I'm waiting for the outrage.
In the wake of a story and leaked email published today by progressive media watchdog Media Matters about how a Fox News editor warned reporters, producers and other executives not to report on rising temperatures without raising the position of the skeptic's voice in the climate science community, I'm waiting for the outpouring of calls for journalistic integrity and ethics in journalism from conservatives.
I'm waiting to hear about thousands of angry conservatives flooding the phones and email inboxes at Fox News demanding journalistic integrity and accuracy in reporting. You know, the kinds of emails and phone calls that flooded NPR two months ago after they fired Juan Williams for saying he gets nervous when he sees passengers in Muslim clothing on a plane.
Media Matters reports that less than 15 minutes after a segment ran on Fox News last December where a Fox News correspondent reported that 2000-2009 was "expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record," word came down from on high that reporters should "refrain from asserting the planet has warmed or cooled without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."
The memo was sent from Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters, producers, and network executives:
Here is the original report that spurred the email from Sammon, filed by Fox News' Wendell Goler from Copenhagen, Denmark on December 8, 2009:
But after Sammons' memo, the story was reported quite differently at Fox News, as the Media Matters piece points out. Again, Goler reported on the UN meteorologists' report that 2000-2009 would be the warmest decade on record, but this time with several minutes dedicated to raising doubt about the science, including a segment with a vocal climate skeptic from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and an introduction by Special Report host Brett Baeir that led off with the phrase "As climategate-fueled skeptics continued to impugn global warming science..."
Not surprisingly, Fox News has yet to even acknowledge the story or the existence of Sammon's email. And conservative blogs like Newbusters are actually defending the email as evidence of good journalism:
"The fact that Fox is taking flack for not slanting its reporting to be more friendly to one political position than the other speaks volumes not just about critics' lack of concern for journalistic ethics, but also about Fox itself. The email above is a showing of political neutrality. On climate reporting, other media outlets could take a lesson from Bill Sammon."
The real problem that Fox News' apologists like Newsbusters' Lachlan Markay fail to see is that the email in question was not demanding political neutrality, because even the staunchest skeptics do not deny that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record.
Goler's original report that spurred the Sammon email did not "take sides" on climate change, it merely reported the scientific fact that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. A fact that NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies confirmed one month after Sammon's email. And a fact that Fox News has still yet to acknowledge.
I'm still waiting for the outrage. But I won't be holding my breath.