CBS's Anthony Mason Offers One-Sided Story on Supreme Court EPA Decision

April 3rd, 2007 4:01 PM

The April 3 edition of "The Early Show" reported on the fallout from the Supreme Court decision regarding EPA regulatory policies. Business correspondent Anthony Mason featured auto industry analyst John Casesa who claimed it "will force Detroit auto companies to radically change their business model," but there was no mention of the potential cost to the consumer.

The story also uncritically aired a sound bite from David Hawkins of the left wing Natural Resources Defense Council, but aired nothing from organizations opposed to the ruling. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, for example, issued a press release stating experts are "available to comment" on the decision. CBS must have missed it. The transcript is below.

CHRIS WRAGGE: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can be considered air pollution. And the federal government has the duty to regulate them. As CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason reports, it's likely to mean big changes and big problems for the U.S. car industry.

ANTHONY MASON: As workers were setting the stage for the New York auto show, the Supreme Court sent the industry into a tailspin.

JOHN CASESA AUTO INDUSTRY ANALYST: Unless you make nothing but small cars, this is not good news.

MASON: John Casesa, a veteran industry analyst, says if the government moves to toughen emission standards, Detroit will find it difficult to sell the trucks and SUV's that account for most of its profits.

CASESA: This decision will likely be another factor that will force the Detroit auto companies to radically change their business model.

MASON: From the outset, U.S. automakers have resisted tougher emission standards, and the EPA has been on their side. Now suddenly the picture has changed.

DAVID HAWKINS NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: We think this court ruling by the Supreme Court will help a lot to make it clear that the states do have authority to go ahead and regulate global warming emissions from cars.

MASON: The California law that started this court battle would require all new vehicles beginning in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent, by 2012, and 30 percent by 2016. On Capitol Hill, auto executives have claimed they want change.

RICK WAGONER CEO GENERAL MOTORS: We at GM believe now is the time for a new more comprehensive and forward looking national energy strategy.

MASON: But at the same time, the industry has gone to court to block the California law and similar laws in Vermont and Rhode Island.

CASESA: I don't think that Detroit is ready for the potential change that this ruling could bring about.

MASON: It's a ruling that could change the rules of the road. Anthony Mason, CBS News, New York.