False Balance Alive & Well in Environmental Coverage

Jonathan Hiskes of Grist–who recently exposed “The NYT‘s Favorite ‘Climate Change Denier'”–has now (5/13/09) caught Fox News giving airtime to Marc Morano’s charge of Al Gore “profiting off global warming campaign” :

Say you’re a harried cable news producer with 24 gaping hours to fill with finished material every day of the week. Say you’re constantly in need of articulate guests to offer a diversity of viewpoints. How do you do it?

One way is to take up offers like this one from the PR folks representing Marc Morano. Refresher: Morano was formerly an aid to climate-change-denier-in-chief James Inhofe (GOP senator from Oklahoma), now heads misinformation clearinghouse, and is still the chief supplier of talking points to the climate-denial camp.

Hiskes’ quotes from the PR release are enlightening for how skillfully they play into the false balance so key to corporate reportage:

Hereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s your anti-Gore Global Warming Expert who offers the science to counteract partisan and ideologically driven Environmental entities and issues….

If you believe most, or all, of the global warming dogma, you may use Marc as your “counter guest” to offer a lively, fair and balanced discussion to your audience. If you are a skeptic of the current doctrine, Marc can aid your program by clearing up the deception with the facts.

The really troubling part comes in the release’s list of news organizations that have fallen for this nonsense, boasting that Morano “has made international news” on “CNN, Fox News Channel‘s the O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes, BBC TV, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post.”

See FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias: Creating Controversy Where Science Finds Consensus” (11-12/04) by Jules Boykoff and Maxwell Boykoff