Not TV News: Green Groups Tried All-or-Nothing Strategy, and 'Nothing Won'

Darren Samuelsohn of Politico made the front page of their newspaper on Thursday with this stark sentence: "Environmentalists went with an all-or-nothing strategy for the 111th Congress. Nothing won." He added: "Now, green groups licking their wounds after spending tens of millions of dollars to pass a cap-and-trade bill must answer serious questions about whether they are capable of playing another round of hardball."

I wouldn't expect this to be a big television story. Cap-and-trade never was. There were zero stories with the words "cap and trade" on ABC, CBS, and NBC before the House voted last year. After the vote, there was a smidgen or two, but none before. But it's slightly amazing that with all the climate hype the media have dished out, nothing was accomplished. Samuelsohn's story didn't touch on Climategate's effect. It didn't even come up as he talked about how nobody in the green groups is getting fired: 

But D.C. environmental groups aren’t looking to clean house. Activists at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists and Clean Energy Works said leading officials won’t be fired because President Barack Obama isn’t signing a climate bill into law.

Steve Cochran, who ran EDF’s national climate campaign, actually got a promotion to run the entire global warming team, including state and international efforts.

“The reason why I’m not looking around, hearing a lot of people scared for their jobs, I think the general view within the environmental community is consistent with mine: We ran a very effective, well-coordinated effort,” said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s climate center.

“We fell victim to much broader politics that were beyond our control that really didn’t have to do with the specifics of either the issue or the campaign,” Lashof added.

After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last month scrapped plans for a vote, the White House made clear it wasn’t impressed with the environmentalists’ effort.

“They didn’t deliver a single Republican,” an administration official told POLITICO just hours after Reid pulled the plug on the climate bill. “They spent like $100 million, and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.”

Eco-lefty Bill McKibben claimed the greens did all they could. It's just that the politicians weren't interested.

The environmental movement needs a radical overhaul if Congress is ever going to pass a climate bill, McKibben said. That means lawmakers need to be aware of the political consequences if they don’t side with the greens.

“We weren’t able to credibly promise political reward or punishment,” McKibben said. “The fact is, scientists have been saying for the past few years the world might come to an end. But clearly that’s insufficient motivation. Clearly, we must communicate that their careers might come to an end. That’s going to take a few years.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis