Global Warming Overshadowed: Media Give Massive Cap-and-Trade Tax Second Billing

The news cycle has been dominated by celebrity deaths - Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and even TV pitchman Billy Mays - and President Barack Obama's health care initiative. Obama has used the compliant media to keep the focus to health care, and they are neglecting a critical largest news event that could impact the lives of every man, woman and child for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a 1,200-page climate change bill known as the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., by a narrow 219-212 vote on June 26.

Prospects for that piece of environmental legislation might have been hurt had reporters pointed out the scientific censorship taking place in the Obama administration. A veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency strongly questioned the theory of manmade global warming in a report that was then silenced by the administration. That's exactly the opposite of how many journalists handled a similar controversy during the Bush administration.

The news blackout helped the new bill, which has been referred to as the "cap-and-tax bill" by opponents, who point out the massive tax increase that the American public will be burdened with as a result. So contentious is the bill that it inspired the likes of liberal bomb-thrower and columnist Paul Krugman to accuse those same opponents of treason in the op-ed pages of The New York Times.

But Krugman at least acknowledged the bill's existence. Few others in the mainstream media have. Climate change has been a pet issue the past several years for the media, so their silence is strange.

A Double Standard: EPA Skeptic Suppressed - Ignored by All, but Fox News

Throughout the latter half of George W. Bush's presidency, some in the media were quick to cry foul when accusations surfaced science was being silenced in the name of politics, especially in the case of NASA climate expert James Hansen.

But fast-forward to June 2009 and the early stages of the Barack Obama presidency. The cap-and-trade bill just passed the House and was on its way to the Senate when a 38-year EPA veteran, Senior Operations Research Analyst Alan Carlin, came forward and said his 98-page study that questioned the theory of anthropogenic global warming had been quashed by the administration.

Carlin appeared on the Fox News Channel's June 30 "Fox & Friends" and told of how his report was dismissed by the EPA because his "comments do not help the legal policy or case." Those revelations caused Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., to call for a congressional inquiry.

"He came out with the truth," Inhofe said to Fox News on June 29. "They don't want the truth at the EPA. We're going to expose it."  

Nonetheless, Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network have been virtually alone in covering the story - in sharp contrast to similar revelations from the opposite side of the issue during the Bush Administration. A scientist was allegedly censored because his findings went against the politics of the administration in power. That got top billing by some media outlets.

"The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming," Andrew Revkin wrote for the front page of the January 29, 2006 issue of The New York Times. "The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists."

That article sparked coverage from other mainstream media outlets, eager to show there was an effort by the Bush administration to silence Hansen. CBS "60 Minutes" contributor and regular global warming alarmist Scott Pelley reported that Hansen faced trouble by appearing on his program.

"As a government scientist, James Hansen is taking a risk," Pelley said on the March 19, 2006 "60 Minutes." "He says there are things the White House doesn't want you to hear, but he's going to say them anyway. Hansen is arguably the world's leading researcher on global warming. He's the head of NASA's top institute studying the climate. But, as we first reported last spring, this eminent scientist says the Bush administration is restricting who he can talk to and editing what he can say. Politicians, he says, are rewriting the science. Well, there'll be none of that tonight because James Hansen is telling what he knows on ‘60 Minutes.'"

Hansen parlayed the fame he gained from dozens of news interviews into a book called "Censoring Science: Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming."

Political Realities Ignored: Narrow House Passage Means Likely End of the Road

When the Waxman-Markey bill passed in the House on June 26 by a mere seven-vote margin, even with harsh criticism from House Minority Leader John Boehner, it was celebrated as a win by some in the global warming alarmist movement. Steve Bouchard, campaign manager of former Vice President Al Gore chalked the vote up as a victory.

"Today, we have something to celebrate," Bouchard wrote in an e-mail sent out immediately after the House vote on June 26. "For the first time in decades, we have taken bold action to help solve the climate crisis. I look forward to working with you in the days ahead."

The coverage on the networks wasn't as "celebratory," although he bill was commonly hailed as "sweeping."

"In Washington, the House last night narrowly passed a sweeping climate change bill," "NBC Nightly News" weekend anchor Lester Holt said on his June 27 broadcast. "President Obama says it's a bold and necessary step to fight global warming and encourage a new era of green energy. Critics, however, say the new cap and trade system to limit greenhouse gases will lead to higher energy costs."

On the June 27 broadcast of ABC's "World News," David Muir said "Back in Washington tonight, President Obama is now urging the Senate to pass the most sweeping bill ever to address global warming. It was a squeaker in the House last night. And it might be an even tougher sale in the Senate."

This was a significant understatement. Immediately following the House vote on June 26, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., issued his own statement.

"Today's razor thin vote in the House spells doom in the Senate," Inhofe said. "Despite a large Democratic majority in the House, and the fact that this is one of the President's top priorities, the Democratic leadership was forced to do everything possible to get a bill passed. Their slim victory could come at a high price - this is the BTU tax all over again."

And so far, Inhofe's analogy about the BTU tax has proven valid. Keith Hennessey, a senior White House economic advisor to President George W. Bush, recently recounted the events that an unfolded around the 1993 BTU tax vote on his Web site. Hennessey explained the BTU tax bill narrowly passed in the House, but was dead on arrival in the Senate - and both houses of Congress were Democrat-controlled at the time.

Inhofe has consistently conveyed that message over the past few months as the Waxman-Markey bill has been debated - it won't pass regardless of the Democrat's best efforts.

It could be that the mainstream media understands this and has determined not to waste time on a story with a dead end. It's otherwise difficult to believe that a major piece of legislation of this nature wouldn't garner significant media coverage. According to The Heritage Foundation, gas and energy prices would spike, costing American families an additional $3,000 per year. Jobs would be lost and the prices of goods would jump - all in exchange for little impact on the environment.

However, as a June 29 Business & Media Institute analysis of USA Today pointed out, the death of pop singer Michael Jackson received massive coverage for three straight days. Waxman-Markey was nowhere to be found.