When experts are biased

If there's one thing I hate more than lazy journalism, it's when the reporters in question rely on one point of view and allow that to speak for both sides of the story. That's how, for instance, someone from a seemingly nonpartisan-sounding think tank spouts overtly partisan views, while audiences think it's coming from a neutral point of view.

The results, as we know, aren't pretty. Unsuspecting individuals get the wrong sense of a story, coloring opinions. And without this objectivity, stories may as well be Republican Party-issued talking-points sheets.

The latest example occurred this week in Ohio, a state already plagued by the petty partisanship of ruling Republicans. This time, an Associated Press reporter who should have known better unnecessarily gave readers the sense that churches' overt, one-sided political campaigning doesn't represent illegal, unethical behavior.

There's more...

Jim Renacci and His Anti-Environmental Buddies

In Ohio's 16th Congressional District, Rep. John Boccieri(D) is being challenged by Jim Renacci (R).  Boccieri is an environmental champion who voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) and who received a 93% League of Conservation Voters score in 2009.  In contrast, Jim Renacci erroneously believes that comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, far from helping our economy, national security, and environment, would instead "amount to one of the largest taxes in American history, would cause electricity prices to skyrocket and would very likely bankrupt an enormous portion of our domestic energy industry."

While Renacci's anti-environmental views are not surprising, given the groups and individuals who support his candidacy, they are disturbing nonetheless. Let's look at a few of Renacci's key endorsements and sources of money.

Exhibit A: former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his FreedomWorks PAC. According to FreedomWorks "Online War Room" against Cap and Trade legislation, the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act – which NRDC correctly calls "a solid foundation for Senate legislation" - would actually "crush the economy" for "negligible environmental benefit." And FreedomWorks PAC director, Dick Armey (9% League of Conservation Voters rating, 1993-1999), calls global warming "an eco-evangelical hysteria going on and it leads me to almost wonder if we are becoming a nation of environmental hypochondriacs." In fact, climate scientists have overwhelmingly demonstrated that global warming is real, that it threatens our planet's ecosystems and human well being, and that it needs to be addressed forcefully – and soon – if we are to head off its worst effects.  What exactly about these scientific facts does FreedomWorks fail to understand?

Exhibit B: Murray Energy Corporation PAC, which has given Renacci $8,000.  As we have previously pointed out, this is a company that "wants to divert a pristine, high-quality stream from its course in Belmont County and transform the dry streambed into an artificial storage lake for billions of gallons of dirty coal slurry."  The company is headed by a man, Robert E. Murray, who has been "an outspoken critic of the scientific opinion on climate change," who says that climate science is "highly speculative," and who believes that people who care about the environment are "elitists" engaging in "'global goofiness' campaigns." Given all this, Murray Energy Corporation is certainly not the type of company that has any credibility on environmental issues.

Exhibit C: The Ohio Coal Association, which has given Renacci $1,250.  This is an organization which strongly supports stripping the EPA of its authority to limit carbon pollution, which questions climate science, and which links to an article which claims that "valley fill is a political myth."  To the contrary, climate science is all too real and valley fill is anything but a political myth.

Exhibit D:  The notoriously anti-environment energy company, Koch Industries, whose PAC has given Renacci $2,500.  According to Greenpeace, Koch has "quietly funneled [$50 million] to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter."  Koch also has a horrendous environmental record, including being fined "$30 million for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters."  In sum, Koch is just about the last company in the world we should be listening to when it comes to protecting our environment.

The bottom line is this: with record global temperatures being set every month, with the polar ice caps melting, and with the urgent need to take action on global warming before it's too late, voters in Ohio's 16th Congressional District need to know where the candidates and their funders stand on this critical issue.



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