Government meddling with the free-market forces can have ill consequences. Just look at how government mandates for corn-based ethanol have affected the global food supply.
According to CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, CNN viewers rate the economy as the most important issue and named gas prices as their number one concern. "AOL Money Coach" Hilary Kramer agreed with viewers, but regarded Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's proposal as "valuable" when matched with alternative energy legislation.
"Absolutely right," Kramer said on CNN's May 5 "Issue #1." "That's why Barack Obama with a $150 billion package that he wants to jumpstart an entire industry alternative energy and clean technology could be very valuable, especially matching that up with legislation to force the use of alternative energy."
As media turn against ethanol due to the growing international food crisis, there's one idol they need to topple: Nobel Laureate Al Gore.
After all, this man has not only been strongly advocating the use of biofuels for years, but has also admitted to having investments in companies involved in such agri-business.
Of course, it's possible press members aren't convinced enough about the the connection between ethanol and rising food prices around the world that they're willing to fell their Green God.
If this is the case, might I recommend such fence-sitters immediately read Marlo Lewis's spectacular piece "Food for Fuel Is No Laughing Matter" published at the NRO's Planet Gore blog Monday (emphasis added throughout):
In the past couple of weeks, NewsBusters has been noting that as food prices around the world have soared causing an international crisis, typically green press members have been surprisingly reporting a rather pessimistic view of ethanol.
Without question, the most comprehensive and daring commentary I've seen on this subject to date comes from a program north of the border called The National.
Though not a household name here in the States, the CBC's Rex Murphy is willing to address the heart of this issue in a fashion so honest and unconcerned with the currently in vogue climate alarmism that it is a metaphysical certitude viewers will want to see and read more of his opinions.
Frankly, I'd doubt any American broadcaster would have the nerve to say the following with cameras rolling and microphones switched on (absolutely must-see video available here, transcript follows, enthusiastic h/t to NBer Par for the Course):
Although the economy is showing only a slow rate of growth, consumer spending actually showed an increase for the month of March. But, don't be fooled - that's a bad sign, according to "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
"[T]he government reported today that consumer spending in March shot up twice as much as economists were expecting, and it's not because we're buying more - it's because the prices are so much higher, especially food," Couric said on the May 1 broadcast.
Some more pieces of the "How Al Gore is Going to Become Amazingly Wealthy by Selling Climate Hysteria" puzzle came together Friday when the Silicon Valley venture capital firm he's now a part of announced a $500 million investment in green technologies.
Making matters more delicious, the firm already has investments in many of the same companies Gore admitted in March he has a stake in.
To begin untangling this web, let's first take a gander at what was reported Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle (emphasis added):
Last week, NewsBusters reported the peculiar occurrence of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appearing alongside current Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a global warming ad funded by Nobel Laureate Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.
Included in this piece was an explanation the former Speaker offered at his website regarding this matter which sparked largely uncomplimentary reactions in the rightosphere as well as from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Two days later, Gingrich appeared on Fox News's "O'Reilly Factor," and answered Rush (video embedded right):
Fresh off its controversial Iwo Jima cover with Marines raising a tree, Time magazine's May 5 issue celebrates with an Earth Day roundup. The cause for celebration? That in 2008, "every day is Earth Day," exulted Nancy Gibbs.
Gibbs celebrated, among other things, the banning of DDT, which led to millions of preventable deaths from malaria. "Back in 1970, there was ... poison in our pesticides," she said, but after the Environmental Protection Agency was created, "DDT was banned."
Perhaps she missed the fact that DDT was reinstated for use in malaria-ridden countries by order of the World Health Organization in 2006.
Another part of this year's Earth Day roundup: "Bolivia's socialist President Evo Morales told the U.N. that 'if we want to save our planet Earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.'" Meanwhile, Gibbs wrote, "capitalists polished their image to a green sheen."
As food prices soar, and international experts as well as media members call for action, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor Tuesday calling for a Congressional review of biofuel policy, and for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the current ethanol mandates.
Coincidentally, this occurred minutes after President Bush told reporters that he believes ethanol and biofuels are key to solving the nation's long-term energy problems.
With that in mind, given the amount of press coverage biofuels have been given in the past few weeks, it will be interesting to see which side of this story media will report this evening and in the days to come.
After all, what Inhofe called for today was for Congress to "revisit the recently enacted biofuel mandate," and for the EPA to exercise its waiver provision granted in the 2007 Energy Bill "that offers protection to consumers if corn prices or availability become unsustainable."
What follows is the full prepared text of Inhofe's speech (fvideo embedded upper-right):
High food prices may be affecting middle-income families, but an anecdotal report on CBS's "The Early Show" April 28 made the situation seem as if one family's use of a food bank was "the new face of hunger."
CBS reporter Priya David highlighted Pablo and Ada Melecio, a couple who recently lost their jobs and have elected to use a food bank to make ends meet. Ada Melecio said their "mortgage payments started falling behind and all the interest on that plus all the credit cards" were making their situation even worse.
In the past couple of weeks, NewsBusters has reported the media's sudden negative opinion of ethanol as a result of rising food prices and rationing of rice by certain retailors.
You can now add NBC to the list, and, in particular, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," Jim Cramer, who on Friday's "Today" show actually blamed ethanol for the current crisis while stating emphatically, "You drop the mandate, prices plummet."
With this in mind, strap your seatbelt tightly across your waist, and prepare yourself for an alternate ungreen reality (video embedded upper right, use scroll bars to properly center):
Regardless, the good news is that press outlets continue to recognize this unholy connection, and that someone, even at the conservative New York Sun, would deign to report it (emphasis added throughout):
As food prices soar, and rationing of such things as rice begin, America's media are finally starting to wake up to the inconvenient truth that ethanol is not the energy panacea folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore proclaim.
Leading the charge is conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck, who invited the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Iain Murray on his program Tuesday to discuss the looming crisis.
As the international disaster of ethanol begins taking its toll on the planet -- and, maybe more important, as press outlet after press outlet finally begins recognizing it -- will media remember that Vice President Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate requiring this oxygenate be added to gasoline?
“[P]rices are rising across Africa, pushed up by the cost of oil and demand for biofuels,” ABC correspondent Jim Sciutto said.
“Those biofuels are in fact a large part of the equation,” ABC correspondent David Muir added. “Many farmers around the world, who once grew wheat and rice, now grow corn and sugar cane instead, to produce ethanol a more lucrative market.”
For years, NewsBusters has reported on Al Gore's financial interests in advancing global warming hysteria around the world.
On March 1, while speaking at the TED Conference in Monterey, California, the Nobel Laureate admitted to having "a stake" in a number of green "investments" that he recommended attendees put money in rather than "sub-prime carbon assets" like "tar sands" and "shale oil."
This occurred as pictures of such products appeared on the screen with names of the companies involved (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 15:00, h/t NBer Sick-and-Tired):
CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi let viewers in on an underreported fact about rising commodities prices: the government mandate for ethanol production is making corn and other agricultural products more expensive-making inflation a top priority for Americans.
"Several years ago, we made some decisions about how corn is going to be used to make ethanol, which is added to our gasoline," said Velshi on "American Morning" April 4. "A number of people think that that was meant to reduce our dependency on crude oil. What is does is it takes what is fundamentally a food source and makes it into a gasoline source. That's caused corn to go up."
They're starting to get it. The media are figuring out government meddling in U.S. energy policy is taking a toll on the American economy.
On February 20, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation reading, rose 0.4 percent in January, matching December's rise. Why? Increased food costs because corn is being used for ethanol.
"Farmers are replacing wheat fields with corn to meet the demand for alternative fuel, but that means higher flour prices - and in one Pennsylvania pizza shop, more expensive pies," NBC News correspondent Chris Jansing said on the February 27 "NBC Nightly News."
"Blame it on the price of wheat," said ABC correspondent Sharon Alfonsi. "Demand for alternative energy has farmers planting less wheat and more corn - the key ingredient of ethanol. Add the growing appetite for wheat from developing countries and the supply is strained.
The Democrats were finally able to get something passed in Congress, a new energy bill that mandates car gas mileage and bans the incandescent light bulb, and on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen described it as, "Congress's historic move to get rid of gas guzzlers." Co-host Harry Smith began the "historic" theme at the top of the show:
Later this morning, the president will sign a new energy bill, that will radically change the way we drive, the fuel we burn, and the way we light our homes...This morning for the first time in 32 years we will have a new energy bill. The Energy Independence and Security Act.
No one objected to the idea that everyday light bulbs would be banned with this new legislation. Instead Smith joked holding up a light bulb: "So guess what, will we see the end of the incandescent light bulb? Remember, was it Uncle Fester who put it in and it lit up?"
"[I]f you look at the history of this substance, ["American Morning" co-anchor] Kiran [Chetry] - I think this is very important - we subsidize a lot of corn production in this country," Gupta said. "We've been subsidizing it for a long time to support the corn farmers, which is a good thing. If there is a problem in all of this, it is that maybe we make too much corn and some of that corn gets turned into this high-fructose corn syrup."
Following up on Al Gore’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register asked the Republican candidates several questions on the issue of "global climate change" and related topics. At the beginning of the debate, Washburn stated "we won't talk a lot about issues like Iraq or immigration. They're important issues, no doubt, but Iowans say they know where the candidates are coming from on those." But Washburn gave no indication that Iowans actually wanted to hear more about the Republican candidates’ stance on climate change.
As NewsBusters reported, ABC's John Stossel bravely presented a skeptical view of manmade global warming on the October 19 installment of "20/20."
As a follow-up, Stossel published an op-ed at Townhall Tuesday that should be must-reading for alarmist media members and policy makers around the country.
Marvelously titled "Don't Look to Government to Cool Down the Planet," the article summarized much of what Stossel presented weeks prior on "20/20," while challenging the closed-minded to allow for greater scientific discussion and debate before hasty and capricious policy decisions are enacted that will harm the economy as they do nothing to solve the so-called problem (emphasis added throughout):
Here's something you don't see every day on the front page of a major American newspaper: an article about how the rising demand for ethanol has sent corn and grain prices so high that it's resulted in more people around the world going hungry.
Even more shocking: the article in question was on the front page of Saturday's New York Times.
In a piece entitled "As Prices Soar, U.S. Food Aid Buys Less," author Celia W. Dugger shockingly presented the dirty little secret about soon-to-be-Nobel Laureate Al Gore's grand solution for manmade global warming that NewsBusters has been writing about for months while most in the media remained silent (emphasis added, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
Say goodbye to the Great Green Hope. Biofuels are on the endangered list, although the media in America won't tell you that. Reuters reported in its September 26 article that Jane Goodall, the internationally famous primate scientist and environmental icon who presented at Al Gore's Live Earth, added her criticism of vegetable-based biofuels to a growing list experts.
On Wednesday, Goodall, best known for her chimpanzee research and media appearances, said “on the sidelines” of the Clinton Global Initiative that growing crops for vehicle fuels is endangering rain forests in Asia, Africa and South America and adding to anthropogenic global warming (bold mine throughout):
A new study published in the journal Science last Friday concluded that the continued burning of oil-related energy products combined with the planting of additional forests is better for the environment than the manufacture and use of biofuels such as ethanol.
In fact, the authors suggested that governments across the globe move away from biofuels as a global warming solution completely, and instead focus moneys and energies on reforestation and increasing the efficiencies involved with the burning of fossil fuels.
Of course you didn't hear about this because no major American press outlet thought it was newsworthy despite media's fascination with anthropogenic global warming.
Fortunately, several British outlets covered this interesting study, including the Guardian (emphasis added):