ABCs Morrell misleads viewers on Journalists credentials

     Starting off a weeks worth of in-depth reporting on global warming, World News Tonight falsely presented a liberal journalist and author as a Pulitzer Prize winner.

     Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan blames a 15-year misinformation campaign by the oil and coal industry for the publics lack of alarm over climate change, ABCs Geoff Morrell told viewers of his networks March 26 evening newscast.

     The point of this campaign was not necessarily to persuade the public that global warming wasn't happening. It was to persuade the public that there is this state of confusion, Gelbspan told ABC News.

     But it was ABC News confusing its viewers over Gelbspans credentials as well the scientific debate over climate change. While Gelbspans publisher and the group he founded, Climate Crisis Coalition, claim the journalist won a Pulitzer Prize, a search for Gelbspan on the Pulitzer Prizes official Web site yields no results for the former Boston Globe editor.

     Both the Business & Media Institute and have previously documented the false claim.

     In 1984, Gelbspan's newspaper The Boston Globe and seven staff writers were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for a series of articles. But not Gelbspan. He was simply an editor who had some (non-award-winning) involvement in the series of articles, noted.

     Additionally, the seven award-winning Boston Globe reporters with whom Gelbspan worked reported on a social, not scientific issue, race relations in Boston, according to

     Morrell is not the first ABC correspondent to incorrectly attribute a Pulitzer to Gelbspan. Chris Bury similarly misrepresented the liberal authors credentials on a Dec. 9, 1997 Nightline story about the Kyoto Protocol, which had yet to be signed by President Clinton.

     Morrell went on to confuse viewers about the extent of skepticism within the scientific community about global warming. Morrell showed University of Virginia climatologist Pat Michaels as one of a handful of skeptics still downplaying the danger of climate change, a tiny minority, he insisted narrating over footage of Michaels seated with three other unnamed persons.

     Morrell aired only a brief sound bite from Michaels about media hype on global warming, but didnt allow him to explain the science behind his skepticism.

     As the Business & Media Institute reported recently, more than 7,600 scientists disputed that global warming is caused by manmade greenhouse gases. Morrell also excluded scientists who pointed to natural factors such as increased solar radiation playing a large role in climate change.

     Accelerated glacier melting could well be due to this increased intensity of sunlight compounding the effect of greenhouse gases, The Sunday Times of London quoted Professor Martin Wild of the Zurich-based Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science in the March 26 edition. Additionally, the same Times article blamed the lack of air pollution for part of the warming problem as the sun is brighter now than twenty years ago and a cleaner atmosphere allows more radiation to reach the earth.

     Two weeks ago, ABC News similarly presented a one-sided view on another media-hyped potential catastrophe: the scientific debate over avian flu.