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Media Matters releases ANOTHER internal email, shows Sammon ordering staff to cast doubt on climate science
WASHINGTON - December 15 - After releasing leaked emails last week showing Fox News' Bill Sammon directing staff not to use the phrase "public option," Media Matters for America today released yet another email from Sammon, this one questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."
"It's not just health care," said Ari Rabin-Havt, Executive Vice President at Media Matters for America. "This latest email shows that on every issue, Fox News will sacrifice journalistic integrity in order to spin and shape the public debate to favor conservatives."
On December 8, in the midst of global climate change talks, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about "U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record."
Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was "expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record," following a "trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 was warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s." Goler went on to explain that "ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada," which, he said, was "politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming."
Less than 15 minutes after the segment, Sammon sent the following email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters, producers, and network executives, instructing them to "IMMEDIATELY" include objections of "critics" when reporting on climate data:
From: Sammon, Bill To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009 Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data...
...we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
That night's Special Report with Bret Baier featured another report by Goler on the Copenhagen conference, featuring a clip of Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Association explaining the recent finding that 2000-2009 "is likely to be the warmest on the record."
Appearing to echo Sammon's orders, Goler immediately followed this by saying that "skeptics say the recordkeeping began about the time a cold period was ending in the mid 1800s and what looks like an increase may just be part of a longer cycle."
The release of this Sammon email comes after Media Matters published an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term "public option" and instead use variations of "government option." That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform. Sammon confirmed the email's authenticity to The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, saying "I have no idea what the Republicans were pushing or not. It's simply an accurate, fair, objective term."
Media Matters also announced that it was creating an email address, email@example.com, where Fox News employees can anonymously send examples of the network's complete disregard for journalism.