CNN quoted CEI policy director on "green-collar jobs" without noting group's reported ties to energy industry

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

During a report on presidential candidates' promotion of "green-collar jobs," CNN's Gerri Willis aired a quote from Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) without noting CEI's reported ties to the energy industry. CEI has reportedly received significant funding from energy industry sources, including more than $2 million from Exxon Mobil Corp. since 1998.

On the January 24 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, during a report on presidential candidates' promotion of "green-collar jobs," CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis aired a quote from Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), without noting CEI's reported ties to the energy industry. As Media Matters for America has documented (here, here, and here), CEI has reportedly received significant funding from energy industry sources, including more than $2 million from Exxon Mobil Corp. since 1998. According to the blog Think Progress, Exxon Mobil no longer provides funding to CEI.

Willis introduced Ebell's quote by saying, "With oil around $90 a barrel, the idea of a green economy that reduces the need for foreign oil and creates jobs at home sounds too good to be true -- and maybe it is." She then aired Ebell asserting: " 'Green-collar jobs' are probably overall a net loss to the economy. If the government is saying that people have to use wind power or have to use ethanol, that means that they'll be using less electricity or less gasoline from conventional sources. So those new jobs in those new industries will be displacing old jobs in old industries."

From the January 24 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Some of the candidates are also touting what they're calling "green-collar jobs" as a way to try to help the economy and the environment at the same time. Our CNN personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, has some details -- Gerri.

WILLIS: Wolf, the topic of jobs has always been a key issue in an election year. But this year, the candidates are pushing a new kind of job -- "green jobs."

[begin video clip]

WILLIS: As the presidential race heats up, a new buzzword has emerged on the campaign trail.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY): "Green-collar jobs."

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I just want to emphasize again that green technologies --

FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): What I have proposed for "green-collar jobs" --

WILLIS: They're all saying it, but what is it?

BRACKEN HENDRICKS (Center for American Progress senior fellow): And what we're talking about with a "green-collar job" is a job that both reverses the impact of global warming, that improves our energy dependence, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and polluting forms of energy. And also invests in creating career ladders and pathways into the middle class -- rebuilding our middle class and rebuilding our cities and our rural communities.

WILLIS: Some of the top presidential candidates are saying that going green can help save the planet and help save the economy.

CLINTON: We need to make sure that we start jump-starting the jobs in this country again. That's why I want to put money into clean energy jobs, "green-collar jobs."

McCAIN: Green technologies is what's going to reduce this dependence on foreign oil. It's going to give us a cleaner planet.

EDWARDS: What I have proposed for "green-collar jobs" will create jobs within 30 or so days. So we will have an immediate impact on the economy.

WILLIS: But does the issue resonate with voters? One think tank says yes.

HENDRICKS: There was a recent poll that asked what Congress could do to improve its image in the public's eye. The leading answer was reduce our dependence on oil by improving the fuel economy of our cars. People are very concerned about over-reliance on gas, about being -- having our economy be dependent for its very lifeblood on the most unstable and un-democratic regions of the planet.

WILLIS: With oil around $90 a barrel, the idea of a green economy that reduces the need for foreign oil and creates jobs at home sounds too good to be true -- and maybe it is.

EBELL: "Green-collar jobs" are probably overall a net loss to the economy. If the government is saying that people have to use wind power or have to use ethanol, that means that they'll be using less electricity or less gasoline from conventional sources. So those new jobs in those new industries will be displacing old jobs in old industries.

WILLIS: Whether "green-collar" workers is this year's campaign buzzword or the cornerstone to a new direction in U.S. energy policy, voters will have a say in this come November.

[end video clip]

WILLIS: These jobs will likely come from the white-collar and blue-collar sectors, as you need people to work on high-end technology and those on the ground installing solar panels. The critic we talked to in the piece also said, hey, don't forget, for every "green-collar job" you create, another one in a different sector will be taken away. So, we have to wait and see how and if this will be implemented -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Gerri. Thanks very much. Gerri Willis reporting.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Energy
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Gerri Willis
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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