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  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Mar 28, 2002 11:06 AM Flag

    WA Times on Energy Policy

    I'm starting to like this paper!
    Energy pile-on ignores the facts
    By Jennifer Harper

    Recent news coverage of President Bush's energy task force offered the conclusion that the White House left environmentalists and consumers out of its national energy policy equation.
    Yet most print and broadcast accounts ignored or buried the fact that administration officials actually contacted environmental groups for input ? but were rebuffed ? detailed in both an Energy Department letter and an e-mail included among documents released by the agency Monday.
    Instead, the media used the occasion to embellish upon their standard portrayals of a conniving Bush administration preoccupied with big oil, big business and influence peddling.
    "Consumer Groups Left Out, Data Show," a lead Washington Post story noted Tuesday.
    "A first review of the 11,000 pages of documents bolsters the contention of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups that the Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the advice of executives from utilities and producers of oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy," the story continued.
    Citing "new information" yesterday, The Washington Post softened up those initial claims, acknowledging that the energy task force "belatedly consulted environmentalists," but "sought input only after protests."
    Still, most media accounts continued to reinforce the idea that the administration had ignored conservationists and consumers.
    The Los Angeles Times said the documents proved the administration only answered to industry, giving "new ammunition" to critics who said the energy policy favored business. The New York Times followed suit, but buried significant information in the final paragraphs of a story yesterday.
    "[Energy Department spokeswoman Judith] Schroeder said that other Energy Department officials met five environmental and consumer groups ? the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, Resources for the Future and the American Wind Energy Association. And she said five other groups did not respond to a request for comments, including the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace."
    CNN and the Associated Press simply ignored that angle; the Wall Street Journal characterized it as evidence of a "stark contrast" between Bush administration dealings with energy and environmental groups.
    News organizations had pounced upon the situation as if providing "some kind of smoking gun demonstrating underhanded administration policy-making," the Media Research Center (MRC) said yesterday. Broadcasters also shaded their coverage, according to the MRC.
    One CNN account began with the question, "Do these documents confirm the worst suspicions of influence peddling?"
    CBS said the documents showed "the administration consulted business leaders and not consumer groups" and at one point suggested the Energy Dept. had "censored" the documents and possibly broken the law. A later CBS interview featured a National Resource Defense Council spokeswoman who said the documents "have been scrubbed, sanitized, purged."
    Online news sites and talk radio were in turn critical of those who would build a scandal around the makings of an energy policy, accusing "the greens of being commie red," among other things.
    White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer and at least one Republican leaders remained philosophical. "News flash," Mr. Fleischer told the press corps Tuesday. "It's no surprise to anybody that the secretary of energy meets with energy-related groups."
    ? Contact Jennifer Harper at or 202/636-3085.

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    • Typical democratic-biased groups. Hogwash! if "they"; environmentalists, etc.; are soo darn smart-then why didn't slick willie clinton "do the 8th wonder of the world?" like come up with 'the right thing-to-do' in reference to a fantastic energy bill? Hmmmm?
      seems to me that "no President" has ever been able to "make" the big auto industries to get "more MPH per gallon gas" out of their auto's, trucks, etc.? look at the Ford Expedition..biggest "station wagon" (& don't call it a SUV-cause it isn't) gets around 8-10 mile per gal of gasoline. Don't blame this on Republicans or Bush! i hate to see party-bashing, cause it's election year.! get yourself educated & figure it out! OPEC, US Big Oil Co's, etc. won't allow it. could have had back in the 1950's, carbureators that could have gotten 70+ mp gal. but it will not happen, unless "we" run out of oil! soo to all who like to bash poor George, give him a break!
      My 2 cents worth.

      • 1 Reply to cedarbushcrk
      • Yes there are carbureators that can get 70 mpg, but they don't put enough horsepower to propel anything heavier than a golf cart. The suppression of more effective ones by the oil industry and the car industry are bogus urban legends. Honda motorcycles get that kind of mileage, but their cars don't. Congress could have passed a law raising CAFE standards, thereby increasing overall gas mileage, but in doing so they would have been voting to kill an extra 3,000 people per year in auto accidents, and removing the choice from American consumers to choose between additional safety or more economic driving. Higher milage comes from lighter (and more fragile) and less powerful cars, less able to maneuver.

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