This morning, climate activists claiming to represent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the organization was now supporting the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs Act, reversing its years of opposition to any climate bill before Congress. “We believe strong climate legislation is the best way to ensure American innovation, create jobs, make sure the U.S. and the world are on track to reduce global carbon emissions,” the spoof statement, sent to reporters and presented at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. read. After Reuters bit on the story, despite the announcement’s implausibility, CNBC and Fox Business Network ran “breaking news” segments promoting the false tale of the Chamber’s redemption. Both networks noted the companies who have abandoned the chamber over its clean energy opposition, including Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, and Apple. When CNBC ran a retraction, right-wing anchor Larry Kudlow opined:
Is there any involvement of the White House whatsoever?
Watch a montage:
Trish Regan’s response to Kudlow’s bizarre suggestion was simply, “We’re going to leave it there.”
It should be noted that FBN’s Brian Sullivan immediately corrected his initial report, when a call to the Chamber for more comment elicited a denial “that they are changing their position on climate change legislation.”
Fox Business News
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Been a reversal on climate change from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Breaking news right now: Chamber of Commerce saying it will reverse its position on the climate change bill and wants a carbon tax, if you will, in the Senate bill on climate change. Remember, companies like Exelon and other power producers, primarily those of a nuclear side, left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the chamber opposed the climate change bill. Now, the chamber reversing its position. The reason that Exelon and others left is they said, well, this may be a tax on business, but we need to know what carbon is worth. they want to have more after set price.
All right, so, the U.S. Chamber is denying it now.
All right. So, maybe not. So apparently we just called the Chamber of Commerce, said, “Can you give us more comment on the headlines crossing?” And they’re denying that they are changing their position on climate change legislation, trying to figure out where did the original headlines come from, Justin? Excuse me. All right, coming on the news wires here. Reuters news wire, speak to go my producer. Live TV, folks. So Reuters reporting that U.S. Chamber of Commerce will no longer oppose climate change legislation. We called them up moments ago and said apparently the headline on Reuters may be incorrect. A drama between Reuters and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on climate change legislation.
CNBC, 11:16 AM
REGAN: Actually, i’m going to stop that thought right there. Hampton Pearson, breaking news.
PEARSON: From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a news release basically saying the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now getting ready to throw its weight behind strong climate legislation. A spokesman for the chamber president announcing, quote, “We believe strong climate legislation is the best way to ensure American innovation, create jobs, make sure the U.S. and the world are on track to reduce global carbon emissions and provide the needs of the American business community for generations to come.”
This really is an about-face for the chamber. It comes after frankly some major defections by the likes of PG&E, Apple, PNM Resources, Exxon [sic]. Again, the chamber now saying, “We believe the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act is a good start towards strong legislation.” An about-face from the Chamber of Commerce. Now saying that at least the Boxer bill looks like a good path to that goal in Congress. Trish?
REGAN: Thank you so much for that.
CNBC, 11:33 AM
REGAN: We want to go over right now to Hampton Pearson. This is an interesting development here coming from the Chamber of Commerce. Some breaking news. Hampton, what is the latest?
PEARSON: First of all, the Chamber of Commerce saying no change in its policy in opposition to the current climate legislation working its way through Congress and the news item that we came on with earlier, frankly, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is absolutely a hoax. CNBC along with a number of news organizations and major wire services got this so-called announcement of a reversal policy, if you will, simultaneously, went with it. The chamber now says it is absolutely a hoax.
Part of, for instance, where it looked authentic, if you will. This is the item we got. It has the chamber’s logo we’re all familiar with. Even the boilerplate at the end of a typical Chamber of Commerce news release. with a disclaimer of how large an organization it is in terms of representing businesses, et cetera. The other thing that perked our interest in terms of news is the news release did point out that there have been some significant defections from the chamber recently over this whole issue of climate energy policy. At this point in time, according to the Chamber of Commerce, this so-called bulletin is a hoax.
REGAN: Have they given you any indication in terms of the source of where this might have come from?
PEARSON: Not yet. We’re doing our own independent checking to try to run it down. we’re not the only news organization doing all that. Again, we came on with the headline. But also at least within the last half hour or so have been able to verify it and turn it around.
REGAN: Hampton, have we seen any real uptick in some of the natural gas stocks or any other company that might have been — we had an analyst as you’ll recall right after your report saying look to some of the natural gas companies. They may see a runup as a result of those news. Have we seen any big moves in trading?
PEARSON: I personally haven’t had a chance to look at that frankly because just getting involved and trying to find out about the authenticity of this, been frankly focused and trying to run that aspect of this story down as we speak.
KUDLOW: Authenticity hunt, which I appreciate. Is there any involvement of the White House whatsoever?
PEARSON: I couldn’t even begin to go there, Larry, on that one.
KUDLOW: Just thought I’d ask. Just thought I’d ask.
REGAN: Cover all the ground you can. All right. We’re going to leave it there. Thank you so much, Hampton, for updating us.