It seems that Jon Huntsman may have struck a nerve when he called out Rick Perry's comments dismissing global warming and warned that Republicans risk becoming "the anti-science party." Suddenly, the Fox News climate change denial machine is showing some cracks.
We noted that Fox & Friends Sunday host Clayton Morris said the "facts are certainly on Huntsman's side on all of this" and "Perry's comments don't seem to hold a lot of water" (before immediately saying those facts don't matter.)
Last night Fox News' The Five also discussed Huntsman's remarks. When Bob Beckel said the "primary electorate for the Republicans - they actually believe that there isn't global warming," his co-hosts Dana Perino, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Greg Gutfeld protested, "That's not true!"
A curious reaction from employees of the network that has done more than any other major media outlet to manufacture doubt about human-induced climate change. Recall that in an internal memo Fox News executive Bill Sammon ordered the network's journalists to question even the basic fact that the planet has warmed.
Beckel is right. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center earlier this year, most Americans who identify as conservatives and Republicans say global warming does not exist:
Opinion is the reverse among Staunch Conservatives and Main Street Republicans: Most say that there is no solid evidence of warming (75% and 55%, respectively). Among the minority that does see warming, just 5% and 17% respectively, see this warming as a result of human activity. Republican-leaning Libertarians share this perspective: 63% say the earth is not warming and hardly any say that warming exists and is being caused mostly by human activity (6%).
In fact a Brookings report found that "in the United States an individual's partisan affiliation is the most important determinant" of whether they say "there is solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades."
Reflecting the apparent position of Mitt Romney and Chris Christie, Gutfeld further declared that "you can believe that there's man-made-caused climate change" without supporting policies designed to address the problem.
For his part, staunch climate misinformer Eric Bolling said he "agreed" with Beckel that Republicans don't believe in global warming, adding, "Now what's wrong with that?"
We've noted that professional climate contrarians struggle to get on the same page about where exactly the scientific consensus is wrong. Fox clearly has the same problem.
Bolling has claimed, in line with Sammon's directions, that it is "disputed" whether the "surface temperature of the earth is rising," and Sean Hannity says global warming "doesn't exist" and that we're now facing "global cooling."
But Steve Doocy has said "there is no disputing the fact that the earth is getting a little warmer," adding, "the big question is, is it manmade or is it just one of those gigantic climactic, you know, phases that we're going through?" Gutfeld said last week on Red Eye, "I can accept climate change, it's the whole man-made global warming thing that sounds far-fetched to me."
Maybe it's time for another memo? Hopefully, this time it will be informed by the National Academy of Sciences.