Right-wing media falsely claimed that a New York Times report on old chemical weapons found in Iraq after the 2003 invasion vindicated former President George W. Bush's rationale for the Iraq war - ignoring the fact that the chemical weapons discovered predated 1991 and thus could not vindicate Bush's rationale which relied on an active, on-going chemical weapons program at the time of the invasion.
Several media outlets ignored the opening of the country's largest advanced biofuel plant -- which produces a fuel with a far lesser climate impact than gasoline that can help reduce our dependence on oil -- even though they previously claimed that such a biofuel "does not exist."
The New York Times brazenly claimed in 2012 that cellulosic ethanol, a type of fuel made from agricultural waste such as corn stalks, "does not exist" -- and many other news outlets also adopted this misleading framing. Industry journal Platts published a blog titled: "Puzzling over the US mandate for a fuel that doesn't exist yet," later clarifying that the fuel simply did not exist "in the US at commercial volumes" at the time. The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote that "Congress subsidized a product that didn't exist" and "is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn't exist." FoxNews.com called the fuel "merely hypothetical." National Review Online contributing editor Deroy Murdock stated "EPA might as well mandate that Exxon hire leprechauns."
However, since a new facility started producing cellulosic ethanol on a commercial-scale on September 3, these outlets have remained silent.* Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels opened the biggest cellulosic ethanol facility in the country for production, which will "convert 570 million pounds of crop waste into 25 million gallons of ethanol each year." The Iowa facility is being heralded as "a major step in the shift from the fossil fuel age to a biofuels revolution."
Cellulosic ethanol and other "advanced biofuels" are included in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires oil companies to mix fuel made from renewable sources into their product. This standard was part of a bill that passed during the Bush Administration with bipartisan support -- a fact that several right-wing news outlets failed to mention in their coverage.
A lifecycle analysis from Argonne National Laboratory estimated that the type of fuel produced at the new Poet-DSM facility emits up to 96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline. The Poet-DSM facility is the first of three cellulosic ethanol plants scheduled to start production this year, which will together produce an estimated 17 million gallons per year. Jeremy Martin, an expert from the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the plant opening "an important milestone on the road to clean transportation." Martin added: "With efficient vehicles and clean fuels like cellulosic biofuel we can cut our projected oil use in half in 20 years."
*Based on a search of publicly available content from September 1 - September 7.
Photo at top of cellulosic biofuel crop from Flickr user KBS with a Creative Commons license.
From the July 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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In contrast to official temperature records showing a consistent warming trend, Fox Business reporters have claimed that the "temperature basically hasn't changed much since the ice age" and that it's actually "getting colder." Fox News figures have also denied the scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change, claiming that carbon dioxide "literally cannot cause global warming" and suggesting that "Mars wobbles" or "wind farms" may be causing it instead. Those are just some of the 10 dumbest things Fox News, Fox Business and their websites said about climate change in 2012:
1. Fox Reporter: "The Temperature Basically Hasn't Changed Much Since The Ice Age." During the Ice Age, much of North America, northern Europe and southern South America were covered with ice sheets. Natural climate cycles led to the end of the Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago. In the last century, temperatures have increased dramatically as a result of our massive emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet Fox Business reporter Tracy Byrnes claimed in March that "the temperature basically hasn't changed much since the Ice Age," before confusing global warming with the depletion of the ozone layer:
2. During Record-Breaking Heat, Fox Anchor Claims "It's Getting Colder." During the third warmest summer on record in the U.S., David Asman, who hosts shows on both Fox News and Fox Business, claimed "it's getting colder":
3. Fox "Expert": Carbon Dioxide "Literally Cannot Cause Global Warming." Joe Bastardi is a meteorologist that is often presented as a climate change expert on Fox News, even though he has no climate science training. Bill O'Reilly has cited Bastardi as the reason that he is "skeptical" about global warming, but scientists have called Bastardi's statements "completely wrong," "simply ignorant," and "utter nonsense." In March, Bastardi attempted to "throw out 150 years of physics" by dismissing the greenhouse effect -- the reason there is life on Earth -- as impossible. Bastardi stated on Fox Business that carbon dioxide (CO2) "literally" -- yes, literally -- "cannot cause global warming" because it doesn't "mix well in the atmosphere." But physicist Richard Muller told Media Matters that CO2 is actually "completely mixed."
4. Fox Reporter: "Mars Wobbles" May Be Causing Climate Change. Elizabeth MacDonald, a Fox Business reporter who often appears on Fox News, incorrectly said in November that "there's no consensus on what's causing climate change, and asked "is it solar flares? Is it the Mars wobbles? Is it the earth's axis tilting in a different way? I mean, that's the issue." After being subject to mockery, she tried to walk back her comments saying she doesn't "think Mars wobbles cause hurricanes," but did not explain her previous comments.
5. Fox Website: "Wind Farms Cause Global Warming." In April, a study found that nighttime temperatures in areas around Texas wind farms were higher than in areas without wind turbines. Fox Nation, a section of FoxNews.com, linked to a story about the study with a headline declaring that wind farms "cause global warming." But the study's authors called this coverage "misleading," explaining that it is "[v]ery likely" that "wind turbines do not create a net warming of the air and instead only re-distribute the air's heat near the surface, which is fundamentally different from the large-scale warming effect caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases."
Fox News revealed its closing argument against President Obama, which consisted of a falsehood-laden attack on the president's record.
Fox & Friends ignored growth in real gross domestic product and private-sector jobs under President Obama to falsely claim that there has been negative economic growth since 2009.
Fox's Neil Cavuto and his guest used Tuesday's attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya to push for more domestic drilling and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But experts say that neither will reduce our vulnerability to price spikes, and that the only way to achieve true energy security is to use less oil.
Cavuto hosted the Consumer Energy Alliance's David Holt yesterday, who claimed that "we can drastically reduce our imports" by expanding offshore drilling and natural gas extraction, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline:
But Cavuto did not disclose that Holt has a financial stake in extracting tar sands. In addition to working for the industry-funded CEA, Holt is also a managing partner at HBW Resources, a lobbying group with "close ties to Alberta's tar sands industry," according to a Salon.com exposé.
National Review columnist Deroy Murdock echoed Holt's argument today, urging President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to give the U.S. access to "friendly oil." But an analysis prepared for the Department of Energy found that U.S. oil imports are "insensitive" to "whether or not KXL is built" because much of the oil transported by the pipeline would be exported overseas:
Fox News is twisting comments Michelle Obama made to claim she said that voting for Republicans could cause people to "die from cancer." In fact, the first lady was simply pointing out that repealing health care reform would increase the number of people without health insurance.
At a campaign event in Los Angeles on Monday, Michelle Obama discussed the presidential election and noted calls from the right to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The first lady pointed out that the reform bill was in part an effort to expand health care access, including a hypothetical "woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care."
Here's Fox & Friends' sinister interpretation of Michelle Obama's comments:
CARLSON: Let's talk a little bit about Michelle Obama, the first lady, out on the campaign trail, and she was talking about this cancer ad, the controversial one, or was she? Do you believe that she was insinuating back to that ad when she said that if you elect Mitt Romney, women will die from cancer?
MICHELLE MALKIN (Fox News contributor): Well, it's an interesting parallel -- it's an interesting echo of the ad's theme, of course, which is that somehow, if Republicans are elected to the White House, that all of these people are going to die, die, die.
Text aired during the segment read:
Later, on America's Newsroom, Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said, "We've got President Obama's supporters and even Michelle Obama saying that if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer."
Fox did not make clear when Michelle Obama supposedly said this, but Carlson's commentary echoes a Washington Examiner post from August 13 highlighting comments Obama made at a campaign event that day. And in those comments, the first lady did not say that "if you vote for the Republicans, people will get cancer." The full context of her remarks shows that she was pointing out that prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives have said they want to repeal, more people lacked health insurance:
But this election is also a choice about the health of our families. Now, the fact is that over the past century -- all right, 100 years -- there have been so many Presidents who have tried and failed to meet the challenge of health care reform. But fortunately your President was determined. Fortunately he was driven by the stories of people he'd met. We all know these stories -- the grandparents who couldn't afford their medications; the families going broke because a child got sick; the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company wouldn't cover her care. And let me tell you something, that's what kept Barack going day after day. That's why he fought so hard for this historic reform.
And today, because of that reform, things are different for so many Americans. Our parents and grandparents are paying hundreds less for their prescription drugs. Our kids can stay on our insurance until they're 26 years old. You know what that means for our young people? That when they graduate from college, and they're out there looking for a job, trying to get themselves settled, they don't have to go without health care. Because of this reform, insurance companies have to cover basic preventative things like contraception, cancer screenings, prenatal care, with no extra cost. Because of this reform, insurance companies can't discriminate you because you have an illness that they call a preexisting condition. And if you get really sick, a real serious illness -- something like breast cancer -- and you need expensive treatment, you really need your insurance to work for you, no longer can your insurance company tell you, sorry, you've hit your lifetime limit and we're not paying a penny more. Today, because of health care reform, that is now illegal. (Applause.)
But make no mistake about it, this November we're going to get to decide: Do we want these reforms to be repealed? Because there are those who do. Or do we want the people we love to have the care they need? That's the choice we face.
Following relentless attacks on the solar industry in the wake of Solyndra's bankruptcy, wind power has become the latest target of the right-wing campaign against renewable energy. But contrary to the myths propagated by the conservative media, wind power is safe, increasingly affordable, and has the potential to significantly reduce pollution and U.S. reliance on fossil fuels.
From the May 13 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:
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In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
From the January 7 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch:
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From the December 10 edition of Fox Business' 1pm E.T. hour:
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Despite the scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is real and is negatively affecting the planet, the media have repeatedly provided a platform for critics who argue that the Earth is in a period of "cooling" or that the issue of global warming does not need to be addressed.
MSNBC's David Shuster allowed columnist Deroy Murdock to repeat the claim -- first made by climate change skeptic Martin Hertzberg -- that global warming is not occurring because "the Earth temperature has gone down 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1997." Rather than challenge that claim, Shuster named Murdock "our Muckraker of the Day" and "congratulat[ed]" Murdock for "stirring the pot." But climate scientists warn against cherry-picking yearly temperature averages as purported evidence that global warming is not occurring, especially from years in which El Niño and La Niña events occurred, as Murdock and Hertzberg did.