Two top global warming research groups -- which News Corp. has cited as experts on the issue -- are criticizing Fox News for urging its reporters to slant coverage of the story.
Media Matters' disclosed this week a staff e-mail from Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon that questioned the "veracity of climate change data" and ordered 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."
Following that disclosure, two spokespeople from groups fighting for awareness of global warming spoke out against Fox's actions. Both are among those cited on a resource list by News Corp.'s Global Energy Initiative as experts on the issue.
The News Corp. Global Energy Initiative, which has not responded to a request for comment, was created in 2007 to raise awareness of the global warming issue.
Among those cited on the News Corp. group's website as an expert is Nicholas Stern of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Stern is author of the 2006 Stern Review, a 700-page report considered by many a prime source for information on global warming.
Bob Ward, a Stern spokesman, criticized Fox for the e-mail and said it is not a surprise.
"You've managed to find the evidence of everything we've suspected. The American people are being deceived by Fox," Ward said. "It's not surprising. We are aware in the U.K. that Fox is a very politically partisan news outlet and appears to be promoting so-called skepticism, which seems to be very prevalent among the Republican Party.
"I don't think anyone has ever been fooled. Their coverage of climate change has been heavily politicized and by no stretch of the imagination is an accurate portrayal of the science.
"The e-mail shows that they seized on an opportunity to try and justify their very partisan and inaccurate coverage of climate change, to cast doubt.
"It is an attempt to deceive the American people. It is quite simple: It is putting its own views ahead of the United States' needs. It is a blatant example of Fox promoting its own political agenda at the expense of the public interest."
Also speaking out is Zoe Tcholak-Antitch, vice-president of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which the News Corp. Global Energy Initiative also cited as a resource.
"It is very disturbing to hear of this e-mail because it just goes further to sow seeds of doubt among the American population then makes it more difficult for the politicians to stand up for any type of legislation on climate change if they want to get elected," she said. "I do believe it is a shame.
"It obviously does have an impact on the American public. We are facing an issue that needs to be dealt with in a timely fashion. The danger is that this delays action. While it exists, it delays action and it hinders politicians from passing laws and regulations that will help a clean energy economy and create jobs for American people."