KSTP denies report Stanley Hubbard is sponsoring climate change denial conference [UPDATE]

Hubbard, according to Rolling Stone, calls climate change "the biggest fraud in the history of America."
Hubbard, according to Rolling Stone, calls climate change "the biggest fraud in the history of America."

:::: UPDATE :::: As Media Matters notes, despite Radford's denial, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. is listed as a co-sponsor of the conference on the Heartland Institute's website. As a result, Media Matters characterizes "the Hubbard team's response" as "a completely illogical dodge."

Original post (June 27) -- In a report, Media Matters dings Stanley Hubbard for "co-sponsoring a Heartland Institute conference promoting climate denial" and alleges Hubbard's skepticism has "seeped into [his] stations' reporting."

Hubbard's flagship station, of course, is KSTP. But KSTP news director Lindsay Radford tells us Media Matters has it wrong about the upcoming conference and overstates Hubbard's influence on her newsroom.

See also:
Petition calls on Star Tribune to stop paying attention to climate change deniers

Stanley Hubbard was in Europe yesterday, but after we contacted Radford, she got in touch with his camp. Radford says Hubbard isn't actually "sponsoring" the conference, which Media Matters characterizes as providing a forum for "railing against the scientific consensus that humans are the main cause of climate change." But Hubbard did provide the Heartland Institute with a $1,000 check for an award to be given out during it, Radford says. (Media Matters notes that sponsors of the conference contribute anywhere from $150 to $10,000, so it's possible Media Matters and Radford are using different terms for the same thing.)

Media Matters cites a number of examples to support the allegation that climate change denial has seeped into KSTP's reporting, including that the station featured Heartland Institute CEO Joseph Bast as a guest during its programming last fall, aired a 10-minute Heartland Institute video entitled "Unstoppable Solar Cycles" espousing the claim that recent climate change is being driven by changes in the sun, and employs meteorologist Dave Dahl, who believes the sun, not man, causes climate change.

But Radford sent us a statement denying that Hubbard's personal views have an impact on KSTP's reporting. 

"Just like any story, we strive to give all sides," Radford wrote. "We are not a spoon-fed newsroom, which means we believe in doing our own research and questioning everything. This news department does not have an agenda when it comes to climate change. It is our job to present the facts and let the viewers decide."

Radford did acknowledge that as a policy, the station uses "climate change" on the air instead of "global warming." But she says that's simply because "climate change" is a more politically neutral term.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.

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