"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. [GOP.gov, 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. [Majorityleader.gov, 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 NYTimes.com]
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