Veteran Fox News reporter Carl Cameron now works for a climate-activist blog
By Zoya Teirstein
Q. Why do you care about the climate?
A. I was into ecology back in the day, in the ‘70s. I went to No Nukes concerts. I protested in a nuclear plant and got billy-clubbed in my calves. I tried to jump a picket fence, and the cops decided not to arrest me, but they left a couple of bruises. I was a subscriber to the Whole Earth Catalog when I was just a kid. I went to the first Earth Day. Being environmentally friendly is neither right nor left, Democrat nor Republican. Hell, if you’ve gotta attach it to somebody who made a difference, how about the Bull Moose Party and Teddy Roosevelt?
Unfortunately, in all my years of covering presidential politics, I can honestly say no television news operation did a serious job on which candidates were serious about climate change. It was a box that got checked off at debates, it was a box that got checked off on policy papers, a couple of speeches here and there. But it was never really a consequential issue other than with Al Gore.
Q. Did you notice Fox clamping down on climate coverage while you were there?
A.In the news? No. I would always put those stories in, I would always cover candidates who would make those speeches. But, in terms of the tone of the network, that was far dominated by the opinion makers who, generally speaking, have been climate deniers. And frankly, President Trump dominates everything because the media has chosen to make tweets worthy of news, notwithstanding the fact that a huge percentage of Trump’s tweets promised threats have never come to fruition. They still cover them as though its news.
My views weren’t important when I was working as a reporter at Fox. I made a concerted effort to align with neither party and made it clear to everybody I was working with that my job is to give the voters accurate information so that they can make their decisions. And that’s what I tried to do. I didn’t have any pressure to share a right or left wing opinion. And I didn’t, not on the air at least and very rarely around the workplace.
Q. It seems to me that climate change has finally entered the mainstream conversation in a new way this cycle. You’ve covered many presidential elections. Do you see it that way?
A. I think people who thought that this was decades or centuries away, people who followed the debate and were inclined one way or another, were undecided about climate change. I think the extreme weather events, the rising sea levels, the melting ice caps have actually gotten through to people.
It’s amazing to think that this information was out there 20 years ago and only now is it becoming a prevailing [issue]. Instead of it being a climate problem, we have newspapers, television hosts, and politicians talking about a climate crisis. So there’s progress. Way, way too slow.