New York Times Uses Inhofe Talking Points

Jim InhofeJohn M. Broder

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the most prominent global warming denier in Congress, attacked the Lieberman-Warner climate cap-and-trade legislation now being debated on the Senate floor. Inhofe began his opinion piece by claiming this will be a vote on legislation that will raise gas prices that are already at record highs:

With average gas prices across the country approaching $4 a gallon, it may be hard to believe, but the U.S. Senate is considering legislation this week that will further drive up the cost at the pump.

In today’s New York Times, John M. Broder accepted Inhofe’s frame for the debate, beginning his article by claiming this will be a vote on legislation that will raise gas prices that are already at record highs:

The Senate on Monday opened a raucous debate over climate change legislation even though it will put supporters of the bill, including all three presidential candidates, on the spot — essentially forcing them to come out in favor of high energy costs at a time when American consumers are paying record fuel prices.

Describing the bill, “for better or worse,” as a “wrenching change,” Broder also engages in he-said she-said stenography throughout the piece, never once bothering to question the accuracy of the fears raised by climate deniers like Inhofe.

In his opinion piece, Inhofe falsely claims, “We are certain of the huge negative impact on the economy as detailed by numerous government and private analyses.” Broder copies down, “[M]any senators in both parties see the legislation as an expensive long-term plan that would do little to solve today’s energy supply and price problems.”

In his opinion piece, Inhofe writes, “Carbon caps will have an especially harmful impact on low-income Americans and those with fixed incomes.” Broder offers Inhofe an entire paragraph to shed his crocodile tears for poor Americans:

“Any action has to provide real protections for the American economy and jobs, and we must protect the American families,” said Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma. “Any action should not raise the cost of gasoline or energy to American families, particularly the low-income and elderly who are most susceptible to energy costs.”

As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote today:

Some opponents of cap and trade legislation have claimed that such legislation is inherently harmful to low-income consumers. That claim is false.

It’s a pity Broder doesn’t seem to care about that.

UPDATE: Bill Scher at Blog for Our Future notes that National Public Radio called Bush-Exxon flak Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute an “environmental analyst” in its piece today, and criticizes John Broder for “giving a false impression that even bill supporters think fighting global warming is bad for consumers.”

UPDATE II: David Roberts at Gristmill writes that Broder’s “lamentable” piece shows “advocates for action on climate change have lost the framing battle.”

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