Fox Denies Telling Scientific American Editor Not To Discuss Climate Change

Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, was invited to “Fox & Friends” this morning to discuss “futuristic trends.”

Things didn’t go quite as planned.

When we reached out to Fox News, they denied that climate change was the issue.

“We invited Michael on for a segment on technological and scientific trends we can expect in the future. We worked closely with him and his team and there was never an issue on the topic of climate change,” Suzanne Scott, SVP of programming at Fox News, said in a statement. “To say he was told specifically not to discuss it, would be false.”

In an email, Moyer told Business Insider that “the specific language used (in an email, by the Fox producer) was ‘Also, can we replace the climate change with something else?'”

Talking Points Memo notes that “a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that while misinformation about climate change was more or less common among cable news channels, Fox News led the pack by airing misleading coverage 72 per cent of the time.”

The video of the segment, which aired this morning, was not working for a while, but seems to be back up.

In it, Moyer talks about the future promise of things like genes to cure disease, more Earth-like planets, cheaper trips to space, and robot transportation.

When Moyer mentions the Earth-like planets, Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts asks, “Do they have football?” Moyer laughs. “We don’t know yet!” says co-host Steve Doocy. “They might have water, and they certainly might have football.”

“Well,” says Kilmeade, “that would be fantastic.”

The whole experience sounds surreal.

Here’s how Moyer felt about it afterwards:

Later, Moyer wrote a blog post giving the incident some context. The original pitch from Fox & Friends, wrote Moyer, was for a segment along the lines of: “Crystal ball: What will science and technology bring over the next 50 years?”

“I agreed to do the spot, but I said that it’s a fool’s game to guess at what technologies are going to exist in a half-century,” he wrote. “Instead I could do a ‘trends for the future’ in science. They said OK.”

Here is Moyer’s account of what happened next:

About the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we’re going to have to deal with the impacts. So I put that as one of my talking points… The Fox producer came back and very politely and matter-of-factly said that we would have to replace the climate change item.

Moyer decided to still go on the show, because there were other things he wanted to talk about, and he didn’t want to forgo the opportunity to “share cool science with whomever will listen.”

You can read Moyer’s whole story over at Scientific American »

Here’s the full segment, as it aired:

This post has been updated as the story develops.

Disclosure: The author has written for Scientific American.