MSNBC again hosted Lott in discussion of McCain's energy policy without disclosing that Lott is a lobbyist for gas and oil companies

››› ››› MARK BOCHKIS

On MSNBC Live, anchor Chris Jansing discussed Sen. John McCain's energy policy with former Sen. Trent Lott but failed to disclose that Lott is now a lobbyist for major energy companies. Earlier this month, Andrea Mitchell discussed energy policy with Lott and Sen. John Breaux on MSNBC Live but failed to disclose that both are lobbyists for oil and gas companies.

On the June 24 edition of MSNBC Live, anchor Chris Jansing discussed Sen. John McCain's energy policy with former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) but failed to disclose that Lott is now a lobbyist for major energy companies. Lott and former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) formed the Breaux Lott Leadership Group and now lobby on behalf of oil and gas clients Chevron, Shell, and Plains Exploration & Production Co. MSNBC's failure to identify Lott as a lobbyist for oil and gas clients comes after anchor and NBC News foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell discussed energy policy with Lott and Breaux on the June 9 edition of MSNBC Live but failed to disclose that both are lobbyists for oil and gas companies.

Discussing McCain's recent calls for offshore drilling, Jansing said, "Senator McCain, like President Bush, supports now offshore drilling. Senator Obama does not. This is a policy reversal for Senator McCain. Is it going to hurt him?" During the subsequent discussion, Lott said: "It's time we quit fighting in America about having an energy policy. We have got to have an energy policy, and let's do it all. Let's do drill. Let's do nuclear power. Let's do clean coal. Let's do alternative fuels. Let's do solar, wind. Let's do conservation. Quit arguing over whether we produce more or conserve more. Let's do it all. That's the solution."

According to a Media Matters for America search* of the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Lott and Breaux are registered to lobby Congress on behalf of the following energy companies:

  • Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP). Effective date of registration: 1/1/08. According to its website, PXP "is an independent oil and gas company primarily engaged in the activities of acquiring, developing, exploring and producing oil and gas in its core areas of operation: California, Rockies, Gulf Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Texas Panhandle, South Texas and the Permian Basin of the United States."

Mitchell also did not identify Republican National Committee (RNC) deputy chairman Frank Donatelli as a former registered lobbyist for energy sector clients ExxonMobil and Dominion Resources prior to joining the RNC, while discussing McCain's call for offshore oil drilling during Donatelli's appearance on the June 17 edition of MSNBC Live.

From the 3 p.m. ET hour of the June 24 edition of MSNBC Live:

JANSING: Good afternoon, I'm Chris Jansing. One day after John McCain's chief strategist said that another terrorist attack would benefit McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee has changed the subject. In Santa Barbara, one of the country's most environmentally sensitive cities after the 1969 oil spill there, John McCain proposed offering tax credits and other incentives to address the energy crisis.

MCCAIN [video clip]: In the short term I'd like to give you a little relief for the summer on the gas tax. I don't see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist and in view of many experts that do exist off our coast is also a way that we need to provide relief, even though it may take some years. The fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have a psychological impact that I think is beneficial.

JANSING: Joining me now, Trent Lott, former Republican senator from Mississippi. Senator, good afternoon to you.

LOTT: Good afternoon, Chris. Glad to be with you.

JANSING: Before we get to Senator McCain's energy proposals, his adviser Charlie Black has now apologized for saying that another terrorist attack would be an advantage for John McCain. I'm wondering what your reaction is to these comments. It's been painted a little bit like something a lot of people have been thinking about but simply wouldn't say because it's not PC, frankly.

LOTT: Well first, I know Charlie Black is one of the finest people in Washington, D.C. I have known him for a long time. I consider him a personal friend, so I have to admit that. He has apologized for it, and certainly would have probably chosen a different way to say that. But he was responding to a question. There's no doubt in anybody's mind that when it comes to foreign policy, defense, the terrorism issue, John McCain is strong in that area, and sometime I worry that the American people have sort of, you know, stopped being aware or they have kind of forgotten the real dangers that we face from terrorists all over this country and around the world. So I know that's what Charlie was saying. He was basically saying, look, this is a strong suit for John McCain based on his background, his history, his leadership in this area. He didn't mean to, you know, to say it or make it sound the way it did, that oh, good, you know, if we had another strike it would be beneficial. You shouldn't look at it that way. But you should look at the fact that you need the strongest possible person that will deter another terrorist attack.

JANSING: Perhaps six months ago a lot of people would have thought that national security, the war in Iraq, would be the number one issue. Clearly now with the price of gas, with what's going on in the housing market, we're looking at yet another pocketbook election. Senator McCain, like President Bush, supports now offshore drilling. Senator Obama does not. This is a policy reversal for senator McCain. Is it going to hurt him?

LOTT: Hey, when times change, when circumstances change, sometimes you have to be prepared to change your position. We're talking about this being a change campaign. Look, we've got a problem. America and a lot of Americans are being adversely affected by the cost of gasoline, home heating fuel, all the energy costs. Corn ethanol has certainly had an impact on food prices. So it's time that we do some different things, some innovative things. John McCain has been emphasizing that. He has an energy policy. He said, yes, we should drill, but he also says, you know, we should, you know, lead in nuclear power. France gets most of their power from nuclear power safely. They decided how to deal with this waste that they have. But, look, Obama has no plan, and John is doing innovative things. He said, look, let's suspend the federal tax temporarily. He said, look, let's give, you know, a $300 million award to a company that will actually come up with a battery-driven automobile. You know, we've got to go after energy with passion.

JANSING: But Senator, this is a change for him. And is it fair to say that in one instance it's change that you're dealing with, changing circumstances, but when the other guy does it, you call it flip-flopping?

LOTT: Well, I'm sure that there's some unfairness that goes both ways, but, frankly, I think John McCain has been moving in the right direction. But, look, here is what I have been saying for the last five years. It's time we quit fighting in America about having an energy policy. We have got to have an energy policy, and let's do it all. Let's do drill. Let's do nuclear power. Let's do clean coal. Let's do alternative fuels. Let's do solar, wind. Let's do conservation. Quit arguing over whether we produce more or conserve more. Let's do it all. That's the solution.

[...]

JANSING: Senator Lott, always a pleasure to talk with you, sir. Thank you.

LOTT: Thank you.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling, Energy
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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