Fox News Tells Science Writer: Don't Talk About Climate Change

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A Scientific American editor revealed that a Fox News producer asked him to not talk about climate change during a segment on future trends in science and technology.

Talking Points Memo reported that Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, had stated on Twitter that Fox News told him to not discuss climate change during an April 30 appearance on Fox & Friends:

Here is video of that segment, which includes Fox & Friends' notoriously dim-witted co-host Brian Kilmeade asking -- to Moyer's apparent dismay -- whether newly found Earth-like planets "have football":

Moyer later wrote up the interaction, stating that he thought climate change was a relevant topic because "[a]bout the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we're going to have to deal with the impacts."

This is not the first time we have gotten a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that lead Fox News to cover climate change inaccurately 72 percent of the time. In 2010, Media Matters obtained a memo sent by a Fox News executive during the height of the fabricated "Climategate" scandal 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." More recently, in February 2014, an O'Reilly Factor producer accidentally emailed a climate activist website asking for "the best arguments against global warming being caused by humans."

UPDATE: Fox News is claiming that "there was never an issue on the topic of climate change" in a statement to Business Insider, which Moyer denies, saying he was told to replace climate change with a different talking point:

"We invited Michael on for a segment on technological and scientific trends we can expect in the future. We worked closely with him and his team and there was never an issue on the topic of climate change,"  Suzanne Scott, SVP of programming at Fox News, said in a statement. "To say he was told specifically not to discuss it, would be false."

In an email, Moyer told Business Insider that "the specific language used (in an email, by the Fox producer) was 'Also, can we replace the climate change with something else?'"

UPDATE 2: Moyer added in an interview with Talking Points Memo that he will not appear on Fox & Friends again because he found their coverage (or lack of coverage) of climate change and other topics disturbing:

"I only tweeted out the experience once I had made the decision not to go on again," he wrote.

"There are some things that in science and scientific discourse are not controversial at all," Moyer said in a follow-up phone call. "I hope that we can all as a society agree to at least discuss them and come up with good solutions. Just because you don't want something to be true doesn't make it not true."

Beyond the silence on climate change, Moyer said he found the show's segments on Benghazi and on whether Secretary of State John Kerry should resign as examples of coverage he thought "seemed to be inventing controversy where none existed."

"I found the tone and topics of coverage while I was sitting in the green room this morning to be not something that I wanted to be a part of in the future," he said. "I didn't realize that the drumbeat of conservative propaganda was so ubiquitous on the show."

UPDATE 3: Fox & Friends lashed out at Moyer on May 1, labeling him a "'SCIENTIFIC' COWARD," in line with its tradition of attacks on critics:

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Fox News Channel
Brian Kilmeade
FOX & Friends
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