photo via flickr
The tone in Washington and in the mainstream media has changed, right? Pundits say we are moving toward a higher level of discourse. But what happens when facts don't matter, and history is re-written to fit an ideology? Take two examples from the past few days on Fox. In the first, Fox's Martha MacCallum, on a segment dedicated to President Obama's views on business, told former NY Governor George Pataki that "it is not customary for the EPA to tell car companies how to run their business." Of course, the EPA has been doing that for decades. In the second, Fox News contributor (and possible presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich falsely stated the Obama administration is "waging a war on American energy." Of course, the Obama administration has made massive investments in energy, including upwards of $80 billion in the 2009 Stimulus bill. Some of Obama's other energy policies are paying off. Take the success of the wind power industry, which installed 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity last year, a new record.
Here's the transcript of MacCullum's exchange with Pataki, courtesy of Media Matters.
MacCALLUM: The business community in many ways has felt that President Obama has not been on their side. We all remember the, you know, the "fat-cat bankers," and the big corporations, and it's all their fault. To a great extent, that really alienated the business community. Is this an outreach on his part to this group?
GEORGE PATAKI (Former Republican New York governor): I think it is. I think he understands that they got clobbered in the November elections in part because they were treating business as secondary citizens at a time we need to create jobs. And I think this is a wonderful expression of words. The problem is too often in this administration the words don't match the actions.
MacCALLUM: Yeah. So, you know, the ideas in here -- it talks about redundancies and federal regulations. I mean, you know, if you have something happen at your business in this country --
PATAKI: It's all --
MacCALLUM: -- you're going to be visited by a whole bunch of agencies with forms this big to fill out.
MacCALLUM: It's extremely onerous and takes up a lot of time and energy.
PATAKI: It's all terrific, and it's not just at the federal level. When I got elected, one of the first things I did was create an office of regulatory reform, and they went through and repealed or changed thousands of regulations. But the problem here is that we have wonderful words from the president saying the right thing, but, at the same time, you have the EPA trying to regulate carbon and enact cap and trade --
MacCALLUM: Yeah. Good point.
PATAKI: -- through regulations at a time when Congress is saying, no, we don't want this. So what we need to see is not just the words; we need to see action.
MacCALLUM: That's such a good point 'cause that's an area -- just to bring up one specific that is not mentioned in the president's editorial -- it is not customary for the EPA to tell, you know, car companies how to run their business, which is what we're seeing here, right? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 1/18/11]
The 1970 Clean Air Act, signed by Richard Nixon, authorized the EPA to regulate emissions from vehicles and set mileage standards. Ms. MacCullum must know this, since she has her own show on Fox.
As for Newt's comments, his "Drill here, drill now" rhetoric has been made to be ridiculous since it was first invented in 2008. Climate change, which is heating the Earth in ways that are increasingly terrifying, makes his comments laughable. The Deepwater Horizon disaster makes them completely irresponsible.