Over three-quarters of the guests featured on nine television networks have expressed opposition to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandate to regulate greenhouse gasses (GHG), according to a new report.
On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. It wasn’t until December 2009, after President George W. Bush left office, that the EPA began to move toward regulation by issuing a GHG scientific endangerment finding.
The report released by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters Tuesday concluded that over the 17 months since that EPA finding, 152 of the 199 guests — or more than 76 percent — opposed regulation. Only 17 percent of the guests spoke in favor of climate regulations.
The report said that Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC were the worst offenders.
More than 81 percent of Fox News guests and 83 percent of Fox Business guests criticized the EPA’s effort to reign in climate change. CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS featured primarily straight news stories that did not rely on opinionated guests. Of all the broadcast networks, Fox’s Sunday news show Fox News Sunday had the most opponents of EPA regulations.
MSNBC was the exception with four times as many proponents of EPA greenhouse gas regulations.
Media Matters also found that Republicans outnumbered Democrats six to one during cable news channel discussions. Again, the worst offenders were Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC. Only MSNBC had more Democrats than Republicans.
Both Fox News and Fox Business hosted one Democrat each, but those Democrats were both against greenhouse gas regulations. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) appeared on Fox News and then-Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared on Fox Business. For its part, CNBC hosted no Democrats. In every case, Republicans invited to appear were against the EPA regulations.
An analysis by the liberal watchdog group determined that the elected officials appearing on news shows had received more than $3 million from fossil fuel interests.
The Cato Insitutes’s Patrick Michaels — the only climate scientist to appear on any news show — was also opposed to EPA regulations. He appeared twice on Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto. In a 2010 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Michaels admitted that 40 percent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.
Polls taken over the 17 months period covered in the report showed that the views depicted Fox News, Fox Business, the Fox broadcast network and CNBC were at odds with public opinion.
A June 2010 survey (PDF) by Stanford University found that 76 percent favored limiting greenhouse gasses created by U.S. businesses. That same month, ABC News reported (PDF) that 71 percent thought the government should limit greenhouse gasses created by “from sources like power plants, cars and factories.”