Can intentionally providing climate change disinformation known to the provider to be false be construed as fraud? Initially I was thinking that this might be consumer fraud by tiny little news outlets.
Can intentionally providing climate change disinformation known to the provider to be false be construed as fraud?
No. That is insufficient for a finding of fraud.
One of the prima facie elements of fraud is that the consumer of provider's information incur losses (aka consequent damage) as a result of that misrepresentation. See Elcon Const. v. Eastern Washington Univ., 273 P.3d 965, 970 (2012).
Even if the consumer incurs losses, he might be unable to prove another element: that of reasonable "reliance on the truth of the representation". The consumer would have a hard time persuading that he had a good reason to rely on that provider on an issue that is highly controversial, and on which the provider cannot be expected to have the last word.
It's not fraud because you aren't defrauding anyone out of anything.
If you lie to someone about a topic, it's up to them to do the research and find the truth or what their opinion is.
If you lie about a person or organization you may be sued for libel if you don't retract it. http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/retraction-law-california