Jim Pinkerton | Media Matters for America

Jim Pinkerton

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  • VIDEO: The Global Warming Name Game

    Fox Concocts A Conspiracy For The Phrase "Climate Change"

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

    Fox News has often claimed that "liberals" stopped using the term "global warming" in favor of the term "climate change" because the planet is no longer warming. Fox News' The Five, for instance, celebrated Earth Day 2013 by trotting out this talking point to deny global warming - even though 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record and each of the 12 hottest years on record have come in the last 15 years. In reality, it was Republican consultant Frank Luntz -- now a Fox News contributor -- who advised Republicans in a 2002 memo to use the term "climate change" because "'climate change' is less frightening than 'global warming.'"

    The term "climate change" was used long before Luntz's memo, particularly in the scientific literature. For instance, a 1970 paper published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was titled "Carbon Dioxide and its Role in Climate Change" and discussed how emissions of carbon dioxide warm the atmosphere.

    Scientific papers in the 1970s often used the term

    Scientists use "global warming" when speaking about the increase in average global surface temperatures. They use "climate change" to refer to all the other disruptions that greenhouse gas emissions are causing -- from rising sea levels, to abruptly changing precipitation patterns that increase the likelihood of droughts and wildfires in certain areas and extreme flooding in others, to acidifying oceans that disturb the marine food web.

    John Kerr created the video in this report.

  • Fox News Watch Fails Media Criticism 101 In Trayvon Martin Case

    Blog ››› ››› SOLANGE UWIMANA

    There are an untold number of issues to ponder when discussing the media's coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing. The Poynter Institute, for example, recently examined some of them, including looking at how the photos of Martin that media outlets are choosing to show can unconsciously reinforce certain stereotypes. But of all the issues surrounding the coverage of the killing, Fox News' media criticism show, Fox News Watch, chose to focus on this question today: "Was this a story for the national media?"

    Host Jon Scott added: "No doubt a tragic story -- does it deserve the attention of national media?"

    As this question demonstrates, Fox News Watch is not a serious media criticism program. This is the same program that repeatedly fails media ethics 101, whose host once reproduced a GOP press release -- complete with typo -- and passed it off as his own research. The program regularly ignores Fox News' own ethical problems in favor of bashing other news outlets.

    But asking whether the Trayvon Martin killing is a national story must be the program's most amazing failure to date.

  • Misinformer Of The Year: Rupert Murdoch And News Corp.


    "This is the most humble day of my life."

    That's how Rupert Murdoch began his July 20 testimony to Parliament about the phone hacking and bribery scandal that had already resulted in the resignations and arrests of key News Corp. officials.

    Murdoch's son, James, was equally contrite. "I would like to say as well just how sorry I am and how sorry we are, to particularly the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and to their families," he told the committee. "It is a matter of great regret to me, my father and everyone at News Corporation. These actions do not live up to the standards that our company aspires to everywhere around the world."

    The story had begun spiraling out of Rupert Murdoch's control two weeks earlier, when the Guardian reported allegations that employees of Murdoch's London tabloid News of the World had hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of a British schoolgirl who had gone missing, and who was later found dead.

    "I cannot think what was going through the minds of the people who did this. That they could hack into anyone's phone is disgraceful," lamented Prime Minister David Cameron as the scandal quickly engulfed the U.K., and spread throughout Murdoch's global media reach. "But to hack into the phone of Milly Dowler, a young girl missing from her parents, who was later found to be murdered, is truly despicable."

    Allegations of phone hacking within Murdoch's newspapers had been simmering for years in the U.K., and News Corp. had been forced to make public apologies for the systematic invasions of privacy, often sponsored by News of the World and targeting celebrities, athletes and members of the royal family.

    And while parts of the Dowler story have since been called into question, News Corp. agreed to pay her family 2 million pounds, and Murdoch himself delivered an apology in person. Moreover, the story set off a cascade of damning revelations that have continued to this day.

    Evidence quickly tumbled out indicating the hacking been widespread, and that multiple, high-ranking executives had known about the intrusions. That meant previous explanations to Parliament, when Murdoch managers claimed the crimes had been limited, had been misleading at best. At worst, Murdoch chiefs lied to lawmakers in an effort to cover-up massive wrongdoing.

    For years, Media Matters has documented the stream of purposeful misinformation that flows from Murdoch's American properties, most notably Fox News, where the misinformation has taken an epic turn for the worse under President Obama. Yet the corporate spectacle on display this year is even more troubling. This has been Murdoch overseeing a corrupt enterprise and one whose transgressions extend well beyond tapping into phone messages.

    And for that dubious distinction, as well as for starring in a media unraveling that has attracted multiple police and government investigations on several continents, Rupert Murdoch and his international media behemoth are the recipients of this year's Misinformer of the Year award.

  • Veteran Journalists Blast Pinkerton And Fox Over Bachmann Book Deal Secrecy

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    Journalism veterans and media ethicists are criticizing Fox News and commentator Jim Pinkerton for failing to disclose that Pinkerton was being paid to partner with Michele Bachmann on her book while regularly speaking about the presidential campaign on Fox.

    Among the critics is Fox News contributor Marvin Kalb.

    "I believe in transparency and if Jim Pinkerton was talking about [Bachmann's] campaign on Fox News as a Fox News contributor it should have been pointed out to viewers that he was part of this campaign," said Kalb, former host of NBC's Meet the Press and a 30-year television news veteran. "I don't understand why this had to be a secret connection."

    The reaction follows the disclosure -- first reported by Politico's Ben Smith -- that Pinkerton spent June, July and August 2011 as a paid collaborator on a book with Bachmann. Pinkerton did not tell Fox viewers about his role in the book while regularly appearing on Fox News Watch.

    Pinkerton told Media Matters that his Fox News "superiors" knew of his secret arrangement and approved of it. He declined to name the superiors.

    Pinkerton also said he had "zero regrets" about keeping his part in the book secret from Fox viewers, saying he always disclosed that his wife, a former Bachmann campaign chief of staff, was working for Bachmann.

    David Zurawik, media critic for The Baltimore Sun, finds hypocrisy in Pinkerton being secretive while appearing on Fox News Watch, a media criticism program.

    "All the dishonesty is multiplied by him doing this on a media review show," Zurawik said. "First of all, a media review show is the last place a guy who tries to shade his conflicts of interest this way and keep necessary information from viewers should be. And if Fox News knew, it tells you what management there thinks of telling the truth on such shows."

    He later stated: "If Fox knew and did allow this, it gives lie to all of their P.R. about how unfair it is to call them biased. They can trot Bret Baier out all they want, but if they allow this kind of dishonest behavior, they are not an honest news operation that citizens should trust."

    Bill Kovach, founder of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and former New York Times Washington, D.C., bureau chief, called the actions "deceitful."