Fox News made a rather shocking admission the other day, letting slip that they view their programming not as news, but as comparable to the “editorial page” of a newspaper. See for yourself:
“An increasing number of viewers are relying on Fox News for both news and opinion,” Fox News Senior VP Michael Clemente said in the statement, “and the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents.
“So with all due respect to anyone who might still be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion, my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts rather than the attack the messenger.”
So there you have it. After all the years of Orwellian branding as “fair and balanced” and “we report, you decide” (code for “we report information to support what you’ve already decided”), Fox is finally being honest about its purpose: not to report the facts, but to report talking points that “balance out” any facts that make its viewers uncomfortable.
For an example of the Fox machine at work, watch this amazing (and disturbing) video showing how Beck, Hannity, and others transform a scientist's statement that "we all believe this long-term global warming trend is man-made" into a prediction of "decades of global cooling":
What you see here is just the globally averaged temperature during the 20th century, and you can clearly identify the long-term warming trend, and we all believe that this long-term warming trend is anthropogenic in nature, is man made. However, you see a lot of fluctuations superimposed on this trend, inter-annual as Tim has pointed out, but also decadal.
Now people who know me, at least my German colleagues, know that I do a lot of media work. There is almost no day in the year when I am not called by some media person. And so they basically think about global warming as a kind of slowly evolving process, and monotonic process, so each year is warmer than the preceding year.
However, we all know there is variability, okay, and this variability may look like this [graph]... And the two of course superimpose. And the real evolution of say globally averaged temperature would look like this [graph]. And then you see right away that it may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two, you know, when the temperature cools relative to the present levels, alright.
And then, I know what’s going to happen, you know. I will get millions of phone calls, you know, “what’s going on? Is global warming disappearing? Have you lied on us?" And therefore, this is the reason why we need to address this decadal prediction issue.
Latif's prediction did happen. His reference to "a decade, maybe even two when the temperature cools" was clearly a hypothetical used to illustrate a point, but here's how Glenn Beck interprets it:
The leading climate model guy that has just backed out and said, "yeah, sure, I was wrong… we’re going into 30 years of cooling right now. At least!"
And Sean Hannity:
One of Al Gore’s most prominent allies in this global warming hysterical movement has just pulled the rug out from under the former vice president, and now says the world more likely faces decades of global cooling!
What can be done about Fox News? Well, that's the subject for another post.