Fox News attempted to spin a new climate change report as a mere distraction from “multiple scandals swirling around the administration,” ignoring that the report was legally mandated by Congress under a law signed by former President George H.W. Bush.
On May 6, the Obama administration released the third National Climate Assessment (NCA), a report compiled by over two hundred climate scientists over a four-year period. The report concluded that unabated climate change would pose many dangers to the U.S. including increasing drought and wildfires in the Southwest, and coastal flooding from rising sea levels and increased precipitation in the Northeast.
The May 6 edition of America's Newsroom opened with co-host Bill Hemmer's supposition that the Obama administration's “dire new report on global warming” may be intended “to distract Americans” from the “multiple scandals swirling around the administration.” Co-host Martha MacCallum went on to elevate Sen. Jim Inhofe's claim that the climate change report is “part of the game the president is playing” to distract Americans from “his unchecked regulatory agenda”:
But Fox News' promotion of Inhofe's suggestion ignores a key fact: the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is legally mandated to release the NCA every four years, a mandate that was passed by Congress under President George H.W. Bush. According to the USGCRP website, the organization has “a legal mandate to conduct a National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years, the third and most recent of which was released in May 2014.” That mandate was established by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 in order to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
One of the “swirling” scandals that Fox News is likely referring to is the phony controversy over the Obama administration's response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya -- the network has been working overtime to resurrect it. Rather than cover the critical findings of a report that the first Bush administration deemed necessary, Fox News would prefer to focus on debunked Benghazi myths and the recently announced special select committee.
This is not the first time Fox News has criticized the administration for prioritizing anything other than the networks' favorite scandals -- the network has previously cast attempts to reduce income inequality, filibuster reform, and immigration reform as “Obamacare distractions.”