Nixon’s Shadow Looms Over Latest Climate Denial Bile Touted By Breitbart Echo Chamber

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This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Yesterday, for a while at least, Breitbart gave top billing to James “I need an editor” Delingpole for yet another outpouring of bile, claiming that fighting the “Green blob” will be Trump’s defining battle. It’s notable only in that James Delingpole promises more environmental coverage at the preferred website of the deplorables and mentions a closed-door meeting with Trump’s transition team and a bunch of other deniers. (DeSmog reported on this last week.)

If this was any indication, Breitbart’s future coverage will be heavy on rhetoric but light on content. For something that at least pretends to be based on facts and numbers, we turn to the Daily Caller. There, churnalist Michael Bastasch has a story whose headline claims: EXCLUSIVE: Continuing Obama’s Climate Agenda Will Cost $1 Trillion. (That’s a cumulative by 2050 number, important to note given that most figures like this are of annual costs…)

Apparently in the world of Fake News, “exclusive” no longer means a scoop not reported elsewhere, because Bastasch’s story is nothing more than a repackaging of a December 6th blog post (described as a report) from the American Action Forum. Perhaps because no one else thought the blog post was newsworthy, Daily Caller figured it can call it an exclusive.

Anyway, will avoiding dangerous warming cost that much? Probably not. The write-up contains more assumptions and vagaries than we can cover here, so perhaps someone will debunk it, like Carbon Brief recently did to a similar sort of “analysis” of the UK’s climate policy by the GWPF.

In the meantime, we’ll tell you a little about the American Action Forum. Since it was a new name for us, we did a bit of Googling. Though not an obvious part of the Koch network, there are some interesting things to know about the group, which is the 501c(3) arm of the political lobbying group American Action Network, created in 2010 in the wake of Citizen’s United. The Network appears to be plugged in with traditional GOP operations, sharing office space with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC, and its board includes R.J. Reynolds heir C. Boyden Gray as well as other Republican officials.

The Forum and Network share leadership (and a phone number), most notably in that both are chaired by Fred Malek. Malek is an interesting character, who, besides co-owning the Texas Rangers with George W. Bush, was responsible for what was (hopefully) the last official US government act of anti-Semitism, compiling a list for Richard Nixon of Jews in high-ranking positions at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Malek called Nixon’s fear of a “jewish cabal” within the government “ridiculous” and “nonsense,” but the event still cost him some official positions in the 80s, including his resignation as chair of the Republican National Committee in 1988. Since then, he’s been able to repair his reputation and has served various GOP positions.  

Sourcewatch summarizes Malek’s unique history well. According to the Senate Watergate report, as Nixon’s White House personnel chief Malek (known as “The Hatchet”) was manager of the CREEP program intended to use federal power to re-elect Nixon, which served as a slush fund and otherwise Watergate-d things up. Literally. It used money meant to re-elect Nixon to pay the Watergate burglars’ legal fees.

Malek also ordered the FBI to investigate a CBS journalist, Daniel Schorr, who was on Nixon’s famed “enemy list” for his criticism of the president. (The investigation revealed Schorr to be… a great reporter.)

So that’s some intriguing context for this report attacking climate regulations. But one more wrinkle- one of the report’s authors is Philip Rossetti, whose bio notes he is also a non-resident young leaders fellow for the Center for the National Interest.

The Center for the National Interest was known, prior to 2011, as The Nixon Center.

It was named for its founder, Richard Milhous Nixon.

Image credit: Public Domain

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