OPINION: New York Times Goes All-In On ‘Green’ Agenda

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Derek Hunter Contributor
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If a liberal stubs his toe, there’s a decent chance he’ll blame the Koch Brothers for it. Before Donald Trump was elected president and liberals saw a Russian behind every bush, the most frequent boogeymen remotely connected to anyone or anything was the Koch Foundation.

Old habits die hard, and when it suits their needs, they go back to that well. In the case of emissions rules set in the waning days of the Obama administration, it definitely suits their needs.

Environmentalism is the current religion of the Left, so, in the name of protecting their faith, and especially its vessel — government regulation — liberals are attacking the Koch Brothers and the oil industry are trying to destroy the world (again).

To fight heresy, journalistic standards are sacrificed. The New York Times, in a piece not labeled “opinion” but reading as such, all the left-wing buzzwords are tossed around like “amen” at a Baptist revival.

In an attack on the Kochs and the oil industry, the Times reports that their paid lackeys circulated a draft letter around Capitol Hill in support of rolling back the new, expensive regulations. Industries, of course, do this all the time; the ability to redress grievances with government is a part of the First Amendment liberals like to ignore, like all the other non-press-related bits.

The Times thinks they found a scandal. They reported, “In recent months, Marathon Petroleum also teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive policy group financed by corporations as well as the Koch network, to draft legislation for states supporting the industry’s position.”

It’s unclear how “secretive” ALEC is considering they have a website, issue press releases, regularly hold events around the country, and host a large annual conference for legislators where the press is welcomed. But in the name of the agenda, why bother with little details like that? Has the Times ever called out liberal think tanks for their ties to liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, for example? (I’ll save you the time. The answer is no.)

Nor did they bother to mention industries work in conjunction with non-profits regularly to form coalitions when their interests align. The only reason to mention Marathon and ALEC together is to taint one with the other in the minds of readers, even though what both are doing is perfectly legal and logical.

If these regulations are “rolled back,” fuel efficiency standards will be brought back to the dark ages of … two years from now. The Times reports, “The standards that the Trump administration seeks to weaken required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2025. Instead, the Trump plan would freeze the standards at 2020 levels.”

The horror.

The thing about fuel standards that no one who advocates for ever-higher ones never talks about is how they cost people their lives. To increase fuel economy, cars have to be made lighter. Lighter cars translate into more fatalities in crashes.

“According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 and 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards,” American Thinker explains.

When you’re trying to “save the world,” what are a few thousand deaths?

Of course, none of this makes it into frantic stories of how those opposed to more government control seek to stop the creeping hand of government, the fear is all that matters.

I grew up in Detroit in a United Automobile Workers (UAW) family, so this is personal to me. It wasn’t just bad management that crippled to auto industry, it was government meddling as well. Management has changed, interference has not.

Each feel-good measure the government takes has real-world consequences, not just in lives lost but in livelihoods lost too. These “inconvenient truths” might not matter to reporters at the New York Times — flyover country might as well not exist to Manhattan — but it matters to everyone else.

Forcing “innovation” on an industry by the whims of an existing administration makes no sense. Freezing those regulations does. That it just so happens to dovetail with the wishes of those demonized by the self-appointed liberal elite does not taint those actions, no matter how hard the New York Times wishes it did.

The auto industry will make more fuel-efficient cars, as they’re doing now. But they should be allowed to introduce them when they can be done safely and as demand from customers dictate, not demands from government.

The Times lamented an industry Facebook ad that encouraged people to “File an official comment to SUPPORT our president’s plan for safer, cheaper cars that WE get to choose.” And that’s really the gist of this whole fight; the Left doesn’t want you to have a choice — at least, not a free one.

You can pick from what they want you to have, which is no choice at all. And they’ll demonize an entire industry, and harm everyone who works in it, to do it. That’s a lot of things, but none of them are journalism.

Editor’s Note: The Daily Caller is supported by donors, including individuals, corporations and non-profits, and including The Charles G. Koch Institute and The Charles G. Koch Foundation. 

Derek Hunter is a contributing editor for The Daily Caller and author of “Outrage, INC: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood.”

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.