Fox News D.C. Bureau Chief Bill Sammon e-mailed staffers last December to instruct them not to assert that the “planet has warmed (or cooled)” without “IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”
Sammon’s e-mail, obtained by Media Matters, came less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler reported on-air that the World Meteorological Organization at the U.N. said 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”
The missive was sent three weeks after the so-called “Climategate” scandal broke and in the middle of the Copenhagen climate summit.
The Fox News bureau chief wrote to his staff that it was “not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”
Climate change isn’t the only topic where Sammon has told staffers to tip their coverage toward conservatives: he also instructed staffers to echo GOP talking points in the health care debate by using the term “government option” instead of “public option.” Sammons defended the wording, told the Daily Beast that “public option” is a “vague, bland, undescriptive phrase,” while “government option” is “simply an accurate, fair, objective term.”
Read the full e-mail below.
From: Sammon, Bill To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009 Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data…
…we should 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. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
Here’s the segment that resulted in Sammon’s e-mail: