McAleer, who is from Beragh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland and who is a former student of the National Council for the Training of Journalists course at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, began his journalism career by accepting a position at the Crossmaglen Examiner a local Northern Ireland newspaper in Co. Armagh, an area where the IRA operated. McAleer then moved to Northern Ireland's largest-selling daily, the Irish News, in Belfast. There he covered the Northern Ireland troubles and peace process, before becoming night editor. From 1998 to 2000, he worked for the UK's Sunday Times in its Dublin office. From 2000 to 2003 he was the Romania/Bulgaria Correspondent for the Financial Times, and he also covered those countries for The Economist. It was this position that ultimately led him to filming documentaries.
McElhinney, who is from Bundoran, Co. Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, has made documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada), and RTÉ (Ireland). She has been a guest on Dennis Miller and the Randi Rhodes show. McElhinney has worked as a journalist and filmmaker in the US, Canada, Romania, Bulgaria, Chile, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Ghana and Uganda.
FrackNation is a feature documentary that aims to address misinformation about the process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking. It premiered in 2013 on Mark Cuban's AXS TV and was distributed by Magnolia Pictures in 2014. FrackNation was inspired by a confrontation between Josh Fox, the director of the 2010 documentary Gasland, and McAleer. While Fox was promoting his film project McAleer confronted him about the historical records of people being able to ignite natural gas in water at "Burning Springs" long before fracking started. McAleer told the Los Angeles Times that Fox did not include that information in his film because he did not think it was relevant towards the current drilling impacts of certain areas.
McAleer told Politico he was motivated to make the film by the "one-sided approach taken by the media, 'outsiders' and 'urban elites'" on the fracking process. McAleer said there has been no real debate on the issue, with the environmental lobby relying on emotion and scare tactics to condemn fracking.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette McAleer stressed the film is trying to show both sides of the fracking discussion. "We're definitely covering the contamination" in the film, McAleer said. "We feature both sides."
In 2013, a sequel to Gasland titled Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on 21 April 2013. A group of farmers, who were featured in FrackNation, along with McAleer and McElhinney, were not admitted into the premiere and claimed that it was because they asked difficult questions; organizers said that after guests who had purchased advance tickets and waited in line had been admitted, the screening was full.
Not Evil Just Wrong is a film McElhinney and McAleer directed and produced to challenge Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. It suggests that the evidence for human-caused global warming is inconclusive, and that the impact of suggested legislation for mitigating climate change would be much more harmful to humans than beneficial. The movie was filmed in 2008, and was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and at the Right Online conference in 2009.
In 2010, the directors cooperated with the Independent Women's Forum to create a program, Balanced Education for Everyone (B.E.E.) that seeks to place Not Evil Just Wrong in schools.
Mine Your Own Business is a documentary partly funded by the Canadian Mining Company that looked at campaigns by foreign environmentalists against a large scale mining project in Romania that never came to fruition. The film looked at how the lives of the poor people in the area would have been affected if the mine had been built. McAleer agreed to film the documentary, funded by the Canadian Mining Company featured in the movie, after the company guaranteed that he and wife would retain creative control over its content. McAleer said of his findings during the shoot:
It was surprising that environmentalists would lie, but the most shocking part was yet to come. As I spoke to the Western environmentalists, it quickly emerged that they wanted to stop the mine because they felt that development and prosperity will ruin the rural "idyllic" lifestyle of these happy peasants. This "lifestyle" includes 70-percent unemployment, two-thirds of the people having no running water and using an outhouse in winters where the temperature can plummet to 20 degrees below zero centigrade.
In the documentary, McAleer films Mark Fenn from the World Wildlife Fund, who is shown living in luxurious conditions, at one point showing off his $35,000 sailboat to the cameras, all the while advocating the value of living a simplistic, village life.
McElhinney and McAleer directed and co-produced "The Search for Tristan's Mum," which highlights the case of a toddler Tristan Dowse who was adopted by an Irish couple at birth—and then abandoned in an Indonesian orphanage two years later. It broadcast on RTÉ 1, the Irish state television station, in 2005. Tristan Dowse was an Indonesian boy adopted by an Irish man, Joe Dowse, and his Azerbaijani wife, Lala. After two years, Tristan was abandoned at the Indonesian orphanage from where he had been originally adopted, when, according to the Dowses, the adoption "hadn't worked out." At that stage, his adoption had been recognised by the Irish Adoption Board and he had been granted Irish citizenship. He could only speak English. In 2005, McAleer and McElhinney reunited the young boy with his natural mother, Suryani. In 2006, an Irish court ordered the Dowses to pay an immediate lump sum of €20,000 to Tristan, maintenance of €350 per month until he is 18 years of age, and a further lump sum of €25,000 when he reaches the age of 18. In addition, Tristan would remain an Irish citizen and enjoy all the rights to the Dowses’ estate. Tristan’s adoption was struck off the Register of Foreign Adoptions held by the Irish Adoption Board and Suryani was appointed his sole legal guardian.
This film was selected to be part of Input 2006, a showcase for programs representing national public broadcasters from around the world, and was duly screened for industry professionals at the film festival that year in Taiwan in May.
McElhinney and McAleer are developing a true crime drama film about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted on three of the murder charges, 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law, May 2013. The murder charges related to a patient who died while under his care and seven newborns said to have been killed after being born alive during attempted abortions. The current film project is called the Gosnell Movie, and it has raised more than $2.3 million on Indiegogo as of June 26, 2015. On Friday, 9 May 2014, the filmmakers, McElhinney and McAleer, announced that they had hit their funding goal for the movie and that the movie will be made. The Gosnell movie project has raised more money than any other movie project in Indiegogo history. During the fundraising period the project received endorsements from Hollywood actors such as Kevin Sorbo. Crowdfund Insider has called the Gosnell movie project the "Most Successfully Funded Campaign on Indiegogo". The campaign received contributions from 28,181 donors. Andrew Klavan has been hired to be the screenwriter for the movie. Nick Searcy will direct and John Sullivan is the executive producer.
In January 2017, Regnery Publishing released McElhinney and McAleer's book about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer. The book debuted at No. 3 on Amazon’s best seller list and No. 13 on the New York Times's "Combined Print & E-Book Best Sellers." Regnery Publishing claimed that the New York Times “ignored real sales numbers.”
McElhinney and McAleer are popular speakers at conservative conferences. McElhinney spoke at Right Online in Las Vegas, hosted by Americans for Prosperity, where she spoke out in reaction to Van Jones—who had made an appearance at Netroots Nation. She spoke at the 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2017 Conservative Political Action Conferences. She has also been a featured speaker at the Civitas Institute's Conservative Leadership Conference. McElhinney and McAleer were featured speakers on the Media Research Center's 2016 Caribbean Cruise and at the 2016 Heritage Foundation Resource Bank. In 2009, a U.S. poll identified McElhinney and McAleer as the most popular conservative speakers after broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and columnist Ann Coulter.
McAleer attended the New York City premiere of The Age of Stupid, a movie about the last surviving human after the world's destruction by global warming, blaming air travel as the biggest contributor to global warming. When McAleer asked the movie director how she got to the premiere in New York, security kicked him out of the event. Later, McAleer told the Irish News that the film should have been called the "Age of Hypocrisy."
McAleer attended a press conference held by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) to interview Al Gore, one of his first in four years. He asked Gore about the 9 errors found in An Inconvenient Truth and if he had any plans to correct them, since the film is still shown in schools. Gore replied: "Well, I'm not going to go through all of those." McAleer countered that polar bear numbers had actually increased. Shortly afterward, his microphone was turned off by members of the SEJ. The SEJ has maintained that McAleer's mic was cut off due to him exceeding his time limit. McAleer has publicly disagreed, saying it was censorship.
In October 2010, film director James Cameron donated $1 million to oppose California's Prop 23, which would have overturned AB 32—California's climate change legislation. In response to this donation, McElhinney and McAleer made a short film; it alleged that passage of AB 32 would increase Californians' energy costs, and suggested that Cameron, who'd been quoted as saying, "we are going to have to live with less," lives a more energy-extravagant life than most Americans. The Independent said that this attack advertisement was "tapping a rich rhetorical vein", but ignores Cameron's distributor, 20th Century Fox, which buys carbon offsets.
McAleer has dressed up as a polar bear at events featuring Al Gore and Phil Jones.