Media Research Center - Press Release - May 8, 2001


From Inauguration Day Through Earth Day Not A Single Global Warming Skeptic Appeared On The ABC, CBS Or NBC Nightly Newscasts

ALEXANDRIA, VA - In a striking finding of media bias, the Media Research Centers Free Market Project today released a study showing how network news journalists have shed any pretense of fairness or balance on global warming and have become environmental activists, in staunch opposition to the Bush Administration on this issue.

For the three big network nightly newscasts to not air a single comment from a global warming skeptic for three months is beyond bias. It is pure activism. The numbers clearly show that with the exception of Fox News Channel, the nightly network newscasts have become advocates for the environmental extremist cause. This is Chicken Little with a microphone and makeup, said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.

MRC analysts reviewed all 51 stories aired on the nightly network newscasts from Inauguration Day (Jan. 20) through Earth Day (April 22). Programs analyzed included: ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CNN Inside Politics, and Fox News Channels Special Report with Brit Hume.

Our findings, documenting blatantly one-sided media coverage of the issue of global warming come as scientists with impeccable credentials and no particular political ax to grind such as Dr. Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics or Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT concur that the science of global warming is very much unsettled, flawed and in many cases exaggerated, Bozell said.

Key Findings

  • The three broadcast networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, totally excluded the views of global warming skeptics from their coverage.

  • The view that human-induced global warming is leading to catastrophic climate change received six times as much attention as the views of scientific skeptics who argue that such gloom-and-doom scenarios are either exaggerated or wrong.

  • There were only seven references to the existence of global warming skeptics. Six of those were on the Fox News Channel, while the other was a single reference by a CNN correspondent to a statement by President Bush about the incomplete state of scientific knowledge.

  • In spite of unanimous opposition to the Kyoto treaty in the U.S. Senate, the networks provided Kyoto supporters with more than twice as much airtime as backers of Bushs decision to scrap the treaty (69% to 31%).

  • By a nearly two-to-one margin (65% to 35%), the networks also skewed the debate over Bushs decision not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions in favor of his critics.

  • Free market opponents of new restrictions on industrial activity such as those included in the Kyoto deal were outnumbered 20 to 3 by spokesmen for environmental groups, none of whom were ever labeled as liberal.

Examples Of The Networks Chicken Little Effect

Global temperatures on the rise, glaciers retreating, storms more frequent and severe a looming crisis, say many scientists, of the greenhouse effect. Yet, claiming potential harm to the economy, the White House today confirmed it will abandon the global accord to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, the number one greenhouse gas John Roberts, CBS Evening News, 3/28/01.

This is punishment, say scientists, for sins of the past, the end result of years of pollution. ... In the Midwest, deadly heat waves and severe droughts. And in the Northeast, what is now precious waterside property could one day be underwater. Scientists say its no longer a matter of if, but when Byron Pitts, CBS Evening News, 2/19/01.

Media Interviews
To schedule an interview with Mr. Bozell or Free Market Project Director Richard Noyes, contact Katie Wright at (703)-683-5004, ext. 132. See the full study.