REPORT: Fox News Enlists Fossil Fuel Industry To Smear EPA Carbon Pollution Standards

››› ››› LAURA SANTHANAM

A Media Matters analysis of Fox News coverage of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed carbon pollution standards finds that long after a report from the Chamber of Commerce was discredited, Fox News continued to cite it. In addition, Fox News only hosted politicians who opposed EPA standards and who have altogether received over $1.6 million in contributions from fossil fuel industries in 2014.

Fox News Trumpets Debunked Chamber Report On EPA's Carbon Pollution Standards

Fox News Cites Debunked Chamber Report Seven Times As Often As NRDC Report. Fox News hosts or guests cited a discredited report by the Chamber of Commerce seven times, even though it studied a scenario far stricter than the actual rule from the EPA. According to the executive director of the Green Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is "dominated by oil companies, pharmaceutical giants, automakers and other polluting industries." Conversely, Fox News only offered a single passing mention of a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which found -- contrary to Chamber's findings -- that strict standards would save households on their energy bills while creating thousands of jobs in clean energy industries. [Washington Post, 6/3/2014; Contra Costa Times, 10/22/07; Natural Resources Defense Council, 5/29/2014]

Chamber vs NRDC

For more on how the Chamber of Commerce's report was discredited, see here

Fox News Hosted Politicians Who Received Nearly $2 Million In Fossil Fuel Funding In 2014

Fox News Only Quoted Politicians Who Opposed EPA Standards, Had Fossil Fuel Industry Funding. Fox News only hosted members of Congress who opposed EPA standards in its coverage: every member of Congress who Fox News quoted or interviewed about the carbon standards also received money from oil and gas, mining industries, or electric utilities in the 2014 election cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In total, the members of Congress quoted by Fox News received over $1.6 million in funding from these industries in the 2014 cycle alone. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) received more than $500,000 from these industries, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) received more than $400,000 and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) accepted more than $250,000 in industry-backed funds. Fox News hosts disclosed none of this. [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 6/5/2014]

Campaign Finance Fossil Fuels

For more on how the media has hosted opponents of EPA climate action without disclosure of their fossil fuel funding, see this 2011 report

Fox News Hosted Fossil Fuel Funded "Skeptics" To Renounce Climate Change. On multiple occasions, Fox News decided to forgo a legitimate policy debate in favor of simply rejecting the fact that climate change is happening.

  • On the June 1 edition of America's News Headquarters, Fox correspondent Doug McElway hyped "a torrent of new data" that is "poking large holes in the scientific consensus about global warming," featuring the Cato Institute's Roger Pilon to claim that "we're now at 17 years and 8 months of no global warming" and that climate models have "failed year in and year out." McElway also cited a discredited report by the Heartland Institute, which attempted to debunk the scientific consensus on climate change, claiming that the impact of increased carbon dioxide emissions "has been mostly positive." [Fox News, America's News Headquarters, 6/1/14; Media Matters, 4/8/12]
  • On the June 2 edition of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto, the outlet allowed Heartland Institute's Jay Lehr to dismiss climate change entirely. Lehr renounced the need for carbon-curbing policies, asserted that Obama will "regret" proposing these policies to address climate change, and asked: "What are they smoking?" in response to the fact that the carbon standards will result in benefits. Both the Heartland Institute and Cato Institute have received funding from the fossil fuel industry, but neither organization's funding was disclosed on Fox News. [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 6/2/2014; Media Matters, 11/28/12]
  • On the June 2 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly interviewed Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to discuss the EPA's newly proposed carbon standards. Sen. Inhofe used the opportunity to reject climate change and promote his book that labels global warming a "hoax" and a "conspiracy." Rather than counter his claim, Kelly thanked Inhofe and ended the interview. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 6/2/2014]

METHODOLOGY: This report analyzes Fox News Channel coverage based on a search of an internal video archive for "EPA" or "Environmental Protection Agency" from May 31, 2014 through June 2, 2014. 

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