Media Matters: Sean Hannity and Texas governor blame solar power and wind power for energy blackouts in Texas Total lies
Media Matters: Fox News and Fox Business falsely blamed renewable energy for Texas blackouts 128 times over two days
Whats up with the lies about the Texas power outage and blaming it on green energy instead of on Texas for not doing any weather proofing on its infrastructure? Well, basically, after being joined at the hip with Trump and heavily influencing and dictating many of Trump's actions, Fox is returning to its old role of liar and protector for the GOP: "With Trump largely eschewing the spotlight, Fox is transitioning from a cult of personality to its old role as a GOP mouthpiece, peddling lies to its audience for the party’s benefit. And if that keeps its viewers out in the cold, so be it." Media Matters
Note: I want to take a quick look at GOP economics to show that what happened in Texas is normal for GOP economics, i.e. the results of GOP policy is almost always chaos. Sometimes it just needs some time to play out. Though this isn't the first time this has happened in Texas so it shouldn't be a surprise.
Maddow: Texas bearing burden of failure to heed cold weather lesson ten years ago
1. An Introduction To, And A Basic Overview Of, The Fake Economics Republicans Push
A West Texas mayor resigned from his post amid backlash after he slammed "lazy" and "weak" residents seeking government help following power outages and freezing temperatures brought on by a vicious winter storm.
Tim Boyd, the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, shared a scathing message on Facebook Tuesday claiming residents seeking help were looking for "handouts" — and by that afternoon, had announced his resignation, ABC affiliate KTXS reported.
In depth on the Texas Power Outage:
When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went on Fox News on Tuesday night, his state was in crisis. A huge winter storm had knocked out electricity generation across the state, leaving more than 3 million of his constituents without power. The state’s electric grid operators were unable to say when power would be fully restored, leaving Texans huddled in their homes to suffer from freezing temperatures and unable to travel safely due to icy roads.
But Abbott didn’t have to worry about fielding tough questions about whether his administration’s policies had fueled a disaster. He was talking to GOP propagandist Sean Hannity, whose network had spent the previous 36 hours lying to its audience in order to blame green energy for his state’s woes. And the Texas governor leaned into the network’s lie, using it to escape the possibility of accountability.
For Abbott -- and Fox -- the state’s rolling blackouts and suffering residents were actually a morality play about the dangers of liberal governance. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” he told Hannity. The problem, Abbott explained, was that the state’s “wind and our solar got shut down,” crippling its power supply and proving “that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states.” (Notably, that pat story in which renewables are solely responsible for the disaster is not what Abbott is telling local media or his Twitter followers.)
Fox spent the last four years as Donald Trump’s propaganda arm. But with Trump out of office and the network facing ratings trouble, Fox is falling into its familiar rhythm as the GOP’s lie factory. Abbott’s interview is a perfect encapsulation of how the network will operate while Trump is in the comparative wilderness, and the lie that green energy caused the Texas blackouts will enter the canon of brazen falsehoods repeated over and over on the network until its viewers can recite them from memory, like “death panels” and the Benghazi “stand down order” and the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Of course, Texans aren’t suffering mass power outages due to an over-reliance on renewable energy. The short response to the latest Fox News lie is that it is shamelessly dishonest to claim that a state dominated for decades by Republicans and the oil and gas industry has an energy policy created by Green New Deal-obsessed leftists. The longer one is that Texas regulators do not require the state’s power plants to be made resilient against severe winter storms or compensate generators for maintenance, so when the storm hit, plants of all types -- not just wind turbines -- failed, with the lion’s share of the state’s energy generation knocked offline coming from thermal sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.
It is possible to have wind turbines -- and natural gas plants, and nuclear ones -- that can withstand the cold. But Texas officials decided that winterization wasn’t worth the extra cost. The central question here doesn’t necessarily have a partisan bent: How much risk should utilities tolerate, particularly as climate change makes extreme weather events more likely, and who should bear the brunt of the costs?
But Fox hosts are not interested in these sorts of normal policy questions. Instead, they want to defend loyal Republicans while owning the libs. Blaming clean energy meets both of those goals, so the network’s propagandists are aggressively deploying this attack.
The canard that failed wind turbines caused the power outages rattled around right-wing social media over the weekend, stoked by disinformation from a fossil fuel industry apparatchik, before the notoriously wrong economics pundit Stephen Moore introduced it to Fox’s audience Monday morning. But it took off that night after prime-time host Tucker Carlson, who has abject contempt for his audience and is the most shameless liar in U.S. media, devoted multiple segments of his show to the ludicrous notion that “a reckless reliance on windmills is the cause of this disaster” -- and that such travails would be coming soon to the viewer at home via the Green New Deal.
Carlson effectively functions as Fox’s assignment editor, and so his false angle was discussed on at least a dozen Fox News and Fox Business shows on Tuesday. Network “news” shows like America Reports and America’s Newsroom as well as all four evening “opinion” shows told the same story.
By the time Abbott went on Fox, the network had already laid the groundwork for him to avoid accountability. And it’s no coincidence that his interview came with Hannity, who has historically played the role of Fox’s one-man cleanup crew for Republicans facing crises.
With Trump largely eschewing the spotlight, Fox is transitioning from a cult of personality to its old role as a GOP mouthpiece, peddling lies to its audience for the party’s benefit. And if that keeps its viewers out in the cold, so be it.
Media Matters: How Fox News is exploiting Texas' power outages to fearmonger about clean energy
Industry-backed climate deniers and The Wall Street Journal editorial board also join in to scapegoat renewable energy
Extreme winter storms wreaked havoc across the United States over the weekend, causing widespread power outages in Texas. As many people are wondering why the largest energy-producing state in the country is facing widespread power failures amid below-freezing temperatures, Fox News’ answer is to blame the state’s reliance on wind energy. But while renewable energy sources such as wind are a familiar and convenient scapegoat for Fox -- allowing the network to feed fears about clean energy and the Green New Deal that it has long nurtured -- this narrative is flat wrong.
Fox’s big frozen “windmill” lie
On the February 15 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host not only suggested that the freezing temperatures that hit Texas bring into question the very existence of global warming, but he also claimed that the state’s inability to keep the lights on was due to its “reckless reliance on windmills,” which he even acknowledged account for only “a quarter of the energy” makeup in Texas (with the majority of power coming from natural gas and coal). To discuss the outages, host Tucker Carlson invited climate denier and frequent Fox guest Marc Morano, who once claimed CO2 is not pollution because we exhale it.
Fox’s morning opinion- and so-called “news”-side shows picked up on Carlson’s misleading narrative -- pinning the Texas outages exclusively on wind energy while largely failing to acknowledge that the state is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels.
Coverage of the outages during the February 16 edition of Fox & Friends First ran under the chyron “Texas Power Issues Blamed on Frozen Wind Turbines.” Fox & Friends framed discussion of the outages around the question of whether this is “what America would look like under the Green New Deal” and enlisted climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg to respond. Lomborg, who is part of the Koch network and has long been a proponent of fossil fuels, spewed outdated and false information about the reliability of renewable energy.
America's Newsroom’s anchor Dana Perino similarly framed a discussion of the outages with Fox contributor and Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn around “raising questions about the Lone Star State’s increasing reliance on renewable energy.” Perino went on to read extensively from the Journal’s February 16 editorial, which similarly blamed the outages on green energy and baselessly fearmongered that “the Biden Administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change.”
On The Faulkner Focus, anchor Harris Faulkner explicitly tied the outages to President Joe Biden’s climate proposal, claiming, “Texas, for example, is shifting toward renewables and being called into question along with the Biden administration’s climate plan.” Faulkner’s segment on the outages also leaned on the misleading and agenda-driven arguments of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and Tucker Carlson.
Long-standing issues with Texas’ energy grid, not frozen wind turbines, are the main culprits behind the state’s wave of power outages
In addition to his February 15 segment, Carlson penned an opinion piece for the Fox New website framed around the easily disprovable statement: “The Green New Deal has come, believe it or not, to the state of Texas.” Carlson asserted in the piece that the state’s power grid failed because “the windmills froze,” a claim that has been repeated and amplified by Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and fringe elements of the right-wing media echosphere.
But what really happened in Texas was easily foreseeable by those who follow the state’s energy sector and has been discussed at length by local news outlets and public officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The historic, devastating winter storm did freeze wind turbine blades, but as Bloomberg noted, “the region’s grid operator made clear that power plants -- across all resources -- had tripped offline. And in fact, data from the grid operator shows generation from wind farms has actually been exceeding the agency’s forecasts in recent days.” The Washington Post’s Energy 202 blog reported that Carlson and the Wall Street Journal editorial board’s blaming wind energy for the grid’s failure “is misleading,” adding: “While Texas's capacity to generate energy from the wind is down with some turbines seized up, most of the power generation offline during the cold spell was supposed to come from traditional thermal plants, Texas's grid operator said Monday.”
Local Texas energy experts were even more vociferous in their criticism of the state’s grid failure, placing most of the blame on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). As an energy fellow at the University of Houston told the Houston Chronicle, the grid “limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances.”
During Friday’s edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, the panelists repeated a number of false claims about the ongoing blackouts in Texas, both in an attempt to cover up negligence by the state government and private power utilities and to deny the role of climate change in severe weather events.
Fox has been waging a sustained propaganda campaign attempting to blame renewable energy sources for the state’s crisis. By contrast, local media outlets in Texas have done a much better job at explaining how the breakdowns across all energy sources — including from fossil fuels, which still normally provide a majority of the state’s electricity — are the result of the state’s failure to adequately winterize its infrastructure, even after prior blackout events.
But these facts were entirely left out of the conversation on Outnumbered.
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