After the EPA proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, several conservative media outlets claimed that the new rule would increase electricity prices for consumers by prohibiting the construction of coal plants without carbon dioxide controls. But economists and other analysts say that because low natural gas prices are already suppressing coal-plant growth, the rule will not significantly affect electricity rates.
From the March 27 edition of the Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.:
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"Completely wrong." "Simply ignorant." "Scientifically incorrect." "Utter Nonsense." "Very odd." These are words scientists have used in the past to describe the nationally televised ramblings of weather forecaster Joe Bastardi, who Fox News hosts from time to time in an apparent effort to dismantle whatever its viewers might know about physics.
When we last saw Joe, he was breaking the news that the world's climate scientists had overlooked the first law of thermodynamics. (He was wrong.) After a thorough round of mockery in the blogosphere, we thought surely Fox would throw away Bastardi's phone number. But here he is on Fox Business this morning, declaring that carbon dioxide "literally cannot cause global warming":
BASTARDI: CO2 cannot cause global warming. I'll tell you why. It doesn't mix well with the atmosphere, for one. For two, its specific gravity is 1 1/2 times that of the rest of the atmosphere. It heats and cools much quicker. Its radiative processes are much different. So it cannot -- it literally cannot cause global warming.
Asked about Bastardi's statements, Kerry Emanuel of MIT said: "Utter rubbish. Sorry to be so direct, but that is just the case." NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt added: "Bastardi is attempting to throw out 150 years of physics." "He seems very confused," said physicist Richard Muller.
Fox News is calling for President Obama to somehow require a single national blend of gasoline instead of the multiple blends tailored for seasonal and local pollution conditions in accordance with the Clean Air Act Amendments and state regulations. But doing so would lead to increased pollution or increased gas prices and disrupt what a Bush administration task force called a "cost-effective" approach to cleaner air.
As income disparities continue to increase, and the effective tax rate paid by the rich remains at historic lows, right-wing media figures work hard to make sure none of that changes. They routinely attack the poor and programs designed to assist them, while simultaneously extolling the rich and defending them against any attempt to get them to pay their fair share of taxes.
By the author's own admission, Mackinac's analysis uses "simple math": "I added the known state and federal incentives that have been offered and divided by the number of Volts sold." Hohman also acknowledged on Fox Business that he is "not an expert on the auto industry." But it doesn't take expertise to realize that Hohman's methodology is deeply flawed.
First, he does not take into account future Volt sales, which, as Fox Business' Stuart Varney pointed out, will substantially reduce the cost-per-vehicle number. In the coming months, GM plans to expand manufacturing plants and increase production of the Volt to keep up with rising demand from dealerships. As production and sales ramp up, the per-vehicle subsidy cost will continually drop.
Furthermore, the $3 billion figure includes a broad range of state and federal incentives not only to GM, but to any company supplying parts for the Volt. For example, it includes $100 million in tax credits and subsidies to Compact Power, which manufactures lithium ion batteries for the Volt. But the company also supplies batteries to several other automakers, including Ford, Renault, and Hyundai. Therefore, it is misleading to include the full $100 million as government support for the Volt.
On at least three separate occasions, Fox Business ran a quote purportedly made by an Occupy Toronto protester who wondered why anyone would want to work long hours. In reality, the quote is fake, as it came from a "satire" piece published by The Globe and Mail.
Humor columnist Mark Schatzker published an October 21 piece in the Canadian newspaper -- headlined, "Occupy Toronto: The one-week anniversary party" -- which contained the following quote from "Jeremy, 38":
"It's weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed." - Jeremy, 38
The column itself is tagged as "satire" on the Globe and Mail's site. Still, as Mediaite's Nando Di Fino and TPM's Jillian Rayfield noted, conservatives bloggers passed the quote off as real. The Power Line's John Hinderaker ran the quote and later posted an update claiming, "Upon further review, prompted by my wife, I think the quotes attributed to occupiers at the linked site are jokes. Pretty funny ones, too. The point, I think, remains valid."
The fake quote didn't just fool conservative bloggers, as Fox Business repeatedly quoted "Jeremy" on-air. During the October 26 broadcast of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman read the quote -- which was attributed to an Jeremy, an "Occupy Wall Street Protester" -- to criticize the protests.
Fox is baselessly speculating that Warren Buffett conspired to invest in Bank of America as a political favor to President Obama. But the investment follows Buffett's history of investing in banking companies; Buffett told reporters the investment was his idea; and the investment is reportedly a "guaranteed profit" for Buffett.
From the August 25 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. at Night:
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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).
On his Fox Business show yesterday Stuart Varney hosted Bjorn Lomborg to denounce the 2007 light bulb efficiency standards, which House Republicans are currently attempting to repeal. Varney introduced Lomborg as "our favorite rational environmentalist and a real scientist." Moments later, Varney added: "You're a scientist. What do you make of this?"
But Lomborg, who is known for opposing large-scale efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is not a scientist but a business school professor with a PhD in political science.
It appears the mistaken notion that Lomborg is a scientist is widely held among conservative media figures. In 2007 Glenn Beck hosted Lomborg on his HLN show to discuss climate change and introduced him by stating: "Bjorn Lomborg, he is a scientist":
From the June 29 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
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Right-wing media have attacked President Obama for his decision to stop receiving daily in-person economic briefings. In fact, Obama still receives a daily economic briefing on paper and regularly meets with members of his economic team as well as outside economists and experts.
Fox Business maligned essential anti-poverty programs, deriding food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit as "a form a welfare, income redistribution" and evidence that America now has an "entitlement mentality."
Host Stuart Varney's attack on these programs came just as a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed just how essential these and other government programs are to keeping tens of millions of Americans out of poverty.
Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that "public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty -- primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor -- and that the poverty rate would double without these programs." The CBPP included a graph to show just how important these programs are for reducing poverty amongst millions of Americans:
Yet Varney bemoaned "all these people on food stamps," Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit and unemployment insurance as "a form of welfare, income redistribution" and "entitlement mentality." Watch:
While the Senate Finance Committee hosted executives from five major oil companies to evaluate the necessity of certain tax breaks enjoyed by their industry, Fox took to defending the profits of these companies using a misleading comparison between industry profits and taxes placed on the gas that is sold to American consumers.
It began with the usual suspects, Fox Business' Stuart Varney and Andrew Napolitano. On his Fox Business show, Varney marveled at a statistic Napolitano cited which suggests that while oil companies only make 7 cents for every gallon of gas sold, the government collects a full 88 cents per gallon. Needless to say, Varney and Napolitano lamented the injustice of oil executives having to defend their comparatively meager profits while the government gets away with this egregious "gouging":
Napolitano claims that he's getting these statistics from a recent document published by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. However a search of the publications issued by the CBO in the past month shows no such calculation. Who did recently push these numbers? Why, none other than ExxonMobil.