We knew there was something not being told about the story when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce started tweeting the following link (and others like it) to an article at the Rightwing website The Daily Caller this morning…
The second tweet above linked to the U.S. Chamber's blog site “Chamber Post,” and their article, penned by the appropriately-named Sean Hackbarth, headlined simply“EPA Regulation Kills 500 Jobs.”
The Daily Caller story by Matthew Boyle that started it is headlined “EPA regulation forces closure of Texas energy facilities, eliminates 500 jobs,” and goes on to describe how poor Texas-based coal plant owner Luminant is unable to meet a “new Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which requires Texas power generators to make 'dramatic reductions' in emissions beginning on January 1, 2012.”
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“The company said it has been trying to meet the new standards, but won't be able to do so without closing down several facilities and eliminating 500 jobs,” reports The Daily Caller's very very Luminant-friendly Boyle, without bothering to offer any other side to the issue. (What? Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller is even less “fair and balanced” than Fox “News”?! Say it ain't so! But more on that, and on Boyle, below.)
“Meeting this unrealistic deadline,” says Luminant CEO David Campbell without rebuttal in Boyle's article, “also forces us to take steps that will idle facilities and result in the loss of jobs.”
Really? Those burdensome EPA regulations —- darn all that clean air and water anyway! —- that's what's forcing poor Luminant to lay off 500 workers during this horrible downturn in the economy?!? Really?! Why, Barack Obama should be ashamed of himself!
Since The Daily Caller and Boyle and the far-right Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce didn't find it necessary to offer any other side of the story —- and since we suspected there was one —- The BRAD BLOG touched based with Ilan Levin, Associate Director at the Austin-based, non-partisan, non-profit advocacy groupEnvironmental Integrity Project, to get his response to this news, and to find out if maybe Luminant and their operatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their tools at The Daily Caller weren't telling us the full story in their propaganda today.
And surprise! There is another side to the story! But, as Boyle conceded to us in a rather remarkable conversation, he just wasn't able to report it, no matter how hard he tried…
According to the Environmental Integrity Project's Levin, in an email response sent to us earlier today (the very first one we bothered to try and get in regard this story):
Year in and year out, Luminant's power plants are among the most polluting in the nation. Luminant has been either unwilling or unable to make the same investments in multi-year construction projects to update their plants that other electric power companies across the nation have been working on for years. The company's own data show that dangerous sulfur dioxide emissions from their three largest coal plants have dropped a modest 16 percent over the last decade, while nationwide, the electric power industry has cut its sulfur dioxide emissions by more than half.
This company is highly leveraged, pays out about three and a half billion dollars a year in debt, and is flailing because it bought a lot of coal plants (and decided to build three new ones), as natural gas prices have fallen. Luminant's anxiety about the declining price of natural gas, and its effect on the company's profitability, is right there in their 2010 SEC 10-k filing. So, they're trying to make the EPA and the Clean Air Act the scapegoat for their bad investment decisions.
Now we're working on a couple of stories at the moment, so haven't had much time to dig in to fact-check Levin's claims, or get comment in response from Luminant or the U.S. Chamber —- the nation's top Rightwing lobbyist and funder of Republican campaigns, as well as a front group for dozens of dirty energy conglomerates hell-bent on continuing to issue life-threatening and planet-threatening pollutants for free while the rest of us pay the price for it.
But given all the noise both of them are making today, in their ongoing campaign to act as though, gosh darn it, it's that pesky over-regulation by that Marxist Obama's tyrannical EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency, as founded by that commie, pinko Richard Nixon) that's otherwise keeping all those “job creators” from hiring millions and millions of Americans, we thought it might be nice to get an alternative point of view out for the public record. So there's just one of them up above.
Besides that, for the other side of the story —- and the other side of the story only —- there's always Tucker Carlson's fake news site, The Daily Caller.
We asked The DC's Matthew Boyle, via Twitter (@MBoyle1) tonight, why he didn't offer any alternate side to his story before posting what was, essentially, a political press release on behalf of the Luminant corporation. Here's the rather telling conversation that ensued…
So, there you have it. Boyle says he did seek an alternative point of view to the Luminant corporation's, he just couldn't find one, and couldn't report who all the folks were that support the EPA, but declined to comment on record.
“Journalist malpractice”? “Hackery”? You can decide for yourself who may have committed either of those in this case.
[FULL DISCLOSURE (Because we believe in it): The BRAD BLOG has a bit of a grudge against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, following appalling revelations earlier this year that they were apparently working on a $12 million plot to target founder Brad Friedman and family(!) with a spying and smear campaign that was set to use tools developed by U.S. government contractors for the “War on Terror” and turn them against fellow U.S. citizens who the U.S. Chamber believed opposed their dangerous policies, lies and corruption of U.S. democracy.]
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UPDATE: It seems it's not the first time The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle has served as little more than a mouthpiece for Rightwing propaganda without bothering to even pretend to offer an alternate point of view. It looks like Media Matters' Brian Powell noticed Boyle doing exactly that just a few days ago as well, on an entirely different (if similar) Rightwing talking point on government regulatory bodies. Powell had a remarkably similar complaint to ours in regard to Boyle's one-sided “reporting” on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which, like the EPA, Boyle doesn't even appear to have bothered to even try to contact before filing his story smashing up the federal agency with quite-literally parroted GOP talking points at Tucker Carlson's “news” site. See “Daily Caller Takes Dictation, Pushes GOP Rep.'s NLRB Falsehood” for more. Gosh, seeing a pattern here?
UPDATE 9/13/11: Brad Johnson at Think Progress Green finds similar background information —- information that The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle just couldn't find anywhere —- on what really appears to be going on with Luminant and their attempt to scapegoat EPA regulations in place of conceding their own business failures.