Weekend Media Review: No One Mentions Climate Change; Chris Wallace Calls out WH Chief of Staff for Energy Fib

by William Yeatman on January 26, 2015

in Blog

During last Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, President Obama said:

And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.  (Applause.)  

Yet when White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough appeared on four Sunday morning political talkies—on the first weekend since the State of the Union—all the hosts wanted to talk about was the Middle East (i.e., Yemen, ISIS, Netanyahu, etc.).

I endured them all

I miss Platts Energy Week with Bill Loveless

Indeed, climate change never came up once during McDonough’s interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, nor in his conversation with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” nor in his discussion with Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation. Ultimately, not one of these three shows even mentioned global warming, despite the fact that it “poses a greater threat to future generations” than any combination of current conflagrations abroad, according to the President.

However, it is true that McDonough came very close to mentioning climate change during his interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: And yet, despite the fact that Republicans gained nine seats and took control of the Senate, gained 13 seats in the House, the president didn’t acknowledge the fact that Republicans won the midterms and didn’t basically scale back any of his agenda to reach out to Republicans.

MCDONOUGH: Here is what we’ve gotten since the midterms. We’ve normalized relations with Cuba, a policy that for 50 years had been failing. We’ve made great strides on carbon — 

WALLACE: Respectfully, you are not answering my question.

So, the Chief of Staff was just about to say “great strides on carbon” in the course of giving an answer to a question that wasn’t asked, but then he was cut off, and he never broached the subject again. However, he did later pivot to energy policy, and was rightly called out for truthiness by the host:

WALLACE: Doesn’t the president need to scale back his agenda to find areas of agreement with the Republicans who won the midterms?

MCDONOUGH: The president has laid out a lot of places in speech as well where we can work with Republicans … we’re out of the crisis of the last several years. Unemployment is down under 5.6 percent. More oil produced in this country than in any time in the last several decades.

WALLACE: No thanks to the Obama administration … It’s all happening … on federal land and private and state land, and, in fact, the administration was opposed to a lot of the fracking.  One last question if I may.

MCDONOUGH: More clean energy than ever in this country. More oil and gas — 

WALLACE: Again, no thanks to this administration.

MCDONOUGH: More oil and gas produced in this country than ever before.

WALLACE: Again, no thanks to this administration.

To recap: The White House tried to take credit for an oil and gas boom. This is crazy, for two reasons: (1) the President thinks climate change is the awfulest, most horrible catastrophe ever (see above), and low oil and gas prices increase greenhouse gas emissions; and, (2) this administration has done everything in its power to inhibit the oil and gas boom with red tape and bureaucratic foot dragging (see, e.g., here). Upon hearing this absurd claim, the host of the program interrupted his guest in order to call him out for telling fibs. And that was the highlight of this weekend’s media review.

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