CNN’s Velshi Went On Arctic Refuge Tour With Right-Wing Representative Bachmann

After a presentation on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, CNN anchor Ali Velshi hosted a discussion between Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Velshi started the interview by making the startling admission that Bachmann joined him on his expedition to northern Alaska:

Congressman [sic] Bachmann, I want to talk to you first about this because those pictures we just showed, we took from an airplane. You were with us on that airplane. You went up there to get a sense for yourself about the impact of drilling in ANWR.

Watch it:

During the interview, Velshi asked Bachmann what lesson she learned from their joint trip. Her response:

Ali, I came away with the idea that this is the most perfect place on the planet to drill.

Bachmann’s bizarre response — she also called the ecologically unique refuge the “most convenient, quickest place” to drill, despite also saying it is “permanently frozen in darkness three months of the year” — comes as no surprise, as she is one of the biggest boosters of Big Oil propaganda in Congress. Just in the past two months, she’s claimed that caribou love pipelines, falsely blamed Democrats for blocking renewable energy incentives, and repeated the lie about China drilling for oil off the Florida coast. In this segment, Bachmann introduces a new lie, claiming “this area was specifically set aside for drilling by President Jimmy Carter for drilling.”

This is simply false. As Carter explained in a 2000 New York Times column calling for expanded protections of Alaskan lands from drilling:

Then, even more than today, much attention was focused on high energy prices; oil companies — playing on Americans’ fears — sought the right to drill in protected areas. While the House held firm, the Senate forced a compromise, without ever putting the fate of the refuge to a vote. Thus, the law I signed 20 years ago did not permanently protect this Arctic wilderness. It did, however, block any oil company drilling until Congress votes otherwise. . . The simple fact is, drilling is inherently incompatible with wilderness.

Velshi did not question Bachmann about any of these false statements. Velshi also failed to mention global warming even once, despite the extreme warming taking place in northern Alaska, driving wildlife toward extinction and threatening a global climate meltdown.

Freshman representative Bachmann is a hard-line conservative funded primarily by right-wing organizations like the Club for Growth ($92,630), TCF Financial ($38,400), and Koch Industries ($17,500), the right-wing corporate polluter. She has also received $20,250 from right-wing billionaire Stanley Hubbard, one of the the top funders of Newt Gingrich’s “Drill Here, Drill Now” organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF).

CNN’s campaign coverage continues to be funded by the coal industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

UPDATE: Velshi’s Arctic Refuge piece first aired July 24, but he did not disclose that the trip was with a delegation of 11 conservative representatives led by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). However, prior to the trip, he did say in a July 15 interview with Rep. Bachmann:

I should tell you, I’m hoping to join you on that trip this weekend. We’re still trying to work that out.

Evidently, his wish was granted.

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