On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace criticized a University of Maryland study which indicated that Fox News viewers are more misinformed than the consumers of other news media. Wallace said the study labeled those who "questioned whether climate change is occurring" as misinformed, and suggested that doing so would be improper.
The study actually asked, “Do you think that MOST SCIENTISTS believe that” 1) Climate change is occurring, 2) Views are evenly divided or 3) Climate change is not occurring. Noting that the correct answer is that most scientists believe that climate change is occurring, the study found that of those who said they watched Fox News “almost every day,” 60 percent got it wrong -- significantly higher than the consumers of other news sources.
A Stanford University study similarly found that "more exposure to Fox News was associated with more rejection of many mainstream scientists' claims about global warming, [and] with less trust in scientists."
It is a fact that climate change is occurring, and anthropogenic global warming is so well-supported in peer-reviewed research that, as the Maryland study notes, the United States' National Academy of Sciences and “97% of self-identifying actively publishing climate scientists agree” that it is occurring.
Indeed, a 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that "(i) 97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers."
A 2009 survey published by the American Geophysical Union also found that of over 3,000 Earth scientists, 90 percent said average global temperatures have risen compared with pre-1800s levels and 82 percent said human activity is a “significant contributing factor” in that trend. The study further concluded that “as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions.” Of those who specialize in climate science, 97.4% said human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures.
Wallace's suggestion that there is a legitimate question about whether climate change is occurring is consistent with instructions from Fox executive Bill Sammon to cast doubt on whether the planet has warmed. Sammon oversees Fox News' Washington bureau, which produces Fox News Sunday.