Face the State represented as "Web Outrage" public responses to Denver anti-global warming plan that followed Drudge posting

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In publishing a misleading headline and linking it to a Rocky Mountain News article on Denver's proposed plan to address global warming, the right-wing "news" website Face the State continued its pattern of misrepresenting content to advance a conservative viewpoint -- much as the national website The Drudge Report does.

Continuing a trend that Colorado Media Matters has identified, the conservative "news" website FacetheState.com on June 12 published a misleading headline for one of the site's aggregated news articles as a way to advance a conservative viewpoint. In this latest instance, the site inflated the level of criticism drawn by the Climate Action Plan, a package of proposed measures presented to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to address global warming. Launched by conservative activist Brad Jones, who reportedly has called for higher "journalistic standards" in political reporting, Face the State describes itself as "a one-stop-shop for political news affecting Coloradans."

On June 12 the Rocky Mountain News published an article about public responses to the Climate Action Plan, titled "Some see red on Denver's green plan: Proposals called radical, 'loony' after hitting Web." The home page for Face the State on June 12 linked to the News article under the misleading banner headline "Web Outrage Over Hickenlooper's Radical Environment Plan."

Contrary to the suggestion that the News had reported on wide-ranging "Web Outrage," the News in fact reported on critical phone calls and emails that had reached the News and Hickenlooper's office after the conservative website Drudgereport.com, operated by Internet gossip Matt Drudge, on June 11 featured a previous News article about Denver's Climate Action Plan. Drudge linked the article with the banner headline " 'WARMING' PLAN IN DENVER: CRACKDOWN ON RESIDENTS."

The June 12 News article noted that the Climate Action Plan contained controversial ideas, but also put them into perspective:

The plan includes several controversial ideas, including making residents who use large amounts of electricity and natural gas pay higher utility fees, boosting insurance rates for people who drive long distances and mandating that homes be energy efficient before they can be sold.

[...]

Some of the proposals in Denver's plan that might sound radical to residents are already in place in other states. California, for example, charges heavy users of electricity higher rates.

The News also reported that Hickenlooper had dismissed the controversy, quoting him as saying, "We've gotten a bunch of phone calls, but nothing like a good snowstorm."

The Drudge Report, like Face the State, highlights and applies misleading headlines to news stories to advance and amplify conservative talking points. On the same June 11 home page that featured a link to the News article about Denver's Climate Action Plan, The Drudge Report also featured a link to a report on the KMGH 7News website about the record low temperature of 37 degrees recorded at Denver International Airport on June 8. In linking this article with the headline "Denver Sees Coldest June Morning In Over 50 Years ...," The Drudge Report used the same tactic that Face the State has employed: publishing a headline to imply that cold weather conditions belie global warming theory, as Colorado Media Matters has noted.

As Colorado Media Matters also has pointed out (here, here, here, here, here, and here), scientists, government researchers, and other credible sources assert that pointing to any sporadic regional weather event as "evidence" that disproves global warming is simplistic and misleading. Extensive documentation shows that drawing conclusions on the basis of temperatures in a limited area over periods of time that are infinitesimal on the historical scale contradicts the nature of how scientists observe climate change: by identifying the annual temperatures -- global and national -- over significant periods of time.

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