Image Credit: Media Matters
But Public Opinion Tells Another Tale ...
Last April, a CNN/Opinion Research Poll found that a whopping 71% of Americans thought that the EPA should be allowed to move forward with greenhouse gas regulations. Before that, a Washington Post/ABC poll in June 2010 returned the exact same number. Before that support for the EPA was even higher -- up to 76% of Americans wanted the agency to move ahead with limiting the carbon pollution of the nation's largest emitters in 2009. But Media Matters revealed a funny thing -- if you watched TV news during the exact same timeframe, you'd get the opposite idea: 76% of the guests who appeared on news programs were opponents of the EPA's plan to draw down emissions.
And what's to blame for the spike in anti-EPA rhetoric in television news? Well, there's this one cable network in particular ... Yes, the heavy concentration of anti-EPA opinionators on Fox News helped skew the trend. Here's Media Matters:
Media Matters examined TV news coverage that included elected officials, members of advocacy groups, business leaders, pundits, and others discussing EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. Of these appearances, 152 out of 199 -- over 76% -- opposed regulation. The three outlets that hosted the greatest number of guests, Fox News (FNC), Fox Business (FBN), and CNBC, all featured opponents of GHG regulation at least four times more often than supporters.
81% Of Fox Guests And 83% of Fox Business Guests Opposed GHG Regulation ... MSNBC hosted four times more supporters of EPA's action than opponents, but had far fewer guests commenting on the issue than did Fox.
Coverage on the 'nonpartisan' news networks was notable for another reason -- it was barely there at all. Or at least the other networks didn't bring in talking head 'experts' to opine as much.
Regardless the trend is pretty clear -- the EPA regulations would have a minor impact on big business, causing them to incur some expenses in cleaning up their dirty operations. They don't want to pay for this, and the conservative media machine has therefore attempted to turn EPA overreach into a wedge issue -- but it's not working. Thankfully, most Americans know that the EPA is around to protect our skies and water -- and our public health -- and that polluting corporations don't always have our best interests in mind. It's yet another example of how out of touch with reality Fox News can be.
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