It's no accident that something as innocuous as the Environmental Protection Agency has become the right's villain du jour -- it was the result of careful coordination, especially between coal companies, Republican politicians, and, yes, Fox News. If you think that sounds conspiratorial, just look at how much overlap and interplay there is between these entities.
Here's Media Matters, detailing how the political trend of bashing the EPA and 'regulatory overreach' was developed:
GOP Launched Anti-EPA Offensive After 2010 Midterm Elections. National Journal reported on Republicans' decision to target EPA regulations after the midterm elections:And then, guess what happened next? The GOP establishment joined the fun! Here's the National Journal again: "The House leaders listened. House Government Oversight Chairman Darryl Issa sent letters to executives asking them to list the government regulations that would most harm job growth. EPA regulations topped most lists. Planning their agenda, Speaker John Boehner and Cantor decided that bills defunding and reversing EPA's regulatory authority would hit the floor early and often. Even if few of them had a chance to become law, thanks to a Democratic-controlled Senate, they would be political winners."
Once they determined to fight the new rules, coal companies banded together with the Republican Party to strategize, and the 2010 midterm elections offered the perfect battleground. The companies invested heavily in campaigns to elect tea party candidates crusading against the role of Big Government. Industry groups (like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), tea party groups with deep ties to polluters (like Americans for Prosperity), and so-called super PACs (like Karl Rove's American Crossroads) spent record amounts to help elect the new House Republican majority.
The House freshmen, the influential super PACs, and now the 2012 presidential candidates have all put EPA's "job killing" regulations in their sights as part of an all-out political and legislative offensive against the agency.
Notice anything glaring in all this? I'll give you a second -- what strikes you most about our elected officials being mobilized in such a manner?
Time's up. A: The American people didn't have a problem with the EPA. Wealthy executives and political insiders dreamt up this campaign, and it in no way correlates to the concerns of the American people. To this day, even after a full court media press from Fox and their leadership in the GOP, Republican voters still think Congress should keep its hands off the EPA. But none of the above -- not the elected leaders, not Fox, and especially not the corporations -- care at all. This is an agenda that was hatched by and for corporate interests, and the actual opinion of the constituent citizenry doesn't matter at all.
This is the state of our democracy right now -- and this is why those folks at Occupy Wall Street are so pissed off.