nothing controversial," to borrow the words of one leading climate scientist. Taylor, however, seemed to think that he caught a climate scientist announcing via the internet how he was tampering with his data.
As the story made the subtle transformation from overt right-wing activism to Fox News "journalism," important details were left by the wayside. Fox News' Lott contacted Nerem, who told Lott that "this is a scientifically well-understood correction" that is used by other groups, but that key bit of information never made it into the final story. The article quoted a climate scientist appearing to bolster Taylor's claim of "doctoring," but that same scientist told Media Matters that he "would object to making that accusation."