Murdoch’s Fox News Wages War on EPA

by Joceyln Fong and Jill Fitzsimmons, in a Media Matters cross-post

Harmonizing with the Republican agenda, Fox News and Fox Business have launched a full-scale attack on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), labeling the agency “job terrorists” who are “strangling America.” What follows is a list of Fox’s top 10 lies about the EPA this year.

Fox’s Attacks On EPA Coincide With Republican Agenda

Fox’s Regulation Nation Series Aired After GOP Launched “Regulation Nation” Website. In mid-September, Fox News and Fox Business began a series of segments critical of government regulations under the banner Regulation Nation. The series title echoes the House Republican Conference, which has had its own “Regulation Nation” website since at least June. [, accessed 10/4/11]

Fox’s Regulation Nation Coincided With Start Of Republican Anti-Regulatory Push. In an August 29 memo, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) identified ten “job-destroying regulations” that will be the targets of the Republican legislative agenda in the coming months. Seven of the ten are EPA rules. The memo indicated that September 12 would be the start date for Republicans’ anti-regulatory push – the same day Fox launched its Regulation Nation series. [, 8/29/11] [Media Matters, 9/12/11]

Push For Fox Regulation Series Reportedly Came From The Top. In a story for Newsweek, Howard Kurtz quoted Fox News president Roger Ailes — who worked as a Republican consultant for decades before transitioning to television — stating that he was behind the network’s Regulation Nation series:

Ailes raises a Fox initiative that he cooked up: “Are our producers on board on this ‘Regulation Nation’ stuff? Are they ginned up and ready to go?” Ailes, who claims to be “hands off” in developing the series, later boasts that “no other network will cover that subject … I think regulations are totally out of control,” he adds, with bureaucrats hiring Ph.D.s to “sit in the basement and draw up regulations to try to ruin your life.” It is a message his troops cannot miss. [Newsweek, 9/25/11

GOP Launched Anti-EPA Offensive After 2010 Midterm Elections. National Journal reported on Republicans’ decision to target EPA regulations after the midterm elections:

Once they determined to fight the new rules, coal companies banded together with the Republican Party to strategize, and the 2010 midterm elections offered the perfect battleground. The companies invested heavily in campaigns to elect tea party candidates crusading against the role of Big Government. Industry groups (like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), tea party groups with deep ties to polluters (like Americans for Prosperity), and so-called super PACs (like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads) spent record amounts to help elect the new House Republican majority.

The House freshmen, the influential super PACs, and now the 2012 presidential candidates have all put EPA’s “job killing” regulations in their sights as part of an all-out political and legislative offensive against the agency.


The House leaders listened. House Government Oversight Chairman Darryl Issa sent letters to executives asking them to list the government regulations that would most harm job growth. EPA regulations topped most lists. Planning their agenda, Speaker John Boehner and Cantor decided that bills defunding and reversing EPA’s regulatory authority would hit the floor early and often. Even if few of them had a chance to become law, thanks to a Democratic-controlled Senate, they would be political winners. [National Journal, 9/22/11]

House Republicans’ Budget Proposal Took Direct Aim At EPA’s Budget. From a February 14 ClimateWire article on House Republicans’ continuing resolution:

First on the House GOP’s chopping block: U.S. EPA. The proposed CR takes direct aim at the agency and its role as the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s twinned efforts to regulate CO2 emissions and boost climate change-related research.

The new bill would slash the agency’s budget by $3 billion, 29 percent below the fiscal 2010 level of $10.3 billion. It would also block funds for all current and pending EPA greenhouse gas regulations on stationary sources for the remainder of the fiscal year. [ClimateWire, 2/14/11, via]

Joceyln Fong and Jill Fitzsimmons are researchers at Media Matters for America. This is a small portion of a very detailed piece. For the entire article, and more on the “top ten lies about the EPA,” check out the Media Matters website.

Fox’s Top 10 Lies About The EPA This Year

1. EPA’s Job Is “Done”

2. EPA Is Implementing A “Job-Killing” Agenda

3. The Obama Administration Has Launched A “War On Coal”

4. Coal Plant Emissions Aren’t Linked To Asthma

5. Air Pollution Limits Threaten “A Fifth Of America’s Electricity Generating Capacity”

6. EPA Wants “230,000 New Employees” To Implement Climate Rules

7. Small Businesses Pay “$4,100 Bucks Per Employee” To Comply With EPA Regulations

8. Obama Could Suspend EPA Rules With An Executive Order

9. Obama Administration’s Vehicle Emission Regulations Are Unprecedented

10. EPA Is “Regulating Milk Spills”

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8 Responses to Murdoch’s Fox News Wages War on EPA

  1. Bill G says:

    When are we going to realize that behind our major problems and government’s inability to address them is the big propaganda media we have in America.

    We should not entirely blame Repub politicians because if they work with Democrats on solutions, they are immediately labeled “traitors” by Limbaugh and Fox and risk losing office. So they do nothing except oppose everything.

    We must find a way to end this poisonous right wing media or it will further wreck the nation. It already has many “victories” like pushing an attack on Iraq costing trillions, pushing “free enterprise” by boosting deregulation, and a lot more.

    End poisonous the propaganda machine or it could end the America our Founders planned.

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Using Their Own Icons Against Them

    (Sorry for the “them” and “us” feel of the title, but it’s appropriate in the case of Fox News and etc.)

    In any case …

    Read Milton Friedman’s ‘Capitalism and Freedom’, in Chapter II, ‘The Role of Government in a Free Society’, in the subsection titled ‘Action Through Government On Grounds Of Technical Monopoly And Neighborhood Effects’.

    Here is, for example, a key paragraph:

    “A second general class of cases in which strictly voluntary exchange is impossible arises when actions of individuals have effects on other individuals for which it is not feasible to charge or recompense them. This is the problem of ‘neighborhood effects’. An obvious example is the pollution of a stream. The man who pollutes a stream is in effect forcing others to exchange good water for bad. These others might be willing to make the exchange at a price. But it is not feasible for them, acting individually, to avoid the exchange or to enforce appropriate compensation.”

    Now, there may be no better or clearer justification for the role of the EPA than that paragraph — at least none written in the language of markets and by a “conservative” market icon such as Milton Friedman.

    Really and truly, someone — many people — ought to confront Fox News, Mitt Romney, and etc. with this quote from Friedman. How do they respond?

    (I wouldn’t even bother confronting Rick Perry with the quote: He won’t even understand it.)

    And I wish that some of the more enlightened economists, those who have platforms anyhow, would use this sort of ammunition — that is, quotes from the other side’s own icons — to make these sorts of points. After all, here is Milton Friedman in essence providing the justification for the EPA, and also providing the justification for putting a price on carbon. But have you seen this quote in The New York Times, in columns, in the press anywhere; or have you heard it used by pundits? I haven’t. Yet it’s right there, offered up by Friedman himself, in black and white, in what many of those folks consider to be a classic book from him.

    In a sense, if we don’t make use of this quote and others like it, we ought to consider ourselves to be incompetent intellectual warriors. Someone ought to confront Bill O’Reilly with this quote, and see how he responds. More than once.

    You can get the book at a bookstore near you.



  3. Rob Jones says:

    I agree with your sentiments and it is the same question that we have in Australia. It is led over here by murdochs interests but is by no means confined to them. They are fundamentally dishonest in the way they represent issues. For us it appears that a requirement to be factually correct in the media is just too big an ask.
    The only recourse I have is ridicule. When I read about the regulators being ‘job terrorists’ I think of ‘news speak’.
    I am put in mind of regulations like drink driving. That kills jobs too – Just think how many more coffins, burials, carers for quadriplegics, smash repairs, new cars and hospital places would be required if you dropped that particular regulation. It’s a job terrorist that law and obviously those who support it are insane elitists who don’t care about jobs. Or just maybe wise heads in society have decided that life trumps GDP and jobs. The whole argument is insane obviously but it provides a real life example of the insanity of fox led thinking.

  4. Bill G says:

    Rob, I’m not sure it is insanity. People running these right wing media efforts are not crazy nor stupid.

    It may be behind the curtain it is all about making money – more and more of it. In America Fox, Limbaugh and Levine are very focused on elections, even though they claim government is not important and is itself the “problem”.

    Around election time you will hear them repeating, “get out and vote for Republicans.” And what is the main focus of Repubs once elected? They do give some attention to conservatives hot buttons like abortion. But the most significant thing coming out of Republican administrations starting with Reagan was lower taxes and regulation on corporations and the rich.

    Less regulation as with lower taxes translates directly into more profit for the rich and corporations. Behind all the smoke I think this is the real sole objective of right wing propaganda style media. This despite all its hoop-la about issues like guns, God and abortion.

    Once we had a “Fairness Doctrine” here in America whereby both sides of issues had to be aired. This was tied to use of our public air waves. But the right killed that off. However, these air waves are public and should not be used just for promoting one point of view or one Party when that Party somehow gains control of them.

    Air waves and news seems almost a public utility needed to nourish and guide a democracy.

    Like any public utility, air waves and especially news should not be in the for-profit sector since they are are vital to making a democracy work properly and to the benefit of all the people.

  5. Bill G says:

    Great point regarding Friedman. But Friedman was using logic and facts. Current forces calling themselves “conservatives” seem to operate as though reality, facts and logic are irrelevant. They also are devoid of compassion which Friedman certainly had.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The process began, as did much of the USA’s decay, under the Alzheimic Mr Raygun, when he ended the FCC’s ‘Fairness Doctrine’ in 1987. The rest is history. You’re one step ahead of us, however-we never had such a doctrine to abolish, and the Rightward drift of the MSM was only slowed by the decency, honour and character of the media bosses and their apparatchiki, hence the headlong rush to hysterical, non-stop, virulent, hectoring, vilifying and intimidating Rightwing bias, Orwellianly described as ‘freedom of expression.’ Freedom for one side only, naturally.

  7. Raul M. says:

    Is it fair to use the formula when studying reform measures? Public funds ~ (new mastermind) + (censorship) times (?) times (reduced public services) times (?) = former gov. Personal bank account. After the former elected official shows the newly elected officials how even more reform may increase the amount of money left over from the program services and it is up to them to find a way to prosper. Oh and don’t forget religion so we may all be assured that it is for our own good.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s not insanity. It’s psychopathology. We know enough about the Rightwing Authoritarian Personality type to know how they operate, and always will operate. There is NO chance that they will ever act differently, and they will destroy humanity, if they have not already made that outcome unavoidable. The crucial error the Left makes is imagining that they can EVER reason with the Right, or appeal to their decency and humanity, because these are non-existent categories.