Monday, June 29, 2009

Busting up conservatives in the midst of their right-wing fear-mongering spin

As the House vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act approached this week, prominent media conservatives once again took to the airwaves and displayed their true colors. Criticism of the bill from the right -- especially its cap-and-trade provisions -- has not been the product of principle, but of misinformation and, at times, willful denial.

On Friday, radio host Rush Limbaugh once again flagrantly denied that global warming exists and continued to advance the shockingly erroneous, comically false argument that under the legislation, "we could be taxed because of the carbon dioxide we exhale." Thanks, Professor Limbaugh, for another science lesson!

"This bill is about raising taxes and taking away people's freedom," Limbaugh continued, before comparing it to a "Soviet-style five-year plan" that is "all based on hoaxes," a crooked scheme worthy of Bernie Madoff.

The fearmongering continued as Fox News' Glenn Beck agreed with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) when she argued of the bill, "You're either for freedom or you're not."

Indeed, portraying the legislation as a massive financial penalty for ordinary Americans is a major line of attack for media conservatives. Thursday's Fox & Friends claimed that the average family would have to pay an extra $3,100 a year in energy costs if it passed. But that number is based on a distortion of a 2007 MIT study -- a distortion that has since been discredited by one of the study's authors. Fox's Sean Hannity also pushed a similar myth, claiming that the bill would cost families $2,000 a year.

Entirely absent from these critiques is the result of a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis that found that the bill's net impact to households would eventually range between a benefit of $40 per year and a cost of $340 per year, with an average cost of $175 per year. Hannity isn't the only one ignoring this crucial study while claiming the bill will lead to far higher costs; CNN's The Situation Room and Lou Dobbs Tonight and Fox News' Special Report and On the Record with Greta van Susteren have also repeated the misinformation or failed to challenge guests who advanced it. Unfortunately, as of June 23, none of them had reported on the new CBO study.

Media Matters for America

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