At MediaMatters, a former CNN producer provides strong evidence that anti-clean energy, pro-fossil-fuel Fox News exerts an a deleterious gravitational pull on other parts of the media world.
Peter Dykstra, who oversaw the CNN environmental beat from 1995 to 2008, recalled top CNN executives describing environmental stories as "elite issues or liberal issues" that would not draw a Fox News crowd.
"For the last 10 years, CNN has been battered by competition, primarily by Fox. They have incurred huge losses in ratings to Fox and like just about anyone in cable television, they have altered their programming far more in the direction of entertainment and amusement as opposed to information with redeeming value. That of course does not bode well for covering science," Dykstra said in a recent interview. "CNN has looked obsessively at how many viewers they've lost to Fox."
Dykstra spent 1991 to 2008 on the environmental beat at CNN, except for a short stint on the military desk in 2002, serving as executive producer for environmental and science coverage from 1995 to 2008. He was laid off in 2008 when the environmental unit was shut down, he said.
Of course, as we just heard the other day from speaker after speaker at ACORE's National Renewable Energy Policy Forum, the tired old assertion that the transition away from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy is an "elite" or "liberal" niche concern is simply false. Note that conservative Republican Rep. Steve King (IA) spoke at the forum and expressed strong support not just for renewable energy, but for federal support to wind, biofuels, etc. We'd also remind everybody that the renewable energy industry is creating good jobs, and lots of them, in America every day. In fact, this is an exciting, dynamic industry, one that the media should be celebrating at all levels -- not ignoring or denigrating,