Media Matters has the story.
Long story short, after someone at Fox made the mistake of reporting the reality that we’re in a warming trend, a memo was sent out that betrays both Fox’s scientific illiteracy (calling the instrumental record “theories”, really?) and its dedication to ensuring conservatives remain deluded about what’s going on in the world around them:
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.
For a different- intelligent- perspective on what it means to be a journalist covering scientific issues and the idea of “choosing sides”, see Ed Yong’s articulate and inspiring call to arms:
Science journalism is a fundamentally different beast to, say, political reporting. Here, there is an objective truth. The MMR vaccine either causes autism or it doesn’t (it doesn’t). The world was either fashioned by a Creator or it wasn’t (it wasn’t).
… [T]his is about taking sides with truth. It’s about being knowledgeable enough to make a decent stab at uncovering the truth and presenting the outcomes of that quest to one’s readers, even if that outcome lies firmly on one side of a “debate”.
And obviously, the planet is either warming or it isn’t (it is). It’s not irresponsible to report facts as facts. What Fox demands of its employees is the opposite- to cast doubt on things that aren’t even in question in the scientific community due to the organization’s function as a Republican political propaganda organ.